Paso Robles a Wonderful Getaway

Hi Everyone!  It's been a long time and how I missed all of you.  I had to step away for a wee bit but promise it was for a good reason.  Unfortunately, a vacation was not in the cards for Blake and I this summer.  We were fortunate to sneak in a little weekend getaway to Paso Robles.  It's about 3 1/2 hours north of Manhattan Beach, although in LA traffic it's more like 4 1/2 - 5 hours.   We were looking for something on the quiet side since things have been crazy and we wanted to incorporate a little (ok a lot)wine tasting.  Initially, we wanted to rent a house but everything was booked for the weekends we were considering.  One of the homeowners, I had contacted regarding renting their house suggested a quaint  B&B called Orchard Hill Farms in Paso Robles.  I found a room for the second weekend we were considering and booked it before anyone else could get their hands on it.  Blake is typically not a B & B guy.  He doesn't like having to tip toe around other people or sitting at a community table for breakfast.  However, he was pleasantly surprised since the location is very private and there is only three rooms.  It offers considerable privacy for the guests. 
There is the main house which is where the owners live and one guest room and a second house which, has two rooms and a communal area.  The guest house is a perfect place to go with another couple of friends because you have the whole building to yourself.  It's wonderful.  This was the front of the the guest house as we drove up.  Gorgeous.

 Love this vintage basket amongst all the ivy hanging on the house and this cute sign below.  How appropriate.

I love how there was a pair of old cowboy boots under the bench. She had lots of interesting touches like this throughout the property.
Across the driveway off to the left they had a chicken coop and a lovely cutting garden and veggies.

The side view of the guest house.  The balcony above was off our guest room. They had additional seating below with an outdoor fireplace.  I just loved all the indoor and outdoor spaces for you enjoy.  It truly was the ultimate quiet getaway. 

The main house.  The view from our side balcony in our room.

Statues and potted plants galore.

   Rolling hills surrounded us.
I loved this photo of these two wood pieces. Looks almost sculptural.  This was the view from a common balcony off the living room, which, can be shared by guests.  At night the sky was lit up like a Christmas tree and all you could hear were the crickets. I was in heaven.

I was so in love with this statue and his little peeps, I wanted to take him home with me.


Upon your drive up to the house - off to the left hand side of the main they have these fabulous Adirondack chairs sitting along the hillside.  One night Blake and I put on our PJ's and poured a glass of wine and sat and enjoyed the sunset here.

The entry to the guest room that is located in the main house (see above).  I was dying over these roses.  Perfect for my pink garden.  Below is a photo of the back of the main house.  Each morning Debbie and David serve breakfast to their guests out on the back patio. We met a lovely couple from LA and Europe and the last morning a couple from Chicago.  Everyone was so nice.

The fountain on the back patio tucked into the vines.

Each day she has a gorgeous table cloth set out, fresh flowers, vintage silverware, etc.  Here are a few of her table settings over the weekend. 
 I fell in love with this sugar bowl.  It actually has a little scooper at the top - you can see the point of it sticking out.  If you pull it, a little scooper comes out.  How cute is that?  Syl this reminded me of something you would have :)

The first day they served fresh fruit and ham and gruyrre cheese croissants that were to die for!  The next day, she had chocolate croissants (for me since I don't eat eggs) and little quiches with rosemary sprigs for everyone else.  Pomegranate and berry juice served daily with fresh coffee or tea.  We had fun watching David the host try to make an espresso for his European guests. 

Even the sugar packets were displayed nicely.

Blake hanging with the family dog.
A lovely status situated behind our outdoor dining table.

I must say this place was a slice of heaven. We went to dinner early every night, read our books...I got eight hours of sleep, something I hadn't had in months.  The rooms were so comfortable and they had everything you could imagine.  Lovely robes in the rooms, fresh soaps, Molton Brown shampoo and conditioner in the shower.  In the main part of the guest house they left you bottled water, sodas, wine and fresh bakery goods.  They were the most amazing hosts.  We will definitely be back.  This is not the place for the go go go....this is where you come to relax and get away.

During the day, we spent our time going to the local wineries.  I love good food and wine so before we left, I consulted with our local wine shop, our friend Richard and Wanda Mae as well as all my past issues of Wine Spectator for the hidden gems.  Most of the wineries in this area do not sell to stores or restaurants and the ones that do, it is generally local or just in CA.  Many of these wineries produce small allocations and sell mainly to their club members or people visiting.  This particular area is known for some of the best Syrahs and Rhone blends such as GSM's (Grenache, Syrahs, and Mourvedres {or Mataro for Australia and Spain}), Rose and Viognier.  I must say we sampled some lovely Roses, GSM's (my favorites) and Viognier's.

Along the way we stopped at a number of wineries.  One of my favorites was Epoch Wines owned by Bill Armstrong.  All the wines we tried were amazing, it's no wonder...Justin Smith of Saxum Vineyards (who recently ranked number 100 on the 2010 Wine Spectator top 100 list scored 98 points for his James Berry 2007 wine) is the current wine consultant.  Other great places on our list included Terry Hoage Vineyards.

My boyfriend is a football guy and he was familiar with Terry Hoage.  A former professional football player turned wine maker. Of course, I'm not interested in whether he's a former football player as much as I am if his wines are good. Along with Brian Benson, Justin Smith of Saxum listed above, Terry's winery was recently named by Wine Spectator as an up and coming winery.  I have to say all of the wines we tried we great. For wine aficionados, this is a must visit.  We had a chance to visit with Terry.  He was very nice, told us how he moved to Paso Robles to ground his children and his love for farming.  He said he learned about wine making from Justin Smith from Saxum Vineyards.
The outside of Terry Hoages tasting room.  Inside, I found this wonderful quote on the chalkboard.  I was like, "Was this written for me?"  His wife said she loved that quote.  I told her I have to take a picture of it!

Brian Benson was recently featured in Wine Spectator as one of the up and coming winemakers in Paso Robles.  Most of his wines were sold out but we found a Syrah we liked.  He was very entertaining. 

 We were recommended to Ecluse by the owners of Orchard Hill Farms. We barrel tasted several Cabernet's in various barrel types such as new french oak, American oak, etc. which will be blended into a single bottle.  All were yummy.

This photo is for my gum smacking Jersey Girl friend, Rosie.  I even got her a label.
Route 46 is a yummy place to stop and pick up sandwiches for a picnic, fresh cheeses, and yummy spreads.  They even have a wood burning fireplace outside to make fresh pizzas, yum! 

Our favorite dining restaurant hands down was Artisan.  Can you say, OMG!  The food was beyond tasty.  Everything we had was delish.  We had an 8:15 PM reservation on Sunday and we were so hungry that we cancelled it and went straight to the restaurant at 5:00 PM. We were back to Old Orchard before the sun went down ~ fat and happy.  Overall it was a wonderful and relaxing weekend.  We met some new friends along the way and look forward to our return to sample some the places we didn't get to visit.

Peggy and Fritz's Recommendations
Here's a list of fabulous boutique wineries to visit in Paso Robles:
Epoch Wines (One of my favorite on our trip)
Denner Vineyards (Appointment Only)
Caliza Winery
Lone Madrone (Winemaker for Tablas Creek, this is his own line)

Ones that are easy to find in stores:
Tablas Creek
Justin Wine
Places to Eat in Paso Robles:
Thomas Hill Organics
Il Cortile
Route 46

Places to Stay:
Orchard Hill Farms


Anonymous said...

I missed your blog and now know where you have been! This looks like where you belong! so beautiful and ecletic! I love the Jersey Girl label - if the wine were good i would even order some!

always love knowing what is cool and in!

Karen said...

I have had Paso Robles wine tasting our my list for a few years. Son #2 was up there recently for the Olive Festival with his girlfriend and he raved about it. I'm saving your recommendations for food, wine and the charming Orchard Hill Farms B&B. What a great post! Nice to hear from you.

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Welcome back! Looks like a very charming...and romatic getaway!

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

my first time here...i saw you on Nita's sidebar of Mod Vintage...the lady who recently lost her dog, Newman...so sad....i feel so bad for her...i can't stop thinking about her...anyway..i saw your Paso Robles get-away...i live in San Luis Obispo and had to come by...your trip looks wonderful..i LOVE Artisan too...wonderful food !! just a great chef...

i missed the Olive Oil Festival this year...but i do love it...

a couple of places you might also enjoy is Villa Creek Restaurant and have you heard of the B&B at Justin Winery...Justin has a lovely dining room as well....it is so BEAUTIFUL out there...and don't miss Halter Ranch for wines too...i LOVE that one...so many...all so good...

i had fun visiting you here today

kary from san luis obispo

Anonymous said...

Loved this post!!! You should be featured in an LA publication



quintessence said...

Hi Ann - I somehow missed this post - so nice to see you back and looks like you had a lovely weekend!! Cheers!!


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