We have been planning to spend some time in Arizona this month and will be renting a friend’s house in Chandler, just east of Phoenix. We decided to drive down from Seattle, so my husband and I packed up the family truckster and left at 5:30am on a Sunday morning. We drove for 10 hours and spent the night in Redding California. Not much to report from Redding! We climbed back into the car Monday morning and drove another 7 hours or so to Cambria.  Why Cambria? Well, we have never been there before, it is very close to San Simeon and the Hearst Castle which we wanted to tour again as the last time we were there was over 20 years ago, (another post will be coming with lots of pics!), and we wanted to stay right on the shore and chose the Cavalier Resort for that specific reason.

img_0291 Let me just say that the drive itself was rough. Apparently we chose the exact wrong time to drive through Northern California as there was one storm system after another. It rained the entire two days! Mud slides and flooding were rampant, but we kept our windshield wipers on high and our focus forward and made our way into Cambia just before sundown. It was cloudy and stormy so the waves were big, boisterous and impressive! I grabbed my new camera (my Valentines’ gift from my hubby) and ran out into the fading light to see what I could capture.

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This was one of the few flowers that still had pedals after the wind swept through

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This brave dog was playing fetch in waves well over his head. He disappeared several times as I watched him, and still begged for more playing time!

The next day was a minor miracle. The rains stopped and the sun made brief appearances throughout the day. We had planned for a rest day to explore the area and grab a reprieve from driving. Our bodies and minds desperately deserved a workout after all that sitting in the car, so that was the first priority. We went into downtown Cambria and ran three miles on a bike path. Easier said than done with the dodging of fallen rocks, piles of mud everywhere from the minor slides in the area and all the standing water flooding any low lying spot, but we felt mentally and physically refreshed afterward. During the run I saw a number of cute stores that I wanted to check out. I love to explore shops and businesses that are unique to the area or have a special sense of style. I am also a sucker for kitchen supply stores and bakeries, I love to see what is new in the culinary world.

My first stop was “A Matter of Taste“, a gourmet food and culinary shop right next to main street in Cambria. The owners were there and were very gracious when I told them I was travel blogging. They let me take pictures and offered a sample of their chia tea blend.

The shop was bright and colorful, and full of my favorite products.

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I liked their decorating style

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Stonewall Kitchen and iveta are among my favs!

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These commercial bakeware pans are my goto pans at home

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I want this!

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Across the street was a nursery and garden store. There were several of this type of shop in downtown Cambria, but this one impressed me the most. Inside, there were some unique items. “Spellbound Herbs Gift Shop & Garden” builds its gardening theme around story book characters. The owner was also present that day and spent time showing me around the store.

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These handmade soaps look like a delicious dessert, and they smelled amazing

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All the figures contained amazing detail

As much as I enjoyed the inside of the store, it was nothing compared to the extensive garden area out back. I could have taken a hundred pictures and yet I would fail to capture the ambiance. The garden was colorful, whimsical and each area had a storybook theme.

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A few other images from the downtown area.

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You can see some of the erosion due to the heavy rains at the bottom left of this picture, this small house looks like it could slip down the hillside at any moment.

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Can you spot the butterfly?

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This lily is growing wild by the side of a bridge.

We had to wrap up our time in Cambria if we were going to make it to San Simeon on time for our tour of the Hearst Castle. Spoiler alert: We made it and that post will be uploaded tomorrow!

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