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James Dean Crash Site, Cholame, CA

100_6043Louise Speaks:  Very similar to the Buddy Holly plane crash, we were off to see the James Dean Car Crash Site.  This was equally as difficult to find.  The directions say the crash was one place, and then there was a memorial somewhere else.  So after driving up and down streets many many times we finally stopped at a small store to ask where we were.  Turns out the small store was actually a small cafe but was filled with James Dean memorabilia.  It was like a shrine, full of artifacts and newspaper clippings, pictures and personal items that once belonged to James Dean.

100_6045We then asked about the car crash site, and we were told there was a memorial around the old tree outside, but that was not the place of the car crash…that was up the road a bit.  We had already been up and down the “road” several times and didn’t see any sign or marker to point out spot of the car crash. After reading several remarks on line, it turns out the crash site is only a mile away and there are markers on a fence commemorating the site of the crash.

Luckily this wasn’t that far out of our way, but unless we could see the actual car crash site like we did with Buddy Holly, this was a wasted stop.  I’m not even going to rate it, because, well there just isn’t much to see or say.

This is our last stop of this trip.  It’s been a whirlwind seeing so many things in such a short period of time.  It was fun to combine actual tourist sites with some real quirky things and some really stupid things…so what else is new about traveling with Thelma and Louise?

Thelma Speaks:


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J. Patrick House, Cambria, CA

Louise Speaks:  After having just left the Nitt Witt Ridge, this was quite a change.  The neighborhood was peaceful, relaxed and between the smell of the sea, the breeze coming off the ocean, and sounds of the birds in the trees, it gave a whole new meaning to the city of Cambria.

100_6033The J. Patrick House, IS mentioned in Patricia’s book “1000 Places To See Before You Die”, and for a change I can understand why.  The J. Patrick House blends with its wooded setting above the village of Cambria and is an authentic log home.  The main house overlooks a forest of tall Monterey pines making the perfect setting for a relaxing, romantic getaway. Because we were here in January, the B & B was still decorated for the holidays.

100_6039From the main log cabin you can stroll through the lovely garden under the passion vine-covered arbor to enter the charming Carriage House, where you will find seven beautifully decorated rooms.  Each room comes with a private bath and a Wood Burning fireplace.  Here you can enjoy Irish country charm and all of it’s amenities.  At 5:30 each day guests can enjoy the company of other guests and visit in the cozy living room of the log cabin. Here you will have a choice of homemade hors d’oeuvres and complimentary  fine wines. A full breakfast is served each morning in the Garden Room.

100_6035As you enter the front door of this enchanting log home, the warmth of its embrace will welcome you. The aroma of freshly baked cookies, homemade granola, breads and muffins will transport you to a magical place.  The staff make you feel right at home the moment they answer the door.  The owner Linda, offered us a comp night just so we could experience what it is like to stay at the J. Patrick House, so we could then blog about it.  We would have loved to do that, but our schedule just didn’t permit for it.

100_6037Linda became the owner in a very interesting way.  The J. Patrick House just happened to be one of her favorite Inns in her favorite vacation spot. When the inn came up for sale in September of 1999, it was a natural fit for her to buy it. Linda does everything possible to create a warm, friendly atmosphere, plus offers exemplary hospitality to all of their  guests.

100_6038I have checked Yelp and other travel sites to see the reviews and the ratings given to the J. Patrick house, and not a negative comment has been made.  The area, the home, the rooms, the staff, the owner. all of it, make it a very desirable place to stay.  In reading the comments, rarely do guests stay for just one night.  This is chosen as a vacation spot, where guest stay for many days.

The J. Patrick House gets a rating of an A.  Even though we didn’t stay here, the charm you felt just by walking around left no doubt that this would be a great place to stay.

AM…854

From the J. Patrick House, it was almost time for dinner so we thought we would try one of the restaurants that Patricia suggested in her book.  Cambria, has some quaint restaurants for sure, and the Sow’s Ear, just sounded interesting.  Seeings that my favorite meat is Ham, I was assuming that Ham was their specialty.

100_6040However when we arrived it was not yet 5:00 and the Sows Ear does not open until 5:00 so we looked in the window, took a picture and left.  The menu is posted, and it appears to be a small cafe serving a wide variety of food…but I didn’t see any ham dishes, so even if it was open I probably would have passed….I mean stuffed mushrooms???  Really???

I’m not going to give the Sow’s Ear a rating, because we didn’t even go inside, but it did seem like a cute place and it is close to the beach so how bad can it be.

AM… 854

Thelma Speaks:


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Nitt Witt Ridge, Cambria, CA

Nitt-Witt-Ridge2-430x325Louise Speaks:  As we continue heading south along the beautiful coastline of California we come upon the town of Cambria.  Cambria is also known as the “City of Pines by the Sea”.  The reason for this is that it is a seaside community, but you feel like you are in the woods with all the pine trees around.  It’s hard to understand how  pine trees that require cold weather, would survive so close to the warmth of the salt sea.  Yet no matter how cute…no matter how inviting…nothing could prepare us for the Nitt Witt Ridge.

Nitt-Witt-Ridge-40As if that introduction isn’t enough, we actually had a reservation to tour this place.  We also agreed to pay $10.00 to tour this place.  And when we arrived, we had to wait because there were others before us, taking the tour.  At least that made us feel better, that we weren’t the only crazy ones on the planet paying to see this house.  I must say, this is probably the most bizarre stop to date.

100_6025They say one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, and that is certainly the case with Nitt Witt Ridge. We took a tour of something odd and quirky, a house you have got to see to believe.  Sitting on 2.5 acres, this folk-art attraction offers a Tom Sawyer-like feel from the moment you step onto the property.  Nitt Witt Ridge offers a fun contrast to the immaculately curated mansion of Hearst Castle.  The property is owned and maintained by Mike O’Malley, who gives tours regularly.  Mike was a great tour guide.  As quirky as this place is, he did make it interesting.

100_6027Originally owned by Arthur “Art” Harold Beal in 1928, this “castle on a hill” was perfected using only a pick and shovel.   This home was built on property that Art Beal didn’t even own.  It was built without permits and with materials he rescued from the garbage that people threw away as he was the local garbage collector. He didn’t accept help in building it and lived there in unison with Mother Nature.  By this it is meant that the Mother Nature helped in the cleaning of his living room by winter rains washing in one door across the floor and out the other. He would help clean the floors by sweeping the rain water out with  his broom.   Look closely and you will see a blend of native materials and modern elements, including old beer cans, washer drums, car rims and car parts, among other things.  After Beals death in 1992, his ashes were spread around his favorite redwood tree in the back of  Nitt Witt Ridge.  The cobblestone archways and rare composition make this site a place to see.

When you get to the top of the property, OMG….there is a view to die for.  The entire Pacific Ocean can be seen, including ships in the distance.  The view alone makes this property one valuable piece of land.  We asked Mike why doesn’t he tear it down and build a house where he can enjoy that view.  Well it turns out since no permits were ever issued, there are no utilities going to the property.  Not even water.  For him to bring utilities in would cost him more than the property is worth.  The city will not help him in any way, even though I’m sure it is quite the eye sore for the many neighbors.  As we were waiting our turn to tour Nitt Witt Ridge, cars that drove by from the neighboring homes, gave us looks, like why are you helping this guy.

picture frames

I do have to admit however, that some things were very cleaver.  His picture frames over the fireplace,

100_6024

the his and her toilets, so you can share everything with the one you love,

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and the hub cap steps that reflect in the sun, so you won’t miss a step.

All in all it was an interesting place, and I couldn’t imagine living next door, although there were homes right next to the Nitt Witt Ridge.  The advertising for Nitt Witt Ridge, call it a landmark and a definite must-see when in the Cambria area.  I’m not sure about that, but then again we stopped to see it. Oh and by the way, this wasn’t in Patricia’s Book, “1000 Places To See Before You Die”, which means it probably should be…lol

Thelma Speaks: