Big fun in the little Village

Find the best of the Central Coast in The Village of Arroyo Grande

By Mike Miller

One of the most unique shopping experiences on the Central Coast can be discovered at The Village of Arroyo Grande.

The collection of diverse shops and food options draw local residents and tourists alike looking to soak in some Central Coast culture.

The city is located about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, in an agriculture-rich region that has an ideal balance of city and small-town vibes. Arroyo Grande is surrounded by coastal foothills, which can look like an oil painting after the spring rains and wildflower blooms. The Village itself is made up of buildings dating back to the early 1900s, which adds a historic, nostalgic flavor to the area. Arroyo Grande also offers golf, various forms of outdoor recreation, community events, music, art shows and much, much more. Essentially, there is something for everyone in Arroyo Grande — especially at The Village.

In talking with visitors, one thing is clear: It takes more than one visit to take in all it has to offer. “We were looking for a place to stretch our legs and grab a quick bite to eat,” said Shelly Halverson of Salem, Oregon. “My husband and I read about The Village and decided to stop. We have been here for more than three hours now and could literally spend all weekend exploring the shops. I told him that we are definitely going to come back and stay. It has everything we enjoy, like great food, wine, and kind people. We hit the jackpot today.”

The City of Arroyo Grande boasts its core values as “Truth, Excellence, Teamwork, Community, and Impact.” In talking with several business owners in The Village, those same values are quite evident. June Gonzales, owner of The Sports Dugout, points to the close-knit community of friends and colleagues as something that makes The Village such a special place. Gonzales also noted many other highlights — the troupe of free-ranging roosters that strut around town, the last swinging bridge of its kind in California, and Heritage Square Park, which contains five historic buildings.

A gorgeous sunset above the bridge in Arroyo Grande. Photo by Vivian Krug Cotton

Another store owner, Tracy Sonny, displays a passion which makes The Village a true destination for tourists and locals alike. When asked about The Village, the Hive Supply Co. owner said, “We love being located right in the heart of The Village. I mean, what’s not to love?! We have a little bit of everything, like a bakery, guitar shop, dive bar, retail, restaurants, and lots of roosters. I grew up watching the Andy Griffith Show, so I feel like Arroyo Grande is the new Mayberry!”

Hive Supply and Hive Annex

Hive owner Tracy has created a memorable experience for those who enter either one of her stores. “We’ve created a boutique feel from the minute you hit the front door that looks, sounds, feels, and smells so good. Both men, women, and kids love our store,” she said. The Hive Annex is a must-stop for men looking to grab some new clothes or rugged wear. According to the store’s website, “The Annex is here for all your rugged needs; dedicated to men’s apparel and lifestyle goods with the same quality and originality that Hive Supply Co. is known for.” Find Hive Supply at 116 E. Branch St. For more, visit hivesupplyco.com

The Arroyo Grande Swinging Bridge

is a must-see piece of California history. The bridge was designed back in 1875 as a way to cross the Arroyo Grande Creek. In 1995, a tree fell on the bridge. It was rebuilt but remains the only bridge of its kind in the state of California. At 171 feet in length, the bridge hovers 40 feet above Arroyo Grande Creek.

If you are in the area on a Saturday, you have to stop by the Arroyo Grande Farmers’ Market. It is located in the Olohan Alley between Short and Mason Streets, in the heart of The Village, and runs from noon to 2:30 pm. Fresh fruits and vegetables are front and center for all to enjoy as are a variety of other vendors. You can also enjoy some live music and get to know the locals. There is also a Wednesday farmers’ market, located a short distance away in the Smart & Final parking lot (1464 E. Grand Ave.) from 8:30 to 11 am.

Rhonda’s Relics

The self-described home of fun vintage, eclectic, and whimsical stuff can keep you busy for hours as you browse for unique collectibles. When you make a purchase, not only will you be taking home a fun, decorative item, but you will also be supporting rescue animals. The owner does her part by adopting a number of animals, and she helps others care for their rescues, as well. Find Rhonda’s Relics at 148 W. Branch St. For more, see rhondasrelics.com

Remember When Storybook Photography

The talents of photographer Robin Barnes are on full display at Remember When Storybook Photography. Barnes is well known for her portraits of pregnancy, babies, children, couples, seniors, and more. She offers a plethora of costumes and homemade props to enhance the experience and end product. With more than three decades of experience and a keen eye for design, she is an expert both in the studio and in the field. Find Remember When Storybook Photography at 133 E. Branch St. For more: robinbarnesphotography.com

The Mayan Collective

When looking for the perfect gift for the candle lover in your life, consider visiting The Mayan Collective Candle Bar. Owner Karla Wenger uses 100 percent natural soy wax, 100 percent cotton wicks, and fragrances free of carcinogens, chemicals, and phthalates to create something truly special. Karla also has a higher calling in life as she donates 20 percent of all proceeds to San Francisco de Sales, a small village in Guatemala. Not only are you purchasing an epic candle, you are also supporting a terrific cause, too. Find The Mayan Collective Candle Bar at 101 W. Branch St., Suite A. For more: themayancollective.com

Branch Street Antiques

Arroyo Grande is a wonderful place for antique shoppers, and Branch Street Antiques should be on your list of stops to find a wide variety of treasures. You never know what awaits you at this shop! Jewelry, coins, furniture, old books, collectibles from around the world, seasonal goodies, handcrafted gifts, and lots more are available downstairs at Branch Street Antiques. Find Branch Street Antiques at 126 E. Branch St., Suite B. For more: instagram.com/branchstreetantiques

Lady Di’s Boutique

Modern women’s fashion is on full display at Lady Di’s Boutique. Search for something to freshen up your spring wardrobe at this boutique that couples modern fashion with comfort and your perfect fit. Whether you’re looking for shoes, accessories, gifts, or clothes, whether it be casual, formal, whimsical, or professional, it’s all here at Lady Di’s. Find Lady Di’s Boutique at 121 E. Branch St. For more: instagram.com/lady_di_ag

Posies in the Village

Posies in the Village is 6,000 square feet of everything you could ever want to create the ultimate shabby-chic/cottage-core/romantic-country aesthetic. Whichever term you prefer, you can find the perfect clothing, accessories, furniture, crafting supplies, garden decor, knick-knacks, antiques, gifts and so much more across its two stories. From one-off repurposed antiques to Baby Ganz goodies, you’ll find row after row of items that are sure to please at Posies in the Village. Find Posies in the Village at 106 W. Branch St. For more: posiesinthevillage.com

Chic Interiors

Feeling like your home needs a facelift? Look no further than Chic Interiors. This design firm is a one-stop-shop, whether you need a color consultation (fresh paint can work wonders!) or a whole-house remodel. They work with you to define your personal style, and create spaces that fit your needs, wants, and budget. Chic Interiors has also been featured in multiple publications, including Architectural Digest and Living Lavishly. Find Chic Interiors at 122 E. Branch St. For more: chicinteriorsdesign.com

The Sports Dugout

This is the ultimate stop if you are a sports fan. They offer an array of memorabilia for sports lovers of all levels. From signed helmets to rare baseball cards, it’s all here! You can even find Pokemon cards, too. The Sports Dugout is owned by June and Lance Gonzales, who are fan favorites themselves. Customers of all ages and various teams enjoy the terrific service, and lots of robust sports talk, when visiting. Find The Sports Dugout at 109 E. Branch St. For more: sports-dugout.business.site

Hubbalicious Sweet Shoppe

Have a sweet tooth? If so, look no further than the Hubbalicious Sweet Shoppe. This family-owned business is a popular destination for those seeking a sweet treat. Think cotton candy, ice cream, fudge, taffy, caramel apples, and more. This shop is known for its huge inventory of sweet (and sour) goodness, friendly staff, and of course, loads of family fun. To see a full menu of ice cream and candy available for purchase, visit their website. Find Hubbalicious Sweet Shoppe at 110 E. Branch St. For more: hubbalicious.com

Klondike Pizza

If you are craving pizza and fun times with friends and family, consider a visit to Klondike Pizza. Established in 1988, Klondike Pizza is in the basement of a building, which gives it a hustle and bustle feel. This restaurant offers an extensive menu with many different pizza options. Some fan favorites include the Roadkill Pizza and the Denali. They also offer an assorted variety of beer and wine. There is even an arcade to keep your video game aficionados busy. Also, grab some peanuts — and don’t worry about the shells ending up on the floor. It’s all part of the family-friendly vibe. Find Klondike Pizza at 104 Bridge St. For more: klondikepizza.com

Verdad and Lindquist Family Wines

The Central Coast is the home of some of the best wineries on the planet. If you are cruising through The Village and suddenly have a craving for a great glass of wine, look no further than the Verdad and Lindquist Family Wines tasting room. For $25, you get to sample five different wines, which are organic and certified sustainable. You can also indulge in a cheese plate or charcuterie platter. Drop-ins are more than welcome, however, parties of five or more should pursue a reservation which can be made by calling (805) 270-4900.Find Verdad and Lindquist Family Wines at 211 E. Branch St. For more: verdadandlindquistfamilywines.com

Village Café

If you are going to put in a full day exploring The Village, you’d better fuel up with a hearty breakfast or lunch. One fine option is the Village Café, where you can enjoy a great old-fashioned country breakfast, or explore the delicious lunch menu. In town on a Sunday? Be sure to snap up their legendary Eggs Benedict! The Village Café has been in business since 1927 — so you know they must be doing something right. Find Village Cafe at 112 W. Branch St. For more: villagecafeag.com

Humdinger Brewing

Craving a craft beer and a bite to eat? Look no further than Humdinger Brewing. They have a number of beers to choose from including IPAs, blondes, reds, stouts, and more. You will also find a lunch and brunch menu to go along with your delicious brew. Heading north to San Luis Obispo? They’ve got a second location there as well! Find Humdinger Brewing at 116 W. Branch St. For more: humdingerbrewing.com

Sidewalk Café

For a hearty, delicious breakfast, lunch, or early dinner, the Sidewalk Cafe has what you’re craving. Their breakfast menu features a variety of breakfast burritos and traditional morning fare, but you’ll also find unique creations like the chorizo tots. For lunch or early dinner, choose from hot and cold sandwiches, salads, wraps, soups, and more. Eat inside, on their tree-shaded patio outside, or pick it up to go. Find Sidewalk Cafe at 130 W. Branch St. For more: instagram.com/sidewalkcafeag

The Agrarian Hotel

For visitors hoping to make a weekend out of their visit to Arroyo Grande, consider staying at the Agrarian Hotel, which sits in the center of The Village. The Agrarian is walking distance to shops, eateries, and wineries, making it the perfect home base for exploring Arroyo Grande. You’ll appreciate the well-appointed rooms, pool, hot tub, fitness center, and complimentary breakfast. According to their website, the craftsman-style hotel is proud to be the first LEED-certified hotel in Arroyo Grande — meaning it’s not only a beautiful place to stay, but also environmentally-friendly, as well. Find Agrarian Hotel at 325 E. Branch St. For more, visit agrarianhotel.com

Other popular stops in The Village include:

Mason Bar and Kitchen (307 E. Branch St.) Gina’s Italian Cuisine (138 E. Branch St.) Villa Cantina (106 E. Branch St.) Rooster Creek Tavern (200 E. Branch St.) Branch Street Deli     and Pizzeria (203 E. Branch St.) Jaffa Café (206 E. Branch St.) Palo Mesa Wood Fired Pizza (150 W. Branch St.) Cafe Andreini (131 E. Branch St.) Mule Bakery (117 E. Branch St.)

There’s truly too much to list — so get out to The Village of Arroyo Grande and discover them for yourself! For more information on the City of Arroyo Grande, The Village, and a calendar of events, see visitarroyogrande.org

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