Courier August/September Courier - Page 40

COMPASS COASTAL CALIFORNIA SLO ride, and take it easy Hearst Castle “San Luis Obispo County—or SLO CAL as we call it—really offers groups a nice variety of destina- tions and experiences in a compact, easy-to- navigate location,” says Michael Wambolt, director of travel trade for Visit SLO CAL. “From any of our small cities or coastal towns, you are a short drive to beaches; wildlife viewing; world-class, yet approachable, wineries; and arts.” In addition to recommending a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, Wambolt suggests the fol- lowing attractions and experiences for groups heading to his county: Hearst Castle The home of William Randolph Hearst, which is perched above the ocean, showcases the entrepreneur’s renowned art collection. The castle features primarily European art, which is comple- mented by Mediterranean Revival architecture and acres of lush gardens. The Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville Since 1975, this local theater company has been delighting audiences. A two-act play opens the eve- ning, and it’s followed by a Vaudeville-style revue that mixes singing, dancing and comedy. Mission San Miguel Spanish missons Two 18th-century missions—Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and Mission San Miguel—are located in the county. Founded in 1772, Tolosa features authentic relics and examples of Chumash crafts, as well as many early photographs. San Miguel is known for its well-preserved murals and frescos. Covell’s California Clydesdale Ranch This incredible coastal ranch is home to roughly 100 Clydesdale horses. During a visit, groups see how the Clydesdales live like wild horses, and they tour more than 2,000 acres of pristine Monterey Pine forest and rolling pastures overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Farmers market Farmers markets “It’s hard to beat farm-to-table dining, and you’ll likely bump into SLO CAL’s chefs at any one of our 13 year-round farmers markets,” says Wambolt. “Beyond local citrus, avocados and nuts, you’ll discover locally made craft goods, lav- ender soaps, baked goods and even live music performances.” Wildlife San Luis Obispo County is a prime destination for wildlife viewing. Travelers can spot migrating gray whales and rare birds along the shoreline and watch as elephant seals gather and mate along the northern coastline of Piedras Blancas. Another popular spot is Pismo State Beach, which is the wintering grounds for thousands of migratory Monarch butterflies. 38 August/September 2017 To learn more, contact Wambolt at michael@visitsanluisobispocounty.com or go to visitsanluisobispocounty.com.