My wife Suze and I came upon Cambria for the very first time one Saturday afternoon in the summer of 1984. Although we wanted to spend the night at one of the inns, we hadn’t really thought about how busy Central Coast hostelries were on August weekends. We almost scored a room for the night in Lucia, but a Goth couple beat us to it. That night we savored Holiday Inn, San Jose.
On our return drive we managed to get advance reservations at the San Simeon Holiday Inn (now Motel 6) and from then until now we haven’t fallen out of love with Cambria and environs.
First, we would come up about four times a year, sometimes by ourselves and sometimes with our family. Each time it was special. The kids loved to eat at the Chuck Wagon (now the site of El Colibri Hotel and Spa) and once we decided to “camp” while staying at San Simeon Pines Resort and cooked some of our meals at Leffingwell Park on the charcoal grills there.
One Saturday as we were trying to decide what to do with our weekend in Redondo Beach, Suze and I looked at each other and said: “Why don’t we spend the night in Cambria?” And so we did.
In April of 1988 as I was preparing to retire after 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, Suze and I decided to take a couple of weeks off before I had to start my new career in Aerospace with Lear in Santa Monica. At the time, we were trying to decide what to do in terms of our home.
We thought about moving to a larger house, buying a second condo for the children or buying a vacation home in Cambria. While on our trip we learned that our offer to buy a larger house in Redondo Beach was rejected by the sellers and so, when we arrived in Cambria a few days later, we began to look at the vacation home idea with renewed interest.
The last home we saw on our first day of looking so impressed us after many months of looking at homes at twice the price in Redondo Beach and Palos Verdes that we decided then and there to buy. Some discussion ensued with our realtor, Dave Craig, about whether we should buy a house with some land or not.
Dave, after sizing us up, wisely advised us to go with the one with the least amount of weekly yard maintenance. We’re so happy we took his advice and went with a Kevin Keys-designed and -built home on Happy Hill.
Suze and I enjoy traveling all over the world. But every time we return, it’s like seeing a loved one you’ve missed after being away a little too long. Sometimes we ask ourselves why we travel when we love it here so much and, I guess, it boils down to contrasts. We used to love coming here on weekends to get away from the city. Now we enjoy going to cities or to the desert for the contrasts they bring to the slower-paced life we lead here in retirement.
Change is good, but being able to come back to the sun, surf, hills and forests that are our Cambria makes our lives seem almost perfect.
Now, if only we had a Trader Joe’s ….
Email your “Your Turn” musings about Cambria — what it is, how it affects us; what we like about it and, for that matter, what could be better — to cambrian @ thetribunenews.com.