Almost overnight, it seems, glowing angels, jolly Santas and even a Grinch or two have moved in and transformed Cambria into a winter wonderland.
Yet, all this holiday flourish is not the work of spritely elves, but by busy restaurateurs, merchants and innkeepers just finishing up a long Thanksgiving weekend. Stringing up miles of lights and creating elaborate displays takes an extra effort that each year adds sparkle and shine to our already lovely village. And it’s an effort that does not go unnoticed by the Cambria Chamber of Commerce.
A team of five community judges joined chamber manager Mary Ann Carson on Tuesday, Dec. 3, for a tour of the decorated businesses, searching for the most creative and original designs and illumination. Marcelle Bakula, Christopher Brazelton, Jeanette Wolfe, Marty Gale and I made up the jolly crew.
We were tasked with choosing the top three in East Village, West Village and along Moonstone Beach — a job that sounds easy enough, right? Not so much, we found, especially in East Village where many folks pulled out all the stops.
We piled into Bakula’s minivan shortly after sunset and away we all flew “like the down of a thistle” from one end of town to another. The evening turned cold and dark, but we were on a mission.
And we found what we were looking for.
Our choice for the overall winner was the Cambria Nursery and Florist, where George Marschall and his team have created a bright and whimsical garden festooned with dozens of lighted umbrellas, butterflies and other characters (see photos, page 15).
The top pick in East Village was The Tea Cozy where the beautiful Snow Queen reigns (photo, Page 1). If you look closely you may notice that the queen is actually the teashop’s cleverly repurposed figure from the Cambria Scarecrow Festival.
An imaginative undersea Christmas scene featuring a driftwood tree and glowing jellyfish earned Home Arts the top award in West Village. The window display shimmers with light and color.
San Simeon Pines Resort at the north end of Moonstone Beach illuminated its expansive grounds beautifully to earn a top prize.
Cash awards totaling $2,000 were provided by the Cambria Tourism Board for the overall winner and the top three in each part of town.
Our team also decided there were more outstanding decorations than we had categories. So we added a few to receive honorable mention.
Our “Light Up the Night” award for the brightest displays went to Robin’s Restaurant, Bluebird Inn and Cambria Historical Museum.
We also recognized “Little Treasures” as window displays that are worth a closer look. They are found at A Matter of Taste, Oliver’s Twist, Chances, and Cambria Music Box Shoppe.
The Christmas Market at the Cambria Pines Lodge was recognized for its spectacular and extensive professional design.
We thank Cambria’s business community for creating a classic Holiday in the Pines for visitors and locals, and we hope it will continue to grow each year. But for me, it’s the spark that ignites the holiday season.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Cambria Chamber of Commerce Holiday in the Pines Decoration Contest winners
Overall: Cambria Pines Nursery and Florist
East Village: First place, The Tea Cozy; second, Spellbound Herbs; third, GOWA Wearable Arts
West Village: First place, Home Arts; second, Cambria Coffee Roasting Company; third, Teresabelle Gallery and Black Hand Cellars
Moonstone Beach: First place, San Simeon Pines Resort; second, Fogcatcher Inn; third, White Water Inn