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Monthly Newsletter | April 2024

Welcome to the April 2024 edition of our newsletter!

Welcome to this month’s edition of our monthly newsletter, your guide to exploring the hidden gems and celebrated treasures of our vibrant region. In this issue, we take you on a scenic journey through one of our most breathtaking hikes, introduce you to a dining experience that promises to tantalize your taste buds, uncork the story of a local winery that’s capturing the hearts of wine lovers, and share a special event that’s not to be missed. Plus, a renowned local chef provides an exclusive recipe, adding a taste of San Luis Obispo to your kitchen. Join us as we explore the beauty, flavors, and spirit of San Luis Obispo County.



The Black Hill Trail in Morro Bay, California, is a scenic and enriching hiking experience that offers both seasoned hikers and casual walkers an opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Central Coast. Beginning at the Exercise Trail near the Morro Bay State Park Campground, this route leads adventurers through a captivating landscape towards the notable destination of Black Hill, presenting panoramic views, diverse ecosystems, and a serene ambiance that is both invigorating and tranquil.

Setting out from the Exercise Trail, hikers are greeted with a well-marked path that serves as the threshold to an adventure through Morro Bay State Park. The park, known for its significant natural and cultural resources, sprawls across lagoon and marsh habitats, offering a sanctuary to countless species of birds and wildlife. The initial portion of the hike is gentle, with the Exercise Trail providing an array of fitness stations that visitors can use to enhance their outdoor workout. The path is enveloped by lush vegetation, with the canopy of Monterey pines and coastal live oaks casting dappled shadows on the trail below. The air is crisp, filled with the sounds of nature, from the rustling of leaves to the distant calls of shorebirds.

As the hike progresses, the path gradually ascends, offering glimpses of the Morro Bay Estuary. This natural estuary is a critical habitat for many species and serves as a prime spot for birdwatching. The trail meanders through the park, showcasing the diverse flora that thrives in this unique coastal environment. Native plants, such as the fragrant sagebrush and colorful wildflowers, line the route, providing a sensory experience that is quintessentially Californian.

The heart of the hike is the ascent to Black Hill, one of the Nine Sisters, which are a chain of volcanic hills stretching across San Luis Obispo County. This part of the trail becomes more challenging, with a noticeable incline that tests the stamina of hikers. However, the effort is richly rewarded. As one climbs higher, the landscape unfolds in all directions – the Pacific Ocean sparkles to the west, the rugged contours of the Los Osos Valley stretch to the north, and the iconic Morro Rock stands sentinel at the mouth of the harbor.

Reaching the summit of Black Hill is a moment of triumph. At an elevation of 661 feet, the hilltop offers a 360-degree panorama that captures the essence of California’s Central Coast. The view is breathtaking, with the vastness of the ocean juxtaposed against the verdant hills and the urban charm of Morro Bay. It’s a perfect spot for reflection, photography, or simply enjoying the peace that comes from being atop one of the region’s most cherished landmarks.

The return journey allows for contemplation of the natural beauty and geological wonders experienced along the way. The descent back to the Exercise Trail near the Morro Bay State Park Campground is leisurely, offering a chance to revisit the scenic spots and perhaps catch sight of wildlife that may have been missed on the ascent.

The Black Hill Trail in Morro Bay, CA, is more than just a hike; it’s an exploration of the natural diversity and beauty that defines the Central Coast. From the initial steps on the Exercise Trail to the rewarding vistas at Black Rock, the route offers an unparalleled outdoor experience that leaves hikers with a deep appreciation for the natural world and the serene beauty of Morro Bay.

🥾 2.5 Miles
〽️ 660’
🦮 Dogs Not Allowed
🚵‍♂️ Mountain Biking Not Allowed
🌳 Lots of Shade
🦟 Watch out for Mosquitos!



The Cracked Crab seafood restaurant, nestled in the picturesque town of Pismo Beach, California, offers a culinary journey that’s both rustic and refined, embodying the essence of coastal dining. Established with the aim of creating a laid-back dining experience where quality and freshness of ingredients take center stage, Cracked Crab has become a beloved destination for both locals and travelers alike, eager to taste the bounty of the Pacific Ocean.

Upon entering Cracked Crab, guests are immediately enveloped in a warm and welcoming atmosphere, reminiscent of a traditional seaside shack but with touches of elegance that hint at the gourmet experience to come. The decor, featuring marine-themed elements and memorabilia, celebrates the local fishing culture and the restaurant’s close relationship with the sea. This setting perfectly complements the restaurant’s ethos of simplicity, sustainability, and community.

The menu at Cracked Crab is a testament to the richness of the local marine life, with dishes that highlight the freshest seafood caught off the California coast. The star of the menu is undoubtedly the crab, presented in various forms to showcase its versatility and inherent flavors. From whole Dungeness crabs to soft-shell crabs and crab cakes, each dish is prepared with a focus on enhancing the natural taste of the seafood without overpowering it with excessive seasonings or complicated preparations.

One of the restaurant’s signature experiences is the “Crab Bucket,” a communal feast that encourages diners to roll up their sleeves and dive into a bountiful selection of steamed seafood, including crab, shrimp, mussels, and clams, all tossed together with potatoes and corn on the cob. This meal is not just about savoring the flavors of the ocean; it’s about sharing and enjoyment, harking back to the communal seafood boils that are a staple of coastal communities.

In addition to its celebrated crab dishes, Cracked Crab offers a variety of other seafood specialties, such as seared scallops, grilled fish, and oyster shooters, each prepared with the same care and respect for the ingredients. The restaurant also accommodates those with dietary restrictions or preferences, offering vegetarian and gluten-free options, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the Cracked Crab experience.

Beyond its delectable menu, what sets Cracked Crab apart is its commitment to sustainability and supporting local fishermen and producers. The restaurant sources its seafood directly from local suppliers, guaranteeing not only the freshness and quality of its dishes but also contributing to the sustainability of local marine life and the prosperity of the community. This commitment is reflected in the ever-changing menu, which adapts to the seasonal availability of seafood, offering diners an authentic taste of Pismo Beach’s maritime heritage.

The Cracked Crab is more than just a restaurant; it’s an integral part of Pismo Beach’s culinary landscape, inviting visitors to partake in a dining experience that encapsulates the charm, bounty, and beauty of the California coast. With its friendly service, relaxed ambiance, and uncompromising dedication to quality and sustainability, Cracked Crab has earned its reputation as a must-visit destination for seafood lovers and anyone looking to experience the essence of Pismo Beach.

Whether you’re a seasoned seafood aficionado or a curious traveler eager to explore the local cuisine, Cracked Crab promises an unforgettable dining experience. From the moment you step inside until the last bite of your meal, you’ll be treated to a feast that delights the senses and warms the soul, all while basking in the laid-back luxury that is quintessentially Pismo Beach. So, if you find yourself in this charming coastal town, be sure to stop by Cracked Crab for a taste of the sea that you won’t soon forget.

Cracked Crab
751 Price Street
Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Sunday – Thursday
11:00 a.m. – 9:00p.m.

Friday – Saturday
11:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.



Calcareous Vineyard, nestled in the rolling hills of Paso Robles, CA, epitomizes the unique terroir and innovative spirit of California’s Central Coast wine region. This vineyard, named for the limestone soils that define its landscape, leverages the remarkable conditions of its environment to produce wines of distinct character and quality. To fully appreciate the significance of Calcareous Vineyard, one must understand the broader context of the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA) and the specific nuances of the Adelaida District, where the vineyard is geographically situated.

The Paso Robles AVA, part of California’s renowned Central Coast wine region, is a diverse and dynamic area that has gained recognition for its wide range of grape varieties and distinctive wine styles. Covering over 600,000 acres, this AVA is characterized by a varied topography, from flat valleys to rolling hills, and a climate that offers a significant diurnal temperature variation, with hot days and cool nights. This climate, along with the area’s varied soil types, creates an ideal environment for viticulture, allowing for the slow and even ripening of grapes. The region is best known for its Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Rhône varietals, but the diversity of its terroir supports the cultivation of a wide array of grape types.

Within the Paso Robles AVA lies the Adelaida District, a sub-AVA that distinguishes itself with its higher elevation, unique soil composition, and microclimate. The Adelaida District is renowned for its calcareous clay and limestone soils, which are highly prized in viticulture for their drainage properties and their ability to stress vines just enough to enhance the concentration and complexity of the grapes.

These soils, rich in minerals, contribute to the production of wines with notable minerality and depth. The district’s elevation, ranging from 900 to 2,200 feet above sea level, exposes vineyards to cooler temperatures and greater diurnal shifts, further contributing to the grapes’ balanced acidity and phenolic ripeness.

Calcareous Vineyard embodies the essence of the Adelaida District. Founded in 2000 by Lloyd Messer and Dana Brown, the vineyard is a testament to the potential of Paso Robles’ terroir. Situated on one of the highest points in the area, the vineyard benefits from the cool marine air that flows in from the Pacific Ocean, mitigating the heat of the California sun. This unique positioning, combined with the calcareous soil, allows Calcareous to produce wines that are both powerful and elegant, with a signature minerality that speaks to the land from which they come.

The portfolio of wines from Calcareous Vineyard is diverse, reflecting both the varietal diversity of the Paso Robles AVA and the unique characteristics of the Adelaida District. From robust, peppery Zinfandels to delicate, aromatic Viogniers, the wines are a celebration of their origin. The vineyard places a strong emphasis on sustainable farming practices, understanding that the quality of their wines is inherently linked to the health and vitality of the land.

Beyond the wines themselves, Calcareous Vineyard is committed to providing an exceptional experience for visitors. The vineyard’s tasting room, perched atop a hill with panoramic views of the Paso Robles countryside, offers not just a taste of their wines but a glimpse into the beauty and complexity of the region’s landscape. Wine enthusiasts and novices alike are welcomed to learn about the process of winemaking, from vine to bottle, and the role of terroir in shaping the character of a wine.

Calcareous Vineyard, with its focus on quality, innovation, and sustainability, is a shining example of what makes the Paso Robles AVA and the Adelaida District unique in the world of viticulture. Through their commitment to expressing the nuances of their terroir, they contribute to the ever-growing reputation of Paso Robles as a premier wine region, not just in California but globally. The vineyard’s success is a testament to the rich tapestry of soils, climates, and human passion that defines this vibrant winemaking community.

Calcareous Vineyard
3430 Peachy Canyon Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446

Monday – Sunday
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.



By Chef Candice Custodio

Chef Candice Custodio

A Cal Poly Alumni, Chef Candice Custodio is a Los Angeles native now permanently residing on the Central Coast. She has held various positions as an Executive Chef, Restaurant/Menu Consultant, Private Chef, and has been featured on the Food Network’s Chopped. She is currently the Chef at Kindred Oak Farm in Paso Robles, and owner and chef of Club SupSup.



The Morro Bay Kite Festival is a vibrant and joyous celebration that takes place annually in the scenic city of Morro Bay, California. This event transforms the sky into a canvas of colors, shapes, and motion, attracting both the young and the young at heart from various parts of the country. Held on the expansive beaches with the iconic Morro Rock in the backdrop, the festival is not just about flying kites but is a celebration of creativity, community, and the outdoors.

The festival, typically held in April, marks a time when spring is in full bloom, and the winds along the coast are ideal for kite flying. This makes Morro Bay not only a picturesque setting but also a perfect stage for the event. The festival’s origins are rooted in the community’s desire to celebrate the simple joys of life, family, and nature. Over the years, it has grown from a small local gathering to a significant event that draws kite enthusiasts and spectators from all corners.

One of the highlights of the Morro Bay Kite Festival is the incredible variety of kites displayed. From traditional diamond kites to intricate box kites and massive 3D kites that look like animals or fictional characters, the sky is filled with an impressive array of flying art. The festival features both professional kite flyers and amateurs, making it a welcoming event for everyone, regardless of their kite flying skills. Spectators can expect to see synchronized kite flying performances, where teams of flyers perform complex maneuvers with their kites dancing to music, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.


Join The Natural Toolbox and Pismo Beach Premium Outlets  Friday, April 19, 2024 through Monday, April 22, 2024 Earth Day 2024!

The Natural Toolbox will be distributing milkweed seeds to aid in the migration of the Monarch Butterfly, collecting used sneakers to benefit Care for Senior and Disabled Animals non-profit, beach clean up efforts and so much more! 

The Natural Toolbox located in the Pismo Beach Premium Outlets,  
Save the  (free milkweed seed giveaway to support our butterflies at The Natural Toolbox) 
CSADA (Care for Senior and Disabled Animals to help pay senior’s vet bills.
Sandy Feed Guardians (Beach Cleanup organization)
Miner’s Ace Hardware (Beach cleanup – donating buckets, trash pickers, and gloves)


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7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Come From Away

Performing Arts Center SLO | Harold Miossi Hall
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2:00 pm

Newsies Jr.

The Clark Center for the Performing Arts
7:00 pm

Newsies Jr.

The Clark Center for the Performing Arts
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There are so many great events coming up around SLO County. Here are a few of the future events we’ve got our eyes on:

  • Shabang SLO
  • Atascadero Tamale Festival
  • Skatesafari
  • Cayucos & Pismo 4th of July Celebrations
  • Paso Robles Mid-State Fair
  • Atascadero Hot El Camino Nights
  • WhaleRock Music Festival
  • Witches Paddle Morro Bay
  • Cambria Scarecrow Festival
  • Cambria Christmas Market


Looking for the perfect gift? Consider giving something inspired by SLO!


If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading our newsletter! ❤️

We’ll be back next month with even more ideas to hike around SLO County; a new bar, restaurant, and winery of the month; another extra special recipe from Chef Candice Custodio; and more special events you don’t want to miss! 

See you next month!


We love San Luis Obispo County, and San Luis Obispo Guide was started as a way for us to share why we love living here and why tourists love coming here to visit. There are so many wonderful people, amazing places, and incredible products to share (not to mention all the fantastic food, drink, and wine!), and we want to promote that through our website, social channels, and podcast so everyone can discover what makes SLO County so special.

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