BATW May Meeting - photo ©Bob Bone

BATW May Meeting – photo ©Bob Bone

“From California Highway 1 to Pier 39”

by Maria Lenhart

BATW members started the May 16 meeting with a hearty buffet breakfast hosted by Fog Harbor Fish House at Pier 39 in San Francisco. Afterward, they headed across a wooden plank bridge to the Bay Theater to hear presentations on San Luis Obispo County’s California Highway 1 Discovery Route and the innovative Stewardship Travel program that provides “voluntourism” opportunities and other engaging activities for visitors to the region.

Prior to the presentations, co-presidents Laurie McAndish King and Suzie Rodriguez made several announcements, including the results of the recent poll on a possible name change for the organization. It was revealed that 55% of members would like San Francisco added to the BATW name and that 64% would like a more inclusive word such as Media in place of Writers. It was also learned that BATW’s new RSVP policy, which requires members to cancel within 48 hours or pay a $10 fine, is now in operation.

The three presenters, Mark Elterman, CEO of Mental Marketing, Jo Wemple, host of, and Diane Strachan, Stewardship Travel Director of the California Highway 1 Travel Route, described the attractions and volunteer opportunities available along the 110 miles of coast stretching from just south of Big Sur to Oceano Dunes. Strachan explained that visitors now have over 70 choices for possible activities designed to benefit the natural environment and local communities. Such efforts have already made a difference for such projects as restoring a historic pier, beach cleanup and dune restoration, she said. Those interested in participation will find a menu of options at

Afterward, members learned some interesting facts about San Francisco’s own Pier 39, including that it is now the most visited attraction in the city, according to research from the San Francisco Travel Association. A video presentation on restaurants at Pier 39, including Fog Harbor Fish House, which are owned by the Simmons Family and committed to serving sustainable, line-caught seafood, concluded the presentations. Then it was on to the theater foyer to sample San Luis Obispo County wines and seafood specialties provided by the Simmons Family restaurants.

Many thanks to Bob Cooper for coordinating this May event.