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My Town Monday--Arroyo Grande, California

Most Mondays, Barrie Summy does a fun post about a town--somewhere she is at the moment or somewhere she's been recently. Today, she's showing us the Sand Castle competition in San Deigo. All the My Town Mondays are the "creation" of another blogger, Travis Erwin.

I enjoy Barrie's posts, but have never gotten up the momentum to participate with one of my own. Partially that's just getting out there to take the photos, and partially it HAS been the lack of high-speed internet. But, as you know--THAT problem has gone away.

And this weekend, I went back to my hometown. My nephew just started college at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, which is about twenty minutes from the house I grew up in, where my parents still live. We had a bike to deliver to said nephew, and my son and I decided to check out the Harvest Festival, a small-town fair that's been going on in Arroyo Grande since before I was a kid.

So here is my first (and possibly last) My Town Monday.

We were lucky to find a parking space just a couple of blocks from the main downtown street. To get to the park/parking lot where the booths are, we crossed the world-famous (uh-huh, really!) swinging bridge.

It's a great place to make your mother dizzy but not, if you've been raised well, to tip over your grandmother!

Then we stopped at the Lions' booth. My father has been a member of this club for the past, oh, man, forty-plus years.

We each had a tri-tip sandwich, my son's with ketchup, mine with salsa.

They were as delicious as they look, but not as yummy as the gooey, messy hamburgers sold at this same booth when I was a child. Sorry, Dad. You'll probably have to pay a fine for this at the next meeting. :)

We strolled through the booths.

Mostly, we were on the hunt for a carton of confetti eggs. You can see evidence of those eggs coating the ground between the booths. Depending on your point of view, my son and I have the "perfect" hair for confetti eggs.

Then we went down the main street of the downtown area, called "The Village." 

I watched the Harvest Festival parade from this sidewalk many years, including the year my father (one-time city-council member and mayor) was Grand Marshall. I also marched down this street for two years, when I played flute in the junior high band. For the Christmas Parade, we did the traditional "Winter Wonderland," but for the Harvest Festival parade, we played Jim Croce's "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown." 

Our band teacher was cool.

The building in the background used to contain the five-and-dime store where we spent a lot of our time and allowance. I'm not sure what's there now, but I'm guessing the narrow aisles and over-packed, floor-to-ceiling shelves are long gone.

I took guitar lessons in this building.

If you look closely, you'll see the picture of the guitar over the doorway. This is not the music store that was there when I was young, but the newest in a series of shops that has filled this space over the years. If you visited, stopped in, or drove through Arroyo Grande anytime in the eighties (and nineties?), you probably recognize this as the home of the perhaps-even-more world-famous Burnardoz Ice Cream. (If you don't believe me, check out the photos and the comments at this Disco Mermaids post.)

Burnardoz has closed, so we went down the street to Doc Burnsteins, where my parents assured me they use the original Burnardoz recipes. My old favorite--Bittersweet Chocolate--was still on the menu, but I opted for a bowl of Peanut Butter Cup Delight, with just a bit of chocolate sauce on top.

Yes, after that tri-tip sandwich. Can you hear the burps?

It was a good trip back. My son was nice enough to bear with me as I said "hi" to a few people I hadn't seen in years (and I mean years), and to be the polite grandson willing to shake hands with people he has never met before. And the My-Town-Monday photo quest gave the afternoon a nice, extra reason-for being.

Oh, if you haven't seen my request for writing-book recommendations, check out my last post and leave me a note!


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:12 am (UTC)
Oh my gosh, tri tip! Yum. DH is from the Santa Barbara area, so not too far away, and every time we visit we end up doing a tri tip barbecue. It represents All Kinds of Good. :)

Glad you had a nice visit!
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:18 am (UTC)
Oh, yeah. I was expecting Santa-Maria style BBQ, but this was really thinly sliced and salty and dripping. Yum.

Where near SB is DH from?
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:23 am (UTC)
Goleta. My in-laws moved there years ago before the area was "discovered," and man, we hope they never leave, because we couldn't afford to live there now! I always laugh when we go to visit and back in the midwest there are tornadoes, and the southwest is washing away in hurricanes, and the people in SB actually APOLOGIZE for the weather there--Isn't it a shame that you had to be here when there's so much fog?
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:29 am (UTC)
I was once driving through Goleta/Santa Barbara area when 101 was still a Highway through there, and they had those traffic lights as the road went through town--remember that? We were pretty much stopped, and someone from out-of-state rolled down their window next to me and asked if traffic was always this bad. I sort of waved ahead and said, well, there's a red light.

He looked at me like I was insane. You could just see the thought-bubble--ONLY IN CALIFORNIA would they have a red light on a major highway. :)
Sep. 29th, 2008 05:00 am (UTC)
I liked the humour in the swinging bridge! Once in awhile its nice to go 'home' and see what has changed. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

Welcome to Trsvis' MTM posts.

Barbara Martin
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Barbara! We do drop in at "home" frequently, but I haven't been to the festival in many, many years. It was the right time to go. :)
Sep. 29th, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC)
Glad some things have stayed the same; I guess the sandwiches are never as good as we remember.
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC)
I was a very "tame" eater, but I remember the hamburgers as the first thing I ate that had STUFF all over it, all mixed together. Delicious. :)
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
Loved those eggs, too
Used to always be able to buy them in San Antonio. The sidewalk markets down there are always littered with scraps from impatient kids.
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Loved those eggs, too
I'd forgotten how hard it is to sneak up on somebody and surprise them AND get the confetti actually into their hair!
Sep. 29th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
Who says you can't go home again? Glad you decided to join the My Town Monday parade. Hope you find the time and inspiration to join us again one of these Mondays.

Travis Erwin
Sep. 29th, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Travis. It's been fun stepping in--maybe I will do another time!
Sep. 30th, 2008 11:12 am (UTC)
Welcome to MTM! Interesting post---what's a tri tip sandwich?
Keeping the faith that art is alive and is an essential part of all our lives.
Sep. 30th, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC)
Tri-tip is a cut of beef that's often bbq's out here in California, especially along the central coast. This was different--cut very thin and juicy, but wonderful.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )