My family lives in central California. That means they’re halfway between San Francisco and LA. When my childhood best friend and I started at UCLA, an announcer at one of the myriad welcoming assemblies asked for cheers from people hailing from Southern California, Northern California, other states, and other countries. We sat, silently, waiting for the acknowledgement that would not come. That was our first clue that we were from “nowhere.”
But the central coast of California is one of the most perfect places in the world. Beautiful, temperate, and not too crowded (yet). With beaches, farmland, wineries, and cattle ranches, it is a mediterranean lifestyle that inspires art and innovation.
Last weekend, Marco and I ventured to my family’s ranch to attend my niece’s 5th birthday party. While we were there, we decided to go for a walk around the San Miguel Mission.
It’s one of the original missions in California, and it has recently been restored. All the California missions are beautiful, and very photogenic. Marco has done many shoots here, including family photos for my sister.
Less than a mile away is another historic landmark, called Rios Caledonia. It’s an old adobe hotel and stagecoach stop.
I picked up a brochure, and we learned that it was purchased illegally from Governor Pio Pico, who later had to flee the area, by a man named Rios. It was then purchased by a man named Blanchart, who decided to call it the Caledonia Hotel, because of his love for Scotland (called Caledonia by the Romans). And thus, a little outpost in California came to use an ancient Roman name. Incidentally, Pico Boulevard in LA is named after Governor Pio Pico. Love history!
So if you’re headed to the central coast, or just driving up Highway 101,
I couldn’t say it better myself!