This Thanksgiving we did not plan any long-distance travel, and did not have any out-of-town relatives visiting, so we decided to spend some of our long weekend on a family road trip to explore parts previously-unknown. Our good friend Reen came down from San Francisco to feast with us on Thanksgiving day, and by the time we went to bed that night, we had booked a motel in Cayucos, CA and had plans to visit the beach, San Simeon, and nearby Hearst Castle – all of which are just off the gorgeous coastal California Highway 1, south of Big Sur.
On Friday, the trip took a little over 3 hours, and we asked the boys to draw maps of what they were seeing as we headed south. Both boys did a fantastic job drawing mountains, trees, vehicles, road signs, oil pumps, freight trains, vinyards, and other things that they saw out the window, and the mapmaking kept them engaged and busy the entire trip. Listening to Johnny Cash on the stereo was also a crowdpleaser.
We checked into our vintage motor court motel room that evening, just after stopping at the beach to watch the sun go down. We popped some popcorn and watched a movie before bed, and then got some rest for the big day ahead. Friday we visited Hearst Castle (opulence is an understatement!), and spent some quality time horsing around on the beach before dinner. Sunday was rainy, so instead of spending tons of time on the windy, cold, wet beach, we toured Morro Bay’s famous Shell Shop (Excelling in Shells since 1953!) and then drove up to poke around some of the art galleries in Cambria, just south of the Castle. Then we drove home through the mist and fog.
Here’s a gallery of the weekend’s proceedings.
[Dad-O addenda: We were charmed that for some reason Finn took to referring to William Randolph Hearst as simply “The Hearst.” Henry asked our tour guide whether the castle featured a dungeon or a dragon, giving us a chance to learn about the fur-stocked basement & a statue of St. George battling a dragon (as glimpsed in the gallery). Finn named a little stuffed lion from the gift shop & named his shell-based race car driver “Shelby” (transporter of Henry’s little shell owl “Shelly”). Mom-O’s art history background came into play as we checked out the lion-heavy statuary, and Finn was fascinated to learn about the lion-headed Egyptian deity Sekhmet. Henry, meanwhile, was delighted to learn about The Hearst’s wiener dog swimming around in search of goldfish, and to point out the little ramp a gardener built so he could stop fishing the dog out of the pool (see also the gallery). —J.]