Tuesday, May 15, 2012


AVILA BEACH, CA ~ Harford Pier
Avila Beach (pronounced AH-vee-lah), CA, is a favorite beach community of Central Coast residents. Actually, you might say it's the little town that "never gave up"...

For those of you who have never been to Avila Beach... it's been called a "cul-de-sac" community as there is only one road into & out of San Luis Bay! as you can imagine, this created problems for people who work in Avila (at the harbor, Diablo Nuclear Power Plant, the golf course, or hotels & small businesses) & those who vacation or enjoy the sunshine in this tiny beach community.
Sand Luis Bay Inn & Golf Course (large arrow)
Our family spent long, summer days at Avila... more specifically, at the "mommy beach" (underneath the pier pilings --- lower right hand arrow)! Taking our picnic lunch, beach toys, and towels, we'd spend the day playing in the secluded inlet of water that followed the "ebb & flow" of the tides.
if it was foggy, we would spend some time on the swings... 
looking south from "mommy beach"
In the mid-1990's it was determined that the oil tanks on the top of the hill had been leaking oil into the sand & surrounding community. After years of negotiation, Unocal agreed to clean-up its mess.... so little town & beach were closed down for a couple of years, while the restoration took place.

Avila Beach doesn't have the "funky" beach store fronts or bar (where the "bikers" began congregating on Friday afternoon & stayed until late into the evening on Sunday)... Mr Rick's, was a beloved establishment, so the "biker bar" ended up being rebuilt, AND was plopped down closer to the Avila Beach Pier & Yacht Club...
original sign design... new site
The Avila Market, Custom House (restaurant) and the Sea Barn (sells swimsuits, towels, flipflops, beach toys, etc) were all rebuilt according to specifications from the business owners. Additional businesses have been added, including Joe Momma's Coffee Shop & Beachstay rooms for rent...
Sea Barn with a newly redesigned sign
Keeping the town designed around the location of the Avila Pier and Avila Beach Yacht Club was key to the restoration of this tiny community...  Other benefits of the redesign, were the additions of a pedestrian walkway (which blocked off the road, creating a safer place to walk), a seawall for sitting (to people-watch - my FAVE activity), wheelchair ramps, outdoor showers & a clean bathroom facility for public use. 
Stained glass window from inside the Avila Beach Yacht Club
But, the best part of the redesign was the addition of permanent artwork! 
The "Circle of Life" tilework project depicts the evolution of Avila Beach from its earliest beginnings - including tiles that remind us that this land once belonged to the Chumash Indians... 
and one of the California Missions was built here...
represents San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, built in 1772
...when California became a state (1850)
& even a tile that commemorates the Avila Beach clean-up efforts!

article about AVILA BEACH)

...SO, in the words of Heraclitus 
(a ancient Greek philospher)

"You cannot step twice into the same river, 

for other waters are continually flowing on."


  1. What a beautiful place with a great history!

  2. Beautiful post, I enjoyed it alot.

  3. I've walked across those tiles dozens of times and never really "saw" them. Thanks for this post. Makes me want to make a trip to Avila.

    Maybe without the kids.

    Because, come to think of it...the reason I may never see the tiles is because I'm usually chasing children.



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