The Fresh-Water Lagoon in Oceano is for the Birds

A stop at the fresh-water lagoon in Oceano was a must almost every day. The lagoon is part of a migratory bird habitat at runs around and past the Oceano State Park Campground and Nature Center. Thousands of birds live in the lagoon complex, hundreds of them, all different colors-sizes-shapes, come running and flying to greet you as you approach. The birds and the people have an arrangement, the people provide bread and grain, the birds provide wonder.

Sometimes we'd walk the trail around the migratory bird habitat, it's beautiful especially on a hot afternoon. But mostly we'd feed the multitudes by the lake in the county park, big or small, we fed 'em all. Oceano is a sleepy little place mid-week, mid-winter, but summers and long weekends it's overrun. Some Oceano locals i've talked to through the decades love the dune buggy carnival, some not so much.

Another stop not to be missed is lunch at the Splash Café for a cup or bowl of what some say is the greatest New England Clam Chowder in the world. The Splash Café is on Pomeroy Street just up from the ocean and pier, it's easy to find at lunch time, it's the one with “soup line” wrapping around the block. They serve hundreds, and often times, thousands of bowls daily, more than 15,000 gallons a year for a reason. It's great, it's inexpensive with friendly service. No frills, but lottsa charm for the tourists and locals alike.

The Pismo Clams, now nearly extinct, were as bountiful as the cod on the Grand Banks or the bison on the grassland until they met industrialized 'civilization'. i first visited Oceano in May of '69, we slept on the beach under a billion stars as the surf crashed nearby, it was unforgettable.The stars still shine, the waves still pound. Unfortunately 'civilization' has found Pismo again, this time it'll consume the air and the charm not just the clams..