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It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.

~ Charlotte Bronte (British novelist; 1816-1855), from Jane Eyre

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I will be your refuge for a while and trust you will enjoy spending lots of time within my shelter. In addition, I hope your stay will be long enough to enjoy some of the splendid recreation and entertainment nearby. I have been intrigued by so many tales of adventure and delight as my guests returned from a day out and about. Yet, as I am stationary and cannot give you a first-hand account, I am providing you with a glimpse into what is available on the Central Coast.

A Perfect Hideaway – Come and stay awhile

Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, quietly sitting between the Pacific Ocean and the rolling hillsides of open ranchland is the small town of Los Osos. It’s nestled along the southern tidal estuary of Morro Bay, on the smog-free coast of Central California. Los Osos is a short 20-minute drive from San Luis Obispo through lush agricultural and cattle grazing countryside, a short 5-mile drive from Morro Bay (home of the well-known Morro Rock) and is just a few hours drive from major metropolitan areas.

The community is easily reached from Highway 101 on Los Osos Valley Road or from Highway 1 on South Bay Boulevard. With a population of nearly 15,000 the town is off the beaten tourist tract and is surrounded by thousands of acres of State Parks and nature preserves overlooking Morro Bay.

The north coast area of San Luis Obispo County is a haven for artists, wine and food aficionados, water sports enthusiasts, antique collectors, hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and people who appreciate quiet, undiscovered get-away locations.

When the lure of open spaces calls you, follow winding country roads to award-winning vineyards for wine tasting, or to grassy hilltops for a picnic overlooking the Pacific. Beautiful Hearst Castle is just 35-minutes away, and beyond that is the splendor of the Big Sur coastline.

Mileage To Los Osos

Bakersfield/Fresno   130
Los Angeles    220
Monterey/Carmel   150
San Francisco   240
Hearst Castle    40

San Luis Obispo County Calendars of events


Wine & Dine
Truly memorable meals combine local flavors in extraordinary settings. San Luis Obispo County is famous for both. During the past decade, our county has attracted some of the world’s most renowned chefs, resulting in our restaurants and cuisine being featured in many national and international travel and fine dining magazines. The articles exclaim over the excellence of cuisine, ambience and warm hospitality.

Here, you will find a wonderful variety of dining choices — from elegant, richly appointed fine restaurants to good old-fashioned home cooking in cozy western ranching atmospheres — serving for a full range of budgets. Each restaurant is unique in character, and many offer an excellent dining experience. Each area within the county has many great dining choices covering almost every cuisine, from "five-star" restaurants to fast food and carryout.

In Los Osos there are many choices, including: La Casita, 10th Street Grill, China Palace, Noi’s Little Thai Takeout, Big Daddy’s Pizza, Celia’s Garden Café and Desserts, DiStasio Ristorante Italiano, Jimmy Bumps Pasta House, Las Cazuelas, and Sylvester’s for the world best hamburgers. Carlocks Bakery is open everyday except Sunday and Monday, and the 3rd Street Bakery is only open on Saturday mornings, but is worth driving all the way from LA just for their fabulous breads.

Morro Bay is 5 miles north and features a fabulous array of cafes and restaurants. Some of the most popular with locals and visitors are Harada’s Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar, Bayside Café, Flying Dutchman, Windows on the Water, Dorn’s Original Breakers Café, Galley Restaurant, the Hofbrau (for a fabulous waterfront lunch) and Taco Temple on Highway One which features a unique fusion of Californian and Mexican flavors.

In Cayucos, 12 miles north, try the Sea Shanty, Hoppes, Duckies Chowder House, Cass House, Schooner's Wharf, Café Della Via, Martins, Skippers, O’Neills Coffee, to name just a few.

Cambria, about a 30-minute drive north, has many excellent restaurants including the Black Cat Bistro, Cambria Pines Lodge Restaurant, Linn’s, Robin’s Restaurant, Mustache Pete’s, Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill, The Sow’s Ear Café, to name just a few.

San Luis Obispo, located 12 miles southeast on U.S. Highway One has many choices.

Most of the area’s restaurants feature local wines that rival France's finest wines. San Luis Obispo County now has over 170 wineries and most offer tasting rooms and tours. Many area restaurants feature local produce and fresh, locally caught fish and many will prepare meals "to go" which is especially fun for a day's wine-tasting excursion to the wineries throughout the area.

A growing number of local restaurants serve locally raised Hearst Ranch beef. Since 1865, the Hearst family has raised cattle on the rich sustainable native grasslands of the Central Coast. This extraordinarily flavored beef is grass-fed and humanely raised.

The Heart of the Wine Country -- Destination
Wine Appellations
San Luis Obispo county is the heart of the wine country and has one of the longest, richest winegrowing histories in North America with vineyards planted by Spanish missionaries over 200 years ago. It has four distinct appellations, Arroyo Grande, Edna Valley, Paso Robles and York Mountain, each with its own “terroir,” the subtle but significant geological characteristics that embody specific qualities that produce superior wines.

After a long dormancy, modern commercial viticulture began to take hold in the early 1970s. Acreage of vine has increased almost four fold since 1990 with 27,600 acres currently under vine. Of all these appellations, Paso Robles is gaining the most attention with structured Cabernet Sauvignon and Rhone varietals, produced by a dynamic group of young winemakers.

A maritime influence affects the southern appellations, as their east-west valleys allow cool Pacific breezes and coastal fog to enter unencumbered. Towards the north, York Mountain has just one winery, the longest continuously operated winery in the county. The largest and warmest appellation is Paso Robles that is protected from much of the coastal influence by the Santa Lucia Mountains.

The southern portions of San Luis Obispo County wine region is comprised of three pristine viticulture areas: the Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley and Avila Valley. The small, mostly family-owned wineries are well known for their handcrafted bottlings of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, Zinfandel and more.

The number one wine grape variety in San Luis Obispo County is Cabernet Sauvignon with 8,600 acres. Merlot is second with 4,200 acres. There are about 170 wineries in the County. In the north county, near Paso Robles, the distinct microclimates and diverse soils, combined with warm days and cool nights, make growing conditions ideal for producing more than 40 wine varietals from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, to Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne, to Zinfandel, the area’s heritage wine variety.

For more information go to:

California’s New Oil Boom – Olive Oil
In the past few years the olive oil industry has exploded. More than 98% of all the extra virgin olive oil produced domestically is in California where producers are competing well in the international market. With the growth in the U.S. olive oil market averaging 20% per year, California is increasing production to supply oils domestically. The current harvest is expected to be the largest in years, and will overtake France in production. A number of large landowners have converted their land from cattle production to olives and now produce oil. Several have tasting rooms where locals and visitors alike can sample the various varieties of San Luis Obispo county extra virgin olive oil.

Area Points of Interest

The Hearst Castle
The Hearst Castle, towering above San Simeon Point, is just 40 minutes north from Los Osos. This State Monument's Castle, with its gardens and spectacular architecture, is situated on a 1,600-foot hilltop overlooking the coastline and stands like a guardian over its 250,000 acre-estate. It is a spectacular sight.

In 1927, William Randolph Hearst told architect Julia Morgan that he wanted to built "a little something" on the California coast. Eighteen years later, Hearst Castle crowned La Cuesta Encantada, Hearst's "Enchanted Hill" above tiny San Simeon. The castle is a 165-room Moorish castle with 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways, furnished with Spanish and Italian antiques and art, flanked by three large guesthouses.

When Mr. Hearst was still alive, Hearst Castle had a zoo, tennis courts and two magnificent swimming pools. After he died, the Castle was donated to the state. Today the state Park Service preserves Hearst Castle as a State Historical Monument. There are a variety of daily tours offered and it will take more than one tour to see it all!

Reservations are required for the tours (800-444-4445) but the Monument headquarters at San Simeon is open daily and offers film tours, a gift shop, and museum.
Ticket information:

The Seals of Piedras Blancas Lighthouse
Just north of San Simeon Point, near the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, you will find the domain of the famed Northern elephant seals. The beaches are covered with the giant seals laying about on the beach, flipping sand on their backs or reveling in the surf.

This is one of California’s largest populations. The elephant seal colony is currently 7,500 strong and is a rich educational opportunity for people to see, study and photograph these amazing mammals. Trained docents are on hand to answer questions.

The seals come to Piedras Blancas to mate, birth their pubs, and sun themselves on the sandy beaches. There are viewing areas provided for the public to pull off of Highway One. Bring your camera!

Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas

Antique Shopping & Artist Village
Cayucos is home to some of the best antique shops in the county. There is over 20,000 square feet of antiques and collectables representing multiple antique dealers. The artist's village of Cambria offers a rich assortment of art galleries and shopping opportunities, as well as the breathtaking and not-to-be-missed Moonstone Beach.

Morro Bay
Just across the bay is Morro Bay, a fisherman’s harbor village complete with its marina, embarcadero, and unique shops. Many people come to Morro Bay just for the spectacular, world-famous view of "The Rock." The Harbor is protected from the sea by the Morro Dunes Nature Preserve sand-spit and the famous Morro Rock stands guard at the harbor's entrance.

As a bird sanctuary, Morro Bay provides a nourishing habitat to more than 250 species and over two-dozen threatened and endangered species including the Peregrine Falcon, Brant geese, Brown Pelican, Black Rail, and Snowy Plover.

Bird watching

The estuary holds both State and National Estuary status, is the largest area of its kind left unspoiled on the West Coast, and is a major stop on the Pacific Flyway.

Outdoor activities
There are an abundance of outdoor activities from which to choose, including bicycling, kayaking, scuba diving, surfing, fishing, whale watching, sailing, bay cruises and the fabulous Morro Bay 18-hole golf course.

Morro Bay was named for Morro Rock which rises up 576 feet out of the ocean waters and is 50 acres at its base—so large it once served as a navigational landmark for commercial ships at sea. It’s still used by recreational boaters to welcome them into the harbor’s entrance. The Rock is one of nine extinct volcanic peaks known as the Morros that run in a straight line for 12 miles inland, and is about 21 million years old.

Chumash Indians once lived here. The Rock was first seen by the Europeans when Juan Cabrillo sailed past in 1542. He dubbed it, "The Gibraltar of the Pacific." It remains the most famous of all the Morros’ nine peaks. It was once completely surrounded by water, but is now accessible by land.

Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History features interactive and engaging exhibits, informative lectures and nature walks. Central Coast Natural History Association

Los Osos: Butterfly & Bird Watchers Paradise
Los Osos (La Cañada de Los Osos – the valley of the bears), known locally as "The Back Bay," is renowned by bird-watchers the world over because it offers the widest variety of bird species over the year in one location in the United States.

Montaña do Oro State Park
While in Los Osos, visit the Montaña de Oro State Park for its unforgettable ocean views, its bird watching, or to view the Monarch Butterflies that appear each winter clinging to the trees as thickly as leaves. The park’s name, meaning “mountain of gold” comes from the fields of wildflowers that blanket the landscape during the spring. The 8,000-acre park offers visitors a wealth of natural beauty, over fifty miles of hiking, bicycling and equestrian trails.
For information see:

The Jewel and a Historic Mission
The jewel of the county is the City of San Luis Obispo, a college town home to Cal Poly State University. It takes pride in its reputation as a family entertainment and cultural center. “San Luis,” as the locals call it, is the County seat with a population of 46,000. It offers visitors a taste of the "old" California featuring many century-old buildings, small shops and restaurants, and a lovely, tree-covered, pedestrian-friendly main street, called “Higuera.” The city is filled with lovely, Victorian homes (many have been restored), just dripping with gingerbread details.

The city originally arose out of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, founded in 1772. Located in the heart of downtown, the church is still active and Mission Plaza is the site of many special events throughout the year. The Mission is the fifth in a chain of the 21 original California missions. It is open daily 9 am to 4 pm. The Mission is wonderfully maintained offering self-guided tours and a rich sense of history.

The most popular and endearing ongoing event is the San Luis Obispo Farmer's Market, held every Thursday evening (except on Thanksgiving). It is far more a party and celebration than simply a produce market. Local farmers do offer a wide variety of gorgeous produce with many free samples. Local restaurants have stands where barbecue and other finger foods are sold. Free and varying entertainment, often bands, is staged on the intersecting streets.

Downtown San Luis Obispo also has its own mini-riverwalk along San Luis Creek that runs parallel to Higuera Street. It has been developed with walking paths and stairways to Mission Plaza and other downtown locations. Many of the restaurants have outdoor patios overlooking the creek.

The Carnegie building holds the county's Historical Museum at 697 Monterey Street, with its rich displays of photographs and artifacts. The San Luis Obispo Children's Museum, at 1010 Nipomo Street, has just completed a multi-million dollar renovation and has been designed just for children. It offers many hands-on activities and displays. In the evenings, you can enjoy the nightlife at many clubs offering live music and dancing.

A world class Performing Arts Center is the cultural and entertainment center of the county. It is located on the Cal Poly campus and features a concert hall with 1,282 seats. National and internationally famous artists perform during the year. For more information,

San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden
The Garden will engage and surprise the visitor with its rich variety of Mediterranean climate landscapes highlighting the beauty of both unusual and familiar plants displayed as they grow in their natural habitats. Located on Highway One between Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo in the El Chorro Regional Park, the garden is open to the public.
San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden – Not your grandmother’s garden!

Water Sports
San Luis Obispo County has something for everyone. The 80 miles of coastline offers: sailing; surfing; boogie boarding; windsurfing; deep-sea fishing, surf fishing and lake fishing; beachcombing; sail-boarding; and kayaking. Rentals of necessary equipment are available. The Morro Bay Yacht Club in Morro Bay teaches sailing to children and adults. It also offers bay and ocean racing opportunities for boat owners and people who would like to crew. Even if you don’t sail, watching the colorful fleet of small boats race in Morro Bay while you enjoy a leisurely lunch is a wonderfully pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

There are endless places along the beach to explore the tide pools, watch the sea otters, seals, birds, or just enjoy the colorful sunsets. Inland up in the surrounding mountains, Lopez Lake, Santa Margarita Lake, and Lake Nacimiento are perfect choices for fresh water fishing, boating, water skiing, sail-boarding and much more. In Atascadero, rent a paddleboat to enjoy the calm waters and view the wild bald eagles that nest at Atascadero Lake Park Pavilion.


Fishing & Whale Watching
There’s plenty of action here! Fishing is an all-year activity in San Luis Obispo County. Regular rainbow trout plants spark real action in cooler months at Lopez Lake, near Arroyo Grande. Crappie, red-ear sunfish, and largemouth and smallmouth bass provide the best angling in warmer months. Catfish have exceeded 25 pounds in Lopez Lake and are easily caught at dusk and dawn year round. Or cast your line into Santa Margarita Lake, off Highway 101 at Santa Margarita, and you'll find largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish and trout. Fishing is good from shore or use one of the launch ramps and try your luck from a boat or canoe. Though noted for its excellent fishing and peaceful boating, the park also hosts a vast range of hiking and riding trails, which offer breath-taking views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

There are several local sport fishing charter companies for deep-sea fishing and whale watching that offer day fishing trips during the season. Don’t forget fishing off the Cayucos Pier, the catch is great and you don’t need a license.

While at Atascadero's Lake Park, stroll over and enjoy an afternoon at the Charles Paddock Zoo with its "Big Cats" exhibit and 5 acres of other animal displays. The Zoo’s mission is to provide an educational resource for wildlife awareness and conservation, and an enriched recreational experience for the residents and visitors alike. Their high quality community facility is dedicated to the care of a variety of animals; and that this be accomplished in a publicly accessible and informative manner to promote a general appreciation of the special diversity of our planet’s life forms. The Zoo’s goals include conservation, recreation, and scientific studies.

San Luis Obispo County offers one of the finest, most beautiful and affordable locations for top-notch golf in the country! Enjoy a round a golf at one of the eleven golf courses in the San Luis Obispo County. The weather allows for great golfing year-around and the scenery is spectacular. The County of San Luis Obispo operates three courses: Morro Bay Golf Course, Dairy Creek Golf Course and Chalk Mountain Golf Course. The Morro Bay Golf Course is the best course on the Central Coast. Often called the “poor man’s Pebble Beach,” this course overlooks Morro Bay, the estuary and the ocean beyond and offers challenge and beauty alike.


Additional resources:

Farmers’ Markets

Hiking trails

Kayaking, boating and scuba


State Parks

Natural areas to visit

Cayucos State Beach

Elfin Forest

Los Osos Oak Preserve

Montaña Oro State Park

Morro Bay State Park

Morro Strand State Beach

Morro Bay State Preserve

Restaurants and wine country

Wine of San Luis Obispo County

Restaurants of San Luis Obispo County
Contact the Cottage, ask for Pandora and Gary’s personal favorite’s list with links to menus.


"You see, dear heart," said he, "that they will not leave the old dog in his kennel when the game is afoot."

~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Scottish writer; 1859-1930), from The White Company

For details and availability call us at (805) 528-1718
or see our calendar at:

couple walking on the beach
cayucos windmill
wild flowers
biking in Cambria


Purple Grapes
wine barrels
olive oil bottle


Cayucos Saloon

birds in flight
brown pelican

Mission San Luis Obispo

SLO Museum
Kayaking on Morro Bay

Lopez Lake fisherman

Morro Bay Golf Course

runner on the beach
Museum At Sunset

San Simeon Beach
Morro Bay