Rolling into Cambria
Photo: Beck Starr
After recently starting a new job and coping with two weeks of awkwardness and confusion—plus coming out to multiple departments—it was a welcome reprieve to spend a few days at Women on a Roll’s second annual Cambria Women’s Weekend.
Held Sept. 10 to 13, some 350 women from as far away as Massachusetts and Montana headed to Cambria, Calif., a quaint artists’ town set halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, for parties, music, comedy, fine wine and more.
“The weekend was a great success…It was just shy of a sell-out,” says Andrea Meyerson, WOAR founder. “We had a lot of fun.”
Spread across 25 wooded acres and surrounded by gardens, Cambria Pines Lodge hosted most of the events and participants, which seemed to be a pretty even mix of couples and singles.
The hotel boasts fine dining with homegrown organic ingredients at the Cambria Pines Lodge Restaurant, the Sojourn Healing Arts day spa, outdoor pool and hot tub; while accommodations range from rustic cabins for $219 a night to elegant suites deluxe two-bedroom suites for $459—plus, many rooms are pet-friendly.
My girlfriend and I stayed at peaceful queen-bed retreat complete with a kitchen and two gas fireplaces—perfect for relaxing after we explored the small town’s vintage shops, restaurants and coffee shops, all within walking distance.
The locals were warm and welcoming, often offering WOAR women special discounts. “The town of Cambria really embraces,” says Meyerson. ”They know who we are, and they know when we’re coming.”
When hunting for coffee on our first morning, my girlfriend and I found Lily’s Coffee House, a sweet little shop where outside locals and tourists chatted and sipped espresso, and inside, homemade pastries and crepes made for the perfect breakfast al fresco on a cool morning.
Back at the lodge, the WOAR weekend kicked off with a garden party featuring free tastings from local wineries, while other daytime activities during the weekend included a poolside BBQ complete with games involving volleyball, putting and drinking.
The women also came out at night for cocktails and karaoke, dance parties with popular DJs Euphoric and jame' foks, live music by Lori Michaels and a comedy show with Gloria Bigelow and headliner Suzanne Westenhoefer (honestly, I’ve never laughed so much on a folding chair.) Another highlight? The Cambria Lez Idol Competition. Seriously, some of these women could sing.
Tickets for events started at $10, but many women opted for the all-inclusive VIP pass at $120 for hotel guests.
With Cambria’s pristine beaches, forests and rolling vineyards, there were also opportunities to get back to nature, including kayaking Morro Bay with an expert guide and bike ride through Cambria.
The kayakers came back Saturday afternoon with stories of seeing dozens of sea otters, sea lions and birds. “Nature put on quite a show for them,” Meyerson said.
My girlfriend and I opted for the 14-mile-or-so roundtrip bike trip led by Cambria resident and WOAR member Tina Humphrey. About two-dozen lesbians took to the quiet, country roads of Santa Rosa Creek complete with small farms, pumpkin patches and somewhat interested cows.
The two-hour trip also included a stop at Linn's Farmstore where we shopped for souvenirs, had a slice of their famous olallieberry pie and fed the resident peacock (who knew?) strolling the farm.
The ride was an ideal way to spend a quiet morning in the country—it’s the most time I’ve been on a bike since moving to L.A.
On Sunday morning my girlfriend and I returned to L.A. relaxed and ready for another Monday.
If you missed Cambria Women’s Weekend this year, plans are already underway for ’10, so keep Sept. 16-19 open. “I want it to be as good or better than this year,” says Meyerson. Until then.