Santa Margarita is a small, peaceful community filled with artisans, musicians, and closely knit neighborhoods dating back to 1889. With warm spring and summer days, cooled by coastal evening breezes, it's a favorite for many who enjoy the outdoors. It's an unincorporated town located in San Luis Obispo County just over the Cuesta Grade from San Luis Obispo.
Families living here have the advantage of the Atascadero Unified School District for their schooling needs. Santa Margarita Elementary School is a small, private-like school for Santa Margarita residents, grades 1-6. Santa Margarita offers a number of clubs and organizations including: the Senior Citizens Center, Historical Society, Friends of the Library, Santa Margarita Beautiful and an active community hall.
Santa Margarita meanders along El Camino Real, the town's main street. El Camino is named for the 600-mile California Mission Trail that connects the 21 missions between San Diego in the south to Sonoma in Northern California. Nearby Mission San Luis Obispo chose the Santa Margarita area for their farming needs in 1774. Named by the Padres, Asistencia de Santa Margarita primarily grew wine grapes along with fields of wheat. Smaller in scale, it had all of the requisites of a regular mission.
Today, the historic Santa Margarita Ranch remains as an operating cattle and farming ranch. It is also the home of Ancient Peaks Winery and the Pacific Coast Railroad Company. Ancient Peaks Winery's Tasting Room lies in the heart of downtown Santa Margarita.
The Range, one of SLO County's favorite restaurants, enjoys all the benefits of a small Western-style meeting place. The Range serves an interesting mixture of American country and French food. Menu items include everything from venison steak and crawfish cakes to roasted quail and frog legs, salads, pizzas, fresh seafood and a vast selection of wine and beer.
The Educated Gardener, in business for over 16 years, is considered one of the best nurseries in all of San Luis Obispo County. Located in downtown Santa Margarita, it features annuals, perennials, native plants, pond plants, unique garden sculptures and fountains made by local artists.
Pacific Beverage Co. is also located in Santa Margarita and caters to all of San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties. Other local businesses include Dunbar Brewery, Santa Margarita Tavern and Margarita Adventures.
Nearby Santa Margarita Lake offers a quiet oasis for kayakers, fishermen and those who seek thousands of acres of open space along with the plants and wildlife that reside here. Bird watchers enjoy the area as well as those who wish to see occasional deer, bears, mountain lions and eagles.
As a gateway to north San Luis Obispo County, Santa Margarita has earned recognition as the Western Gateway to the Carrizo Plain National Monument. The Land Conservancy of SLO County (Santa Margarita Community Chapter) has been chosen to serve as the required non-profit partner. Carrizo Plain is home to an impressive range of wildlife and plants, and is an area of cultural importance to Native Americans.
Also, the gateway to Pozo, a small station only 18 miles away, the resident saloon was established in 1858. While once used as the primary watering hole for travelers heading over Pozo Summit, it is recognized as one of the best outdoor concert venues in the county today.
Santa Margarita is unique by all standards and its residents are proud of that fact. They thrive in this artistic, community-minded paradise and enjoy the simplicity this area provides.