Monday, February 28, 2022

Rocking a Post Pandemic World: Morro Bay After Covid

It felt like time to get out of the house for a few days so it was back to one of our favorite beach destinations, Morro Bay on California's Central Coast.

While the Omicron variant of the Covid virus is causing rising cases, it appears to be peaking and not as dangerous as other variants have been. With most of the population vaccinated, firm prevention measures, and more available testing and treatment, the state is staying cautiously open.

It's tough to get a good, accessible room in the waterfront area of Morro Bay when you're more than two people. Either it's a room for two or it's back in a lonely part of the hotel with no view. I've search high and low and have found exactly three rooms with beds enough for the three of us and with a bit of a view.

There's the 456 Embarcadero, a fireplace room with two queen size beds with a decent view (low season discounted rates can be found a bit under $200 a night in 2022 - you can read about our stay there here), the Anderson Inn, a very nice and very expensive waterfront inn, and our hotel for this trip, the Blue Sail Inn where a partial view with two queens went for $152 for the three nights we were there.

Partial view meant we could see a bit of the strand between the old defunct power plant at the north end of town and the landmark Morro Rock, although we couldn't see the rock itself unless we stepped out onto the little patio attached to the room.

Two comfortable queen beds, plenty of space for Tim's wheelchair, and a large bathroom with a roll-in shower that many hotels these days...was not built with water retention in mind.

Tim did like the channel lineup on the TV that featured most of his favorite sports networks.

Morro Bay is like a well worn pair of comfortable slippers for us. It's a favorite spot to unwind and visit some cherished spots. This time, since there's three of us and we'll be here for three nights, we all picked a favorite restaurant where we would dine one at a time for the three nights we'll be here.

First up, since the weather's nice and the dining is outside, is Tim's choice of Giovanni's Seafood Market and Galley.

He had a hankering for the calamari and chips here, which he proclaimed excellent. Letty had a delicious poke bowl, while I had a forgettable cheeseburger that they serve for those who don't like seafood like me.

The beer was nice, cold and delicious and the sunset view over the rock spectacular so I took solace in that.

A delicious breakfast of pancakes and eggs awaited me the next morning at Dorn's Breakers Cafe, the hilltop restaurant with a view nextdoor to the hotel. Fortified, the three of us set out for a two part walk to burn off calories and get some exercise.

Part one would be a hike up Morro Bay Boulevard to the traffic circle leading to the freeway of highway 1 where Letty could hit every thrift shop on the north side of the street...with a quick stop to one of my favorites, Central Coast Music shop...and then crossing over to get to the shops on the south side.

At the top, we'd all enjoy shopping at our favorite leather shop, Finn's Leather Shop, where Tim bought himself this stylish hat.

After a short bathroom break back at the hotel at the bottom of the hill, it's on to walk the waterfront and Embarcadero.

Starting at the south end, we stop at what used to be the Morro Bay Aquarium, a very old-school tourist attraction where you could spend a quarter on a bag of fish to feed the sea lions.

Now, a brewery is going in, Three Stacks and a Rock. The name refers to the exaust stacks of the old power plant at the other end of town and the big rock in the water that the town is named after. The former sea lion tank is being converted into a small beer garden with a view of Morro Rock.

From here, we can wind our way along the wharf where the waterfront is always available to the public, even if it means going through a restaurant's dining area. It's also about 90% accessible, only blocked in small portions on this trip by construction.

We can't pass Rose's Bar without stopping for a drink with a spectacular view at their completely wheelchair accessible, boat-shaped bar with friendly bartender Jack supplying the chatter and even loaning you his binoculars for a better view. He also shows us pictures on his phone that he snaps of the local wildlife that he sees from his unique office view.

Outside, we find the local fire department tearing into a neighboring building with their axes and saws. I ask one of the firefighters when the fire was. He told me the building was being demolished tomorrow and their just getting some training in while they have a chance.

Tonight's dinner is my choice, the Morro Bay Hofbrau where I get one of their delicious beef dip sandwiches that is carved to your order right in front of you, plus a pitcher of delicious German lager to split between the three of us.

Again, like almost anyplace else here, our dinner comes with a knockout view of the bay and rock.

We finish off this day at Anchor Memorial Park at the north end of the waterfront where we catch a great sunset with some otters playing in the water before retiring back to the hotel for the night.

Tomorrow, we'll set off on a hike on a trail we've never tried yet.

Darryl Musick
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