Los Alamos + Avila Valley

Los Alamos, gateway to the Santa Ynez Valley, is a tiny town, surrounded by California’s Central Coast ranches and vineyards, and a road food hub. The Main Street of Los Alamos, Bell Street, offers a selection of surprisingly high quality food despite an antiquated look of the old west town. The norm is farm-to-table restaurants offering the highest quality, local meats, artisan bread, and fresh produce.

The Cisko Kid Restaurant in Los Alamos has a uniquely pleasing atmosphere. The building itself is a historic gas station, and the inner courtyard like a step into an old west rancho. The grilled chicken sandwich was so moist and flavorful, I wasn’t completely sure it was chicken, amazing. The tortillas are handmade, and tacos worth telling your friends about.

As for Bob’s Well Bread, an artisan bread bakery in Los Alamos, it’s a cute play on words, and an excellent bakery. Although Bob’s is relatively new, I can only think of the Hearst family and guests traveling this route to the castle, well-bred folks, as it were. The yeast bread of this bakery is the kind that is worth timing your drive through Los Alamos to be sure the bakery is open. I’m a sourdough girl, but the lunches and pastries are claimed to be outstanding, as well.

For sleeping accommodations, one might choose Cerro Alto Campground because of it’s proximity to Morro Bay. The campground is in the hills, a curvy drive, but only ten minutes back to the coast and to Taco Temple, known for its locally-caught fish tacos. Tucked in the coastal hills, the campground feels very remote. Sites are private, around each bend in the road, and very shaded by oak trees. It is a classic coastal California outdoor experience.

Drive back down the coast about forty minutes for a mineral springs soak in a private tub and a stop at Avila Valley Barn. The tubs at Sycamore Mineral Springs are private, set on a hillside in the trees, and rented by the hour. Avila Valley Barn sells produce, specialty gifts, sweets. Each December, the Barn sells Christmas trees and Santa is available for photos and “gift discussion.” The grounds have chickens underfoot, and animals available to pet and feed, including goats, horse, and cows. It’s a fulfilling stop for the entire family.

And, with that summary of a winter get-away, I thank you for reading, and wish you many satisfying adventures and safe travels in the new year.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year,


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