My husband and I took our first adults only trip right before New Years Eve to one of our favorite hotels, Apple Farm Inn, to have a few days of wine tasting and connecting with nature on the beautiful Central Californian coast. If there’s anyone that can make the most out of 60 hours it’s us. We hit the ground running and visited a few wineries on our way up. I HIGHLY recommend Turley Wine Cellars if you’re into zinfandels. It’s almost embarrassing to admit how much fun I had. I’ve done a lot of very fun and exciting things in my life but this was fun in a different way than I had ever experienced. It’s so important to remember the fact that before all that we have and we’ve made it was just him and me.
The next day we got our 10,000 steps in before noon and picked up food to go from the best little pizza spot then took our favorite drive on Highway 46 out to the coast. We parked the car at one of our favorite vistas in Cambria, popped open the back door of the car, ate pizza, drank really good red wine and watched the sun slowly set. There was an elderly couple that had set chairs out right at the water’s edge, other than them it was just the sound of cars driving by on Highway 1. We sat on the back of the car for a good hour. Our fingers and toes were freezing but we were as happy as could be. There’s a liveliness you don’t realize you have when you’re singular (childless) that is hard to not lose a bit of when you have a baby and are raising children. But I love how hard we’ve worked to keep things special and adventurous and this moment helped restore that liveliness, for sure. In part because I was loving what I was doing and in part because I knew I would be home the next day. Love here and love back home, we’re so very lucky. As the flow of cars behind us slowly died down with the setting sun and the smell of campfires started to linger, we could finally hear the waves from where we sat. Simultaneously we said, “that’s the first wave I heard.” Ahh, yes. We needed this.
Okayyy, now for the garden shop review. We hit up two spots while in San Luis Obispo: Growing Grounds Downtown and Grow in Cambria.
This place is tiny. Think an alleyway or walkway between homes but it packs a punch. The walls are lined with a lot of plants but what I love the most is their selection of already potted succulents and houseplants. I loooove all of the weathered terra cotta they use. We went at the end of December so they had an amazing selection of very healthy, blooming Christmas cacti. I was walking around with one in my hand (see photo below) until my husband gave me the side eye, like realllly another Christmas cactus?? I promised it was for my mom but I don’t think he believed me 🙂
Growing Grounds Downtown is an extension of Growing Grounds Farm which is a wholesale nursery in San Luis Obispo. But quite frankly the best part of Growing Grounds Farm and Downtown Plant & Gift Shop is that they are a program of Transitions-Mental Health Association. The plant shop is non-profit and provides supportive work opportunities and training for the Association’s clients who wish to develop job skills and confidence while experiencing mental illness. The gift shop is located on 956 Chorro Street, right across the street from Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. It was a little busy in downtown on the day we went and in combination with the tight quarters, I didn’t get many photos but we will be back soon for sure.
This is a one-of-a-kind space. Located at 2024 Main Street in Cambria on a unique property with other locally owned shops. It’s hard to describe how cool and funky this place is so hopefully the photos below will do it justice. When you enter off of Main Street in order to get to Grow Nursery you have to pass through the Garden Shed, a garden merchandise shop with everything from unique pottery to books to hand tools to statuary. Then there’s an open courtyard where all of the shops on the property meet. Once at the doorway of Grow there’s a series of cool signs touting rare and unusual succulents. If you’ve been following me on Instagram for a while you’ll recognize me taking a pic or two under these signs every time I visit.
Inside the shop there’s a great selection of interior decor, books, airplants and one of a kind knick knacks. Out in the back they have all of their plants displayed amongst artsy junk. I have access to some of the best nurseries around so it’s almost unfair to compare the selection I’m used to at California Nursery Specialties but they do have a really nice selection of plants. I think their airplant selection is the best that I have access to other than online. My takeaway is that I would come here to purchase one or two plants to pot on their own as opposed to leaving with a palette to do a big project in your garden. All in all, it’s just a fun shopping/browsing experience at this property.
Any places is Central California that you love? Go to Instagram and leave your suggestions it in the comments.