You’ve seen the California commercials where Kim Kardashian plunges from a hot tub saying, “There are a lot of misconceptions about Californians, like that they’re all surfing, skating beach bums zipping off to wineries in fancy convertibles, but that’s not true is it?” Well, it sort of is true. In February Isaac and I spent a week visiting Paso Robles, Cambria, Los Angeles, and Orange County and I do believe that Californians are laughing at all of us stuck here in the midwest and think, “what are they doing living there?” Everyone seems happy in California. Maybe that’s because they really are happier getting plenty of Vitamin D, living among vineyards and olive groves, and seeing the ocean everyday. Well, Paso Robles is a favorite place for my husband and I because his family has 25 acres of land with a house built by his grandfather. I highly recommend taking a long weekend to Paso wine country. When you do, here is a sample “perfect day” or for a Californian, just another day in paradise.
7:00 AM Allow the sun to peek through your blinds and wake to the birds chirping. Roll out of bed and head to the porch to enjoy the views of rolling hills, vineyards, and roaming cows.
8:30 Head over to grab a leisurely cup of coffee and breakfast at the Amsterdam Coffee House on 13th street. I was convinced that there was weed growing somewhere at the coffee shop, but instead of a joint I had a tasty latte and a filling bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar, whole milk, and dried cranberries. The shop is a hippy spot that’s eclectic and California chill.
10:00 Head over to the Templeton’s Farmer’s Market at Templeton Community Park on Saturday morning and feast your eyes on beautiful fruits, vegetables, pastries, and flowers. It will get you in the mood to cook and set a beautiful table at home.
11:00 No trip to Paso Robles would be complete without a trip to the BootBarn on Spring Street where you will be wishing you had land and a farm to tend. Instead of buying boots for ourselves, we bought a 60 dollar pair of impractical pink boots that my two year old daughter hates to wear! I got one cute picture so I guess it’s worth it. Isaac bought a pair of boots here about 10 years ago and they are still in excellent shape.
Noon– Time to head to lunch at Aron Hill Vineyard right by the Heath family ranch. This winery offers delicious lunch on the patio that you can enjoy with a glass (or a bottle) of Aron Hill wine. Try the Ceasar salad with homemade caesar dressing and thick shavings of parmesan cheese. This is the quinticential California lunch that makes you forget where you are coming from and where you are going next. Enjoy a long leisurely lunch before heading out to some world class wineries.
2 pm-430 pm– Get your designated driver ready for a windy road tour through vineyards as you sample wine from some of the most popular labels in the US. Isaac chose a nice variety of open tasting rooms that offer casual and noncommittal tasting sessions to intimate prescheduled tastings where we met the owners, winemaker, and family dog of several small wineries. There are too many to count, but here are a few of our favorites vineyards to visit.
1.Linne Calado – by appointment only. Wine maker and owner Matt was running through the tasting room planning his free throw competition for their upcoming party. The wine, family atmosphere, and knowledge of the staff was refreshing. A hidden gem.
2. Wildhorse– Known for their pinot noir, Isaac loves visiting here on each visit. It’s close to the Heath property, unpretentious, and easy to find. We are members and I always get excited to get my quarterly shipment!
3. L’Aventure Winery– Make an appointment for L’Aventure. The french owner and winemaker, Stephan Asseo, was right outside the tasting room sampling his wine before bottling the final product.
7:00-? Enjoy a late afternoon siesta and walk around the beautiful land of Paso. Cook a beautifully simple dinner from the fresh produce purchased at the farmer’s market. A final glass of wine, a grilled steak, and a California sunset will prepare you for one of the deepest nights sleep you’ve ever had. Rest is needed because tomorrow you will put your running shoes on and head to the ocean town of Cambria for a breathtaking walk along the coast in search of lazy seals resting on the rocks in the ocean.