Top 5 Places to Deck the Halls This Holiday Season

We love the winter holidays, that's why stores start stocking the shelves with decorations as soon as the trick or treaters are in for the night. Let visions of sugarplums dance in your head while exploring San Luis Obispo county this holiday season, with a visit to some of the area's most Decked Out locations!

#1 Holiday Harmony & Pismo Beach Pier Tree Lighting

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The newly opened and updated Pismo Beach Pier is dressed up for the holidays! December 7th, from 5:30-7:30pm, dance in the snow, decorate cookies, and watch the annual Lighting of the Tree. Even Santa is stopping by for this event, what a way to kick off the holidays!

Photo and details found here https://www.slocal.com/event/holiday-harmony/2471/

#2 Point San Luis Lighthouse

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The Lighthouse operated from 1890 until 1974, when the Coast Guard vacated the property. It lies around the corner of Port San Luis on private property. It can be seen by boat, or docent led tours. Each holiday season, The Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers decorate the Lighthouse, so while touring, not only do you learn the history, get a glimpse into the life of a lighthouse keeper, but you also get to see her in all her radiant glory!

Tickets available here http://pointsanluislighthouse.org/tour/

#3 Christmas at Hearst Castle

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Take a step back in time, and imagine yourself as a guest of William Randolph Hearst. While "The Ranch", as he called it is always spectacular, it is even more so in the month of December, bathed in the glow of thousands of holiday lights! Soak in the art, the decadence, the details, as well as hearing insider stories of past holiday festivities.

Tickets available here http://hearstcastle.org/tour-hearst-castle/daily-tours/holiday-twilight-tour/

#4 Apple Farm

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Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo is made for the holidays! With events throughout the month and their 25 Days of Christmas, there is something for everyone. Sit down to Dinner with Santa, listen to the sounds of the season each weekend with holiday singers strolling the grounds, indulge in a chocolate and champagne tasting while shopping on Diva Night, and so much more. Don't be a scrooge, check out their holiday calendar for all the fun activities, and if you find yourself under the mistletoe on December 10th, you might even win dinner for 2!

Details here https://www.applefarm.com/holidays

#5 Christmas Suite at The Cliffs Hotel + Spa

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For total immersion into the holidays, reserve a night in The Cliffs' Christmas Suite. Artfully decorated for the season, this room will give you all the warm fuzzies of a Christmas Hot Toddy! Not only will you get to snuggle in cozy red bedding, and awake to the smells of cinnamon and pine from your own tree, but each reservation will also receive a special gift! During your stay, sample holiday cookies at check-in and specialty themed cocktails throughout the month.

Top 5 Intriguingly Offbeat Activities in SLO County

1. Corn Hole for All

 https://www.barrelhousebrewing.com/cornhole/

Corn Hole plays a big part in Central Coast life. One can visit dozens and dozens of wineries and breweries and throw down a game—along with some stellar handcrafted alcohol.  There are even leagues, tournaments and trophies. Simply Google: Corn Hole, San Luis Obispo County, you’ll find amazing venues with lots of Corn Hole and imbibing fun.

2. Lawn Bowling

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Now some will say that Lawn Bowling is just a weird game that seniors get obsessed with. Yet a major national newspaper recently reported that Millennials are rediscovering this, let’s say, meditative game.  Fortunately, there is a premier lawn bowling center in our county, located in Cambria. Visitors are welcome!

Cambria Lawn Bowling Club

950 Main Street, Cambria, California

805.927.3364

www.bowlsclub.org/club/1940/

3. Sky to Plate

Book a tandem parachute jump for an extraordinarily exhilarating experience. You can choose to bailout from 8,000, 10,000, or 13,000 feet! You’re attached to an expert instructor that guides you from take-off to landing, ensuring a thoroughly enjoyable “ride.”

 https://www.facebook.com/skydivepismobeach/photos/a.205353369483433/1296538173698275/?type=3&theater

Afterwards, (definitely not beforehand), wander over to the SeaVenture Beach Hotel for oceanfront dining—and a stiff drink—while taking in panoramic vistas of the beautiful coast.  

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www.skydivepismobeach.com

www.seaventure.com

4. Checkmate in Morro Bay

It’s not often that aficionados of this ancient game, dating back to the 6th century India, get to make their moves on a giant chessboard. There are only two outdoor chessboards in the United States, one in New York City and the one in this historic and charming fishing village. A chess game in Morro Bay is a delightful mix of aesthetics, intellect, and Alice in Wonderland.

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The Giant Chessboard is available for reservations, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., through the Morro Bay Recreation & Parks. And visitors are always welcomed to join the Morro Bay Chess Club on Saturdays, beginning at 12 noon. 805-772-6278.

http://www.morro-bay.ca.us/373/Centennial-Parkway

5. Sail Away

Learn the basics of sailing, such as sail trimming, safety, and boat handling from Capt. Mark at Central Coast Sailing in Avila Beach. Or if you’d rather simply enjoy an easy going day with your family or friends, this seasoned sea captain takes you on spectacular wildlife viewing experience—including whales when migrating—on his beautiful 44 ft. sailboat called the “Spirit.”

 https://www.slosailing.com/

After your day at sea, venture up the road a few moments to relax in a hillside mineral springs hot tub at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. Or stay in a one-bedroom spa suite, with a private balcony mineral springs hot tub, book a massage, for a completely rejuvenating adventure.  

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Get Away and Give Back, as we approach the Season of Thankfulness and Giving.

Connect deeper, explore and protect nature and heritage and make a difference while you are on vacation.  Throughout San Luis Obispo County opportunities await to contribute while you travel. During this season of giving back, counting our blessings and doing well for not only others, but also our environment that surrounds us, it is a perfect time to escape and give something in return:

1. Apple Farm’s Farm to Fork Package-

Be a “Locavore” and contribute by shopping locally at the Baywood Park Farmer’s Market with Apple Farm Chef, Steve Smeets.  By shopping locally grown produce you are helping the environment. Less fossil fuels are needed for transport of product as well as generation of less greenhouse gas emissions occurring from conventionally produced food.  This two night package invites you to eat healthier and is so much fun! You will have the opportunity to assist Chef Smeets with picking out different produce and local goods for the Apple Farm Restaurant. After your tour of the market, Chef will get to work creating a one-of-a-kind, farm fresh meal using the ingredients you helped him select. In the evening, join him at the Chef's Table in our restaurant for a three course menu including a flight of local wines. More Information: https://www.applefarm.com/specials/farm-to-fork-package

2. SeaVenture Beach Clean Up-

 https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article159845839.html

Our beaches are a prized gift shared by locals, visitors, nature and marine life.  Unfortunately, they are not always treated as such. Trash left on the beach in many forms including plastic pollutes our oceans and threatens our sea life who mistake the foreign objects in their environment as food. For example, a sea turtle who sees a plastic bag can mistake it as a jellyfish, once swallowed, it will prevent them from eating and the turtle will slowly starve itself.  So, come do your part! On the 2nd Saturday of the month at 8:30 mingle over complimentary donuts and coffee, and all attendees are entered into a raffle for a $25 restaurant certificate.  Gloves and bags are available. Next clean up is October 13th.  Come make your imprint.  More Information: https://www.seaventure.com/

3. Glean with Glean SLO-  

Rescue nature’s bounty to help benefit the community.  In an area of agricultural abundance there are still many people that go hungry.  By gleaning and harvesting we help to fully utilize our resources of water, land and labor to get the full yield of production, all while nourishing our community, building deeper relationships and expanding our appreciation for food and healthy eating.  Participate by signing up for a Harvest Event on the GleanSLO webpage, or if you are a land or ranch owner and you have crops that you can not get harvesting or that are over producing, sign up your location to come get Gleaned! More Information: http://www.gleanslo.org/index.php

4. Enjoy Ocean Walks While Being a Scientist-  

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If you love walking along the coast and are also looking for a way to give back to an important cause, the Otter Project is seeking volunteers. Walk the coast of Montana de Oro, Point Buchon and Cambria all while collecting valuable scientific data on this darling creature.  Sea otters have been part of the California ecosystems for millions of years.  However indigenous trapping and the fur trade in the 1800’s considerably lessened the population.  Monitoring the Marine Protected Areas of the Central Coast allows for statistics on their habitat and what can be done to maintain and grown their population all while enjoying our scenic coastline.  More Information: http://www.otterproject.org/

5. U- Pick Farms-

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San Luis Obispo County provides the perfect climate for growing a variety of fresh produce.  From apples and peaches to pumpkins and grapes. Besides gathering in the outdoors with your family and enjoying the fresh air there are many other benefits.  While one supports the local economy, there is also a cost saving by doing the labor yourself, making picking your own a value proposition. You also eat healthier and gain knowledge of the source where your food comes from. There are several locations in San Luis Obispo County.  Rutiz Farms in Arroyo Grande provides blackberries and raspberries. The iconic Avila Valley Barn is a great spot for peaches, apples and most famously, pumpkins. See Canyon is well known for its many varieties of apples. And the Indian Valley U Pick Farms in San Miguel allows for a gorgeous country drive and over 1,200 trees offering grapes, figs, pomegranates and more!  More Information: http://www.rutizfarms.com, http://avilavalleybarn.com/, http://www.seecanyonfruitranch.com/, http://indianvalleyupick.com/