The Inn at Avila Beach

From the Blog

A Bit of Wisdom From a Life Lived

Anthony Bourdain always reminded me of our own modern-day Steinbeck or Hemingway. He had that similar uncanny, uncomplicated ability to take us along, seeing at the same time the world’s grit and pain, and moments of pure joy. It was a familiarity we’ve all experienced from traveling, both to new and familiar places.

His ability, through his story telling, to share a life that most of us will never experience, was thrilling and enriching at same time.

My favorite episodes were ones when he was almost gushing in his excitement to share his favorite foods and revisit his favorite places for the rest of us.

Having noodles and beer with the President in a “hole in the wall” restaurant in Vietnam seemed as natural as most of us sharing our favorite local diner with an out-of-town friend. I’m certain it wasn’t either Barak or Tony’s finest meal, but it was at its essence what travel has become for me now. As my daughter says, I’m on the dark side of nearly seventy.

Yes, I still have a large bucket list of places to go (Cabo and Maui were checked off this year), but as I finish this journey, I find that while I still enjoy both the thrill of taking off with an empty suitcase and no destination, or often the reverse, joyful months researching every city and planning every detail of next trip to ports unknown.

My most comforting relaxing vacations are returning to my favorite places again and again. Much as I choose to live on the water (not block away or close), I’ve learned it’s worth sacrifices to surround yourself with what you love, every moment of every day, as often as you can.

It’s not surprising that, like Bourdain, I always love returning and sharing my favorite familiar places (for me on the ocean), when I can truly unwind.

We are building a very fun house on an isolated beach in Taupo Bay (at top of North Island) in New Zealand. It’s become our favorite comforting place. We can’t stay away long and not start yearning to get back, to discover for us, nearby hidden beaches, new cafes, new experiences and adventures, all just around the corner from our secret bay, halfway around the world.

Yet, it’s the familiar that pulls us. If it’s Sunday, it’s market day in Kerikeri (50 beautiful miles, worth driving) to see old friends, hear the music, and get up early to grab pastries before they’re gone at our favorite bakery. Couple times week we drive fifteen miles the other way, to little fishing village (Mangonui) for breakfast and coffee at a neighborhood cafe and then before heading home, a quick stop at an unassuming house, where a hardworking couple run a fish market out their back door. (He fishes every day and they sell enough to live well and do what they want. In return, we get tremendous pleasure from fresh caught fish and for supporting their life style.) We than rush home before dark to get in our second daily swim in the warm 75-degree water, just us and our waves.

We are so, so pleased that the Inn at Avila Beach has become that familiar place for so many repeat guests. We all have bucket lists of places yet to see. But it’s comforting to come back year after year and experience the familiar.

We’ve owned the Inn for now over twenty years and much of our staff have been a part of that journey for most of those years. Our now adult children grew up in the shadow of the Inn, it’s theirs and many of your happy place.

We recently were asked by a “wannabe buyer“ of the Inn on what’s the secret of Inn’s success? Obviously, its oceanfront location plays a big part. But to be truly a success, an Inn needs to have a soul. “

Ours is a rather simple philosophy: “if we give you hug, you’ll come back. If we give you two hugs, you’ll tell your friends and family.”

Business, life, and travel choices don’t have to be harder or more complicated than that.

Rest in Peace Anthony—and thank you for sharing your favorite places with us.


Michael Kidd


  1. Liz - July 2, 2018 3:38 am

    I visited the Inn in May, and I can attest to the Soul I felt there. I am from Virginia, and after attending a wedding in Paso Robles, I decided to have a solo drive down the coast. This was my first solo trip since a divorce (25 years of marriage!) and the kindness, the soul of this Inn was magical to me. The sweet day bed on the balcony was a treat, I built a cocoon there and journaled my heart out. The next day my flight didn’t leave until 7. The folks at the Inn allowed me to hang around now and again, In between some shopping and exploring, it was such a comfort to be able to go sit on the rooftop deck (okay, I napped on a couch).
    The library, the fireplace, the pie at 8 pm. This place is magical. I was able to heal a bit here, and your soul helped my soul and I thank you.

  2. David - July 6, 2018 6:20 pm


    Just wanted to thank you for this entry as well as the “little life” things. We enjoy the Inn whenever we can, but at least once a week I check-out your webcam of the ocean to remind me of those “favorite places” as well as to escape the “places that I should not let me go.”

    In appreciation and thanks,


  3. Sue - July 8, 2018 4:16 pm

    Friend just told me of your Inn on the water .. pictures look fantastic .. pies, cookies, capachinos all sound terrific .. we love Morro Bay but I think we will give u a try in September ..
    Being right on the water impressive & you r so right .. not a block away, a mile away … ON the water is quite different ..

    Your lack of greed (all inclusive) sounds quite refreshing as well ..soo tired of what the Amazon business model is doing to our country ..


  4. CK Love - August 29, 2018 5:44 pm

    Beautifully written! Thank You for sharing. 🙂

  5. Loreli Cappel - December 23, 2018 4:02 pm

    Dear Michael, my husband and I are in her early 40s, homegrown on the Central Coast and have been in a bit of a slump since Anthony passed away. We miss him dearly and haven’t been able to bring ourselves to watch parts unknown since he passed. I’ve never even bothered to read a blog before but when I saw your opening line I couldn’t help but read on. Very touched and inspired by your words. Your writing style is amazing, and I can’t wait to meet this family who catches fresh fish and lives a simple but rich life. Thank you for taking me on a little adventure through your blog. After having read this story, I can’t wait to book a night at your hotel so I can see more of your hotel’s “ssoul” you speak of. I don’t yet know you or your staff, but I love what you wrote and can’t wait to be part of it. 🙂 Loreli &Louis Cappel


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