Don’t Miss the Beauty In Your Own Backyard! – Jewish Journal

Posted By on May 18, 2022

Miles of stunning uninterrupted beaches, waves crashing on the rocks and into tidal pools, misty mountains and mesmerizing sunsets, saved my sanity during the lock down. California certainly has its share of stunningly beautiful destinations, and now that everything is open again, it is time to explore those captivating small towns that move at a deliciously slow pace, and sip my way through SLO Wine Country. Fun Fact San Luis Obispo County is known as SLO County, inferring that we should SLO down and enjoy the 80 plus miles of stunning beaches, beautiful hotels, delicious farm to table food, and world class wine!

When we went on lockdown in 2020, I could feel the beginnings of a panic attack start in my stomach and with every month that went by, it became more and more pronounced. For someone who traveled since I was two, this nightmare seemed never ending and I had to go anywhere as it felt like the walls were starting to close in. So I packed my bags and headed North up the California Coast and I could feel the stress leaving my body. There were still a few places where I could stay, so I triple sanitized, got delivery, and breathed. On my travels I re-discovered the most incredibly beautiful, unspoiled and sometimes foggy beaches stretching endlessly without intrusion, and passed through delightful but quiet, small towns and promised myself I would return. I hiked deserted mountain trails covered in a misty blanket as the sun rose and marveled at the towering redwoods and colony of elephant seals. As the day ended, I stood mesmerized as the sun set over the ocean, glass of wine in hand, just me and this thing called nature. As the human footprint had lightened considerably during that time, nature was bouncing back, and it was beautiful.

When Countries started opening up, domestic travel was trending. Families wanted to reconnect with their loved ones, couples were ready to get married and felt travelling domestically was easier. No one wanted to be stuck in another Country unable to get home at least until their quarantine was over. Thanks to the lockdown, I had an abundance of suggestions for gorgeous and diverse vacation and wedding destinations. Now that hotels have re-opened it was time for another discovery trip to the Central Coast.

This time to see which hotels and venues survived COVID and are ready for guests, families and destination weddings. I headed to Pismo in search of a wedding venue and accommodation for a couple and their family, and stayed at the Cottage Inn. (Review coming soon)

A few months later I again headed up to this little piece of heaven called San Luis Obispo County, this time armed with much appreciated research from the local San Luis Obispo Tourist Board and Chamber. (credits at the end of the post)

I arrived in Pismo as the sun was about to sink into the ocean and headed straight for the world-famous Pier. I stood at the railing and took a few deep breaths of salty sea air and watched the sun set. It felt as though time slowed especially so the sun could show off those last magical golden moments. To the right I could see several beautiful hotels perched on the bluff with the most incredible ocean views. Many with access to the beach for an early morning walk and some even pet friendly. If you want to have a bite to eat while you admire the sunset by the Pier, Woolys is a casual fun spot, and The Oyster Loft above it more of a fine dining option.

This trip I chose the Tides Ocean View Inn and Cottages, as it reminded me of happy times with my family as a kid, and I was not disappointed with that view! (Review coming soon).

Pismo is especially perfect for family travel with lots to do for kids as it has an outstanding selection of outdoor activities such as kayaking, surfing, hiking, and biking all in beautiful surroundings. If you are booking a wine tour in the area, do add Pismo Beach as a stopover for at least two to three nights, but I recommend a week to fully enjoy all that charming little town has to offer. The wine bar, Tastes of the Valleys on Price Street and Giuseppes Italian Restaurant next door are also highly recommended.

San Luis Obispo County is a fabulous wedding and honeymoon destination as the area is so diverse. A couple could have their wedding at the beach, and go on to honeymoon in the mountains, or at a winery.

I found a beautiful venue called the Chapman Estate that is currently being renovated that is perfect for small elopements or weddings. I will be posting more pictures soon but for now let me just say that it is very budget friendly, with fantastic ocean views and gardens for beautiful wedding pictures! There are several hotels nearby for family, friends and the after party. Contact me here for info and bookings. If you are observant, there are kosher caterers in the area also.

My next stop was San Luis Obispo City and as I got closer I noticed that mist was just rolling in over the mountains which gave it an almost surreal look. It has a very different vibe than the beach towns obviously, but is just as captivating. As with most smaller towns it has a slower pace and an authenticity that is not often evident in larger cities. I have always been drawn to smaller country towns known for their warm and friendly locals, enticing regional cuisine, local art and crafts, and fascinating history and San Luis Obispo City is no exception.

I checked into the Apple Farm Inn for a couple of nights found it delightful! (Full review coming soon.) Not only is the hotel absolutely lovely, but what makes it unique is their marketplace and wine cellar where you can taste and purchase wines and spirits from the local wineries and distilleries, as well as culinary and skin care items, art, beer and mixers. The rooms at the Apple Farm Inn are about to be renovated, but they are gorgeous. Their restaurant is open daily for breakfast and lunch, and now also for dinner on the weekends. The food is really good and definitely ask for one of their unique cucumber cocktails from the local distilleries to go with dinner.

Novo is another crowd favorite restaurant located in downtown San Luis Obispo. The food is locally sourced and outstanding, and the hand selected craft cocktails are delicious, as is the award-winning wine list. I loved the ambiance and intimate friendly environment. Definitely recommended.

There are many activities to enjoy in SLO County. You can visit the Hearst Castle which has just reopened, if you are an ATV fan head over to the Oceano sand dunes, go kayaking, or attend surf camp at the Central Coast surf school. You could go whale watching at Avila Beach and the best months depend on which kind of whale watching you want to do. For those in need of rest and rejuvenation, there amazing wellness retreats. SLO County and SLO Wine country has so much more to explore and that will take another few trips up the Central Coast. Cant wait!

SLO County has more than 250 wineries spread among two wine grape-growing regions, San Luis Obispo Wine Country and Paso Robles, so there is no shortage of tasting experiences to be had. There are one and two-day wine tasting trails including my favorite bubbly tasting trail. More than 40 wine grape varieties grow in SLO CAL, and these can be sampled at over a 100 tasting rooms, each with its own character and vibe.

If you are into wine bars, then the new Region Bar in the SLO hotel is not to be missed. They serve some of the communitys best kept secrets and hard-to-find, independent wines. You can enjoy over 100+ wines by the taste, glass, or bottle.

Paso Robles is a gorgeous destination for wine aficionados, and known for its world class wine and food. You will find a variety of beautiful lodgings from historic Inns to luxury resorts and rustic vineyards, yet still with that small town charm. If having a wedding at a winery is on one of your must-do lists, head up to Paso for a look see. You wont be disappointed. Paso will be another post I look forward to writing.

The drive from San Francisco is about 3 hours and about the same from Los Angeles. If you forgot to pack something, there are several large chain stores that will have whatever you need. However, do support the smaller shops with locally made items where you can.

If you are heading up to the stunningly beautiful Central Coast of California, take some time to plan your trip HERE and for SLO wine region information tap HERE. There are several other beautiful towns in SLO Cal County such as Morro Bay and Avila Beach, so follow me here for more travel inspiration.

I want to thank Micki from Pismo County for showing me the beautiful Chapman Estate and Eric and Jacqui from the SLO Chamber and SLO County, as well as Nataly from Turner PR who all jumped in and gave me a lot of really helpful info. Much appreciated.

Thank you for spending time with me. Feel free to reach out with questions to [emailprotected] Warmly; Dahlia

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Don't Miss the Beauty In Your Own Backyard! - Jewish Journal

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