Over the last few years the town of Paso Robles, CA, has become our home away from home.
Nick & I have gotten to know the area well. We have made new friends and have fallen in love with Paso's many incredible wineries, the delightful scenery and the laid-back friendly atmosphere. Our dear friends Don & Joelle have a beautiful vacation rental (Rock & Vine - you can rent it too!), where we often stay. I need to do a separate blog about their cool house! And I will! :)
This blog is about one of our last trips, early April. The weather was perfect and while the trip was rather short (only 2 nights) it was lovely.
OVERVIEW AND LINKS
We stayed at The Inn at Croad Vineyards
We got treatments at The Spa Central Coast
We visited our favorite winery (Cypher) and discovered a new one we absolutely loved: Guyonmar
We did an on-air interview/performance on the KRUSH 92.5 FM radio station
THE INN AT CROAD VINEYARDS
Perched on a hill next door to Croad Winery, the Inn at Croad Vineyards is a boutique B&B (they have only 3 suites). It is quiet, beautiful and very peaceful. I love the tile floors and the furniture, and the overall Spanish architectural style/decor of the Inn (and the winery, too!). The views of surrounding vineyards are stunning. The grounds have a very picturesque sitting area near a fountain where you can have a glass of wine (provided with your stay, yay!) and look over the vineyards on the rolling hills below. You can also walk over to the tasting room next door for some more wine! :)
We slept with our windows open, enjoying the fresh air and listening to the sounds of wind and wild animals. At one point we heard owls, coyotes, frogs, crickets and some other unidentified (by us) creatures all at once. It was awesome! And we had total privacy.
Since we were arriving quite late, the owner (Martin) said he'd leave our door unlocked. When we got there, the door was locked (oops!), so I called Martin (who's also the winemaker and a super nice New Zealander). He drove right over (he lives a minute away) and as he was unlocking the door he asked if we'd like some wine. Yes, please! One thing led to another.... we ended doing midnight barrel tasting with Martin!
It was really a unique experience especially since Martin said he rarely does barrel tastings. The wines were outstanding. Wish we could have bottled it right there and then!!
We loved our time at Croad and are very grateful to Martin (and his assistant Rosie) for the hospitality! Here are a few photos:
New Zealand flag!
The amazing pergola/fountain/view of the vineyards:
Love these bathroom fixtures:
View from the room!
Yummy brekkie (using my Aussie/Kiwi lingo here):
My artsy shot:
THE SPA CENTRAL COAST
I found this spa because of glowing user reviews on Google Maps. It's located on Paso's main square. Nick & I made instant friends with Kitty (the owner) and Ali (the manager). Sometimes you meet people and feel like you've known them forever!
This spa is a very special place. It's not just your typical salon where you get a facial or a massage or a skin treatment. This place has a vibe about it. You come in from a noisy street and enter this whole other realm - a calm, happy, peaceful place, where you leave your worries at the door. At least this is how I felt (and I worry all the time, haha!). Every business is a reflection of the people who run it, and Kitty is a very giving and a spiritual person. I felt her loving touch (no pun intended - she is a massage therapist!) in every little detail of the spa.
I booked a Signature Facial (which is a bit of a misnomer because it's technically a full body massage as well as a facial) with Kitty. Nick had a full body massage/sea salt scrub combo in another room.
We both loved our treatments. I felt so relaxed (and I don't always end up relaxed after a massage or a facial). I also really appreciated the complimentary foot soak in the meditation room. Ali told us that the pebbles in the foot soak bowl were collected by Kitty from various places around the world over the years. How cool is that?
We came back two weeks later for an infrared therapy session, a detoxifying sauna-like treatment which has many other positive effects (you can read all about it at http://www.thespacentralcoast.com/detoxing-treatments/ ). I didn't even know infrared treatments were a thing! It was a really cool (hot, actually!) experience. Here is the room:
Afterwards, Nick & I showered, drank a lot of water and relaxed in the meditation room.
Just a few steps away from the Spa is Downtown City Park and the Paso Square. Have you been there? It is such a lovely area! Nick & I make sure to come and walk around at least once during each visit to the area. In April the trees were just starting to get new leaves, how pretty is this?
There are many shops and restaurants all around the square, and beyond:
There are so many incredible wineries in Paso Robles. There are over 300 now! Although Nick & I come to the area often, I feel like we're only getting to know these wineries. We've been to about 30. Usually we visit no more than 4 wineries a day, and end up returning to the ones we love and try maybe 1-2 new ones on each trip. Some of my absolute favorites are Whalebone, Jada, RN, with Cypher and Guyomar topping the list.
I love wine and the whole wine culture (which goes hand in hand with food culture and cooking and loving the land). Nick & I like to watch wine documentaries, talk to our winemaker friends and learn all about the wine making process. But we mostly just love drinking wine! :) I am not great at describing wine or tasting notes, I just know what I love and I have become a bit of a wine snob as of late. Or, better put - a wine aficionado with a very discerning palate :)
Nick & I have different tastes in many things, but one of the few things we happen to agree on is wine! Not only we both share the passion for wine, but we seem to have similar palate, which doesn't really happen often with couples. I guess we're lucky this way! :)
Anyway, we both agree that CYPHER Winery is our favorite. Yup! Of all the wineries (and we've wine-tasted all over the US, Europe and in Australia!). By the way, Sam, the owner, is an awesome person whom we now call a dear friend.
The Cypher tasting room is small but stylish. But most importantly, the wines are fabulous (and reasonably priced - especially if you're their wine club member).
I am especially partial to their Mourvedre (OMG!!! amazing!) and the Anarchy. Anarchy is the winemaker's (the brilliant Christian Tietje) "Unconventional Rhone Blend". It's a Zin, Mourvedre and Syrah (instead of the common Grenache, Syrah & Mourvedre) blend. In France, winemakers are very traditional in their approach. But not so much in California, and definitely not Christian Tietje! Hence - Anarchy!
[it's 4th bottle from the left]
The other winery I'd like to share with you is GUYOMAR. Our friends Don & Joelle took us wine-tasting there in March and we immediately fell in love with the wine, the wonderful owner (Ishka) and his spectacular tasting room (Ishka & Mareeni's house - on a gorgeous hilltop) which could possibly double as a museum of the East.
Check out this tasting room!
Guyomar tastings are by appointment only, so make sure to call ahead if you go. And there are complimentary snacks (a very rare treat in the wine world)!
But the most important thing is the wine. For my palate, it's as good as it gets. My current favorite is 2013 Laity, which isn't even pictured below, oops, but the 2014 is:
The blend on 2013 Laity is 70% Syrah, 22% Grenache, 8% Petite Sirah. I am generally not a huge fan of Syrah or Petite Sirah, but this wine is amazing to me. I don't know why, nor do I care to rationalize it. It's just the way it is. And I am happy to have discovered this wine.
PERFORMING ON KRUSH RADIO
It was great to be back to KRUSH for a 1 hour interview and live performance. As there is usually no room at radio stations to bring a keyboard, Nick & I normally do acoustic performances. Sometimes it's hard for me to choose which songs to play since most of the songs I write are piano-based. So Nick & I have to figure out which songs we can do in the acoustic/vocal format. We chose "Together Alone" and "You Make Me Beautiful" for this show. Suzanne, the DJ, played 2 songs from BORN TO THE STARS: the title track and "I Am Iron".
You can listen to the whole segment at
Here are a few pics by our friend/rock photographer Don Adkins:
Okay, that's it! Thanks for reading!
Tour diary, where to stay in Paso, best spa on Central Coast California