Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Moonstone Beach - California Central Coast

Moonstone beach is actually part of the little and amazing town of Cambria (Latin for Wales). Although Moonstone beach has some small hotels, and a few restaurants, it is mostly known for it's beach. It's not really the kind of beach that comes to mind when most people think of beaches in southern/central California. Yes, you can swim, surf, stroll on the boardwalk and sunbathe there. You can also find moonstones. More on moonstones later. 

You already know that no matter where I am, I'm always on the lookout for evidence that Indians lived in an area. I just happened to stumble upon some of it right here. More on that later also.

These mortars were almost in plain site. After I spotted them, I had to wait for about 20 people to pass before I could actually get to them, and take these photos. Everyone of the people who passed it, saw nothing. I've asked many people I know if they've ever seen any mortars here. Every one of them said they hadn't. 

Very little is known relating to which Indian groups lived here in pre-history. Most of the known habitation in this area was by the Chumash people. It is estimated that as many as 40,000 Chumash lived in the area 1,000 years prior to the Spanish arriving. Then the Missions arrived, the miners, and then the farmers. Each group contributing to the systematic annihilation of most of the Chumash.

Placed my phone next to this one for scale. Had I realized that the screen was no nasty, I would have wiped it off first.

Some distance away, I found this. I'm absolutely sure they nobody gives this spot a second look, probably not even a first. It is called midden. It's the ancient equivalent of a trash/garbage pit. There were even some small shards of pottery on the surface of this one.

 There were so many pelicans flying around, that I had to get at least one photo.

I don't know if I've ever seen a turkey vulture coasting along over the ocean before.

I don't know who exactly to give credit for the following three photos to. I found them via Google.
Most of the areas in the first several photos where you see beach front, is most likely not made of sand, but of this. On any given day, you will see people digging through the sand/rocks for moonstones.

 These are unpolished moonstones

These are polished moonstones. Apparently, it is a type of feldspar. When it forms, it does so in layers. Light reflects off the layers and causes the stone to glow. I believe that moonstone is considered a gem, but I'm not sure. 

If you are ever on the central California coast, this area is a must see.



  1. If you would like to take a good deal from this piece of writing then you have to apply such methods
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  2. ...I love seascapes and these are fabulous and what about those moonstones!

  3. The polished moonstones are beautiful and so is the coast from where they came. I've never visited CA much (once to LA, a couple of trips to the bay area), I hope to some day drive 101, preferably on 2 wheels, most likely on 4. My next trip to local parks will include looking for mortars.

  4. Very interesting about the mortars, Would they be used for grinding corn or some other grain? I saw interesting middens along the coast of Australia, huge piles of oyster shells left over from ancient picnics.
    I like the moonstones too, I don't think I have seen any that are not polished. Very pretty. Did you find any?
    I love the rugged coastline and the sea spray shown in your pictures, reminds me of my childhood growing up on the coast of south west England. I really miss the sea.

  5. Such a beautiful area and those moonstones are really pretty!

  6. Oh it is a beautiful beach and area -- and i guess finding moonstones would be fun (we lived next door to some rockhounds once years ago and she sold us a moonstone ring -- I assume it is some kind of a semi-precious or at least collectible gem.... we're really not jewelry people at all and never have been -- we were young then and kind of guilted into it). But the ancient history of the Chumash people is wonderful to learn about and I'd love to visit to see that as well as for the beautiful Ocean views. There are quite a few middens in the part of Florida where we live in the Winter... I will try to do a post about them next season.

  7. LOVE the moonstones! And I also love the name Moonstone Beach. So...romantic sounding.

    I also adore pelicans - we see them here occasionally. As well as herons and cranes and seagulls the size of a cat. :)

  8. The moonstones are beautiful, and I LOVE the rock formations there and mortars. Wow! Now I know what to look for when I'm scrambling around on the central coast.

  9. Tom - I love seascapes also. I've never dug around for the moonstones, but people seem to find a lot of them.

    Wayne - I hope you get to do that drive up the California coast. I've done in on both 2 and 4 wheels. It's amazing, and in some spots it's breathtaking. Good luck with the mortars.

    Shammickite - Yes, they were used to grind grains, seeds, acorns, etc. There are also a lot shell middens out here. I've never actually looked for them. I live very close to the ocean. I don't see it every day, or even every week, but I still LOVE knowing it is there.

    Brian - I totally agree Brian!

    Sallie (FullTime-Life) - I certainly is a beautiful area. I just looked up how much the polished stones cost. What I read, said they go for $20 to $100.00. The Chumash are VERY interesting, like most other tribes, they did just fine until we arrived. Looking forward to your midden posts.

    VEG - Moonstone Beach is a pretty cool name. Pelicans are real characters. I guess it was kind of romantic, I LOVED the mortars!

    robin andrea - I know that you are somebody that pays attention to everything around them. I'll bet you do find them.

  10. That's a beautiful beach - definitely what I think of for central California.

  11. So this beach has history and beautiful stones. So many people walk blindly by something that would tell a story. Interesting post.

  12. Al - I agree with you Al. Such a nice area.

    Red - It does have both, but I'll probably never look for moonstones there. I agree with you about people walking right by. In a place like this, I think they should be celebrate the mortars, instead of keeping it a secret. Even if they have to put a fence around it. Thanks Red! I appreciated the comment.

  13. I walked on Moonstone beach at dusk a few years ago on a trip along the Pacific Coast highway from San Diego to San Francisco. It was a lovely place!

  14. Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti - Hi Pat! It really is a very nice area. Cambria is a nice little town as well. Have you heard about PCH? It's been closed for a few months because a land slide wiped out PCH just south of Big Sur. I understand it will be closed for quite some time.

  15. The mortars . . the rock must be reasonably hard that they have survived so near to the sea for so long. Do you know how they were drilled out - or whatever other means were used to make them?

  16. Great shots, Pat. A beautiful area!

  17. Lucy Corrander - You are right about the rock the mortars are in being hard. The rock used as a "pestle" is usually made of harder material. The mortar starts out as a little depression and as time goes on, it gets bigger and bigger. If you follow this link to an older post, you will see a few mortars with pestle in them.


    William Kendall - Thanks William! I agree.

  18. Hi Pat. Hiding in plain site? I wonder how many mortars I've wandered by in my hikes? I guess when you're not looking for something, you usually don't see it! I love the central coast. One of my favorite places. Great post!

  19. How neat that you found all those traces of the ancient peoples. As you say, I'm sure 98% of people wouldn't notice a thing! I like your moonstones too!

    PS: Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your kind comments. :)

  20. Beautiful post, I love the stones.

  21. Hello, the coastline is beautiful. Love the views of the waves and ocean. The mortars are interesting. Love the pelican, great capture. The moonstones are pretty, especially the polished moonstones. Thanks for sharing, great post.

    Happy Friday, enjoy your day and the weekend!

  22. What a beautiful beach and those moonstones are absolutely beautiful. I have never seen a moonstone before. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.

  23. Spare Parts and Pics - Definitely hidden in plain site. I'm sure I've passed up a bunch as well. I love the central coast also. Thanks Pete!

    Halcyon - It is always a thrill find something like this. You are most welcome, and thanks for commenting here.

    Bob Bushell - Thanks so much Bob!

    eileeninmd - Thanks Eileen! There is so much to see in this area.

    bill burke - Thanks Bill! It really is a gorgeous area.

  24. Fabulous moonstones and lovely scenery!

  25. Those stones are absolutely beautiful. It's a wonder people are taking them away by the truckload. Or perhaps they are.
    Great photos too Pat.
    You must have a lot of patience... and a big lens! To capture those birds.
    Love to check it out someday.


  26. How amazing that people walked by without noticing Pat! I hope that after reading your blog for so long if I walked past something like this I would recognise it. I mean it's not even that they're small. Maybe it's a good thing, perhaps they're safer this way! The polished moonstones are wonderful to see, so luminous!

  27. Lady Fi - It really is a lovely place. Much better in person though.

    Anthony J. Langford - Thanks Anthony! At this point, I think these stones are like sea-glass. You probably have to really dig around now. Actually, those birds were riding the updraft made by those cliffs. They were pretty close. Sometimes ten or twenty pelicans will glide by in single file.

    PerthDailyPhoto - I really had to train myself to pay attention to the ground and landscape. I'm sure I still miss somethings though. The mortars are are pretty much indestructible, but I know what you mean. Thanks Grace!

  28. such beautiful rocks, flora and the blues

  29. Stunning shots of the beach, Pat! The Pacific has such a beautiful coastline! I love how rough and rugged the cliffs and rocks make it look. That's why I love Montauk Point, Long Island in New York - it looks very similar.

    The photographs you captured of the two birds inflight are AMAZING!

    What beautiful moonstones!

    "If you are ever on the central California coast, this area is a must see."

    Yes, I can see why...it's gorgeous!

  30. my kind of beach. :) Love it, so much to see and learn :)

  31. DEZMOND - It really is a gorgeous area.

    Cloudia - Thanks Cloudia!

    Ron - Thanks Ron! I agree about the rough coastline. I'm not a beach person, but I love this type of coastline.

    NatureFootstep - Mine also! Thanks!

  32. These moon rocks are so distinctive! And wow, I would like to look for moon stones! Beautiful area, Patrick! Many thanks for sharing this adventure with All Seasons -great post! Have a good one:)

  33. Pat, I like this place very much. After reading what you wrote about it, I think I would have a great time there. There is a beautiful ocean and the water is so wonderfully blue.

    Probably, I would be one of those who didn't spotted any mortars there and would be ashamed to learn later that I missed them. You are very curious and you find a lot, Pat.

    And you saw pelicans! In the flight! That is so great. I would like to add that one mortar ( fifth picture) has a very tragic and sad face.

    A warm hug, Pat.

  34. jeannettestgermain - Thanks so much! Sharing is always my pleasure!

    Kaya - It would be very easy to have a great time in this area. I sometimes find out later, that I didn't notice things that I should have. I just went back at looked at that photo. It does have a very sad face!

  35. lol about your phone. You have a great eye. What a fascinating trip. Loved the history and the moonstones. Husband and I may have to plan a trip there.

  36. M Pax - Thanks Mary! I'm pretty sure you would enjoy it. There is a lot more to see on that stretch of coastline.

  37. I'm giggling. I'd have been one of the people to tell you "No Pat, there's no mortars there. Oh, um, what's a mortar?" But they are in plain sight. Or maybe only to Pat Tillett.

    I've never been there, but will keep it in mind. I'd love to collect those pebbles, moonstones or not. They are very pretty.

  38. Very beautiful shots from the beach. and nice pebbles.

  39. Well spotted and another lesson of "be aware and the look around" kind"

  40. Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com - It is a such an amazing area Robyn. I hope you do check it out sometime. Have you been to Hearst Castle?

    Rajesh - Thanks Rajesh!

    visualnorway - Thanks Rune! Look around, and look down!

  41. The stones look good - but the history is even better I think.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  42. Wow! They polish up nicely. I love gem/rocks and have some jewelry pieces of different kinds. No moonstones yet, but after seeing these I might have to change that. There are almost always a few vultures on Central America beaches. And lastly, you have vulture eyes for all those mortars and gliphs!

  43. Stewart M - I agree Stewart! Thanks...

    Sharon Wagner - I've been accused of a lot of things, but never that I have "vulture eyes." LOL!

  44. Hi Pat-
    This post is really something with all the beautiful beaches and ocean views. I absolutely love the mortar photos. Such a clever use of nature. Loved it all!
    Have a Happy Week!
    Peace :)

  45. GreenComotion - Thank you so much! Yep, those people got along just fine. Right up until, we all showed up and ruined their lives. I will have a happy week, and I hope you do the same!

  46. Love your beach pictures.... The water is so gorgeous... WOW.....

    And those polished moonstones.... Another WOW...... Love the colors...

    Praying for the flooding in Texas and at my son's home now... He's already gone through way too much this month... Prayers for Mark.


  47. We are due for a road trip! I think it just might be up the coast again, or at least as far as we can get until the Big Sur (bridge) is repaired! We went up to Fort Bragg last summer and was disappointed to find that the Sea Glass Beach was pretty much stripped of sea glass. It sure wasn't like the pictures I have seen. People were desperately hunting for what seems like the last of it.

  48. Carolyn Ford - That's a shame about Big Sur. The 101 is a nice way to travel, but taking route 1 up the coast is amazing. Hope it doesn't take too long to make all the repairs. I haven't been to Fort Bragg for many years. Sad to hear about Sea Glass Beach. Just based on your comments, I'm thinking we must live in the same part of the state. Thanks for the comments Carolyn!

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  50. What a beautiful area!! It's amazing what you can find when you know what you're looking for.

  51. So true Amanda. Most people would their eyes only on the gorgeous shoreline. I spend more time looking for other things.


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