Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Weekend in Paso Robles

I remember when Paso Robles was a sleepy ranching town. Years ago, the market price of cattle was Topic A at just about any bar, shopping and dining were pretty basic, and wine was nil. Now, Paso is at the heart of a thriving wine country, with some 170 wineries hereabouts. 
And while I still see more pickup trucks than Lexuses when I visit, the town is growing more upscale every day, with chic shops, cafes, and an attractive and walkable downtown core. 

One sign of Paso Roble's newly-polished sophistication is the glam boutique Hotel Cheval (shown at left). I stayed there recently and was knocked out. Each of the 16 rooms (named for different racehorses), boasts elegant decor, flat screen TV, and a comfy king bed with luxe linens. At day's end, I had a choice: loll by the fireplaces in the open courtyard, tuck into a book in the cozy library, or head for the hotel's wine bar, called the Pony Club
 (continuing the hotel's 'horse' theme).

Yep, I made for the Pony Club, a hangout for local winemakers, who love the horseshoe-shaped zinc bar and the ambience (see below). Plus, each month the Pony Club hosts Behind the Vines, your opportunity to meet a local vintner, taste featured flights of wine, and nibble hors d' oeurves.
Next up: Nov. 6, Doug Kruse of Jack Creek Cellars; Nov. 13, Tim Newkirk of Steinbeck Vineyards. And the price of cattle never seems to come up in the talk around the bar anymore.

Halfway between San Francisco and L.A., Paso Robles is an easy getaway full of small town charm. Come for a weekend to shop, dine, check out a winery, or just hang with the locals at the Pony Club and get Behind the Vines the easy way. For more travel info, check San Luis Obispo County; for more wine info, check San Luis Obispo Wine Country.


Anonymous said...

Good to know about a new luxury hotel on the way to LA!

Anonymous said...

lora, it's great! wish i could visit all and eat my way home. paul

COPYRIGHT Lora Finnegan 2008-2009

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