Central Coast – The Great Outdoors!

The first two weekends of May presented us with a unique scenario: we had no travel plans, no visitors and no obligations.  After an insane month of April it’s assumed a lazy weekend of lying around the house wouldn’t be frowned upon, but we just couldn’t sit still knowing there was so much untouched territory and only a month left on the Central Coast…so we explored.

Lake Nacimiento

Lake 3

While on our first free Saturday we wanted to get out, keeping it easy was preferred and Lake Nacimiento being about 20 minutes away from our house in Paso was the perfect choice.

Lake 1

I read about Shorline Trail (which has since been renamed 5k Trail) and figured it would be a nice easy day.

While a good portion of the trail leads across main roads and campsites, the shoreline portion was awesome.

Lake 2

It was beautiful, peaceful and exactly what the doctor ordered.

Cerro Alto

After a relaxing day hanging out by the lake, we got antsy and took on a much more ambitious challenge; the most worthy destinations take the most effort.  This is about a 5.5 mile out and back trail that elevates >2,600 feet…time to put in some work.

Cerro 1

The beginning of the climb is a tree covered trail surrounded by beautiful hills and it gives you the impression it will be somewhat easy going.

Cerro 6

Once the tree cover is cleared there’s a well placed bench with the first views of the coast in the distance.  Simply gorgeous.

Cerro 2

It was hard to peel off the bench and keep going.  How does the view get better than that?  Well, it does.  Looks as if Amy can’t believe her eyes.

Cerro 9

Believe it or not it’s there and there is plenty more to go.  At this point we were only about half way up.

When we finally reached the summit, the view was unreal.  We were literally above the clouds overlooking everything from San Simeon to south of Pismo Beach (a HUGE chunk of coastline).

Cerro 5

What an incredible day!

Big Sur Hiking

Having experienced the incredible beauty of Big Sur a few weeks back a camping excursion along a coastal ridge overlooking the Pacific just seemed right!

After a ton of research we decided to head up to Prewitt Ridge for camping and hit a few trails along the way.  Our first stop was to Ragged Point.

BS 4

Climbing down is super steep.

BS 6

But once you get to the beach it’s sooo worth it!  The sand is made of tiny black pebbles and with the tough climb down you likely have the place to yourself.

BS 8

While on the beach we could see whales breaching the surface of the water adding to the surreal beauty of the whole experience.  Then real life hits you in the face when you realize you need to climb back up.

BS 9

So worth it!

Our second stop was the Mill Creek hike on Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd. which was on the way up to Prewitt Ridge.

BS 7

This is about a 3 mile hike through a shaded forest, right off the coast, along Mill Creek.  It was an enjoyable hike, but not well marked, so the trail was either washed out or we took a wrong turn because it abruptly ended.

With the incredible weekend weather we knew that we would be competing for prime camping real estate and decided not to go looking for the correct path and just head up to stake our claim.

Big Sur Camping

We ended up finding THE perfect spot on Coast Ridge right before the turn onto Prewitt Ridge Rd.

Camp 1

When we arrived it was so cloudy we couldn’t even see the coast below us.

Camp 1.2

We were both secretly sad.  We came all this way to camp on the coastline and we couldn’t even see it.  Cry me a river right?

Soon enough the clouds cleared up in time for a magnificent sunset.

Camp 2

Camp 3

Camp 4

We had a great night cooking up burgers, drinking bourbon by the fire and enjoying the stars.  We didn’t realize how much we missed camping.

Waking up to this in the morning was incredible!

Camp 20

With no rush to get up, we snoozed for awhile and enjoyed a solid breakfast before taking the scenic drive on PCH south back to Paso.

Camp 22

Central Coastin’ thru April – Part 2

Our fifth and final action packed weekend of the month was a pleasant surprise: Nick & Esther made the last minute commitment to the cross country haul for a long weekend and we made sure there would be plenty to do.

We called it quits on the workweek mid day Thursday and after picking up the newly engaged couple from the airport we headed out to celebrate at Sculpterra.


After a sampling, we enjoyed Sculpterra’s beautiful property.


This place was full of awesome metal art; it was a fun start.


Following a proper wine country welcome, we took a trip into town for an early dinner and a couple two, three margaritas at one of our Paso Favorites, Fish Gaucho.


Knowing an action packed day was on the horizon, we settled in back at the place, lit a fire and had an early night.

Pacific Coast Highway / Monterey Aquarium

The Plan: Ride to Monterey to check out its renowned aquarium and on the way, enjoy beautiful scenery.  To ensure we accomplished our goal, we drove the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) route.  Going this way added an hour to the trip, but it was totally worth it.

Our first stop was a visit to the Elephant Seals that are posted up across from Hearst Castle; it’s an amazing site.


As we were riding, Amy and I both concluded that the portion of PCH between SLO & Monterey was the most stunning stretch.


Big Sur – Vista Point near Pfeiffer Beach

The ride through Big Sur was absolutely incredible!

If we had just turned around after riding through Big Sur it would have been a memorable day, but of course we, in our take no prisoners fashion, were just getting started as we arrived at the aquarium.


The variety of wildlife and scope of the operation was immense.

After a few hours we’d scoured every portion of the aquarium and decided to enjoy a brew while taking in the beauty of Monterey Bay.


Tasting Day in Paso!

Our first order of business was to stop at Di Raimondos to pick up Italian meats and cheeses for a custom charcuterie lunch.  Not only did we manage to grab some good food, we also ran into a person that pointed us to wineries that we would enjoy later on.

The first stop was Eberle.  This is a vineyard multiple people recommended and the property didn’t disappoint.


On top of such a beautiful setting for a tasting we were offered a tour of the caves where the wine is stored after being processed.


From Eberle we headed towards the Adalaida region to show Nick and Esther our favorite vineyard for lunch, Calcareous.  We found a secluded table and got our charcuterie spread laid out.


After munching out hard, Nick having earlier taken note that there was a Bocce Ball court, insisted we play a game.


After Amy and I routed our competition, it was time to drink more wine and enjoy the view.



From Calcareous we headed to Kukkula, one of the wineries highly recommended from the gentleman at Di Raimondo’s.


This place is a bit off the beaten path which was nice because it was not crowded and had a much more intimate feel.

After a not so great experience at another vineyard, we had a fun stop for an olive oil tasting which also served to soak up some of the wine we’d been consuming.

For our last stop, we had to hit our absolute favorite, Adalaida.


Yet again we had a fantastic tasting with another unique character pouring for us while being funny and informative.

To wrap up the day, we decided to switch it up and go for a beer tasting at the Barrel House.


Yummy beer, live music…and gang signs? Ehh, it was time to be done.

The Beach

There was no resisting it.  We absolutely had to take Nick and Esther to Avila for what would be our third time hiking Ontario Ridge Trail.


It appears Nick and I are examining the sturdiness of the swing which almost surely freaked the hell out of Esther.


Doesn’t matter how many times we’ve hiked this trail.  The view doesn’t get old!


After a beautiful morning of hiking, our bellies were rumbling and we headed up the coast to Morro Bay for a fantastic lunch at The Galley along with some site seeing.

Hike 3

And while we didn’t want to spend a whole day lounging on the beach, there was no way we let Nick and Esther leave without dipping their feet into the sand.


To wrap up a truly amazing weekend, it seemed fitting to stop for one last round of tastings on our way home from the coast.

Our first stop was Tooth & Nail Winery.


This place was set up like an old school castle and had a solo guitar player for entertainment.  Great vibe.

And of course, if you’re coming to Paso and even remotely like drinking beer, Firestone Brewery is a must visit.


Pretty sure Nick and Esther didn’t have any problems falling asleep on their red eye home after this trip.

Hell of a way to finish out a marathon month of fun.

Central Coastin’ thru April – Part 1

After a wild two weekends in Philly, we dove head first back into the work week to finance the dream as we were headed for a string of three fun weekends in a row.

Kicking it off was a Saturday wine and beer tasting session with Aloy and Eric.


Thinking back to our visit to Calcareous with Dory and crew we felt obliged to share the beauty with our next guests.


Hard not to love this place.  We had a little bit to drink, some tasty charcuterie, and Amy’s pasta special.


Add awesome people, bellies full of wine and yummy food, and the backdrop, not sure there is a better moment in time than that.

After soaking it up to the fullest, we willed ourselves to leave this slice of heaven and sample more of what Paso Robeles’ Adalaida Wine Region had to offer.

We had a underwhelming tasting at Villa Creek so decided to go with what’s turned out to be our favorite vineyard: Adalaida Cellars.


They just opened their new tasting room and it’s insane!

We enjoyed a fantastic tasting.  And by fantastic it’s not just the wine.  Yes, the wine is good – really good – but as important, every person that’s poured for us has been amazing.


What is Amy doing you ask?  Being three tastings deep, we started to let  loose a little.


Yup, by let loose I mean funny air poses in Adelaida’s parking lot.


Eric wins.

We wrapped up a great day sampling beer at Firestone Walker Brewery.

On Sunday morning.  We grabbed brunch at one of our go to spots, La Cosecha, and saw Aloy and Eric off.  We were so happy to be able to chill with them one more time while in CA.

BUT that’s not the end; we weren’t done after their departure.  As Aloy and Eric left, Jordan and Jeska arrived in Paso to hang out and work for the week.

It was awesome having them in town for so long.  We were able to share the normal routine we established with family which was fun.


Here we took Jeska on our after work walk through the vineyards near our house.

And a major bonus was having them during Passover.


Our mothers were so happy we did a Seder.

During the week we were all pounding out phone calls, but obviously made the most of our time together.  We all took a gorgeous bike ride through the vineyards near our house on Linne Rd. and had a fantastic dinner at a farm to table spot called Thomas Hill Organics.


The dinner was out of this world good.

After a solid week of work (and fun) we hit the coast and had a day at the beach.


If you know us and the Rayboy’s, a dog beach was basically a must with their wolf pack and our Chica Bear.



To wrap up the day we hit Morro Bay for lunch.  Another must visit location when visiting the Central Coast.


After getting it in for a week+, Jordan and Jess headed up to OR while we enjoyed a bike ride through wine country, stopping at Cass Winery for lunch as  we wound down the weekend.


Cali life is pretty awesome!