My Trip to Paso Robles: A Lucky Winner

We drove down fairly late on Friday night after a hectic week and settled in at the surprisingly delightful Courtyard Marriott Hotel, which was comfortable and well situated for our weekend's plans. The next morning we had a very good coffee at the Amsterdam Coffee House and set the GPS for Hearst Castle.

Hearst Castle 5The drive through the gently rolling hills past elegant beckoning wineries made me wish we had organized a weekend with the grandparents for our five year old daughter. The road from Paso Robles meets up with beautiful Highway 1 hugging the California Coastline and we arrived at the Hearst Castle Visitor Center in time for our tour (seriously, book your tour before you get there. It gets busy, my husband booked using his phone while we had our morning coffee).

Hearst Castle, high on the hills above the visitors center, looks like something out of a fairy tale. The tour includes a bus ride with unbelievable views of the surrounding countryside and the sea and an excellent commentary filled with interesting details about the origins of William R. Hearst and the biggest building project of his life.

Hearst Castle is as magical close up as it is from a distance. I sat by the Roman Pool and imagined I was sitting right where Charlie Chaplin had sat. We took the Grand Rooms Tour, there is also an Upstairs Tour which we'll have to take next time and an evening tour offered seasonally in spring and fall which by all accounts is well worth doing as well.

The Travel Paso Robles Alliance kindly organized a dinner for us at fabulous Villa Creek. The food was delicious with an attention to detail that demonstrates the talents of a chef and owners with a passion for the best ingredients. The wine list was impressive, including many local wines and staff that went out of their way to make us welcome. We had a delicious Broadside (Paso Robles) 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon with our meal and I couldn't resist trying a Spicy Mango cocktail. It was definitely a fun night out.

Thomas Hill Organics 2On Sunday we had a relaxing morning and drifted out to have brunch at Thomas Hill Organics. The food was local, very fresh and completely enjoyable. We lingered over our french presses of organic coffee while we ate the freshest, most delicately flavored olives I have ever eaten. They were so good we polished off the first generous bowl and ordered a second. They were the perfect accompaniment to our perfect meal.

By this time it was mid-afternoon on Sunday and I had a look at the shops while my husband and daughter went to the playground in the town square before we finally drove home. The whole weekend

We had a great time and we would like to thank the Travel Paso Robles Alliance for sharing their lovely city with us and the people of Paso Robles for being so welcoming. We'll be back and next time we're going to be touring the wineries.

C. Kautz resides in Palo Alto, California with her husband and daughter.  She was the lucky recipient of a weekend getaway to Paso Robles when she entered the Paso Robles Hotel Month's Sweetheart Sweepstakes.