No Place Like Home

Dec 11, 2012 9:15 PM by Jeanette Trompeter

No Place Like Home: Cold Spring Tavern

Across the Central Coast there are reminders of days gone by. Some have been turned into museums, some simply monuments, and a few into gathering places. We pay a visit to one of those in this week's No Place Like Home.

Back in the days when the west was wild and horse power came with hoofs, the trek over the San Marcos Pass was a long one.

About half way over the Cold Spring Tavern provided a respite for the weary.....and it still does today. "124 years. 1886," says Matt Bush, the Tavern's manager.

The truth is not much has changed at the Tavern. The structures are still mostly original. "Pretty much anything that hasn't fell down is where we keep it," says Bush. "I mean, we fix things that break, but it's pretty much original as we can keep it."

The name comes with good reason. There are some 50 springs on the 50 acre property. And one of them supplies the cool clean water served up here. "We collect from a larger spring up the hill. And then we collect all the water and it's gravity fed to the restaurant that we use for cooking and drinking," explains Bush.

It's a quiet getaway on most weekdays but come Sundays and holidays the Cold Spring Tavern becomes a hot stop-over spot for anyone passing through this neck of woods. You'll find motorcyclists, bicyclists, and all kinds of passers by enjoying the music out back, the good food, and great stories. The Cold Spring will serve up 600-to-700 tri-tip sandwiches on any given Sunday.

The smell of barbecue will draw you in, and while tri-tip is a a specialty there is more to the to the menu than that that brings regulars coming back. A regular tells us the chili here is the best. And Bush points out they offer up a wide variety of game here. "We have a few things that are on the menu all the time, like venison and lamb, but then we have the wild game special that changes every Friday. So we do elk and antelope and buffalo and crocodile and alligator and all kinds of...ostrich sometimes."

If the Tavern and the music and the food isn't enough, when you take a stroll through the back area, it's like taking a trip back through time and getting a history lesson of the wild wild west.

The Tavern has been under the ownership of one family since about 1940. Bliss Haven is the home two of the last three owners lived in for decades. They live elsewhere now, but the old homestead is still there.

There are stories to be found in every nook and corner of this place. One of the former owners old cookbook collection numbers into the thousands. Inside an old bunk house an old phone that hasn't been used in decades. When we take a closer look and we discover it still works perfectly, even if you have to pick up the horn shaped receiver and put it to your ear and speak into the main device.

The old jail was hauled over here from Ojai in the 1800s. We are talking the wild wild west, and it's right here in our own backyard.



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