Pickup Party…Of A Different Kind

Within our first year of moving to Paso Robles, we discovered that San Luis Obisbo (SLO) County does not have allocated funds for litter collection and removal. SLO County depends on volunteers’ generosity to help clean the county streets, so to help get the community involved, the county’s Public Works Department (PWD) offers an Adopt-A-Road program that allows the public to directly contribute to roadside maintenance through litter collection and removal.

We decided that this was something we wanted to do. The process was as simple as filling out an application, choosing the portion of the road we wanted to maintain, and the county provided us with neon safety vests and trash bags.

We chose a road near our home that is about a 3-mile stretch. We felt that this would be manageable for us to handle. It takes us about 3 hours to cover the entire road, and we’re always amazed that we will collect 10+ bags of trash each time. We maintain the road on a quarterly or as-needed basis throughout the year. We feel this is a nominal commitment to help maintain the aesthetic benefits of cleaner and more beautiful roadsides in our community.

The ease of this program is that the volunteers can determine which available road they want to adopt and how much of the road they want to maintain. The county does not stipulate how often a volunteer needs to maintain the road, so volunteers have the freedom to pick up trash on their own timeline. As mentioned, the county supplies safety vests and trash bags, and a recognition sign will be posted on the section of the adopted road (there is a nominal fee for business signs). Once the trash is picked up, it is left in a specified location, and with a simple phone call or email to the PWD, they will arrange for pick up.

Participating in the Adopt-A-Road program is a great way to promote civic responsibility and community pride. If you want more information on this program, call 805.781.5252 or visit the site online (here).

Joy Ride

Every once in a while, we choose to take a play day…no work, only fun. This was a play day.

We are members of the Porsche Club of America, California Central Coast Region, and a couple times a year, we will join the club for a joy ride. On this particular event, the club met in the small town of Santa Margarita, and the drive would end for lunch in New Cuyama – a tiny, historic town we had wanted to explore.

The drive was delightful, and the Cuyama Buckhorn did not disappoint. The property was initially built in 1952 as the community hub for the valley of Cuyama, and after 60 years, the historic roadside hotel has transformed into a sophisticated boutique resort.

We ended the day by stopping at Edna Valley Vineyards to enjoy a nice glass of wine and the beautiful vineyard views from this winery.

Now, this is how we saw our retirement going! Enjoy the day with us through the video.

Daou Vineyards

Daou Vineyards is a west-side winery located in Paso Robles. This winery boasts one of the best views in the area with beautifully landscaped grounds and quality wines.

This is a perfect place to come as a couple to sit in the private niche with wine barrel Adirondack chairs overlooking the stunning views or enjoy the lush and luxurious cushioned settees with a group of friends.

This will be one of the more popular wineries so there may be many  people here, however, the seating options are plentiful so you should be fine. If you are looking for a relaxing, enjoyable day, and a spot to lounge around for awhile, this is a great choice.

Daou charges $40 for their wine tasting and does not have a cafe/restaurant but does offer a charcuterie platter for purchase and offers special priced wine pairings with cheese platters.

Daou Vineyards

2777 Hidden Mountain Road
Paso Robles, CA, 93446 United States
Phone: (805) 226-5460

http://www.daouvineyards.com

Burn Day

We experienced our first “burn day” on the ranch. In our previous suburban life a burn day meant that you could use your fireplace, now it has a whole new meaning.

After spending almost two months trimming trees, pruning the vineyard and olives trees and attempting to massacre the Juniper bushes, there are piles of brush and debris scattered about the 10 acre property. It becomes clear that we can not ignore it any longer.

A burn permit is obtained, the location – a safe distance from the house – is secured and safety precautions are put in place such as a ready-and-waiting water hose.

With much trepidation, the brush pile is lit and off she goes…in no time, huge orange flames begin their graceful dance in the air and it is mesmerizing. Unfortunately, there is no time for admiration…for the next three hours, we collect all the brush and debris and feed the belly of the beast. It feels good to finally have a purpose for the ranch “toys” we have purchased such as the Polaris Ranger. It becomes clear that items such as this are a necessity for this lifestyle.

A sense of accomplishment comes over us when we see that the majority of the tons of brush around the property has been depleted to a small pile of ashes.

As the fire dissipates…we rake down ashes to speed up the cooling process but we have to keep stepping away as the extreme heat stings our faces and makes our eyes water. At the end of the day, the smell of smoke is embedded in our clothes, hair and even nostrils but it does not really bother us because we feel strong in having met the day’s challenge.

Our first burn day comes to an end and we feel empowered. There is something to be said for a hard day’s work and the sense of accomplishment that comes with going outside of your comfort zone. With that, we are ready for and look forward to our next challenge.

The Sea Chest, Cambria

Cambria is a quaint costal town located near the Pacific Ocean just off West Hwy 46. If you are coming from Hwy 101 at Paso Robles, the pleasant drive on Hwy 46 West will take by several wineries and produce farms.

Cambria has an easy-going, artist community vibe. You will find unique shops, restaurants, and wine tasting rooms scattered between the two distinct downtown areas. The two downtown areas are walkable, if you enjoy a long walk; otherwise, I believe there is a trolley that shuttles people back and forth, or you can drive yourself.

Moonstone Beach is the main location for the majority of hotels that are located waterfront. Also located here is my very favorite restaurant in this area, The Sea Chest Oyster Bar and Restaurant. The restaurant is located in what I can only describe as a Sea Captain’s Cottage with its cozy wood interior walls, old books on the shelves and well-worn, sturdy furniture.

The food is always consistently good (and I’m talking about over the years I’ve been going here), some of their specialties are the House Cioppino, Local Morro Bay Oysters and Panko Crusted Calamari Steak. The Clam Chowder and daily fresh fish catches are always crowd favorites and they offer a great selection of local and beyond wine choices.

Word of warning, they do not take reservations (they often have over an hour wait) and they only take cash, so be sure to come with a stuffed wallet…but it is well worth it! The great news is, it’s located oceanfront (and I always wait for a table by the window) so wear your walking shoes and stroll the boardwalk while you’re waiting for your name to come up or sit by the outdoor fire pit with your favorite beverage. A visit here is an entire coastal dining experience.

 

The Sea Chest | Cambria, CA

Cambria is a quaint coastal town located near the Pacific Ocean just off West Hwy 46. If you are coming from Hwy 101 at Paso Robles, the pleasant drive on Hwy 46 West will take you by several wineries and produce farms.

Cambria has an easy-going, artist community vibe. You will find unique shops, restaurants, and wine-tasting rooms scattered between the two distinct downtown areas. The two downtown areas are walkable if you enjoy a long walk; otherwise, I believe there is a trolley that shuttles people back and forth, or you can drive yourself.

Moonstone Beach is the primary location for the majority of hotels that are located waterfront. Also located here is my very favorite restaurant in this area, The Sea Chest Oyster Bar and Restaurant. The restaurant is located in what I can only describe as a Sea Captain’s Cottage with its cozy wood interior walls, old books on the shelves, and well-worn, sturdy furniture.

The food is always consistently good (and I’m talking about over the years I’ve been going here); some of their specialties are the House Cioppino, Local Morro Bay Oysters, and Panko Crusted Calamari Steak. The Clam Chowder and daily fresh fish catches are always crowd favorites, and they offer a great selection of local and beyond wine choices.

Word of warning, they do not take reservations (they often have over an hour wait), and they only take cash, so be sure to come with a stuffed wallet…but it is well worth it! The great news is, it’s located oceanfront (and I always wait for a table by the window), so wear your walking shoes and stroll the boardwalk while you’re waiting for your name to come up or sit by the outdoor fire pit with your favorite beverage. A visit here is an entire coastal dining experience.

A Change of Season

It’s Spring. A cool breeze blows through the olive tree branches as I prune them. I stop and let the breeze brush across my face as I listen to the faint voices and laughter from a field crew working in the vineyard next door, their joy makes me smile. I feel content.

This lifestyle is new to me. My husband and I have recently retired from our respective jobs in the busy San Francisco Bay Area. We are fortunate, we were able to retire fairly young, in our mid-fifties. After searching for several years for the perfect retirement location, we end up in California’s Central Coast ~ Paso Robles, or as my husband likes to refer to it by its official name, El Paso de Robles. This area is growing into a beautiful wine country region and we’re happy to have settled here while it is still accessible and affordable.

This location is a perfect compromise between what we both wanted. For me: the California lifestyle, still close to the beach, and located in between the Bay Area and Los Angeles where we have both family and friends. For him: 10 acres of land where he can spread his wings and putter around all day long.

We’re two months into this journey and so far we are thrilled. The move to this area has exceeded our expectations. We have met many nice people and feel very welcomed into a community where we had no ties.

The 10-acre ranch will keep us busy for quite awhile as we go through some renovations inside the home and clear brush and landscape around the property…but what else do we have to do, right? Nothing but time.

Today, I pruned some of the 50 olive trees we have on the property, as I have already finished pruning the 1-acre Petit Sirah vineyard a few weeks ago. We don’t really know what we’re doing but we’re having fun learning the process. So we settle into a change of season, both literally and figuratively as we shift ourselves into a new lifestyle and journey in life.

 

 

 

Cass Winery ~ Our First Wine Club

To join or not to join (wine clubs), that is the question when it comes to the hundreds of wineries located in the Paso Robles region. We’ve gone back and forth on this and in speaking with friends in the area, many have said that when they first moved to the area they joined numerous clubs and then cut back as time went on.

In listening to our friends, we’ve been a little selective in our process of joining wine clubs, however, when you’ve only lived in an area for a couple of months and you’ve already made several trips to the same winery, see that they offer fun events and they’re located just minutes from your home…and oh yes, you enjoy their wines…it seems like a no-brainer, so welcome the newest members of Cass Winery…us!

Cass Winery is located on the east side situated almost right in between Hwy 46 and Hwy 41. Not only is the location of this winery extremely convenient for us, we also really enjoy the peaceful, unpretentious, country setting of this vineyard. We heard from several people that Cass has a lot of fun social events and we also like the fact that they are open daily and have a tasting room and a café on site that serves delicious lunches with indoor and outdoor seating options. It’s a fun place to just hang out.

We’re looking forward to receiving our wine shipments, the private wine club member events, discounts and other benefits of being a member here. This feels like a good fit for us at this time.

We had the opportunity at an industry event to meet the owner, Steve Cass, who seems to be fun and spirited which seems to translate over to the staff.

So cheers to our new membership and the good times ahead.

Cass Winery

7350 Linne Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446
tel: 805.239.1730
fax: 805.227.2889
email: info@casswines.com

Calcareous Vineyard

Calcareous Vineyards offers the unique distinction of sitting atop one of the highest limestone plateaus on Paso Robles’ westside extending panoramic views. Not only is this winery a fine location for tasting high-quality wines but to also enjoy a nice lunch + wine pairing along with the spectacular views.

Calcareous is open daily and offers many events throughout the year (see calendar). For over a decade now, Calcareous has produced a collection of world–class blends and varietal wines that exhibit Paso Robles’ claim to being distinctly different.

This is a perfect location to enjoy a relaxing day, a light lunch or evening sunset, but do be careful drinking and driving at this location as the road to get to here is quite windy and would not be suitable for anyone who might be slightly impaired. A chartered wine tour or Uber would be recommended here if you want the wine to flow freely.

 

Calcareous Vineyard
3430 Peachy Canyon Road
Paso Robles CA, 93446

Phone:  (805) 239-0289
Fax:      (805) 239-0916

http://www.calcarous.com

Click here for Tasting Room hours.

Our First Wine Seminar Experience

Today, Thomas and I had the pleasure of attending our first wine seminar through an invitation from our friend and leisure travel consultant specializing in food and wine adventures, Lisa Baserga of AVA Wine Adventures, LLC. The seminar was presented by the Rhone Rangers, an organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge of Rhone grapes grown in the Paso Robles region and throughout the United States and was hosted at the Broken Earth Winery located in Paso Robles.

The day’s event included a 1-1/2 hour seminar, catered lunch, grand wine tasting and a silent auction. The seminar was moderated by Patrick Comiskey, Senior Contributor for Wine & Spirits Magazine, Principal Wine Columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and author of “American Rhone: How Maverick Winemakers Changed the way Americans Drink”.  The panel of speakers was composed of a team of 8 winemakers who have chosen the Rhone Ranger route in Paso Robles, and who are forging the area’s reputation as California’s “Rhone Zone”, the speakers included Paul Hoover, Still Waters Vineyards; Kevin Sass, Halter Ranch; Chris Eberle, Eberle Winery; Jeremy Leffert, Tooth and Nail Winery; Carl Bowker, Caliza Winery; Damian Grindley, Brecon Estate; Terry Hoage, TH Estate; and Jeremy Weintraub, Adelaida Vineyards & Winery.

As a novice vineyard owner and babe to the wine industry, I found the seminar to be professionally organized, informative, and although there was well over 100 people in attendance, the venue felt intimate and the winemakers were accessible, friendly and willing to answer questions. The information the winemakers shared certainly gave me an education, especially about many varieties of grapes that I was not familiar with. I enjoyed the way they set up the table with a placemat labeled with each winemaker’s wine sample so that as each winemaker presented their wine, you could experience the wine as they spoke about it.

Each table was headed by a winemaker and I had the privilege to be sitting With Jason Hass of Tablas Creek Vineyard and founder of the Rhone Rangers Paso Robles Chapter.  Jason was named the 2015 Paso Robles Wine Industry Person of the Year for his outstanding contributions toward the success of the Paso Robles wine industry.

Jason presented a not-yet-released 2017 Barrel-Sample Rosè called Dianthus, that I truly enjoyed as well as one of his exclusive vintage bottles, 2003 Panoplie, which he described as the best-of-the-best. It was a real treat and well enjoyed along with a gourmet buffet-style luncheon.

After the lunch, we were able to visit with all the attending winemakers who were pouring their wine and enjoy some one-on-one time with them. There were several nice silent auction items up for bid, some baskets containing wine, apparel and more; some were providing private tours of the winery, along with hotel stays and wine tours in vintage cars. I tried my hand at a few items but it seemed that I was always quickly outbid.

This was a very pleasant experience with an educational edge for me and I now look forward to visiting many of the wineries that were represented there.

The Aftermath

I want to again thank Lisa Baserga (AVA Wine Adventures, LLC) who made this day possible. Lisa is an experienced travel consultant specializing in food and wine adventures throughout the world. Please visit her site for more information on how she can create your own personalized wine adventure. www.departurelounge.com/travel-advisors/lisa-baserga