Hello from Paso Robles, CA. Vines RV Resort is a really nice RV park. It just has one downfall . . . our site is right next to a busy road. There is a wall about 4' high, but that puts it just in line with the traffic on the road. If they would only build another 3 or 4 feet on top, the noise would be drastically reduced. But, it is still a pretty place. It has 2 swimming pools, hot tub, very nice library, laundry facilities, outdoor barbeque, several fire pits, nice bathhouse. We are in site 25. When asked if we could extend our stay to 4 nights instead of 2, that was fine but we would have to move to site 30 for the last two days as a group of campers were coming in and wanted to park together. Not a big deal. On the 3rd morning, we moved 5 spaces down from our original spot and set up. Funny thing, though, no one ever moved into the 25 or the adjacent spaces. Whatever!
Before we arrived here we didn't realize that this is big wine country. It is not Napa Valley. There are vineyards and wineries everywhere. So we are going to have to visit some and taste their wares. Looking forward!
On Thursday we drove out to San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle which was built by the late newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst. It is a National and California Historical Landmark mansion located on the Central Coast of California. Along with the mansion are 1000s of acres of working ranch land. The mansion sits high on a hill overlooking California State Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway. We took a tour of the 5 grand rooms. There are several different tours available. The extravagance with which he furnished his home is just unbelievable. There are exquisite tapestries on the walls, very old oriental rugs on the floors, ceilings imported from around the world, silver candle stands 4-5' tall, huge fireplace mantels, and many other magnificent furnishings.
We were able to walk all around the outside as well. There are numerous marble sculptures depicting Roman characters as well as a couple of thousand year old Roman grave markers. He also had a sculpture of an Egyptian goddess from ancient Egypt. There are a couple of real Roman sarcophaguses. He had the money to get whatever he wanted.
There are two pools on the property. The Neptune pool is currently under repair so it didn't have water. The tiles in the pool are Vermont marble. The Roman Pool is a tiled indoor pool decorated with eight statues of Roman gods, goddesses and heroes. The mosaic tiled patterns were inspired by mosaics found in the 5th Century Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, Italy. It is decorated from ceiling to floor with 1″ square mosaic tiles. These glass tiles, called smalti, are either colored (mainly blue or orange) or are clear with fused gold inside.
The view from the Castle is breathtaking. You can see to the Pacific Ocean. I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area.
When we left Hearst Castle, we drove several miles north on Highway 1 to a beach near San Simeon where elephant seals had come ashore. There were thousands of them basking on the beaches. Many of them were just enjoying the sun while others were partaking in a sand bath! They were covering themselves with sand and seemingly having a wonderful rest. The Pacific beaches there don't look like the beaches we are used to in Virginia Beach. These beaches are quite rocky and the sand is a grayish/brownish color. But the seals seemed to be enjoying it.
Driving over to San Simeon, we drove through an area that just took our breath away. We came around a corner and the most beautiful green hills met our eyes. It reminded us of pictures of the Scottish Highlands. The pictures just don't do it justice. There has been some rain in this area and everything is green and lush. The rolling hills were covered in what looked like green carpeting. There were also hills of yellow wildflowers. It was just so beautiful. We decided that we would come back the next night and watch the sun go down over the Pacific. We didn't stay to watch it then as is was several hours away. I know the pictures won't give you the same perspective, but it was one of the prettiest places I've seen! When we got home, we decided to go out for dinner. We dined that evening at (get this!) Big Bubba's Bad BBQ! For those of you who like BBQ you will understand . . . just getting out of the car there made your mouth water!! There was the smell of smokehouse smoke in the air! And the food was delicious!! Recommend it!
Friday, March 25th, was our 32nd wedding anniversary. We took a drive out into the country around Paso Robles, found a few geocaches and had lunch in town. Paso Robles downtown is very quaint. We found a wonderful little place, Berry Hill Bistro. We each had a cup of soup and split a club sandwich. I have to say, that was the best club sandwich I have eaten. It was on a fresh-baked baguette and it was delicious! That evening we went back to a vista view point where we had been the day before, sat out a couple of chairs, had some cheese and crackers (with iced tea instead of wine because it was a 30-minute drive back home and didn't want to get a DUI!) and watched the sun set over the Pacific. Unfortunately it wasn't as clear as the night before, but we watched the sun fall between two peaks and disappear. It was a beautiful way to spend the evening with my beloved of 32 years.
With all the wineries around we decided to visit one. We had seen several that we liked the names of so we went back. We enjoyed a wine tasting at the Niner Wine Estate. Their specialty is red wines. After trying them all we decided on a Syrah. In talking with the lady assisting us, we found out that there are 300 wineries in the area. If you like wine, I do believe you could find something you like here!! It is really a beautiful area and we just didn't know that there were that many vineyards. Just about every where you look are grapevines. Now we know and we would like to come back sometime and try some more. There were several that piqued our interest because of the names: Tooth and Nail Winery, Grey Wolf Winery, Broken Earth Winery, plus many others.
We certainly have enjoyed our time here. We spent 3 evenings in the hot tub. Paso Robles has a lot to offer. Stop on by and try some wine.
Until next time . . .