Monday, March 13, 2017

Back to the Bay: Morro Bay, California

With hotel prices climbing by the minute (a hundred dollar room at a medium demand location is a bargain these days), it's even harder to find a good deal in a beautiful ocean setting.

You can still get a decent deal at beautiful Morro Bay on California's Central Coast but those days seem to be numbered with it's neighbors...including the inland San Luis Obispo...are charging more. Up to 2 or 3 times more for similar rooms.

There are quaint, retro motels "up on the hill," about a block or two from the waterfront where you can get clean, basic rooms for that $100 per night or maybe even a few dollars less. Some these lodgings are very nice and most have at least one accessible room, though it's hard to find one in these old motels that will sleep more than two people.

At the other end of the scale are super-luxurious suites, like the one over the water at the Estero Inn going for over $300 per night.

We're settling somewhere in the middle at 456 Embarcadero Inn, where the accessible 2-queen bed room with fireplace and bay views that sit only across a small street from our window goes for about $150 - $190 per night, depending on the dates.

It's got very two, very comfortable beds with thick blankets and comforter for those cold, Central coast nights. A gas fireplace, in the wall under the flat-screen TV, adds just enough warmth so that we don't have to use the heater and we can even open the door to let in the cool air and hear the sea lions barking in the distance.

The bathroom has a tub with fold-down transfer bench and grab bars.  The only problems with this room are that the bars at the toilet and tub are not where Tim would like them for grabbing and the thin walls let the noises of your neighbors seep through easily.

Luckily, our neighbors for this trip were pretty quiet after bed time.  I did let the manager know that hanging some acoustic panels on the walls could help this, however. He agreed to look into it and, after dealing with the very attentive staff during the week, I think he meant it.

Another good thing about the hotel, as you can gather from it's name, is that it's right on the Embarcadero...Morro Bay's waterfront street and wharf.  It's a simple walk right out the front of the hotel.

In fact, I timed the walk from our the south end of the the power plant (the only thing that mars the view here) on the north end. Less than five minutes.  In between, you have just about everything you came to Morro Bay for...the restaurants, bars, shops, aquarium, and the bay views where otters float by on their backs, seagulls screech above and ever-present sea lions bark and gripe at everything that floats by.

Across the street and up a block, we have breakfast at the Blue Sky Bistro having some solid omelets and pancakes with a view of the iconic Morro Rock. If you come to Morro Bay, you get to know the Rock.  It may be only in one spot but it's also everywhere.  The ancient volcanic plug juts out of the ocean, a rigid guardian over the small town.

No matter where you are around here, chances are you're gonna see the rock.  I can't seem to find any pictures we took where it doesn't sit in the background, like some stranger coming by to photobomb every shot you take.

That's okay, though, because it's reassuring to see it. It anchors you when the going gets tough, just like it does with the waters and sand that surround it. It's the comforting sight when you're traveling down the coast and know that you're back on track when you see it poking through the fog.

Morro Bay just isn't Morro Bay without it.

With my meandering thoughts about the rock over, we finish our meal and head on down the wharf. Construction here and there means that a few sections are blocked but when it's not under construction, most of the over-water path is wheelchair accessible and is also public access even when it cuts through a private business. You'll see signs on restaurant patios or even within some enclosed business spaces, too, reminding you (and them) that anyone can transit through to admire the view.

When we're hungry later, some clam chowder, fish and chips, and hot dogs from the take out windows at Giovanni's really hits the spot. It's cheap and very, very good plus the views from the deck are outstanding. We make a mental mark to come to this little seafood shack at the north end of town again before we leave.

On our way back to the hotel, we stop at Rose's Bar, which sits over the water behind expansive windows where we can have an aperitif at the completely wheelchair accessible bar shaped like a boat's prow.

The views of the rock are amazing.

Stay tuned for more, including a new video.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2017 - All Rights Reserved

Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2017 - All Rights Reserved

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