“You can make anything by writing” – C.S. Lewis
Last weekend, I was invited to participate in the 32nd Annual Central Coast Writers Conference at Cuesta College, a convergence of creativity both in and out of the classroom. Directed by Teri Bayus (a fabulous 805 foodie herself), the conference was a writer’s digest of bootcamps, leading industry workshops, and culinary treats. From the business writer to the seasoned novelist, this destination conference offers workshops in all genres.
For those visiting the area, look no further than the beautiful Inn at Morro Bay for your bay side accommodation. Serene and tranquil, their stunning deck is the perfect place for a book and bubbly (thanks to their 60 State Park Restaurant Happy Hour from 3-6pm daily). Enjoy live music music alongside incredible views of the famous “Rock.”
At the conference, guests were invited to a literary line-up of whimsical food, catered by Chipwrecked in Pismo Beach. Dinner in “The Library” included clever food pairings alongside literary themes, from veggie pot pie in the Mystery section to innovative molecular gastronomy in the SciFi section. In “The Bread & Butter of it All”, flavored butters were the highlight – from fresh herb to garlic and sweet honey. For dessert, a cookie and milk bar for the big kid in all of us. The perfect end…into a unique evening…
For the late night owls, Cayucos Tavern beckoned, an iconic saloon and casino in the sleepy beach town. Built in 1906, the former cowboy bar now offers “liquor in the front, poker in the rear.” This neighborhood watering hole is a divey gem, with live music every Friday and Saturday night starting at 9pm. Like whiskey? $5 Jameson Your Call. Rock out, drink up, and grab an Uber home.
Saturday’s conference schedule offered a wide selection of tracks, from non-fiction and marketing to screen writing and novel writing. From the novice writer to the seasoned novelist, the afternoon was a meeting of creative minds in dialogue. Fueling passion to the next level, I was inspired by the level of talent drawn to the conference, from TEDx speakers to veteran journalists and award-winning screenwriters. Featured below are only a few of the featured industry notables that I had the chance to rub elbows with.
Saturday’s lunch option was catered by Kona’s Deli, with opportunity to dine alongside keynote speakers and faculty from the conference. Located in downtown SLO, the 27-year old institution serves up classic sandos with an emphasis on fresh and local. Incorporating neighboring vendors, from Edna’s Bakery to Cal Poly avocados to Taco Works tortilla chips, they truly uphold the motto “we use local.” #weuselocal
For conference staff, the evening wrapped up at the SeaCrest Hotel, a beautiful resort offering rooftop views of the Pacific. The gourmet spread showcased the best eats of Pismo Beach and beyond, offering international flavors, sweet treats, and ocean delights. Participating restaurants included Rosa’s Italiano, The Spoon Trade, Cracked Crab, Papi’s Tacos, Surfside Deli, Penny’s All American Cafe, Bunn Thai, QuarterDeck, Hapy Bistro, Puffers of Pismo, Apple Farm, and Gerald’s Chocolates. DELICIOUS.
Enjoying a SLOw Sunday morning, La Parisienne Bakery was a perfect choice, a charming French patisserie in Morro Bay’s Embarcadero with an incredible array of baked treats, fresh baguettes, and savory breakfast sandwiches. For those seeking outdoor adventure, make your way up to Montana del Oro State Park, where any writer will find inspiration amongst the bluffs, tide pools, and friendly sea lions.
Now to lunch…and my favorite jewels of the sea. Tognazzini’s Dockside Restaurant and Fish Market is a great stop for fresh seafood. Enjoy the fresh salty air while you slurp down a briny oyster, locally caught fish, or stellar crab cakes. Family owned and operated, their seafood is sourced right from the bay. Take a seat on their outdoor patio, where you might even spot the friendly (and infamous) Pirate Steve – hold on to your booty!
Bravo to Teri and the SoCreate staff for an amazing destination conference – inspiring faculty, food, and fresh ideas. Cited as one of the best writers conferences in the US, the Central Coast Writers Conference is a must for any master of the written word – to inspire your craft and your love for the Central Coast.