Friday, January 29, 2010

The quintessential beach town

quin·tes·sence, \kwin-ˈte-sən(t)s\
1 : the fifth and highest element in ancient and medieval philosophy that permeates all nature and is the substance composing the celestial bodies
2 : the essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form
3 : the most typical example or representative
quin·tes·sen·tial \ˌkwin-tə-ˈsen(t)-shəl\ adjective
quin·tes·sen·tial·ly adverb
Why the definition? Well, I used the word in the title of this post and then considered that I was pretty sure I was using the word correctly, but wanted to make sure. The parts of the definition that suck out most was "the essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form" and "the most typical example or representative" When using this word in relation to a beach town I am describing my perfect beach town - Pismo Beach.

Pismo Beach is clean and well maintained but lacks the shine of many southern California coastal towns. It doesn't have the big chain stores or a Starbucks on each corner. It is quaint and maintains its charm with locally owned businesses with a bit of roughness around the edges that comes with being right next to the water, weathered by the spray of the ocean.

Is Pismo Beach really the most typical or representative example of a beach town? Maybe, maybe not; but it is my perfect beach town. This could be because of its laid back atmosphere, warm sun and cool breezes (to name just a few of the reasons I love it), or it could just be because I grew up here, literally five minutes down the road and I'm a bit biased.

Yesterday I spent a few hours in Pismo Beach. I started by grabbing a cup of coffee at Mon Ami, a coffee shop that use to be called the Black Pearl when I was a teenager. It was a favorite hangout for my friends and I. It is a bit different now having changed owners a handful of times over the years, but the coffee was still good.

I continued down the street toward the water, taking a few pictures as I went along.

I decided to walk out onto the pier before going down the to the beach.

Same shot as the one above, just a zoomed in on the surfer

The end of the pier

I thoroughly enjoyed my stroll down the pier watching the birds, surfers, and other people who were out enjoying the beautiful day. Once I had walked back up the pier I headed down the stairs to the sand where I turned north and made my way up the beach.

The end of the strand

Once I reached the end of the beach I crawled up onto a big rock and just sat awhile. I marveled at the beauty around me and took in the warmth of the sun, the cool ocean breeze, and the salty smell in the air. It was heaven. Eventually I decided it was time to head back so I began my leisurely stroll back down the beach.

Once I reached the pier I decided to see if I could catch any good shots from underneath the pier. The lighting is tricky and I had fun trying to find places to steady my camera to get a crisp shot. The shadows and reflections were beautiful.

After taking all of these pictures and walking up and down the beach I had worked up an appetite. I headed to my favorite Pismo Beach eatery, Splash Cafe. They are famous for their amazing clam chowder (best in the world that I have found) but I have also discovered that they have a tremendous seafood salad which is what I ordered. It was delicious as usual!

After lunch I headed back to my parents house to get cleaned up for the evening. We had big plans to go to farmers market that night which is a big deal in San Luis Obispo...more on that in the next post.


Emily said...

Great pictures! What a gorgeous day it was!

J&J said...

Wow! Can you take me there for a visit? I'm serious!

Angela said...

Thanks, Emily! and of course, Jill! (I'm serious!)