Evening Idyll: Cambria Christmas Market

Wear something warm and shop/stroll the quaint village.

FROM SCARECROWS TO SPARKLE: It isn't all that surprising when a picturesque place has a knack for knowing how to celebrate a holiday in style. And it isn't all that surprising, part two, when that place actually displays a delightful affinity for gamely observing multiple festivities, even those months apart on the calendar. Let us clap heartily for dear Cambria, that steps-from-the-ocean town that is nearly synonymous with scarecrows, thanks to the hundreds of figures that pop up hither and yon during October. But the San Luis Obispo County-based burg is just as joyful when late November arrives, and all of those sweet and spooky scarecrows have been stowed. For that's the time of year when the Cambria Christmas Market makes its sparkily return, and it keeps on keepin' on for several evenings right through to Friday, Dec. 23. Yes, we did say...

"EVENINGS"... there, for the market is, like so many shop-arounds seen in Europe and Asia and even here, a post-sundown kind of thing. So tie on a scarf, buy a ticket, and visit a vivacious assortment of open-air stalls, the kind of booths selling everything from December-type desserts to warm, wrap-your-hands-around-'em sips to flavorful jarred olives to lavender honey to bird feeders to jewelry. This is where you find something special for your mom/uncle/boss/bestie, and you tell them "I got it at a night market in Cambria!" (which, of course, lends a seasonal twinkle to your tale). Many shopping events start at the crack of dawn, or at least early morning, around the holidays, so finding a village-adorable bazaar observing the tradition of the night market is a seaside slice of salt-air-y sweetness. What will you find there? A bauble, a beverage, or the bliss of a December dawdle in pretty Cambria?

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