Ever since relocating to Southern California a few decades ago, I’ve made the road trip to and from my Northern California hometown more times than I can remember. But it wasn’t until this fall that I exited the highway at Avila Beach. I’m glad I did. With family in tow, a long weekend in this quiet beach town — just 100 miles from Santa Barbara — produced a much-needed mental reset brought on by comfortable lodging, sightseeing discoveries, and plenty of food-based indulgences.
Pulling into town on a Thursday evening, we hung a left at Avila Beach’s one and only stoplight to arrive at Avila Lighthouse Suites, which commands a wide view across San Luis Obispo Bay. Late out of the gate from Santa Barbara, we had missed our reservation in nearby Oceano for a show at The Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville, and as we checked in and set out on foot for dinner, I may have pinky promised my daughters a return trip for its rollout of A Christmas Carol. After toasted flatbread chicken-pesto sandwiches at Old Custom House, we hit the sack, looking forward to the morning’s two-wheeled tour.
The bicycle may be the greatest form of transportation. But when you’re in semi-lazy vacation mode, why even pretend you want to do any actual pedaling? Enter Pedego Electric Bikes, provider of our fully powered quiver — beach cruisers for my better half and our 12-year-old, plus a sturdy two-seater for me and our youngest — upon which we experienced more fun than can be reasonably described within the confines of this article. All smiles at 10-15 miles per hour, we hummed along Bob Jones Trail for lunch at Avila Valley Barn, a produce market with hayrides, free-ranging fowl, and hungry goats looking for a handout. The crisp crunch of fresh cabbage topped the warm pulled pork of my open-face sandwich.
By Keith Hamm