GOLDEN STATE BUCKET LIST: The concept of the list of things you must, must, must do in your lifetime is a fine one. It helps us stay focused on what matters, our dreams, and all the stuff we gotta get done (outside of the stuff we gotta get done). But we think it is a fine idea to think local, or at least regional, while simultaneously considering the wide scope of the world. Yes, travel to far-off places is paramount, indeed, but if you've got a weekend open, and a tank of gas, you can get something checked off within California. So, what's on your California list? Have a martini at the Top of the Mark, perhaps. Hike to the Hollywood Sign. See the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the Inyo National Forest (c'mon, you've got to go there). And, yes, dig for clams at Pismo Beach. Isn't that California-iconic? A person rolling up their jean cuffs, a bucket at their side? Yes. But is clam-digging at one of the clammiest dream spots on earth something you keep delaying? Here's your solution.
THE PISMO BEACH CLAM FESTIVAL: If you just had a premonition that we're about to type "it's all clams all the time," you were right. This is one of the biggies on the clam calendar, as it should be. A? Pismo. Beach. Enough said. Strike that, it isn't enough. Not only is Pismo Beach one of our state's sandiest, kick-back-iest idylls, but it knows its clams. And B? The clam festival has been around for the better part of six decades. That's nothing to sniff at (unless you're sniffing a bready bowl of steamy chowder). The fest rolls -- um, or digs -- from Oct. 18-20, and while there won't be digging around the clock, that is one option. Surfing, a chowder contest, music, clam bakes, and other life-is-way-good-type events fill the three-dayer. Plus, Pismo. It's a jewel of the Central Coast, flat out, but the Central Coast is a jewel in itself, which seems scientifically impossible, to have a jewel inside a jewel, but it is true. Honest? Whatever the travel brochure writers are writing, they need to write more where this place is concerned. Fact.
So, when do you finally complete the dream, roll up your jean cuffs, and go digging in some damp Pismo sand?