Tag Archives: Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

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.

The Bridge Street Inn Muesli Testimony

muesli info Bridge Street Inn

The Bridge Street Inn muesli contains no high fructose syrup and designed to be enjoyed with water. Yep, a delicious healthy vegan breakfast.


Bridge Street Inn muesli ingredients are purchased from Soto’s True Earth Market. Our ingredients are healthy, organic and support our local grocery economy.

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

I Love the Dirt at the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

My love for dirt started at a young age.

When I was two my parents moved from the paved environment of the Bay Area to the rural lands of Boise, Idaho. An acre of dirt made their eyes grow large, much like a kid at a candy store. Yet unfortunately too much candy can cause a bellyache. Finding the balance between raising a family, working 9 to 5, and managing a plot of dirt was tricky; Something had to give. Luckily the strong bonds that had developed (from what I assume is child birth and breast feeding) could not be broken.
They decided dirt had to go. My family moved into a less “dirt-y” environment: Suburbia.

And despite the move my family still loved dirt. Whenever there was extra money burning in our pockets we spent it on dirt. We became weekend dirt warriors. For as many weekends as possible we eagerly traipsed on dirt for family events & relaxation. The dirt around Stanley, McCall, & Cascade, Idaho became our home away from home.

Even the annual family vacations became dirt-focused. During one of my favorite vacations we explored the dirt between Boise, Idaho & deep British Columbia. There we discovered that Canadians harbor a well-kept secret; their abundance of beautiful dirt.
They call their dirt the Canadian Rockies.

As an adult I still love dirt.

For example, when I was living in Girdwood, Alaska I kept pet worms.  Sometimes people would blindly say, “Your pet worms are more boring than a hibernating turtle.”

My response? “I love dirt.”  Plain & simple.

Here are a couple of links to a few of my favorite dirt adventures:

Yum Yum Colostrum:  A Volunteer Experience at Coonridge Orginic Goat Dairy

Atlanta, Idaho Bicycle Journey

Highwway 26 the Bicycle Tour from Boise, ID to Portland, OR

One of the (many) reasons I live at the Bridge Street Inn is for its bountiful, beautiful dirt. In front of the Inn there’s a white picket fence not to keep in the 2 1/2 kids, control the growing herbs or fence in the dog but to keep out the pavement.

Just three blocks from the BSI are some winding dirt trails that lead to the edge of North America’s western shore.  It’s a great opportunity to see the blooming milk thistle or listen to the birds chirp.

Cambria, California has an amazing section of dirt to explore called the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.

440 acres of WONDERFUL dirt to explore.

Hopefully the photos below will inspire you to come visit this amazing area.

Our dirt will be waiting for you!

Cambria has plenty of areas to explore by foot. This photo blog will focus on the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.

From the BSI you are a few foot steps away from starting your Cambria dirt adventure. Take Main Street to the Pedestrian Bridge.

The Pedestrian Bridge is easy to find with land mark signs like Chinese Food and Black Cat Cafe.

Your dirt adventure begins here. The Pedestrian Footbridge takes you into East Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.

Follow the trail west through this beautiful meadow.

Cross the footbridge up onto the Pacific Coast Highway.

Looking back at the East Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.

Walk around the gate and towards the sign in the background. You have now entered East Fiscalini Ranch Reserve.

At the Santa Rosa Creek Trail sign  take the trail on the right and walk along Santa Rosa Creek or take the trail shown in the photo up onto the East Fiscalini Ranch Preserve ridge.

On the Santa Rosa Creek Sign is a detailed map of the trail system.

Endangered Monterey Pine Forest

Trails heading south along the ridge meander through an endangered Monterey Pine Forest.

Views of the Santa Lucia Mountains

The Santa Lucia Mountain range runs 105 miles from Monterey southeast for 105 miles to San Luis Obispo.  The highest summet is Junipero Serra Peak, 5, 853 ft.
– Wikipedia

The Ridge

The 400 ft ridge, affords stunning views of the coast to Piedras Blancas to the north and almost as far as Harmony Headlands State Park to the south.
– Cambria Magazine

The Bluff Trail

Intern Emily enjoys the views along the mile long Bluff Trail boardwalk.

Unique benches made by the hands of local Cambrians offer dirt worshippers a place to rest.

Signs explain the natural wonders of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary extends all the way to Cambria.


Santa Rosa Creek offers migrating species a wildlife corridor that is not in competition with highway-speed traffic. The result is an amazing display of nature’s diversity including a number of endangered species and species of special concern. Red-legged frogs, tidewater gobies, western pond turtles, steelhead, monarch butterflies, great blue herons, burrowing owls, and Cooper’s hawks are ranch residents along with the compact cobweb thistle and the SLO County dwarf morning glory. Coyotes, black-tailed deer, and the occasional bobcat pass under the highway bridge to the western slope in search of dry season springs and forage.
– Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve


A relationship built on the values of the Fiscalini Ranch Reserve, the inspiration created from beautiful dirt, and a well kept outhouse are the ingredients for a healthy relationship.  This couples love should endure like a properly constructed adobe brick.

Learn about the history of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve:

Overview of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve:

Help maintain the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve:

Help protect Cambria dirt by supporting GreenSpace: