One of my Life Goals has been to visit the Madonna Inn, one man’s ode to pink deliciousness with a hearty side of kitsch. I’d obsessively stalked the photos online, heard tales of the men’s bathroom, and whittled my list down to the rooms I most wanted to stay in.
So, when Chris and I decided to go away (just the two of us! without the kids! alone!) it seemed like the perfect opportunity. I mean nothing says romance like your wife asking you to photograph her every 14 seconds because she’s seen something pink, am I right?
You guys, it was everything I dreamed it would be. You know how sometimes you build things up in your mind and then when you actually get there, you’re let down by your heightened expectations? Yeah, there was none of that.
I mean this is the bathroom. Sure, the men’s has a waterfall (Chris tried to get a photo but it was pretty – ahem – active at the time), but the ladies’ has pink walls with red leather doors and a chandelier! I mean, c’mon! I kept walking around all day, every day saying, “I’ve got to get their decorator’s number”, which made my husband very, very excited. ????
It’s in a bit of a funny location in that it’s all on its own on the side of the highway (the main part of San Luis Obispo is across the highway), but I think that’s part of its charm. There is no other reason to come to the Madonna Inn other than the Madonna Inn. It’s like wearing a Golden Girls sweatshirt – you don’t just kinda wear one, you OWN IT.
We stayed in one of the standard rooms and it worked perfectly. It was big enough for the two of us (although our expectations may be low since we’re used to San Francisco shoeboxes), but still had plenty of details to keep me going (gold wallpaper, mildly creepy paintings of children, FOUR chandeliers, a solid gold shower). It was a little loud in that we could hear our neighbor discussing his Twitter count – 10,000, not too shabby – but they have pretty strict policies on late partying so it worked out fine.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Omg, woman, did you do anything other than drag your husband around to look at pink things?” Of course!
We looked at pink things he could purchase me for Mother’s Day ????????, we talked about redecorating our house in pink, and we ate pink things. ???????? I mean, I’m not a monster.
Okay, okay, we did plenty of other things. Far and away, the most interesting was visiting The Hearst Castle, which is essentially the largest vacation home you’ve ever laid eyes on.
I would like to point out that when Hearst started to build, he envisioned a bungalow. He ended up here. And, Mr. Hearst, I feel ya. Every damn time I walk into Zara the exact same thing happens to me.
We had thought we’d hang out at the Castle for an hour or so, but our tour guide was hilarious and gave us so much insider info (Harpo Marx used to scare people by hiding in this sarcophagus! Cary Grant liked to smuggle in liquor because they were only allowed one drink an evening!) I could have listened all day. I can’t recommend it enough.
After our tour finished, Chris kept talking about seeing the elephant seals at the local beach and I was being such a brat because I was wind-blown and tired and don’t we have sea lions at Pier 39 like a minute from our house?!? Thank God he didn’t listen to me because we saw hundreds upon hundreds of elephant seals just hanging out ten feet from us on this beach. It was exactly like the “Planet Earth” documentary, down to my spot-on David Attenborough impression, which greatly enhanced the experience I think we’d both agree.
The best part of this whole deal though? It is FUN to hang out with your husband! It was so fun to actually talk and laugh and not be constantly interrupted and I remembered again how friggin’ brilliant I was to marry this man. So many heart eyes, right? ????????????????????????
Okay, a few other points of note if you head down to SLO:
-We ate at Novo, which was pricey and pretty good (several people told us it was the place to go). We ate out back, under the fairy lights, which was lovely and highly recommended and the calamari was delish.
-The second night we ate at Firestone Grill, which was so my jam. SLO is a college town and this place is exactly what you’d expect – excellent burgers, pork sandwiches and rings, tons of TVs, and plenty of intriguing college drama.
-There’s Bubblegum Alley, which is pretty famous in SLO, which is exactly what it sounds like – a wall of chewed up gum. I’d say see it just to check it off your list of things you never need to do again. ????
-We didn’t manage to hike because it was so windy most of the time, but we heard from multiple people that the hiking around Morro Bay was the place to go.
-We had breakfast at the Madonna and it was perfection. ???? Total diner food, served with coffee with pink sugar. My heart just exploded.
And, lastly, can I be a little bossy and say getting out of town is good for the soul? It’s hard to get perspective when you’re stuck in your own life and I know it’s expensive and you’re busy and there are a million reasons not to go, but guess what? Not one person in the history of the universe has ever said, “Man, I wish I hadn’t spent that money visiting the Madonna Inn.”
Okay, that’s a total lie and maybe they have terrible Yelp reviews, I don’t know, but the point is doing new things is awesome and checking things off your Life List is thrilling and I’m raising my pink drink high in the air in a toast to you and your adventures.
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