Ending of Phase 2 Reopening in SLO

June 14, 2020
Stating tomorrow, San Luis Obispo County will move into Phase 3 of reopening and today is the last day of phase 2. A lot has happened since my past post during phase 1. 

The kids are done with distance learning now so we have a bit of free time. I've notice a lot of tourists are here on the weekends at Pismo Beach too. Most of them were not wearing masks. I often wonder if they are refusing to wear one or if they just don't have one. See my DIY fabric face mask blog post.

During the week, all of the locals are amazing at wearing masks to grocery stores but on the weekends when the tourists are here, many inside of the grocery stores don't have them on, even though there is a sign in front asking them to wear them.

Picture of Phase 1 reopening at Pismo State Beach Above

We've been to the beach three times since the reopening started: once during phase 1 and twice during phase 2, which included a day during Memorial Day weekend. With Phase 3 opening tomorrow, I feel that tourists will feel even more comfortable with traveling so things around here will feel like there's no pandemic at all.

See our beach picture from Memorial Day weekend last month at Pismo State Beach above during Phase 2 of reopening. 

It is inevitable that that a second wave of coronavirus infections are coming our way when fall and winter come around. Then, we'll have to worry about both the flu and coronavirus because as we all know, during the colder weather is when the viruses thrive.

Stay healthy, everyone! Stay a safe distance and wear a mask if you can, to help your elders and those with autoimmune diseases. Enjoy your summer because we'll probably end up with another closure after the summer is over and more people are getting sick again. That is just my guess and only time will tell when it's going to happen.

What to do for Father's Day in SLO

June 4, 2020
As more businesses are reopening up, being out and about for Father's Day is doable now. Here are some ideas on what to do around San Luis Obispo County that will not break the bank and help make it a memorable day.

  1. Avila Valley Barn - Open every day from 10AM - 6PM, Avila Valley Barn has a storefront that is considered a grocery store so they have remained open during the pandemic. You can feed the animals, walk around the farm and buy some local goods. Parking is always free so you can just stroll around without spending a buck, unless you want to buy some food for the goats. Address: 560 Avila Beach Drive San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
  2. Beach Day at Pismo Beach - The beaches are open here in San Luis Obispo County, including our most popular one, Pismo Beach. As a local, I still love coming to this beach because there are so many restaurants nearby. I love seeing visitors come here and enjoying my county. Some of the restaurants offer clam chowder, sandwiches and ethnic cuisines so the choices are plenty. Parking can be difficult but if you don't mind walking a few blocks away, it is very doable.
  3. Monarch Butterfly Grove (Grover Beach to Pismo Beach) - Monarch Butterfly Grove is a state park so it's open year round and always a big tourist spot. I come here for the trails behind it and I suggest everyone to take advantage of it. You can get to the ocean this way! It is such a beautiful walk through the trails but it's not very accessible for the disabled. However, the main Butterfly Grove area is spacious and allows room for those who need accessibility and strollers. You can also get to Monarch Butterfly Grove from the Grover Beach side off of Grand Avenue using the Meadows Trail.
  4. Creek Walk Stroll in Downtown - Whenever we are in downtown San Luis Obispo, we try to walk through it via the creek walk that's adjacent to Higuera St. It's a very easy walk and it actually goes right under the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Church, a famous landmark, as well. It's a very peaceful walk and you can get to so many other businesses by going up and down the creek, as an alternative route to the busy road.

DIY Face Masks

April 10, 2020

Since disposable face masks were being reserved for our healthcare workers at the beginning of the pandemic, we've resorted to making face masks with things we already have at home. While I was pregnant I picked up sewing to hem my maternity pants. Several years later, this sewing machine is coming around to be so useful for today's pandemic.

Week 1 of Making Face Masks

Using Hobby Lobby's guidelines, here are the two face mask sizes I made pictured below: one standard size and the other one was made to fit my kids. The Hobby Lobby's guidelines is set for the standard adult size for pleated face masks. I attempted to make the first one for my sons but then realized it was way too big so this big green one is now mine and the second smaller one pictured below is for my sons. They both have small heads so I made two of the small ones in the same pattern.

I couldn't find new elastic bands online for purchase and didn't want to go on a long scavenger hunt at our local stores so I found these old elastic headbands in my bathroom cabinet and used them as ear loops instead. They were amazing substitutes! I had one in black, green and white so they were just enough for our four face masks! I had to make the ear loops for my kids shorter. Otherwise, the small face mask wouldn't fit securely on their faces.

The most time consuming part for me was measuring the pleats evenly on both sides. The pleats are helpful in making sure the mouth and nose get good coverage. 

For the pleated face mask, according to Hobby Lobby's instructions, you'd need a fabric that is 8 inches x 15 inches. I used those dimensions for my husband and me. For the kids, I had to kind of eye it so for my boys (3 and 6 years old), I decided to cut the fabric size to 8 inches x 10 inches for them. It was perfect for my 6 year old but slightly too big for my 3 year old. However, it did not fall off his face and he could grow into them quickly. If your kid's face is on the bigger side, make them bigger than that and use your best judgment. I also feel that if you use hair ties instead of headbands, you'd need to make sure that the hair tie is long enough. I've found hair ties that were too short to use as ear loops.

Other things at home that you could use as elastics for the ear loops include old bikini straps and elastics inside of fitted sheets that you no longer use and can repurpose as a face mask.

This is a picture of the other two face masks I made below. I made my husband's face mask with his favorite NFL sports team's fabric, the Carolina Panthers.

For the kids' masks, you can see that I didn't add as many pleats.

UNIME Anti-Dust Mouth Mask Cotton Mouth Mask,Unisex Black Face Mask Reusable Fashion Mask Anime Face Mask Washable Mask Reusable Mask for Cycling Camping Travel for Men Women,Pack of 2

Week 2 of Making Face Masks
After I finished making pleated face masks for my family, a new trend started online of more people wearing non-pleated masks. Some of them even look like bra cups, which is facinating to me. If we save all of these non-pleated face masks, we can make bikini tops for the summer! I wanted to see if making these masks would be easier to make so I watched a tutorial online from Treasurie's blog and made myself a fabric stencil for it. 

There is definitely more cutting involved for making the non-pleated cup style face masks but I still enjoyed learning to make it. This mask ended up being a 3 layer mask so there is a sense of protection there and I find that this mask style is easier to breathe through than the pleated ones. Whether they offer more or the same protection as the pleated face masks, I'm not sure?

Here's how my non-pleated face mask looks below. I also now use pantyhose cuts as ear loops, instead of elastics because elastics are still so hard to find now. However, I've discovered that these nylon pantyhose subsitutions are so much better for the ears as they don't hurt when you wear them for too long. I also want to note that this sailboat face mask was made from a baby bed sheet that both of my kids used when they slept in a crib. Therefore, any mask that I make out of this has so much sentimental value to me.

Week 3 of Making Face Masks
After a couple of weeks of making face masks, I decided that I was confident enough to make face masks as gifts for friends. Here's how my 3rd week of face mask making looks like below. These are pleated face masks that I've significantly improved since week 1. The ear loops of these below are also made out of 1 inch cuts from a nylon pantyhose. I'm more careful with sizing my pleats and making sure my sewing is more steady. Plus, I'm not taking any more shortcuts and used an iron.

Stay safe, everyone. 

Similar Supplies for Sewing Projects:
Nautical Light Blue Sail Boat Marine Print Cotton Drapery Upholstery Fabric 55"W (by The Yard)

melupa 109 Yards Length 1/4 Inch Width Elastic Bands White Braided Elastic String Cord Heavy Stretch Elastic Rope for Sewing Craft, DIY Earloop, Beading

Shelter at Home During Covid 19 Closures

March 29, 2020
We've just finished Week 2 of sheltering at home and we're starting to have a decent routine down. Surprisingly, my kids have not asked me to take them to the park or anything like that yet. It's also my husband's second week working from home so I think that they're just enjoying being able to spend more time with him, even if it means we're just playing at home.

Only one of my kids is old enough to go to school so I've only had to worry about homeschooling my 6 year old. His kindergarten teacher has been really proactive in making sure the kids have everything they need to complete their assignments at home. We generally have 5 - 6 assignments every day, Monday through Friday. It helps keep my son busy and gives me peace in knowing that we're still doing everything we can academically. 

We've also taken advantage of the free meals for kids during school closures. We've only done 3 pick-ups within the last 2 weeks but we're planning on picking them up at least twice next week. (See a list of schools that provide free meals to kids during the Coronavirus closures.) My son likes the surprise brown bags or boxes that we'd get. We're grateful for this. Generally, it's the only reason I strap them in the car and take them out of the home. There's never a line when we go pick up my kids' meals. The meals are for any child ages between 0 - 18 years old. The meal pick-up times are between 11AM - 1PM but we generally go around 11:15AM. The milk that they give the kids have been helpful in making sure we have milk at home for them. 

I'm an introvert so staying home, watching TV and shopping online generally keep me occupied and content. My husband, on the other hand, is having a harder time staying home all the time. He's used to being out and about every day because of work. He's relying on facebook a lot to get his social fix. We've also designated him as our food runner to get groceries so he generally gets out of the house at least twice a week to do that for us. He'd get the groceries and then I make him immediately take off all his clothes and put them in the washer and take a shower so that we can avoid any exposure to any coronavirus on his clothes. We haven't been using gloves nor masks when we get out but I've noticed that about 25% of the people do. I've heard people in the bay area are more diligent on using gloves and wearing masks when they are at the grocery store. I'm thinking as the number of people infected in SLO county increases or the situation in our country gets worse, more gloves and masks will come out.

I'm saddened to hear that one of my friends lost her job due to this pandemic. With businesses closing, many have had to cut back employee's hours or lay off their staff. We're blessed that my husband has been able to work from home and keep his job. We'll always need electricity right?

I'm also saddened that the hospital staff members are going through a rough time already at Week 2. Not so much here in SLO but I'm originally from San Diego and the coronavirus Covid-19 situation is worse there. One of my close friends is an anesthetist at a hospital and she's confessed to me yesterday that going to work lately has been like going to the battlefield. She lives in San Diego and works night shifts and with both of her kids at home now, she said it has been hard. I'm sure the sleep is not easy during the day. I'm so proud of her but I hope she stays safe.

Stay safe everyone.


Free Meals for Kids in San Luis Obispo County during Coronavirus Covid 19 Closing

March 14, 2020
Locations of schools offering free breakfasts and lunches for all children and teenagers during school closures against Coronavirus Covid-19 are listed in the flyers below for San Luis Coastal Unified School District, Lucia Mar Unified School District, Atascadero Unified School District and Paso Robles Joint Unified School District.

Lucia Mar Unified School District
6/08 Update: Four different school locations under Lucia Mar Unified School District are offering free meals to children and teenagers from Monday - Friday between 11AM - 1PM through August 7th which include breakfast and lunch. Free meals from Lucia Mar Unified School District is available to all children 18 and under and they don't have to be a student at the school they are picking the free meals from.

San Luis Coastal Unified School District
Now only 5 school locations under SLCUSD are offering free meals.The five schools are: Laguna Middle School, Los Osos Middle School, Del Mar Elementary and Sinsheimer Elementary.

SLCUSD 6/01 Update: SLCUSD Families only need to place ONE ORDER for the 8 week summer meal kit plan, June 10 - July 29. One form per family; open to ALL SLCUSD students AND SIBLINGS. Please place orders by 12pm Tuesday for Wednesday pick up. See details on this link: For this revised program by San Luis Obispo Coastal Unified School District, they are offering the free meals for SLCUSD students only and a student ID will be required for pre-order online. Pick ups are on Wednesdays only for this particular school district.

Atascadero Unified School District
4/6 Update: Now that Spring Break is over for this district, Atascadero Unified School District is offering free meals to all kids between the ages of 0-18 years old from 11AM - 1PM from Monday - Friday again but their list of schools offering this has decreased even more. Here is the most recent flyer below from their 4/6 update on the Atascadero Unified School District's website. So far, there has not been any update on whether they are extending free meals beyond the last day of the school year for Atascadero Unified School District.

Kids don't have to be going to any of the schools to get the free meals but do need to be with you to pick up their free meals with you. See flyer below for exact pick up location and details.

Paso Robles Joint Unified School District
06/09/20 Update: Three locations are providing free meals to children under 18 from Monday - Friday from June through July 31, 2020. Details on free summer meals to children by Paso Robles Unified School District.

These are free meals for your kids during the coronavirus school closures. With the exception of the San Luis Coast Unified School District, the other ones require no sign ups at all. Times for free meal pick ups are 11AM - 1PM, Monday to Friday, for most of the schools located on the flyers (except for San Luis Coast Unified School District). Some of the free meal programs will end sooner than the others. Please check with each school for most recent updates and changes.
Website for San Luis Coastal Unified School District
Website for Lucia Mar Unified School District
Website for Paso Robles Joint Unified School District
Website for Atascadero Unified School District
Website for Templeton Unified School District
Website for Shandon Joint Unified School District
Website for San Miguel Joint Union
Website for Cambria Coast Unified School District
Website for Cayucos Elementary School District


Tooth and Nail Winery in Paso Robles Review

March 8, 2020
There's not a shortage of wineries in San Luis Obispo County. With more than 200 wineries just in Paso Robles alone, it'll take years before you can visit them all. Paso Robles is located in the northern side of San Luis Obispo County and depending on when you visit, the weather here could be drastically different than the main San Luis Obispo area or beachside.

One of the more famous wineries is Tooth & Nail Winery and just entering the parking lot will explain why. The tasting room and space is a castle with a moat.
(Entrance of Tooth & Nail)

Bustling with visitors from all over California, many have their phones ready for selfies and instagram-worthy shots. The tasting room does not allow kids and dogs but the patio space does! On a nice day, you'd want to sit outside anyhow. There were a few dogs and kids there hanging in the seating areas with the umbrellas outside so don't shy away if you have kids and pets in tow. 

We hung out outside with the kiddos and tried some tastings with some food.

There are two tasting groups you can pick from: standard or unconventional. We went with the unconventional and I tell you, it's worth trying the unconventional if you feel daring and need a change for your palate! If you aren't adventurous with your tastebuds, then steer away and stick with the standard. The tacos that I ordered came with 3 in one entree order! There were no sides included with it so we also ordered a side of fries. They were all good!

(accessible entrance from the left side)

As you get into the parking lot, you'll see a line of stairs. If you have strollers or a wheelchair or don't feel like walking those steps, park to the left side of the Castle and you'll be able to go through a more accessible entrance from the side.

If you're coming to Paso Robles for just a weekend and have never had wine in this area, I'd say make sure you stick Tooth & Nail Winery in your itinerary! It's worth the visit and the architecture makes this winery stand out from many others!

Address of Tooth & Nail Winery: 3090 Anderson Rd, Paso Robles, CA 93446
Read about other wineries we've visited in the San Luis Obispo county area

Easter Egg Hunts 2020 in San Luis Obispo County

March 4, 2020
Update: When I was compiling this list a couple of months ago, I had no idea coronavirus Covid-19 was going to shut down our country. All Easter egg hunts throughout San Luis Obispo have been canceled. I hope you and your loved ones have a safe and healthy Easter Day at home this year. Future upcoming free events in San Luis Obispo County will be posted on our Family-Friendly Activities page at the top.

March 28, 2020 (Sat) - (Note: This event is now CANCELED by organizers as a precaution against the Coronavirus Covid-19) Kids Day and Egg Hunt from 11AM - 2PM at Nipomo Community Park. Free event with bounce house, carnival games, magic show and model rocket launches. Free Easter Egg Hunt with 17,000 eggs on the Baseball Field. Separate egg hunts by age: 0 - 2 years old, 6 - 8 years old and 9 - 12 years old. Bring your own basket! Address: 904 W Tefft St, Nipomo, CA 93444

April 4, 2020 (Sat) - Hop To It: Visit the Easter Bunny in Paso Robles from 11AM - 2PM at the Downtown Park Holiday House. (<<<This event is now CANCELED by organizer) Meet the Easter Bunny at the holiday house in Downtown City Park. Bring the kids and the whole family and hop to it for some holiday fun! Address: 800 block of 11th St, Paso Robles, CaA 93446

April 5, 2020 (Sun) - Easter Egg Hunt On The Farm at 11AM at Foss Farm in Atascadero. (<<<This event is now CANCELCED by the organizer) This will be a fundraiser for farmer Jenn's Arthritis Foundation bike ride that she will be doing in October! $5+ donation a child is asked. Bring your easter egg basket and a camera! (Egg hunt for ages infant to who still believes) Enjoy hunting for eggs and meeting the horses and chickens. Address: 3300 Traffic Way, Atascadero, CA 93422

April 11, 2020 (Sat) - Free Egg Hunt at Laguna Lake Park from 11AM - 12PM. (<<<Now CANCELED by City of San Luis Obispo) Hippity Hoppity! Join the Bunny for an exciting adventure while searching for prize filled eggs. Don't forget to bring a basket! Address: 504 Madonna Rd., San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

April 11, 2020 (Sat) - Egg Hunt & Festival at 10AM at Elm Street Park in Arroyo Grande. Free entry. (<<<Now CANCELED by the City of Arroyo Grande) Egg hunts for kids and adults, bunny photo opportunity, egg toss, carnival, face painting and bounce house. Bounce House and carnival have fees but everything else is free. Address: 1221 Ash St., Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

April 11, 2020 (Sat) - Easter Eggstravaganza at Dinosaur Caves Park in Pismo Beach from 10AM - 1PM. (<<<There was no official announcement but since they removed this event from the website, it's CANCELED.) Hunt is FREE! The celebration includes games, bounce houses, face painting, a balloon artist and much more. Participants are asked to bring their own basket or bag to collect their eggs and goodies. To ensure the safety of all participants, different hunt times are scheduled for different age groups as follows: Ages 3 & Under: 10:10am Ages 4-6: 10:40am Ages 7-9: 11:10am Ages 10-12: 11:40am. Address: 2701 Price St., Pismo Beach, CA 93449

April 11, 2020 (Sat) - Cayucos Easter Egg Hunt at Hardie Park from 10AM - 10:30AM. (<<<CANCELED by City of Cayucos) The fun starts promptly at 10 AM so arrive early and meet the Easter Bunny. Hardie Park is located at Ash Avenue & "B" St. across the street from the pool. Address: Ash Ave &, B St, Cayucos, CA 93430

This list was compiled by by looking up multiple sources. Please check with the event's website to make sure any details don't change last minute. Happy Hunting!

To see other upcoming familly-friendly events all over San Luis Obispo county, go to the Family-Friendly Events page.

Hotels Closest to Ravine Water Park in Paso Robles

March 1, 2020

The Ravine Water Park in Paso Robles is a large and fun waterpark in San Luis Obispo County. The only other water park is at Lopez Lake in Arroyo Grande and it's much smaller.

Stay close to the Ravine Water Park for your trip. There are a handful of hotels that you can stay at in Paso Robles that are within 7 miles are less.

Here is the list of hotels below by distance from Ravine Water Park:

La Quinta Inn & Suites Paso Robles
1.8 miles away from Ravine Water Park
Located in the heart of the central coast wine district, the La Quinta Inn & Suites Paso Robles is an elegant hotel that offers all new rooms and modern amenities to ensure your comfort. Free wireless high-speed Internet access, wine and gift shop in the lobby, heated outdoor pool and spa, fitness center, business center, and Free Bright Side BreakfastTM that includes hot eggs, sausage and potatoes are just a few of the many reasons this Paso Robles hotel is right for you. (From $240 a night depending on dates)

Holiday Inn & Suites Express Paso Robles
2.8 miles away from Ravine Water Park
With complimentary breakfast each morning, you start the day with a full belly here. Our hotel's near Ravine Waterpark, where families are welcome to race down water slides and float along lazy rivers. Corporate travelers staying in Paso Robles, CA love our hotel's convenient business center, which boasts free wired and wireless Internet access, copy and print services. (From $290 a night, depending on dates)

Courtyard Paso Robles
4.9 miles away from Ravine Water Park
Located near Highway 101, popular wineries, beaches and attractions like Hearst Castle, you can take advantage of the best of the central coast region. As a guest at the Courtyard Paso Robles hotel, you'll also enjoy a spacious guest room that ingeniously blends comfort and function. (From $300 a night, depending on dates)

La Bellasera Hotel & Suites
6.7 miles away from Ravine Water Park
This luxurious hotel is an oasis of elegance, warmth, and impeccable service. Our focus is one of total quality in customer service, set in the tranquility of our full-service lifestyle hotel. The facility offers impeccable guest rooms and first class accommodations. La Bellasera Hotel and Suites will keep you coming back and is located at the junction of Highway 101 and Highway46 West. (Rates from $360 a night depending on dates)

Hampton Inn & Suites Paso Robles
6.9 miles away from Ravine Water park
Our Hampton Inn hotel also offers a complimentary breakfast bar convention facilities for up to 100 a guest business center an outdoor heated swimming pool with whirlpool a fitness center Suite Shop and Wine Cellar. We love having you here in California at the Hampton Inn - Suites Paso Robles hotel. (Rates from $271 a night depending on dates)

See all hotels in Paso Robles.

SLO Craft Beer Fest 2020

February 23, 2020
Two days ago, went to the SLO Craft Beer Fest at the Alex Madonna Expo Center at the famous Madonna Inn property in San Luis Obispo, California.

We decided to go with the Friday (Feb 21, 2020) ticket versus the Saturday ticket because it was significantly cheaper and we're hoping it would be less crowded. It was a steady crowd but not overwhelming and we enjoyed ourselves with unlimited tastings and food samples too. We didn't have to bring any extra cash for food and drinks because our ticket included all of that. We only spent extra on t-shirt merchandise. They had over 50 breweries participating for this unlimited tasting event and about 5 - 10 food vendors. There was no way that I could try all 50 breweries. I had to pace myself and limit myself to breweries I've never tried before and limited releases.

(SLO Craft Beer Fest Cup)

(Photo booth was free)

As someone who often is the one taking pictures of everything and everyone else but myself, their free photo booth there was a nice treat for me. I got to keep a photo keepsake of my husband and me attending the event. You get 3 shots and they had fun props you could use to take pictures of yourself or with your group. 

These are pictures of the breweries I've tried. Sometimes my hand would get busy so I couldn't take them all but these breweries were coming from all over California.

Radio Station 100.9 was playing music at the beginning and then a live reggae band started playing towards the latter part of the evening. 

You know you're part of a different era when most of the young people just stand around and watch the live band and afraid to move or bop their head. Those who dance were a rarity and a treat to watch.

My husband and I did not go hungry that night. We had pizza, tacos, bbq sandwiches, chili and there were other options that we didn't even had enough room in our tummies to try!

There were a few other business that sold t-shirts and coasters. 

There were restrooms inside the expo center but the event was also very well prepared with over a dozen porto - potties outside. There was usually a line for the indoor restrooms and never a line for the outdoor porto - potties so go outside instead and ditch the line. 

In all, I totally recommend beer enthusiasts going to this annual SLO Craft Beer Fest event, especially if you haven't tried many of the local beers yet. We've only lived in SLO county for a year so this was such a great opportunity for us to explore many breweries we've heard about but hadn't had a chance to try until we came to this event. There were also a lot of limited releases from breweries there. I can't see why anyone wouldn't be able to enjoy themselves here! It was so fun and the tastings were unlimited, as well as the food! 

This is a 21+ event so adults only and no kids allowed. We found a babysitter to watch our kids for this special event. We also took an Uber to travel there and back, which was pricey but worth it. They were fast and efficient when we were ready for a ride. Some of the local hotels partnered up with this event and offered free shuttles so look into that for a future SLO Craft Beer Fest event.

All photos were taken by, anonymously. Look out for my next blog entry.

Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa

February 16, 2020
As a Valentine's Day celebration, my husband and I used the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa gift card he gifted me last November for our 7th anniversary yesterday.

We're still having trouble finding a steady babysitter out here and since my parents were planning on visiting us for a few days, we took this chance to have our very first couple's massage together. After our spa time, we also decided to have brunch at Gardens of Avila Restaurant, also inside of Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort. We're still newbies in this area so we're a bit clueless on how things work around here and hopefully, reading about our experience will help you navigate around here better. Scroll down to see more pictures and details from our experience.
(each private mineral spring has green wooden walls like this that you see as you come up the path)

I had called a couple of weeks ahead to book our spa reservation. Our couple's massage comes with a 30 minute soak in the mineral spring. It's a private setting so my husband and I will get to enjoy the soak with just each other. The reservationist also said that we get to go in the 'hot tub' for another 30 minutes after the massage too. I was a bit confused about that so I asked her to confirm if I was hearing this right: 30 minutes in the mineral spring before the couple's massage, 50 minutes of couple's massage and then 30 minutes in the 'hot tub' after the massage. She said yes, I heard right. Well, we didn't get to do the 30 minutes of the "hot tub after" as I expected, which I'll get into detail. 

Coming here, it may be a bit strange but you have to go through the gift shop (different building from the hotel lobby) in order to get to the glass doors of the spa. You give the gift shop personnel your names and then they check the reservation list. After they've verified our names, we were then instructed to go through the back door and through a little cute path, we found our glass door entrance to the spa on the right. Upon entering, the front desk spa personnel asked us to fill out a double-sided form and then we waited to get further instructions for our locker room numbers. 

While waiting for our locker room designation, I sat on the bench and stared at this wonderful lay out of water and teas. It was really relaxing just sitting here and I had an inkling that I was going to really enjoy this experience with my husband. 

When the personnel came out to tell us our locker room numbers, she held out a lock in front of us to instruct us what to do. I proceeded to ask if I had to hit the "#" button at any point because it's there and many other key locks have prompted me to do that in the past and she said "no". Do not hit the "#" key at any point while you are locking and unlocking with the 4 digit code of your choice when using this. Then, my husband and I split into our restrooms. He went to the men's and I went to the women's. We went through different doors to get to our different restrooms from the waiting area and after we're done changing into our robes and locking our clothes and belongings away, we met back in the waiting area again. After a few minutes, the spa personnel said we may enter outside and we'll see flights of stairs directly across from the glass entrance. Our mineral spring area was the one labeled "Gemini". We climbed the stairs and passed by a few other private springs until we've found ours. Be careful when you're climbing the steps and if you have trouble climbing stairs, I really don't see any other way to get to the mineral springs because there are no elevators that I saw as an alternative route and it's all uphill outside. 
(Gemini was ours for 30 minutes)

After we've found our mineral spring and went behind the entrance wall, we've discovered that it's not completely covered with walls around our mineral spring. There's no wall facing the woods so we immediately thought, "wow, hopefully no one can see us and there's no hidden camera" because under our robes, my husband and I were naked. We'd brought our bathing suits but we had left it in the lockers after we've been told that it's a private spa. I guess it is private in the sense that no one would be able to see you if they're coming up the path. This was an interesting and thrilling experience at the same time. 
(you can see the woods while sitting in the mineral spring of "Gemini")

The spa was hot with jets and perfect for a chilly February morning.

When it got close to our appointment time, a staff member knocked on our wall and alerted us that we have 10 minutes to get back to the waiting area for our 11AM couple's massage. My husband and I were ready so we put our robes back on and walked down the path to return to the glass spa entrance. The front desk personnel said we can go back to our locker rooms if we needed to change towels, etc. and we would come back to the waiting room when we're done. So my husband and I split again to go to our gender assigned restrooms, women and men, and returned back to meet in the waiting room. The splitting and meeting again was exciting to me because I felt like each time we did this, it's like another date. Is that weird?

After reuniting again in the waiting room to wait for our masseuses to come get us, a masseuse called out my name and then said we're going to be in room #1. She asked me if we've done this before while my husband's masseuse asked him the same question as we walked towards our assigned massage room. As we entered our private room, there were 2 massage beds side-by-side and we were instructed to lie down, face down in between the sheets. The masseuses left the room for 5 minutes while my husband and I disrobed and slipped into our respective beds. When they came back, they started our massages. My masseuse started massaging my arms, shoulders and back first, then my legs and feet and lastly, my head. It was a wonderful 50 minutes experience. My body was all relaxed with essential oils. The masseuses stepped outside for a few minutes so that we could put our robes back on after it was all done. As we're saying our 'thank you's", my husband asked where the hot tub is and the masseuses were confused. He said we thought we're supposed to get the 'hot tub' for 30 minutes after the massage. Then, they asked if we've already went into the mineral spa and we said "yes" and that, that was it. I was so totally confused but also, really relaxed already and I was okay with not going into the 'hot tub'. My husband was really hungry at this point so he was okay with not going into a 'hot tub' after our massage as well. So, we split again for the third (also last) time during our spa session and went to our respective restrooms to put our clothes back on.

After we were both ready, we met in the waiting room and checked out at the front desk at the spa. I don't know why but I didn't think about asking about the 'hot tub' post-massage session for clarification but both my husband and I were so relaxed and hungry. We were just anxious to eat at the Gardens of Avila on the property so maybe that was why it just didn't cross our minds.

My husband and I were clueless on how much we're supposed to tip a masseuse so we went with standard the 15 - 20% and tipped each our masseuse $25. Our total came out to $330 with tip. I don't think we'll be doing these Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa visits very often! It was a very special spa experience, however, the post-massage 'hot tub' question somehow lingers in the background. More on that actually comes up unexpectedly again while we're brunching at the restaurant!

As we stepped out of the beautiful glass spa doors, exited the gift shop, made our way up the path towards the resort lobby and into the Gardens of Avila Restaurant, we've discovered that the quaint and unique lay out of this restaurant was definitely a perfect ending to the 3 hours we've allotted to this Valentine's Day date before we'd return to our precious little boys and relieve my parents of their babysitting duties.

We didn't make a reservation for our brunch at Gardens at Avila Restaurant but there was no wait so we were seated at the two-top by the window immediately. It's always easier when you're just dining as two, isn't it? They had pink napkins laid out. I don't know if the napkins here are always pink or if it's because of Valentine's Day weekend but they really brightened up the room.
(Inside of Gardens of Avila inside of Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort)

I loved the ambiance right away. The bar is especially interesting because the bar counter was not high like other typical bars. However, the staff behind the bar looked little because they had to step down when they entered the back space. That was very memorable and I like that uniqueness. I would like to sit at the bar in the future someday. For our Valentine's Day celebration, I was happy to sit at a table by the window with my husband to enjoy a rare brunch with just the two of us.

The food menu is small but appropriate. The drink menu has local craft beers, wines and specialty cocktails. I ordered the SLO Manhattan but they were out of the 1776 whiskey, so I ended up enjoying just a "Manhattan". It came with two cherries and was a powerful drink. One was plentiful.
(Manhattan cocktail at Gardens of Avila Restaurant)

For food, I ordered the blue crab & avocado benedict and my husband ordered the chicken & waffles. They were both very delicious. I'm a fan!

Service was attentive but not overbearing which is perfect for us. As we were finishing our meals, I overheard a lady patron at the bar saying that they're about to do a couple's massage and how she was excited about it because they will get to do a 30 minute pre-soak before the massage and then a 30 minute "soak" after the massage. So, there it was, even she got that same information as well, somewhere.

I think what happened was our masseuses were probably not regular staff members here during Valentine's Day weekend and I will ask the front desk spa personnel when we come back next time, whenever we can afford that again. Learn from our lesson and make sure you get any clarifications needed with the front of the house staff, in this case front desk spa personnel.

So, after 2 blissful hours with my husband that included a private mineral spring sit-in, 50 minutes of couple's massage, a wonderful brunch on the same property, I thought I couldn't be any more impressed until I went to the lobby restroom across the way to wash up. Upon washing my hands, I've discovered that the facet ring would light up every time I turned the facet on. This fascination led me to stay in the restroom longer than expected, but my husband didn't mind. See video below of my facet intrigue.

Address of Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa: 1215 Avila Beach Drive, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
(steps to the mineral spas)

All photos were taken by Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa did not know I was coming and writing a personal experience. I was treated like everyone else; guests coming in to celebrate Valentine's Day.

About Me Originally from San Diego, California, the publisher of is a San Diego State University alumna, veteran's wife and mom of two kids who were born two years apart. After living on the East Coast for 6 years, they now reside in San Luis Obispo County and here the exploration continues.

All photos (except for ads) on including: homepage, 'Family-Friendly Things to do' page, 'SLO Restaurants' page,'Mom Groups & Childcare' page, and 'blog' page were taken by me so they are original content of 

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