Two Cambria Inns: Two Distinct, Delightful Experiences
By Kathy Chin Leong
On our December trek to the Central Coast, we had the opportunity to be guests at two inns in Cambria. One was found on the outskirts of town by the beach, and the other one located on the edge of the village, walking distance to shops and eateries. Both, we discovered are very comfortable for families.
The Whitewater Inn , a pebble's-throw from the water, sits proudly on Moonstone Beach Drive, the last destination along a boulevard bastian of over 15 inns with fetching monikers such as Cambria Shores Inn, Little Sur Inn, Blue Dolphin Inn, Sea Otter Inn, Captain Cove Country Inn, and so on.
With sunny yellow paint, porches, and individual cottages, the Whitewater Inn is as friendly and inviting as your grandma's overstuffed easy chair. It's quaint, but not over-the-top cute . We stayed in one of the two ocean-facing mini-suites priced at $190 to $240 per night. Ocean lovers will be enthralled with this clean and homey suite.
While it is called an "inn", the Whitewater is more motel-ish than B&B-ish. Why? When I was a child, we only stayed in motels that had faded carpets and TVs with poor reception. Then there were the toilets that had paper bands that read "sanitized for your protection" and the pervasive drinking glasses with similar "sanitized" paper wrappings.
So here at the Whitewater, I had to smile. In our room which was recently redecorated, the toilet had a "sanitized" paper band around the lid and the drinking glasses were carefully wrapped in "sanitized" paper wraps. Unlike dives I stayed in as a kid on family nightmare vacations, this one was clean. New carpets, nice furniture, no dingy smell of cigarettes.
Our suite (Room #2) was tastefully decorated in deep greens and soft yellows. Simple shaker-style Thomasville furnishings were easy on the eye. The suite featured a sitting room with a rollout bed for the kids, TV with a DVD/video player, gas fireplace, and a stack of journals for visitors to record their stays.
Now, in one journal a woman documented an incident of how she murdered her no-good husband by bashing a bottle over his head. It was a fascinating account, and after the entry, management wrote a note in a different color ink, specifying that this was a fictional account written by a very creative boarder. No matter, it made for very entertaining reading.
The exterior is very sweet, harkening to the simplicities of yesteryear. A white picket fence wraps around the perimenter of the cottage, a front patio plays hosts to geraniums in the window boxes, a full-sized flagpole brandishes both the American and British flags. In December, the hosts put a wreath on our door and also a nativity scene was placed in front of our cottage, facing the street. A giant Christmas tree decorated with lights was placed strategically between the two rows of housing.
We loved kid-friendly touches such as the free videos available for checkout at the front desk. Also in the office is a variety of brochures and visitors guides that will help you chart your course for the day.
And in the morning, the friendly staff brought a generous continental breakfast to the room. We had pitchers of coffee, hot water for tea or hot chocolate, fruit, muffins, and bagels. It was plenty for our family of four, and we saved the leftovers for a late snack.
While the Whitewater Inn is your beachside destination, the 9-room Olallieberry Inn is great for families desiring proximity to shopping and eating establishments. These are all within walking distance from the Olallieberry. Run by owners Marjorie Ott, her sister Marilyn and husband Larry Draper, this historic bed and breakfast inn is a traditional and elegant B&B with no TVs or phones in the rooms.
The front and back English cottage gardens bordered with a decorative white picket fence glow with charm.
The rear of the inn features a porch with wicker furniture, and the yard invites visitors to take a nap in one of the adirondack chairs or sip lemonade while enjoying the flowers and small fountains.
I recommend this place to families with older kids who are well-behaved and low key. Boisterous, rambuncious youngsters would have a hard time as it is simply inappropriate to run around the premises. After all, many couples are coming here for R&R, and many a honeymooner has been known to visit.
The night we came to the wine cocktail hour, we were the only couple toting offspring, so my kids, ages 13 and 15, quickly disappeared after they grabbed a cookie, finding solace back in our room. The Olallieberry offers one of the most generous cocktail hours I have ever seen. On this Monday night, we were treated to artichoke pizza, a veggie platter, homemade cookies, olive spread and crackers and a tasty corn bean salsa. We savored white and red local wines. Coffee and teas and juice beverages were also available for non-drinkers.
What’s great about the inn is its proximity to all the restaurants and stores in the East Village. This is a casual town and even the fanciest dining room will accept you in street clothes, although I wouldn’t walk into a four-star restaurant in a tank top and sandals. For dinner, we sauntered over to the Brambles Dinner House wearing clean, non-controversial, decent attire, and our journey took less than ten minutes. When you stay at the friendly Olallieberry, you are within five to ten minutes of any East Village location.
If you ever have the opportunity to stay, I recommend the Creekside Suite which is comfortable, roomy, and situated away from the main house. Rates for the inn start at $120, and the Creekside Suite runs $190 to $210 per night including breakfast and cocktail hour.
Our suite featured a living room sitting area with a queen sleeper couch and gas fireplace that comes on at the touch of a switch. The burgundy-themed room was tastefully decorated and was full of Christmas touches such as stuffed animals with red stocking caps, a winter snow globe, and a fresh poinsettia plant on our coffee table.
The roomy and elegant bedroom offers parents a bit of privacy with a drawn curtain that divides the suite in half. We enjoyed a comfortable evening reading books and magazines in front of the fire.
We were able to sleep in and snag a 9:15 a.m. late seating for breakfast. Larry, one of the owners, was a gracious host offering pleasant conversation and a yummy meal. We gleefully inhaled pumpkin pecan pancakes, fresh-squeezed orange juice, coffee, vanilla Amish bread, olallieberry yogurt, homemade granola, and a fresh fruit cup.
The delicious breakfast was served on Christmas dishes and matching tableware which I enjoyed immensely since I am such a visual person.
Afterwards, while the kids were busy on the Internet and playing with their computer games (yes, we found a wireless connection and brought laptops), I took the opportunity to steal a bit of solitude and record my thoughts in my journal in the backyard. Before settling into the writing mode, I gazed at my surroundings. This small plot of land was teeming with plantlife in the middle of December. The abundance of daisies, poppies, freesia, foxglove, and salvia nourished my soul.
Before we left, we took photos of this special place, thanked our hosts, and zipped up Hwy 1 to pay homage to the elephant seals. It was hard to leave this isle of tranquility. Next time we come, I will definitely spend more time sitting in the yard and invest in doing nothing as a gift to myself.
6790 Moonstone Dr.
Prices: $80 to $240 per night
Continental breakfast included
TV with VCR
No smoking, no pets.
2476 Main Street
Prices: $120 to $210
No TV or phone in rooms
Hot breakfast included
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