Useful information, especially if you're traveling to Cambria from the San Francisco Bay Area (page 2 of 2)
Welcome to Cambria!
Cambria's business district consists of the East Village and West Village, occupying opposite ends of Main Street. Main is perhaps two miles long; it's about a 20-minute walk from one end to the other. Though we use the terms "east" and "west," Main Street actually flows more in a SE-NW direction. So if you think it should be "South Village" and "North Village," you're not really wrong — it's just that we call 'em east and west.
There are four traffic lights on Highway 1 (Heading north, they're Ardath/Main St, Burton, Cambria Drive and Windsor Blvd/Main St). Main Street lies to the east of Highway 1 (the inland side); to the west are residential streets. If you turn onto Main at the southernmost light — at Ardath — you'll follow Main Street past the elementary school, through some open space, and to the East Village part of Cambria.
As you continue westbound along Main, you'll get to the West Village, and then rejoin Highway 1 at the northernmost light at Windsor Blvd. (Locals refer to the Main/Windsor/Highway-1/Moonstone traffic light as the "spaghetti bowl.")
Cambria Drive, a short street with its own traffic light, connects Highway 1 to Main at a spot between the East and West Villages, slightly closer to the West.
In May 2011, the hourly trolley bus was discontinued, except for special events.
Radio reception along Highway 101 in the Salinas Valley is limited: mostly Spanish and Country. You can sometimes pick up listener-supported KKUP, at 91.5 from Cupertino. Commercial station KPIG, at 107.5, is often more interesting, playing "Americana" with a slight country flavor. Both stations should come in well from Gilroy to (maybe) King City, depending on terrain, though you may not be able to pick up KPIG till you get to Prunedale. South of King City on 101, it's back to Spanish and Country.
When you're near the summit of Highway 46 (west of Santa Rosa/Old Creek), you can pick up our three local stations. KPYG 94.9 is a feed from KPIG. (This station was formerly KOTR K-Otter prior to about 2001.)
In 2003, local station KTEA began operations. KTEA plays "Old-Time music for the Central Coast," with a good mix of pop and rock (basically from the early 60s onward). Tune in 103.5.
KCJZ ("Bob FM") at 105.3 plays a more modern mix, with more 80s and 90s rock. Anything goes!
If instead you're a Public Radio fan, you might be able to pick up KCBX Central Coast Public Radio at 90.1 or 90.9.
But KTEA, KCJZ and KPYG really have the edge in clear reception in town.
Cambria is at the ocean, so it can get very chilly. Bring a sweatshirt and windbreaker and dress in layers for the changing conditions. You need the nylon layer for the wind — otherwise it'll chill you right through a sweatshirt. The weather can change from a warm, sunny day to a chilly, foggy one — sometimes more than once in the same day!
In spring, expect clear, sunny days, with wind increasing along the ocean about midday. The wind can get quite cold.
During summer months it can be foggy or windy along the ocean, whereas in town, it can be sunny and warmer, but still sometimes breezy. Fall is the best time of year, just like in San Francisco, when it's usually sunny with light breezes.
Hourly weather observations from atop my house, 250 yards from the Pacific, can be found here. Near the ocean, temperatures seldom get above the mid-60s in the daytime; if it's windy it can be very chilly, but in the sun it's quite comfortable. In town, especially in the East Village, it's generally warmer. In the sunny hills east of town — especially in the agricultural area along Santa Rosa Creek Road — it can be 30 degrees warmer than at the ocean!
On weekends, parking on Main Street can get a little tough. There are a couple of parking lots off Main: In the West Village, there's a lot off Sheffield, one block off Main (Sheffield is across from the Pewter Plough Playhouse, next to Mimosa's restaurant). In the East Village, there's a lot on the block behind the Chevron station. Street parking can be tight, but people are always coming and going.
Besides the beautiful Pacific, the great restaurants, the romantic hotels along Moonstone Beach Drive, and the shops, Hearst Castle is our big visitor draw.
If you like to walk along the ocean, here are a few suggestions. Moonstone beach gives you a choice of the beach or a blufftop boardwalk. To get to the beach you'll have to find stairs or look for an easy climb down.
At Shamel Park, 1/2 mile west of Highway 1 on Windsor Blvd, you'll have a choice of lawn, playground, or easy-access beach. There are two blufftop open-space areas, with benches, five minutes' walk from Shamel. From Shamel park, walk out the side gate of the parking lot, and continue five minutes south on Nottingham past the houses, along the ocean bluffs.
Four miles north of the entrance to Hearst Castle on Highway 1, elephant seals haul out every winter to give birth to their pups. You can't miss the busy parking lot. At that location are informational signs and volunteer docents (Friends of the Elephant Seal) to help explain these huge sea mammals.
The beach is loaded with elephant seals from November to April; you don't have to pay for parking and trudge through miles of sand like at Ano Nuevo State Reserve near San Francisco.
Visit the Cambria Chamber of Commerce web site for restaurant info.
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