California’s central coast offers wonderful opportunities for couples to head out of the city for a weekend of much needed R&R. Recently, my partner and I decided to get away and unplug for our anniversary. We returned to the lovely spot where we celebrated our anniversary a year prior – the Sycamore Mineral Springs and Resort in Avila Beach.
Located in Central California, about 2.5 hours north of Los Angeles and 3.5 hours south of San Francisco, Sycamore Mineral Springs and Resort offers the best of what Central Cal has to offer – acres of beautiful wooded trails, natural hot springs, locally sourced cuisine, nearby beachside hiking, and close proximity to the attractions within Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo.
If you are looking for a great way to slow down, unwind, and have some quality time together then here is an itinerary for the ultimate couple’s wellness day spent in Avila Beach.
9:00 a.m.: Gentle Yoga in Sycamore Spring’s Yoga Dome
Set the tone for your day by taking a calming yoga class within the spacious and tranquil Yoga Dome. You will be impressed by this grand round space and the nurturing effect it has on your yoga practice. In addition to yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi are also offered during the week and all classes are complimentary for resort guests. The teachers are knowledgeable and take the time to give each student individual attention. All equipment is provided for your convenience. All you have to do is show up and let go.
10:30 a.m.: Brunch
After yoga, take a stroll down the hill to The Gardens of Avila Restaurant. If you’re a fan of farm-to-table dining then you will love their menu in which many ingredients are sourced directly from the organic garden on site. Indulge in their Bottomless Mimosas while sitting on the beautifully landscaped enclosed patio or grab a table by the inviting hearth fire. You’ll find a variety of tasty options such as the decadent Caramelized Apple French Toast, the healthy and savory Sycamore Vegetable Omelet, the light and fluffy Lemon-Poppy Seed Pancakes, and for the meat lovers, their classic Steak and Eggs. The meals are hearty so you’ll feel nourished and ready for the day ahead.
12:00 p.m.: Stroll through the Avila Valley Barn
Within 10 minutes’ drive from the resort is the irresistibly charming farmer’s market and petting zoo, The Avila Valley Barn. Kids and kids-at-heart delight in feeding and petting the animals on the farm which include goats, chickens, ostriches, ponies, a very friendly cow, and a reserved tortoise. This time of year there is every possible variety of pumpkin and photo opportunities abound on the enormous hay bale throne. You can lose yourself in the corn maze after nibbling on an ear of roasted corn on the cobb. The barn is fully stocked with fresh fruits and veggies, delectable baked goods, and provisions like preserves, local honey, and dried fruit and nuts. Make sure to take home one of the many handmade crafts as a memento of your visit.
2:00 p.m. – Sunset: Hike along the beach and explore Avila’s caves.
Next, make your way back up and past the resort to the hikes around Avila’s famous caves and beaches. Give yourself a few hours so that you don’t feel hurried to pick a trail. Instead, meander all of them to discover the unique vistas and winding paths down to the sandy shore. For the adventurous, you can scale cliff sides to make your way into the unforgettable caves. You’ll want to have your camera ready to capture the truly beautiful terrain. Remember to toss a blanket in the car so that you can take a seat and get cozy while you enjoy the stellar sunset. You’ll notice the parking lot filling up as locals come to take in the tangerine and mauve hues as the sun sinks below the horizon.
6:00 p.m.: Soak and Massage at the Sycamore Spa and Hot Springs
After taking in that lovely sunset, make your way back to the resort for an evening treatment at the spa. From the moment you step into the waiting area, you are engulfed in beauty and serenity. With your massage comes a complimentary soak in the healing hot springs. Feel any tension just slip away as you sink into the private and secluded tubs with temperatures that hover around 101°F. This will prepare you to just melt into the massage table as your capable and friendly massage therapist soothes those muscles that got a workout during your hike. You will leave floating.
8:00 p.m.: Dinner in Pismo Beach
For a quick change of scenery take a ten-minute drive down to Pismo Beach Pier where you will find an array of intriguing restaurants boasting a wide range of cuisines to satisfy any palate. For elegant yet unpretentious waterfront dining, you can’t lose with the Oyster Loft. Serving contemporary fare, their dishes are thoughtfully prepared and beautifully presented. From the fresh Kumamoto oysters to the exquisite Roasted Beets and Chèvre salad, to the perfectly seasoned Cioppino seafood stew and the rich, creamy Wild Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto, you are in for a meal that you won’t soon forget. Don’t hesitate to ask for suggestions on a bottle of wine to accompany your dinner. Or if you choose to bring something from your own collection, you’ll find that their corkage fee is reasonable. Finish with one of their perfect Crème Brûlées or their truly heavenly Peanut Butter Chocolate Tower.
11:00 p.m.: A restful close to a full day
Return back to your impeccably appointed resort accommodations where your every comfort has been considered. Sycamore Springs hosts 72 spa guest rooms and suites and a 3-bedroom guest house. Before enfolding yourself within the soft and luxurious bed linens, cozy up in front of the fire or take another soak in your private hot tub. Then let the Sandman do his work as you drift off to sleep within an elegant four-post bed. To make your special stay complete, opt for the Romance Package and the staff will scatter rose petals around the bedroom and have champagne and chocolate truffles awaiting you. Every opportunity is taken to ensure that your stay is unforgettable.
After a day like this, you’ll understand why we booked stays here two years in a row and you’ll be inspired to do the same.
© 2018 Tamara Jefferies, © 2018 Gary Augustyn – Imagined Photo
Writer and photographer couple, Tamara and Gary (respectively), are based in Long Beach, CA, and spend much of their free time taking photos and writing about the new places they discover together. Learn more about what they do at imaginedphoto.com and tamarajefferies.com.