Every time I take a trip to the central coast (of California) something inside me sets back to zero. I mean this in a good way. Like my internal compass re-aligns and I suddenly feel balanced and grounded.
This year is the first year I ventured north during the autumn and I was happily surprised by the colors of the changing trees. Mustards, chartreuse, and vibrant oranges brilliantly complimented the clear blue sky, mottled only by the sporadic cloud. The air up there is crisp now, and clean. At least I assume its clean because my deaf nose was able to smell again (the smog in LA has taken a bit of a toll on my sinuses).
Our final destination for some needed Thanksgiving RnR was in San Luis Obispo, but, as per usual, we took a pit stop in the quaint town of Santa Barbara. We both adore SB. Its just fun. The people are friendly and the shops are unique. The beach is gorgeous as well.
The drive from Santa Barbara to SLO is breathtaking. There are two routes- a coastal route, and a just as pretty “inland” route that I’ve named the painted landscape route, or the PLR. The latter is the road less traveled. I actually prefer the PLR because it feels like an escape into a different time-space continuum. The PLR somehow acts as a reminder to leave my stress behind, to take a deep breath and enjoy some time to replenish the soul.
Where to stay? The Sycamore Hotel:
MSM found this AMAZING little (ok not that little) hotel called The Sycamore. The hotel property is divided into three areas, town homes, cabins, and an area of natural hot spring hot tubs that can be rented. Each town home and cabin has a unique name, like “joy” or “serenity” We stayed in “fulfillment”.
The suites here are nothing short of amazing. High ceilings and happy yellow walls will make anyone smile. Each town home suite boasts king sized beds (ahhhhh), a fireplace (ahhhh), and, lucky us, a private natural hot spring hot tub! With hiking trails abound and a centrally located yoga center, there is enough to do here for a week! It kind of reminded me of a lavish summer camp. I was in heaven.
We arrived early in the evening on Thanksgiving, just in time to rest before partaking in the magnificent hotel-prepared feast. A feast deserving of a write-up in Town&Country. Our palates were prepped with a heart warming potato leak soup followed by a traditional Turkey Day dinner; roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans (with home made crispy onions – not the nasty canned ones), and a choice of pumpkin or apple pie for desert. All this paired with our choice of local wine.
After our meal MSM and I decided to snoop around the hotel’s property. This adventure lead us to a gated chef’s garden that was (probably mistakenly) unlocked. It was fun to see the origin of the herbs and vegetables that made up our prior meal. After exploring we retreated back to the room where we did absolutely nothing but relax and plot out our activities for the next day. It was perfect.
A day of wine tasting:
First of all, if you decide to stay at the Sycamore, you MUST set your alarm for an early wake up to hike the crest trail. The reasons this is so awesome are threefold. 1. you will burn off the meal from the night before 2. THE VEIW!!! And 3. The dogs! So many cute pups to pet and friendly people to meet. Its amazing how nice everyone is here. I can see why SLO was voted the happiest place in the US. Interesting fact- its ALSO in the top three areas of the world for the most centenarians with outstanding quality of life.
After a challenging but invigorating hike, the perfect denouement is wine tasting. San Luis Opispo and its neighbor, Paso Robles, host a plethora (I want to say 600 but I’m sure that can’t be right) of vineyards. Knowing how much I love learning about local wines and going wine tasting, MSM had planned to take us for a special birthday picnic at the vineyard where my favorite wine is made- Justin.
On the way to the vineyard we stopped in the heart of SLO to pick up some picnic sandwiches at the adorable High Street Market and Deli. OMG possibly the best sandwich and in-house made pickles I’ve ever had!
It took forever to get to Justin. An hour, to be exact. If you go to Justin you should know its actually in Paso Robles, NOT SLO! But it was well worth the wait. Besides, driving through rolling hills painted with autumn trees and cute cows and deer is relaxing. By the time we arrived at Justin, I felt at ease, and ten years younger.
After getting our buzz on at Justin we decided to do a wine and cheese tasting at Jada. I had never done a pairing before. Wine, Cheese, Wine, that is the order. The wine here paled in comparison to Justin. But the cheese was amazing! Especially the Irish Porter Beer Cheese. Who says you can’t mix wine and beer?
Our day of wine tasting ended with a wonderful dinner at the romantic Novo in San Luis Obispo, where we partook in a fabulous seafood linguine. We are always happy with the food at Novo. This restaurant is truly worthy of its own review – so thats all I’m going to say about it for now.
After a delicious dinner we enjoyed the hot tub one last time before settling down in bed to marathon watch “Younger”. Have you ever watched that show? Its me in a nut shell. I read somewhere recently that its actually healthy to lie about your age. So I decided that I am reclaiming the last ten years. I am no longer blankety blank. Instead, I just turned ten years younger!
What the heck to wear in Wine Country California:
Central Coast California in the fall has a wide range of temperatures. Even within a day the weather can swing from 80 degrees in the afternoon to 45 at night. I’m feeling redundant, but…..layering is essential. I packed for this trip with no help from Danielle, and I’m not truly confident in my pairings. But I’ll post them anyways:
With replenished souls and a new lease on life, we headed back to Los Angeles. I had a wonderful birthday/Thanksgiving weekend, with a newly attained knowledge of so many things for which to be thankful.
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well. What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving memories?