If you don't fall in love with Templeton, California, the moment you discover it, you're not like most people. Maybe you hail from a small corner of one of the Great Plains states and this Western town isn't an unusual experience for you. Or, perhaps you were raised nearby and you long for the excitement of a big city. But for many who are weary of urban and suburban intensity, Templeton, California is a welcome change of scene.
Think the cowboy way has vanished from California? Think again. With ranches large and small dotting the countryside around Templeton, the men and women you see in cowboy boots in town are the real deal. In fact, you're more likely to see a pickup with a tow hitch and bales of hay in the back on Main Street than you are a four-door sedan. And don't wonder whether Templeton Feed & Grain, complete with grain elevator, is in operation; it is. Remember, "Don't park on scale."
The small town atmosphere may be deceiving but rest assured: residents of Templeton are serious about great food. It starts on Saturday mornings in Templeton Park during summer heat and winter frost alike with one of the best-known Farmer's Markets in the area. The strawberries in May and tomatoes in August will knock you out, and there's grass-fed beef, artisan cheese, fresh bread, homemade tamales, flowers and more.
After stocking your pantry, you can walk to Penny's at the Manse for brunch and dine on the porch of this turn-of-the-century home. For dinner, you can enjoy cowboy ambiance at A.J. Spurs or head for McPhee's Grill, one of the finest restaurants in San Luis Obispo County.
You'll need some good wine to go with dinner you're in luck. It seems there's a winery along almost every country lane surrounding Templeton. You'll get a warm welcome and meet some interesting people while you sip Zinfandel or Cabernet. And if you're fortunate enough to be in town on a certain summer Sunday, you can join in the annual "Pinot and Paella" cook-off in the park.
Templeton Park is located, naturally, in the heart of town. Much of the activity that makes the community hop from free concerts every summer Wednesday evening to Cowboy Christmas in December happens here. With picnic tables, barbecues, a pool, an old-fashioned bandstand and shade trees, even when there's no official event going on the park is busy with activities like puppy school and birthday parties.
For an unincorporated town of about 5,000 citizens, with several hundred more in the lovely rolling hills nearby, Templeton, California boasts plenty of civic organizations and opportunities to meet fellow residents. You can choose from the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, the Women's Civic Club, the Historical Society and more.
Or join the proud volunteer Fire Department. Almost 100 years old, it safeguards four square miles of residential, commercial and agricultural property, achieving an average response time of less than five minutes.
The Templeton Unified School District features some of the best schools in SLO County. Templeton Middle School in town and Templeton Elementary School a few miles west of town are especially well regarded.
Originally called Crocker, the town was founded at the end of the railroad line from the north in 1886. Although Templeton grew slowly for decades, especially after the railroad was extended to the south, growth is not so slow today. In fact the community has added homes faster than any other town in the county recently.
With its blend of ranchers, winemakers, business owners and commuters families that have been here for decades and those seeking relief from the metropolitan areas they left behind managing growth is a central issue for the community. Organizations like the Templeton Area Advisory Group welcome residents to participate in creating a balanced vision for the future.