If you're looking for a different place to shop for holiday gifts you might take a trip to downtown Atascadero. It's starting to fill up with really nice shops and restaurants. The newest is an amazing art gallery - The Glass Station. Three ladies own this cute little place and fill it with their own incredible glass artwork. This isn't junk. They use multi-layer blasting and melting techniques to create things you just won't believe. Walk in either direction on the sidewalk from the Glass Station and you'll find something great to eat. One way you run into Bru Coffeehouse. Ask the foam artists (yes, 'foam artist') to make you a frothy work of art that is ALMOST too pretty to drink. The other way, pop into Macie's Deli and Drinkery for a sandwich and a glass of wine.
You guys need to stop at Bella Cose at El Camino and Entrada. It's a brand new women's clothing store with lots of jewelry and stuff too. Ask the ladies there for help choosing something for your gal. They have some great ideas.
Right in the center of the downtown is the Carlton Hotel (yes, THAT Carlton Hotel). The big news is that Colby-Jack Cafe is running the restaurant there. Breakfast and lunch with dinners on the way. Great food, good prices and it's always jammed so you know it's good.
Other hots spots in downtown Atascadero include the new Barrel Room wine-tasting business, Envisions Gallery, Olive Tree Gallery and Dexter Smith Gallery and the really cool lightly-used clothing store, Back On the Racks (Rachel Ray recently filmed a segment of her show at this store).
You can see a little video of shopping in downtown Atascadero at www.atascaderomainstreet.org.
Happy shopping and Merry Christmas!