Paso Pleasures ... an Idyllic Paso Robles Wine Country Vacation

A PASO ROBLES vacation is way too short. At least, it's always that way for us.

So much to do. So many places to explore. And it's also a perfect place to do nothing ... except relax and recharge.

We end up doing both.

What makes Paso Robles vacations so memorable?

The Wine Country

Vineyards rolling through the landscape ...

Wineries on country roads ...

The fragrance of aging wine in the tasting room ...

And that spontaneous "Oh, my!" inspired by a luscious zinfandel ...

They're what bring us back to Paso Robles wine country again and again.

Summerwood Winery, Paso Robles
Summerwood Winery
More than 170 wineries dot the Paso Robles winery map like stars in a galaxy. And more wineries are on the horizon. Most wineries are small. With so many wineries, each powered by its winemaker's vision, there's always something new to discover on the wine trail.

... There's some amazing wine out there.

And while you're out wine tasting, you'll be treated to the countryside ...

Meadow, Vineyard Drive
Meadow, Vineyard Drive
The Countryside

Back roads lace the hills and valleys, and wind through the vineyards and woodlands surrounding Paso. They provide seemingly endless opportunities for a memorable day in the country. Sometimes I'll follow a road on a sheer hunch, and often those hunches have rewarded me with a camera full of images, and scenery that I show to friends.

In addition to the vineyards and the countryside, the town of Paso Robles has its own appeal ...

In town
In town
The Town

I often have a feeling of relief, of cares lifted off my shoulders as we enter the slow-paced tranquility of Paso Robles. The clock seems to slow down, and the calendar seems to go back to, oh, about 1963.

Of course, even in Paso it's 2008. But Paso is one town which has kept the good things that other towns seem to have lost. Tree-shaded residential streets ... a bustling downtown ... architecture from another time. I've come here since I was in grade school and, to this day, Paso has the same look and feel. It's like coming home.

Speaking of Downtown ....

A tranquil evening, Downtown
A tranquil evening -- Downtown

Restaurants ... wine tasting ... movies ... shops ... these are four reasons why Downtown Paso rocks! When we stay in Downtown, the car gets a rest while we explore on foot.

Downtown is the hub of community life, drawing from the town and surrounding countryside. The streets are lined with vintage architecture and some alluring window displays, which make Downtown a prime strolling opportunity. The old city park, with its bandstand and massive oaks, has ample open space for a frisbee toss.

As you explore Downtown on summer evenings, you'll be soothed by a cooling sea breeze. In fact, the Cambria coast is just half an hour away ...

Moonstone Beach, Cambria
Moonstone Beach -- Cambria
The Cambria Coast

Half an hour west of Paso Robles, and seemingly a world removed, the Cambria coast is a battleground of sea and land. Waves burst against jagged headlands, seasoning the air with salt spray. Seagulls glide above the surf and, at Piedras Blancas beach, elephant seals lounge on the sand.

The village of Cambria, tucked in a valley beneath pine-forested hills, is a must-see. Its narrow main street, lined with old storefronts, provides another prime strolling opportunity.

Who would suspect that here, on this isolated stretch of coast, a publishing baron built a grand estate, a world of luxury and splendor. It's Hearst Castle, high above the rolling surf ...

Guest mansion, Hearst Castle
Guest Mansion
La Casa Grande, Hearst Castle
La Casa Grande
Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle is a palace on a lonely mountain top. And you can take a tour and experience it for yourself.

After a bus ride up a twisting mountain road with hairpin curves, you'll step out into manicured gardens surrounded by the castle and guest mansions. The castle and mansions are filled with art masterpieces, tapestries and antique furnishings brought over from Europe.

Built by publisher William Randolph Hearst, the castle is now a state park. On your tour, you'll learn about Hearst, and the world leaders, movie stars and authors who once partied with him there.

By the way ... yes, those are zebras grazing on the mountainside on your way up to the castle.

Wine country ... the countryside ... Paso Robles ... Downtown ... Cambria ... Hearst Castle ...

And I've left out at least a dozen more reasons why Paso Robles wine country keeps us coming back.

See what I mean? There's so much to enjoy.

And always more to enjoy next time.

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