I'm not going to lie, I am a pretty great host. Like. I love this town. I love doing fun things. I love showing off what makes this place so special that I CHOSE to live here. You know when I moved back from France, I felt like I had seen the world (I also lived in Australia right before that- so like I wasn't *wrong* in feeling I had seen the world). And people would ask me, allll the time: Now that you have traveled so much...
If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
I can live anywhere. And I live here.
Jamie flew into Fresno on Thursday (did you know Allegiant flies into Fresno? Superrr cheap tickets!), and when I picked her up I told her to just go ahead and close her eyes for the two hour drive to SLO. Because like. Fresno. Don't get me started.
As soon as we got to SLO, we hit the ground running.
What to do in SLO for 3 days with an out of town guest:
- Farmer's, duh. Make them eat ribs, because we have great BBQ.
- Go to Blast 825, that new and awesome beer/make-your-own-pizza place downtown. Even for those of us who don't drink, the food and ambiance is on point. It also makes SLO look very cool and trendy.
- Coffee, duh. Jamie really wanted to live like a local and I was like let me show you my ways, young grasshopper. Also meet up with your friends so your out of town friends knows you're cool and have cool friends. (That was a tongue twister.)
- Drive through Cal Poly's campus to get it out of the way because, let's be honest, Cal Poly is ugly, and it's my alma mater and all (Go 'Stangs), but it's not pretty. But obligatory.
- Do a photoshoot. Is this specific to us because we are both photographers? I don't care. Everyone should do a photo shoot on the central coast and that is a FACT.
- Go to the beach for sunset. Also do a photo shoot there. (The photos Jamie took of John and I are TO DIE FOR.)
- Go to Luna Red because they put bacon wrapped dates back on their happy hour menu and now we don't have to boycott them anymore. It also has amazing gluten free food. People with food allergies *love* SLO because we really cater to any kind of allergy or food restrictions- another amazing thing to appreciate about this place.
- Go to Shell Beach and play Settlers of Catan all night (and also win). This is clearly not a SLO specific Friday night activity, and I bet there are a million other things to do on a Friday night in SLO, but this is what we did and it was THE BEST NIGHT EVER. Not just because the photoshoot was epic, the sunset was epic, food was delicious, and I won Catan, but... well maybe it was actually because of all those things, never mind.
But when people are coming to visit, don't think you have to go, go, go the whole time. Having some down time, some intimate "This is what I actually do with my friends" time, completes the experience. Jamie wanted an actual SLO experience, and I don't go out four times a week and see the sunrise every morning, and do 3 hikes a weekend (in fact I never do hikes ever)- but being a SLOcal (I have been here ten years, I AM CALLING MYSELF A SLOCAL I don't care what you say) is amazing without putting up a false pretense that it's an activity wonderland.
- Get breakfast burritos at Gus's. The best breakfast burrito in SLO hands down, and if you say it's High Street you are wrong and we can't be friends. If you think it's Frank's, you are also wrong, but we can still be friends, I just feel bad for you.
- Get more coffee. Because there are enough amazing coffee places in SLO to caffeinate us for a lifetime. Bello Mundo is my personal fave, and Jamie also checked out Scout because it's so adorable.
- Interview them for your podcast. I feel as if this is not applicable to anyone else on the planet, but we can spin it and say take advantage of their presence. I was so excited to have Jamie here like IN PERSON I wanted to photograph her and do a fun video of her and hadddd to have her on the podcast (that episode will be coming out soon, it's beautiful.)
- Get an acai bowl. But first ask your friend how they pronounce it because guaranteed it's hilarious. I thought Jamie was saying like "Isobel" which sounded like a medicine or something. Maybe it's the slight Canadian accent? Canadians don't have as much of an accent as you think- John was very disappointed by this. But Jamie faked a couple of "eh"s for us and everybody was happy.
- Go to Firestone for lunch. Because like. How could you not. Did you know that a lot of places don't have tri tip? And tri tip was like invented in Santa Maria or something. Also the fries. THE FRIESSSS. Don't let them leave without having Firestone fries. Which are also totally gluten free and not even gluten contaminated, fun fact.
- Do more photoshoots. Jamie and I first went to the Mission, which is beautiful, even though we kind of glaze over it because we see it all the time. Take a stroll through it with fresh eyes & it's pretty legit.
- Go to Montana de Oro. The drive is beautiful (even if it makes your friend EXTREMELY CAR SICK) and take some amazing photos and maybe even do a little video (like the one I Did of her below which is AMAZING. You see why I love her right?) and just enjoy the beach. Take them to places they don't have where they're from, places that are unique to the Central Coast. Jamie really wanted to see the beach, and pretty much dgaffed about the trees. She's like I have trees in Canada. Done with the trees. Gimme the sand.
- Sunday is a bonus day. Jamie and I drove up the PCH (that's a whole other blog post), but before we left, we got another acai bowl/"Isobel" and some coffee, obvi, and wrapped up all the chatting with John and a few other friends before we were off. We took an amazing video of our road trip (but that's a whole other blog post, Asia, stop getting ahead of yourself). But on the last day, take it slow. It is SLO, after all, and it's hard to say goodbye.
Jamie and I had a pretty specific-to-us-and-our-vocations trip, so for those of you who want to just do normal things, I have this fabulous list for you.
- Drive In (there are like 20 left in the country and none in Canada)
- Gum wall
- Coffee shop tour
- Wine tasting
- Shell Beach tide pools
- Tri Tip challenge
- Terrace Hill for the non hikers of us
- Bar hopping/a night out dancing
- Sunday Brunch at the Cliffs
- Perfumo Canyon drive (if your friend doesn't get car sick..)
- Any of the other Farmers Markets in the 5 Cities (Avila, for example, has an adorable one)
- Go to the movies because have you guys sat in the new seats at the downtown theatre yet? TO DIE FOR.
- Or go to the Palm Theatre for an indie movie experience!
- Eat clam chowder at Splash
- Hike to the Serenity Swing if you like ABSOLUTELY LOVE hiking
- Go to the Architectural Graveyard on campus
- Tell them that Jamba Juice started in SLO. If they are American, this is cool, if they are Canadian they pronounce it Jamba (like not jelly but jam) and they don't care it started in SLO.
- Art Bar
We live in an amazing, amazing place. Sometimes when I am walking down the street (specifically when I cross Higuera on Morro on my way back from Bello Mundo, I don't now why that spot does it for me), I just think how awesome this place is! Maybe it's because I'm from Fresno (SHHHHH) so my standard are pretty low, but then again, I have traveled the world, and this is my favorite place on the planet. For realz.