We headed out of Monterey to Paso Robles, a nice short and easy drive of just about 2 hours. We arrived at the Wine Country RV Resort around noon and got set up quickly. So quickly we had the rest of an afternoon to head out and find some wineries to enjoy! The resort had free coupons for tastings at several different of the local wineries, so we grabbed our daily allotment of 4 coupons and headed out for the afternoon. First stop was Vina Robles, a newer tasting room that spared no expense. Very large and open building, with great service from Bob, and a nice assortment of wines. A very nice concert venue here and we almost bought tickets to the John Fogerty show the next evening, just could not commit. Next we were on to Eberle Winery. Again, great service from Sarah, and a nice little tour of the wine cave there. The wine owner, a Penn St. grad who played football many years back, has a great little thing going. He has been there for decades, and everyone knows him and respects his wines – the godfather of Paso. The third stop that day was at Tobin James winery. We were told this was a party site, and it felt a little more lively when we arrived. There were several different people at stations pouring wine, and the atmosphere was definitely more alive. We had some okay wines here, and did a little shopping in the store, but were rushed out the door promptly at 6:00PM when they closed, even though were still had a few more wines to try, a bit odd. Returned to the park and the MoHo for dinner and some rest.
The next day we were off to the other side of town, the west side of highway 101. Headed out highway 46 and made several stops, first of which was at Grey Wolf. A very small outfit, with average wines, dog friendly, and not much more to talk about. Next stop was Zin Alley. We got some great recommendations from a friend Traci worked with, Dana. This winery was right on highway 46, but not listed on any of our maps. Very basic, almost seemed as if it was closed. Well, the owner, wine maker, farmer, property manager, etc. was there with a lively couple of ladies at the tasting bar. They were having a great time, and it was only noon! We sampled his 5 Zin-based wines, and he knows what he is doing!! This is a great stop, not to be missed, but get out your wallet, wines here are not cheap, but the pricing reflects the quality. Third stop was Turley, just south of highway 46. A very nice place, and good wines here, but again just missing something to make it special. Next we were on to Tablas Creek, just off Vineyard Dr. to the west on Adelaide Rd. Beautiful grounds, free waters served in re-usable aluminum water bottles. A very nice place, we would have had lunch if we had time, definitely a great place! Next on to Lone Madrone, a new location for them, but you would never know it. We had great service here and chatted with another couple who were there picking up theire shipment and they gave us a recommendation for our next stop, if we hurried. We did, and got up to DAOU Vineyards around 5:30PM. This place is on the top of the hill, and the views do not fail! A must stop if you get to the area, and good quality wines to add to the ambiance. We headed back to Paso for some dinner, and accidentally found another place to stop, Paso Underground. This tasting room is a place that the little guys share, there were 4 tables here, only one tasting that night though, Edmond August. He had a group of 12 coming in and as soon as they arrived, we quickly finished and headed out to find some grub. We both were in the mood for Mexican, and found a nice little place called Estrella’s. We had great food, and went home full and tired, but happy with our full day of wine tasting! Overall, the vibe in Paso was very relaxed and casual and we would highly recommend a visit to this area. And, the RV Park we stayed at was probably one of the nicest yet. Clean, friendly and the customer service was second to none!
Our last full day we went over to the coast, another friend Bruce had recommended we go see Morro Bay. Oh how I wish I had looked it up on the map before we headed out. This is an amazing little town on the coast with a very large natural bay and would have been great if we had brought clothes to go kayaking, damn! We walked up and down the main road, and stopped for lunch at a little bar on the water. Did a little more scenic driving around and then it was time to head back to Paso Robles. The resort had a free tasting that night in the clubhouse, but the wine was not good, so we went back to the MoHo and made dinner and stayed in for the night. Oh, and we got a few loads of laundry done!
The next morning we were off to Cachuma Lake Recreation Area, a reservoir above Santa Barbara to the NE about 20 minutes. This place is an old Mobile Home park that had been converted to a campground. We had a nice big pad to park on, it was quiet and a great location for everything in the area. We got in early enough that day to sit back and chill and watch some football, Dawgs and Cougs kind of stunk it up, oh well. We decided to drive into Solvang to grab a bite to eat at the local brewery. This little Danish town was hopping on a Saturday night. Our dinner was just ok, then we headed home for the night.
Sunday we met up with Traci’s friend she worked with, Dana and his wife Sharon. They offered to take us around Santa Ynez Valley and show us the wine region that is in the valley just north of Santa Barbara to Los Olivos. A small area but it did pack a great punch when it comes to the wine quality and wineries. This is the area that the movie Sideways was filmed. We started the day at Rideau. A wonderful little place, with very nice wines and great grounds, easily could have spent a whole afternoon here, but we had some other venues to explore. The next stop was at Arthur Earl, a winery that Dana and Sharon are wine club members with. Again, very good wines here, with a nice little tasting room, and very friendly help. The last stop of the afternoon was at Demetria. After a long drive up the entrance road, we arrived at this amazing gem in the middle of the valley and secluded as if you were in the middle of Tuscany! WOW!! We had brought some lunch from town and found an open table outside and sat down and enjoyed lunch and a bottle of wine, amazing place! You would never believe how many people were here, so far off the main highway, but when you are good, they will find you! We headed back to the MoHo, an early evening set in, so we got out the fire pit to keep warm and enjoyed a couple of our wines we brought from home with our tour guides. A great day, a huge thanks to Dana and Sharon for taking care of us and showing us the valley!
The next morning, moving a bit slow, we decided it was time to wash the house…in the heat of the morning. Long story short, 3 plus hours later the dirt and bugs were cleaned off the outside of the MoHo and car and we were really tired. Quick trip into town for some groceries and we were just happy to relax the rest of the afternoon.
Our last full day in the area, we headed to Santa Barbara for the day. We drove down to the waterfront and headed to a little bar in the Marina that Dana had recommended, Brophy Bros. His tip was to sit at the bar (the best seats in the house). We did exactly that, had a beer and peered out at the marina, what a little gem of a location. Next we headed back up the beach to another little restaurant for lunch, the Shoreline Cafe. We sat on the beach, feet in the sand and enjoyed the sun and sand, along with a nice meal. We headed into town, I dropped Traci off at the Color Room for a hair appt (another rec from Dana & Sharon), and I headed back to the beach for a couple hours, super relaxing. I picked her up and we headed to Dana and Sharon’s for dinner in the Santa Barbara hills. A gorgeous home with amazing touches and an incredible patio, we sat outside for appy’s and dinner and wine. A perfect finish to our weekend in Santa Barbara, we again can’t say enough thanks to our hosts for a great time! We really loved this portion of the trip. Paso Robles, the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara are places we will return to for sure.
Tomorrow we are off towards the Phoenix area, with an overnight stop just east of the CA/AZ border. It is another double, Seahawks on Thursday, Husky’s on Saturday, sandwiched with a birthday party for a good friend in Scottsdale. Then, finishing the weekend with two more couples in the area. Going to be a great weekend!