Tag Archives: Elephant Seals

Why Stay at the Bridge Street Inn for 3 Nights?

Overnight guest receive 20% off a 3 night reservation. 

Entire Bridge Street Inn rental and cottage rental guests receive 15% off a 3 night reservation. 

Why stay 3 nights?  

Day 1:  Hearst Castle is located 8 miles North of the Inn.   The Castle offers multiple daily tours.  Across from the castle is the William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach.  A popular beach, this protected cove offers visitors pier fishing, kayak/paddleboard, picnic tables, barbecue grills, and an eucalyptus forest to explore. A short walk from the beach is Sebastian’s General Store.  Inside you can enjoy a causual-chic grass fed Hearst burger and the Hearst Ranch Winery wine bar. 

Day 2:  23 miles North of the Inn is Salmon Creek Falls. This is your opportunity to explore the southern part of Big Sur.  Between Cambria and Salmon Creek Falls are many unpopulated beaches with no cell phone reception.  One of my favorites is San Carpoforo Beach.  Salmon Creek Falls, Ragged Point Fire Road trail and Buckeye Camp trail system offers amazing picnic spots like at Estrella Camp, swimming holes, and hiking.  Just south of Salmon Creeks Falls is Ragged Point.  A perfect stop to enjoy a cup of coffee with amazing views.  Also between Cambria and the falls are the most interesting critters called Elephant Seals.  Well worth a stop.

Day 3:  No drive day.  Explore the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.  Catch the trail a few blocks from the Inn.  Hike all the way to the ocean.  Take a book, postcards, and journal to Moonstone Beach.   Enjoy Cambria’s many restaurants, coffee shops, galleries and yoga studios.

Another Year Over and a New One Just Begun at the Bridge Street Inn

More than a little road weary, after nearly two months traveling, we only knew we had to get back to the Pacific Ocean. We didn’t expect the startling beauty of Highway 46, from Paso Robles to Cambria—old oaks, vineyards and sycamores in undulating hills. After weeks in the desert and then in snow, fifty shades of vibrant green took our breath away.

 We looked the coastline up and down. Took a remarkable walk on the leash-free beach near Morro Bay where dogs in sizes XS to XL were flying free as kites, scampering with great canine abandon from surf to sand.  We noticed not one dropping, as all the owners seem well schooled in doggie-doodoo-picking-up-etiquette, used the bags provided, and disposed in the simple trash bags tied to the fence.

Bridge Street Inn cambria california

But after our explorations, we came back to Cambria. We could tell it was the right place at the right time for us. How do you find a great town, anyway?  I started by googling “great towns of southern California”. As travelers, we know for sure that we don’t want to spend time in bad towns. And we also know great towns are rare. So when we found a sweet hostel in an appealing setting, we knew we were blessed.  The hostel was the Bridge Street Inn. We were thrilled to find it.

Brandon Follett

The hostel life, if anyone wants to know, is one of the most sublime experiences I have ever known. Cooking together, eating together, talking with travelers, forming a short-lived but rich community—it far outshines any sterile hotel room. The hostel in Cambria, Bridge Street Inn, is managed/owned by Brandon, with an easy hand and an eye for spontaneous creativity. A modern day beat poet, Brandon played songs for us on his guitar and read his own stories, while we thoroughly enjoyed his distinctive humorous style; pure irony with a satirical twist that made me laugh out loud more than once. I was fascinated by the way Brandon encouraged co-creation and collaboration with his visitors; from conversation to projects to bonfires and potlucks. Enjoy Brandon’s creativity at Earthworm Envy.

The two interns, Ginna and Brian are bright spirits, welcoming and fun. Ginna is a yoga teacher, and wise beyond her 23 years. Taking some time to stretch and move with her on New Year’s Day was a special treat.

elephant seal

The sights around Cambria boggle the mind. “World-class” is a travel term that often falls short but I would put the viewing of the elephant seals in that category without hesitation. Never mind that it is just steps away from Highway 1 and that you view their lives elbow to elbow with a whole lot of other people. In fact, those facts make it seem more amazing to me. There is some kind of one-way mirror between the human community and the elephant seal community.  We watch them but they seem remarkably oblivious to us. They are 25 feet away on the sand; you are on the boardwalk. They are fighting, nursing, dying, birthing, swimming and resting. You are watching this with a combination of awe, inspiration and heartbreak for those that lose or die. Many questions arise, and as soon as you say them out loud, one of the other extraordinary features of this experience appear… docents. People who love the wild and can articulate it over and over to endless questions (and often stupid—I know, I asked them myself!)—are special. The elephant seal world is so raw and untamed that it nearly defies description. They are like the fundamental nature of the sea personified.

santa rosa shann

The next day, I woke up drenched by elephant seal dreams. We decided to check out Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, following Brandon’s suggestion. Walking right from the hostel, we entered this beautiful community treasure and thoroughly enjoyed its riparian and woodland communities, the rich birding and the fabulous views. The story is one that makes my heart delight and echoes a San Juan County triumph: Turtleback mountain.  When a community decides to make something last into perpetuity, it is the best of human teamwork and vision. I quote here the inspirational Fiscalini story, for it needs no amendments

fiscallini Ranch preserve cambria california

“The Fiscalini family owned the property for nearly a century, raising first dairy stock and then beef cattle. The family sold the Town Ranch out of tax necessity in 1979 and it went through a series of development plans by ambitious owners. These plans were blocked by Friends of the RanchLand until they realized that the only way to save the land was to buy it, bringing in the American Land Conservancy (ALC) in 1999.”

Bottom-line, a series of partners appeared and pledged funds to save the Ranch but these funds needed to be matched by local efforts.

“Cambrians, through numerous fundraisers, donations and an eleventh hour donation by Midstate Bank of their creek side property, accomplished the impossible. With hard work and determination the purchase was finalized in November of 2000. The Ranch now belongs to all of us, forever.The Ranch is open for public enjoyment every day.”

On New Year’s eve, we decided to herald the end of 2012 with a soak at Charan Springs Farm. The mineral rich waters are augmented by additional heat, provided by solar panels and propane, and a person who enjoys rustic, as we do, would get a kick out of soaking in two side by side tabs with surrounded by towering sycamore and live oak. The farm itself is a treat, eye candy of the best sort: a fertile organic garden and orchards, encircled by sage green mountains.

Stolo family shann

We ended 2012 with a stop at the Stolo Family Winery. Together with our new friend, Alison, another Bridge Street Inn hosteller, we toasted to our intentions for 2013 in between tastes of delicious and high quality wine.

I could go on and on about Cambria, but wait, I have a better idea. Come check it out yourself. Go see the cemetery, find the steps up to Cambria Pines, find a moonstone on Moonstone Beach or go up Big Sur to Jade Cove and find a lovely green rock there.  You will be delighted by the place. And you will have a wonderful hostel to call home in the evenings.

All words and photos are credited to
Shann Cathro Weston
Salish Sea Press
Author of Curve of the Moon 

Special Thanks to Shann for this special guest blog!!!!  Adventure with Shann at http://doityourselflife.org

Transition from the Nature Experience to the Human Experience at the Cambria Ale House

When the sun slips below the Pacific, the landscape has lost its definition.  The stars are still hidden beneath twilight’s blanket.  The next logical step after dining at one of Cambria’s local restaurants is a stop at the Cambria Ale House.

The Cambria Ale House keeps the unique Central Coast vibe pounding with its commitment to craft beers and live entertainment.

With a selection of 65 brewers offering 3 to 4 different brew styles, a person’s palette will find a beverage that compliment that day’s adventure.

Conversations you may overhear at the Cambria Ale House:

wiki photo

John Doe #1: “Hello Jeff, I spent an afternoon staring at fat elephant seals.  What do you recommend?”

Jeff: “When you were day dreaming about those critters did you imagine being one of the smaller seals getting rolled over by one of those huge, 16 ft long males weighing 5400 lbs?”

John Doe #1: “Yes!  As a VP of a successful private equity firm every day I’m in charge playing god with people’s dreams.  On vacation I want to be powerless.  I want to be a small docile seal in an ocean of mammoth elephant seals.”

Jeff: “No worries, you’re not the first who has asked for a drink that will slap them around a little.  Try the Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard:  A very big, aggressive, strong, bitter and in your face beer aged in Oak barrels.  ABV: 7.32%

John Doe #2: “Hello Jeff, I just had an amazing experience at the Cambria Cemetery at the end of Bridge Street.  Typical grave yards are so boring with their manicured lawns and uninteresting modern flat grave markers.  This cemetery is like a play ground for the living with its bathroom facilities, picnic benches, and art.  I left feeling more alive then dead.”

Jeff, “Death should be celebrated otherwise you and I wouldn’t be at the Cambria Ale House.  I recommend the Dogfish Head Midas Touch:  Made with ingredients found in drinking vessels from the tomb of King Midas.  ABV 9% IBU: 12.  Cheers to good beer, the living, and the dead.”

John Doe #3: “I had so much fun hiking in the Big Sur.  Following the ridge line, enjoying views of the Pacific and then relaxing in the meadows.  On the hike I forgot to pack a PB & J.  Staring at the green grass I wish I was a super hero ruminant with four stomachs so I can graze………”

Jeff, “Stop right there. You can be a ruminant super hero at the Cambria Ale House.  The Sierra Nevada Ovila Saison has earthy and spicy aromas with notes of green-grass and faint citrus tang.  ABV: 7.2% IBU 24.  You can drink the grass!”

The Cambria Ale House also has six rotating draft beers, soon to be expanded to the incredible number of sixteen.

While enjoying a beer or glass of wine, you can listen to local musicians. I would like to introduce Lauren Broemmelsiek covering the tune “Just like Heaven” by the Cure at the Cambria Ale House.


The Cambria Ale House is a short walk from the Bridge Street Inn.

Cambria Ale House
2084 Main Street
Cambria, CA 93428

Tragic Ballad of the Elephant Seal

Lyrics “Tragic Ballad of the elephant seal”

There once was a girl
who had the whole world
and they gave her the name of sweet Lucy

She lived a life clean and bright
and her spirit was light
and she gave all her gold to the needy

Her karma was great
without an ounce of any hate
She was pure as a dove, this sweet Lucy

But one day darkness said,
“I’m coming into your bed”,
to carry away the sweet Lucy

Lucy died on that night,
in a terrible fright
and it came time for reincarnation

God made a mistake
What a spirit he’d break
when he mixed up her name with mean Penny

Mean Penny was vile
and her heart was defiled
and her fate was to be that of misery

for the sweet, sweet Lucy
She must live the sad life of mean Penny

And oh…..how she longed to be
a dolphin swimmin’ free in the sea
and oh….how she longed to be
splashin’ in the waves fancy free

Lucy said, “is this real?”
I’m an elephant seal!!!
And she cried on the beach for a lifetime!

She didn’t ask for a lot
but the beach, it was HOT
and she flailed in the sand to cool off

Flinging sand on her back
as she lay in a stack
of mean, nasty, noisy fat creatures

She tried to get away
but from how much she weighed,
she moved slow as a snail the poor Lucy

And oh……how she longed to be
a dolphin swimmin’ free in the sea
and oh….how she longed to be
splashin’ in the waves fancy free

She refused to be a mama
How she caused so much drama!
When she went against natural seal order!

The seals barked and moaned
in an ugly loud tone
and ostracized the poor Lucy

Lucy cried and she cried
until the day that she died
when a poacher showed Lucy no mercy

A harpoon pierced her skin
and it did her straight in
and the hunger took Lucy to market

Forever she’d burn
what a lonely black urn
as lamp oil for all of eternity!!! 😦 😦 😦
by Lori Dinsmore

Learn more about elephant seals by clicking on this link: