The Hearst Castle was totally off the hook amazing. Seriously. If you ever get out to the west coast, you gotta take the side trip out to take the tour. Allot yourself about 1/2 day to take it all in. I can personally guarantee it will be worth the effort/cost. My parental units were out on the east coast this summer and they toured the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina and I hear it rivals this place. According to Wikipedia, it is one of those placed built back in the "Gilded Age".
While we were out touring the west coast, we ate/drank at various local venues. Remember, from my earlier ramblings, I am on a mission to try local breweries wherever I visit. So far, I ain't been disappointed in my exploration.
Paso Robles is a nice, if not expensive community about 1/2 way between LA and San Francisco. In the middle of the upper wine country with a bunch of wineries, it can make for a nice vacation destination spot, but I am not sure I would rate it highly for a family trek (unless you throw in a side trip to Disneyland California). Nice town for a visit but not convenient to fly into. We could have flown into Bob Hope airport and drove the 3 hours up the coast but, being the trip leader, I booked my ticket into San Luis Obispo and we drove up the 25 miles from there to Paso. San Luis Obispo is an interesting little town that boasts the most "livable city" or so the car rental agency guy told us. Lots of local restaurants and shops. We stayed in Paso for the two nights, but I would have moved us south to San Luis if I had known the local story. We drove back down on Thursday to catch our noon flight out of SBO (tiny airport) and had some time to kill. While touring the "downtown area" looking for a lunch gig, we uncovered a number of shops & restaurants that looked really enticing. We also discovered that they have a small creek that runs through the downtown area that they built up various shops/restaurants overlooking.
While exploring the area, we came across a couple of interesting sights (aka road nuggets). First we ran into a quasi parade with a number of fire engines/equipment. This had a number of old time horse drawn equipment and firemen on display next to the city hall. We thought we had stumbled onto some kind of town celebration, but it turns out to be a funeral for a local fire chief. The entire fire department had turned out for the funeral of an older, much beloved fire chief. I got my intel from one fireman who was tending to the station Firedog called "Blaze". A rescued Dalmatian that has been part of the department for 10+ years. Really compelling story, amazing sight. I swear you cannot buy this on any local tour. Bonus points for anyone who can tell me anything unique about Blaze.
|Bubble Gum Alley|
|Yes, it is what you think it is|
|Gross or Art?|