Tag Archives: Hosteling International

Bridge Street Inn guests enjoy Reading

BSI reading material

BSI reading material 1

BSI reading material 2

BSI reading material 3

BSI reading material 4

dictionary bsichart at BSI

reading front bsi

BSI reading material 5

Bridge Street Inn Guests find out what they would look like as a Pregnant Surfer

scarecrow 2014 6scarecrow 2014 1

scarecrow 2014 3

scarecrow 2014 2

scarecrow 2014 5

scarecrow 2014 4

Yes, it’s that time of year where the scarecrows come out!..

What is the Cambria Scarecrow Festival?

“Thirty scarecrows kicked off the first Cambria Scarecrow Festival in 2009. What those 30 scarecrows didn’t know then, was that they were initiating one of the most artful and unique scarecrow festivals in the US–and right here on the Central Coast. Over 420 scarecrows lined Cambria and San Simeon’s business districts in 2013.

This fall, enjoy a fun and relaxing get-away on the cozy California coast. For the entire month of October, hundreds of artfully crafted scarecrows are displayed throughout the seaside villages of Cambria and San Simeon. It is truly a case of whimsy running rampant.“

Can’t Find a single Business Sign obstructing the Skyline in Cambria

Cambria Signs

The glorious signs of a healthy economy.

I will not let Cambria’s anti free market strict business sign code stifle my capitalist creativity. Let’s see what the communists think about bicycle sandwich board signs.

Bridge street inn cambria  bike paining

Bridge Street Inn cambria bicycle light post

Bridge Street Inn bicycle brandon

bicycle sign close up

bridge street road

A large glowing neon Bridge Street Inn sign would benefit guests. As you can see from this photo there really isn’t a good landmark for directions.

Moon Handbook: Santa Barbara and the Central Coast discovers the musical talent of Brandon Follett

moon handbook Santa Barbara and the Central Coast Brandon Follett moon handbook Santa Barbara and the Central Coast It’s true! I’ll play guests a song or recite a poem at the Bridge Street Inn.  Pick up a Moon Handbook at your local bookstore or at the Moon website.

Bridge Street Inn guests have New Art to enjoy when Walking down the Stairs

tatiana painting

Thank you Tania for the making the BSI even more beautiful with your art.

Tania with a butterfly

From Tupac Shakur to the Bridge Street Inn, Sabina’s skin Tells a Story

Sabina tupac

sabina tupac close up

sabina BSI tattoo

4314 Bridge Street, The Bridge Street Inn address

Sabina magazine cover

Guests and staff at the Bridge Street Inn Conserve Water

“Effective March 1, 2014 the CCSD is implementing the following mandatory conservation measures.  From January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013 your average water use was 31 units.  Your allotment is 80% of your average monthly water usage.  This amount is 25 units. A five hundred percent surcharge (first violation) shall apply to all water use in excess of customer unit allotment.”

The Bridge Street Inn staff and guests are doing what we can to make Cambria once again a less thirsty, spotlessly clean car driving, and manicured rose colored yard TOWN.  The photo blog documents what the BSI implemented in Jan and Feb 2014 to conserve water.  The last two blogs document what the BSI implemented before 2014 to conserve water.

drought baby

Unlike the above child we created this water situation. I hope my offspring won’t become a waterless dehydrated model.  These fliers are posted in the bathrooms and kitchen.

shower water catchment

Collect the cold water.

kitchen sink

Biodegradable soap allows us to use dish water on the draught tolerant landscape.

water storage

We store the kitchen sink water and cold water from the shower in these containers.

low flow shower head

Low flow shower head.

trash cans

By any means necessary when it come to collecting rain water.

small towels

No longer use the large type of bath towels shown in the photo. Small towels use less water to wash.

Happy Guests, Dirty Sheets, and Greywater grow delicious Apples at The Bridge Street Inn

Intern Amanda turns home grown apples into delicious apple sauce

At the Bridge Street Inn guest, Fransico De Lovely, longly eyes the apple in his hand.  “These homegrown apples are crisp like your line dried sheets.  Every bite I take makes me pat my belly in joy.  My belly has loved the company of many an apple raised on worm castings, garden compost, the shit from a goat, warm sun rays, and the most pure spring waters.  Never have I tasted an apple quite as delicious as the one I hold in my hand.

I reply, “There are 3 elements missing from the above apple growing ingredients.  They are happy guests,  dirty sheets, and  greywater.

Happy Guest

Clean sheets need a happy guest

The wash machine produces greywater from the dirty sheets.

After a happy guest checks out of The Bridge Street Inn by 10:30AM I strip their bed then put the sheets into the wash machine.  When the sheets have gone through the wash cycle the biodegradable soap and dirty water exit.

The greywater flows through pipes that lead to the underground root system of the apple tree.  The now damp clean sheets are line dried and the process starts over again.”

The simple pleasure of folding crisp line dried linens

Fransico De Lovely looks at his clean toe nails and strokes his well trimmed mustache he sighs, “I notice several beds are unoccupied.  Sadly, I’m only dirty enough to dirty one bed per night.  What’s going to happen to her?”  As he points towards the apple tree.

Apple tree growing in the greywater garden

“Friend, cheer up!”  I say,  “The apple tree loves the frosty nights and warm sandal wearing days.  Life at The Bridge Street Inn has a healthy ebb and flow that coincides with the seasons.  As the tourist season slows into the colder months the winter rains replace the greywater system.  Our apple tree has found a balance between what nature and happy guests can provide.”

Happy guests + dirty sheets + greywater + nature = delicious healthy apples

What Guests wash their Hands with Toilet Water?

Aimee Wyatt explains the Bridge Street Inn’s approaches to water conservation, including directions on how to make a lid sink.

For further lid sink instructions check out Bridge Street Inn guest Stephanie Croff’s amazing lid sink story.  http://croffcreative.blogspot.com/2011/11/new-birthday-new-projects-lid-sink.html

Bicycle Rentals and Bicycle Adventure in Cambria, CA

bicycle surfer bsi

Despite Cambria’s amazing surf no one rents surfboards.

Not everyone gets ready for vacation by strapping their queen size bed on top of their mini van or buckles  their cherry tomato plant into the front seat of their Honda.  The good folks in Cambria realize  you can’t bring all your worldly possessions on vacation.  Fortunately the Bridge Street Inn offers queen size beds and it’s within walking distance of a grocery store that sells cherry tomatoes.  Beginning this month Cambria offers a new service to the visiting guest, BICYCLE RENTALS.

Cambrian resident Dan along with Wally’s Bicycle Rentals offer a free delivery service anywhere in Cambria. Renting a bicycle is simple.  The Bridge Street Inn guest  calls Dan the night before their bike ride.  In the morning Dan will drop off the bicycle at the Bridge Street Inn tuned,  lubed and ready for that day’s adventure.  Bicycle rates vary according to how many days and hours rented.



Bicycle ride with ocean views.

Santa Rosa Creek bicycle Cambria

Bicycle ride with mountain views.

For the bicycle rider who loves leisurely rides that involve world class scenery and local culture Cambria’s location will amaze.

Santa Rosa Creek Road for the Skilled

Santa Rosa Creek starts in Cambria and meanders through the farm and ranch land of the Santa Lucia Mountains.  The one lane windy road ends near the top of the highway 46 pass.  Old Creek Road picks up on the other side of 46.  Follow the road into Cayucos then take Highway 1 back to Cambria.  This 42.2 mile loop is not for the laid back beach cruiser cyclist.  Click here for loop details.


Linn's Fruit Bin Farmstore bicycle

Bicycle riders with shorts that snug their buns super tight always go faster.  However normal shorts can help the cyclist slow down to smell the roses.

The  carefree Santa Rosa Creek adventure does not involve walking your bicycle or wearing padded shorts.  The first 5 miles of Santa Rose Creek Road takes a cyclist through rolling farm/ranch land along a tree lined single lane road.   Besides  the beautiful natural landscape there’s plenty of cows, goats, sheep, pigs, raptors, horses, old farm houses, and barns to look at.  Be careful a good looking pig can prove as distracting as texting.

Linn's Fruit Bin Farmstore

Linn’s Original Farmstore is 5 miles up the road.  Linn’s offers individual fruit pies and drinks.  Linn’s will only serve their pies on disposable wear.  This problem is easily solved by bringing a small camping plate and fork.  The farmstore provides shade trees and tables.  A perfect place to play cribbage.

Stolo Family Winery

Chet the friendly goat

On the way back into town stop by Stolo Family Winery and Tasting Room.  This is the last stop before Cambria.  It’s located only a couple miles out of town.   Despite not having bike racks I felt comfortable leaning my bicycle against the building.  A tasting costs $5.  The tasting room has a wonderful open feel.  Near the entrance facing west there are several chairs and tables, an ideal spot to soak up some sun rays, write a poem and watch the sunset.  The Stolo family is a nontraditional family.  No, two women do not head this family nor two kissing cousins.  Instead,  two members of the Stolo family are goats.  Chet and Betty are fun to pet while drinking wine.

cambria to hearst castle by bicycle

The Hearst Experience

Many parts of Highway 1 from Carmel to Big Sur are shoulderless, steep and narrow.  A bicycle rider should not pedal through Big Sur if they pedal erratically, curse god when they break a sweat or do not have the mental capacity to handle near death scrapes with inexperienced RV renters.   However the ease of the 7 mile stretch of Highway 1 between Cambria and the Hearst Castle might be the section of PCH pavement for you.

The one small hill allows the inexperienced bicycle rider to enjoy the couch up until the day of their adventure.  A bicycle rider with one hand on the handlebar and the other on their smart phone can update their Facebook and text while navigating the wide PCH shoulder. The zebra missed because of digital distractions, can be recaptured with a scenic postcard purchased  at the Hearst Castle gift shop.

sebastian's general store black bean burger

Mick Jagger with his big enough mouth would be intimidated by the size of these monstrous vegetable packed sandwiches.

On a serious note no matter what type of bicycle rider you are Sebastian’s General Store will amaze you with their large Hearst beef sandwiches piled with delicious veggies.  Also located in the general store is the Hearst Wine tasting room.

Digest your food and sleep off the wine at the W.R. Hearst Memorial State Beach.

cambria to cayucose by bicycle

45.7 miles of Bicycle fun between Cambria and Pismo Beach

The wind blows North to South along the PCH.  Cambria is the second to last stop for the RTA bus heading North.  A bicycle rider can pedal the 45.7 miles from Cambria to Pismo Beach with the wind at their back.  If a cyclist doesn’t want to pedal back to Cambria against the wind he or she can put their bicycle on the bus. RTA BUS SCHEDULE

The Weekend Boni’s Tacos Bicycle Picnic

bicycle outfit

“I say beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.” Henry David Thoreau

Designing the Dream, the Hearst Castle Bicycle tour

hearst castle bicycle

Take advantage of the Bridge Street Inn’s unique location by hopping on a bicycle.

Worth the Climb: visiting Hearst Castle

If you have the opportunity to jump on the bike and head out along Highway One on the Hearst Experience, don’t just stop at the top of the hill and buy a postcard from the shop! You can also take advantage of a unique new tour of Hearst Castle, which runs from June 1 through Labor Day.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation is offering the tour, called “Designing the Dream”, which will feature parts of the castle that have been closed to visitors for several years.

The man behind the vision

Hearst Castle was constructed by legendary newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who had a deep and lasting influence on American journalism. He was the owner and publisher of The San Francisco Examiner, and later The New York Journal. Hearst was also involved in politics, as a Democratic member of the Congress between 1903 and 1907. He made several unsuccessful attempts to become mayor and later governor of New York. His life story was the inspiration for the lead character of Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane.

“The Enchanted Hill”

In 1919, Hearst inherited more than 250,000 acres from his mother and father.  He started searching for ways to transform it into his dream estate, “La Cuesta Encantada”, which translated from Spanish means “The Enchanted Hill”. He realized his dream together with architect Julia Morgan. The San Simeon landmark has 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways. Hearst filled these spaces with his personal collection of ancient art, sculptures, furniture and relics.

In 1937, Hearst started to sell some of his collection due to challenges he was experiencing in the post-depression years. In 1937 alone, sales generated at least $11 million. A few years later, in 1941, a further 20,000 objects were put up for sale, including author Charles Dickens’ sideboard and Thomas Jefferson’s Bible. Incredibly, when the castle was donated to the State of California by the Hearst Corporation in 1957 – six years after its owner’s death – there were still enough items remaining for the whole house to be considered a museum.

Designing the Dream: the tour

The 90-minute castle tour will explore its evolution over several decades. Visitors will see the famous Neptune Pool, which offers magnificent views of the mountains and features an ancient Roman temple facade which was transported from Europe and reconstructed on site. The tour will also take in the estate gardens, the interior rooms of the “Casa del Sol” guest cottage and the North Wing of the “Casa Grande” (big house). The tour will show how styles changed dramatically between the start of construction in the 1920s and the end in the mid 1940s, although it is said that Hearst’s constant amendments and changes meant that the castle was never fully completed in his lifetime.

The tour will end with a behind the scenes visit to the estate’s Roman Pool and its dressing rooms. After that, visitors will be able to stroll around the grounds and enjoy the magnificent view, just as guests such as Charlie Chaplin, Joan Crawford, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill did back in the castle’s heyday. The price is $30 for adults and $15 for children.

Cycling: the Best Buddies Challenge

Such is the power and significance of the landmark estate that it draws some one million visitors each year. This is in spite of the fact that its location is far from urban centers; some 250 miles from both Los Angeles and San Francisco. The estate is located five miles inland in the Santa Lucia range, at an altitude of 1600 feet.

It has also inspired cyclists from near and far. The combination of the mesmerizing scenery along Highway One and the castle made it perhaps an irresistible choice to form part of the route of the “Hearst Castle ride”. The ride, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is a fundraiser for Best Buddies, an international charity for the intellectually disabled. It gives riders the chance to enjoy 100 miles of spectacular views and uninterrupted roadway from the Monterey Peninsula to San Simeon.

Conditions on Highway One

With tourism to the castle and the importance of the Best Buddies ride on the national cycling calendar, the condition of the Highway One is naturally of paramount importance. In the build-up to the race, which will be held on September 7th this year, all eyes are on Californian road authority Caltrans because it recently sealed 20 miles of the road to the north of Cambria using “chip-seal”. Chip-seal is a type of sealant which uses larger stones and therefore produces a rougher, bumpier ride for cyclists. Concerns have been raised by cyclists and tourist officials alike, leading Caltrans to hire a specialist company to test different ways of fixing the problem. Authorities are confident they will resolve the issue; however, as with most events of this nature, there is always a certain amount of risk involved. Individuals as well as organizations should be advised to prepare for all contingencies.

Nonetheless, if the recommendations of cyclists from previous years are anything to go by, the party at Hearst Castle at the end of the Best Buddies ride is a fantastic finale to the event and not to be missed. It seems whatever your motivation for ascending the hill to Hearst Castle, the climb is always worth it.

Special thanks to Melissa Hathaway for contributing this article.

David Bowie, Funny Mirrors, and a Veggie Burrito at the Old Stone Station

Guests at HI-Cambria Bridge Street Inn will find the sights, smells, and sounds of Cambria inspiring. If you are a creative writer Cambria will keep the ink flowing.

old stone station Cambria California

The Old Stone Station became a place of refuge for John

At John’s funeral, friends and family dropped fresh cut flowers into the grave. Willy walked to the edge where the casket lay.  He tightly squeezed a David Bowie t-shirt before relaxing his hands.  Willy let the Ziggy Startdust t-shirt fall into the grave.

Clyde asked perplexed, “What are you doing?”

Old Stone Station David Bowie

Willie replied, “John loved David Bowie.  Remember how many times he went to the men’s restroom at the Old Stone Station Restaurant?”

A year ago, Willie, Clyde, and John met on a sunny day on the deck of the Old Stone Station. They each planned on enjoying the best Mexican food served on Friday. Ironically, they all wore Mike Watt yellow cat t-shirts and ordered veggie burritos. The three of them quickly realized this serendipitous moment. Conversations began and three tables became one. A Friday veggie burrito tradition began.

Like a digital clock with a strong battery, Willie, Clyde, and John showed up at the same time every Friday and ordered the same veggie burrito.  The tradition changed when John’s wife left him for a young stud and the L.A. city life.  Depressed, John began to eat 1.5 burritos, than 2 burritos in one sitting.  Willie and Clyde were amazed by John’s overwhelming burrito consumption.

Old stone Station veggie burrito Cambria California

John developed deadly feelings for black beans

John replied in a condescending snarky voice, “How can a person not eat two of a these remarkable creations!  The flavors of the beans, sauces, fresh ingredients, veggie burger and cheese make me forget myself.  I am no longer John who gave 20 years of my life to a woman who didn’t appreciate it.  At the Old Stone Station I am simply a tongue who doesn’t need love – only a burrito.”

The guys noticed John use the bathroom more frequently and lose weight.

One day when John left to the restroom, Clyde asked Willie, “Do you think it’s weird John’s bladder has gotten smaller since his divorce?”

The last known photo of John

The last known photo of John

Willie, “I don’t think his bladder has gotten smaller.   He frequently uses the restroom because the carnival fees to enjoy a circus mirror in private is ridiculous.  At the Old Stone Station the price of the mirror is included in the price of the meal.  He can laugh and laugh as long as he purchases something.  John’s a huge David Bowie fan. He told the restaurant owner he wants first dibs on the David Bowie shirt in the bathroom.  Notice how he looks at the burritos and mutters the lyric, “Oh you pretty thing your driving your mamas and papas insane.”  I’m a huge Paul McCartney fan.  I would pretend to pee a lot more if a Paul McCartney t-shirt hung in the bathroom.”

John heard most of their conversation and paused before returning. He could not let his friends know of his burrito addiction. He decided to mask his bulimia by becoming a David Bowie fan.

The madness turned John into a David Bowie burrito eater.

The madness turned John into a David Bowie burrito eater.

A month of Fridays passed.  John looked more skinny and unhealthy.

Clyde finely addressed the elephant in the room, “John, what’s wrong with you.  You have grown into the body of 17 year old girl who wants to be a model.”

John snapped, “I look like David Bowie on heroine.”

John went to the bathroom muttering a David Bowie song.

Clyde said, “Willie I have a crazy thought.  Did you see how fast John ferociously devoured his burrito?  He reminds me of my cat, Henrietta. She can eat a can of canned cat food like John can scarf down a burrito. When she can’t eat anymore she sneaks off and pukes up her food.  Do you notice how John eats and eats then leaves to go to the bathroom?  Does John remind you of my cat?”

Willie, “I’ve never met Henrietta but I do know John reminds me of David Bowie on heroine.”

The End.

John's now in Happy Burrito heaven.

John’s now in Happy Burrito heaven.

Old Stone Station
713 Main St.
Cambria, CA 93428

Special thanks to Gillian Rowley’s edits.  Check out her blog Allergy Bites