Paso Robles is Pet Friendly!

by Tina Swithin, Travel Paso Robles Alliance

If you’ve ever found yourself in the doghouse for vacationing without your best friend, I can help you to thoroughly redeem yourself. I double-dog-dare you to grab your favorite furry friend along with a leash and head straight for Paso Robles. Whether you are seeking hotels, wineries or restaurants—there are people anxiously waiting to shake Fido’s paw and welcome you both with open arms.


Without further ado, here are my trip recommendations:

Pet Friendly Hotels and Inns:
Holiday Inn Express & Suites
Hotel Cheval (under 80 lbs)
La Quinta Inn & Suites 

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Cayucos Christmas by the Beach

Courtesy of Cayucos Chamber of Commerce

Join in on the holiday spirit and visit Cayucos this holiday season for their 4th Annual Christmas in Cayucos! It’s considered “America’s Coolest Small Town” and you won’t want to miss the cool holiday event they’re putting on.

On December 9, 2011 there will be plenty of entertainment with free horse drawn carriage rides, childrens activities, tree lighting, strolling carolers and a visit from Santa. And, of course, a great chance to do some holiday shopping at local Cayucos shops along Ocean Avenue.

Free Wintertime Fun for Travelers in Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, courtesy of Santa Cruz County CVB

Santa Cruz County may be known as a Nuclear-Free and Hate-Free Zone, but that’s not all that’s free! Budget-minded travelers have a plethora of options this fall and winter season.

Check out the Top 12 Free Things to Do in Santa Cruz County courtesy of Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors Bureau.

Experience the Holidays in Ojai

Photo courtesy of Ojai Visitors Bureau

The holidays are approaching and it’s always fun to explore new shops when searching for a gift for that special someone. If you’re in the area or just want to treat yourself to a small getaway, eager shoppers or travelers will definitely find enjoyment in Ojai.

Best stated by Ojai Visitors Bureau, “Ojai’s boutiques, galleries and specialty shops make holiday shopping a pleasure. Every store is original – without a chain store to be found – and every shopkeeper is happy to help. There is also free parking throughout the town.”

See Santa’s Top Ten Favorite Ojai Shops!

by Danika Reed, Vivant Fine Cheese

Hello Cheese Lovers!

When I sit down to collect my thoughts and begin to prepare for the upcoming Holiday season, I get an overwhelming feeling of comfort, which makes me appreciate the rich life we enjoy because we live on the Central Coast of California.  Many of my friends are sharing their daily feelings of thanks online.  I find it uplifting and inspiring to read the simple everyday things people are thankful for and that I most often take for granted.  As we settle into a season of family and friends, my first thoughts focus on food and of course CHEESE!!  Many of the customers who frequent Vivant Fine Cheese inquire about what the cheese girls’ favorite cheeses are right now. We definitely have our favorites.  They usually change seasonally and sometimes daily.  Our favorites right now mostly revolve around recipe ideas.  We love to share our cheesy recipes with anyone who will listen.  Two that we think are quick, easy and perfect for your Thanksgiving appetizer table are Baked Brie en Croute and Baked Bucheron.  Each of these warm gooey treats are easily increased in size depending on how many guests you are entertaining and will make you the talk of the neighborhood for years to come! Continue reading

CBS Los Angeles Reports on the Spectacular Ventura Wine Country Trail

vineyard Tour the Ventura County Wine Trail

(credit: Desiree Eaglin)

Next time you are headed up or down Highway 101 and you see the off-ramp for Ventura, add some time to your trip to explore this fantastic destination!

Pairings in Paso: We Olive’s Olio Nuovo Turkey and Windward Pinot

by Tina Swithin, Travel Paso Robles Alliance

Paso Robles comes to life in October during wine harvest and olive harvest follows closely behind in November.  This is truly a magical season to be in Paso Robles!  I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Frank Mercurio, founder of We Olive.  Frank filled me in on a time-honored tradition in the olive world which is known as Olio Nuovo—it goes back hundreds of years.  Olio Nuovo means “new oil” in Italian—it is fresh extra virgin olive oil made from the first press of the season.  This fresh oil is a delight for the senses and typically has a pungent and peppery flavor.  It’s truly delicious.

I was so intrigued by the history of Olio Nuovo that I decided to dedicate this month’s Pairings in Paso to a delicious Turkey recipe that was given to me by Frank and Ruth Mercurio of We Olive.  “The Extra Virgin olive oil adds a depth and dimension to the turkey and it is always moist and flavorful”, explains Ruth.   I know that this recipe will be finding its way to my Thanksgiving Day table—hopefully yours, too.
For this pairing, I decided to go with the Windward Vineyards 2008 Monopole Pinot Noir which I recently stumbled upon.  It’s a wonderfully fruit forward, balanced wine with a strawberry nose,  a velvety mouth-feel and a finish that opens and spreads forever.  It will compliment this dish very nicely and I plan to have a glass in hand at 3pm on Thanksgiving Day (it’ll be 5pm somewhere!) Continue reading