“forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet
and the winds long to play with your hair” … Kahlil Gibran
We’re all getting tired of the coronavirus, masks and sheltering in place. I can’t wait to get on a plane again and visit my son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters in NY. Until that time comes, I was itching to get-out-of-Dodge, even if only for one day. Last week, on a whim, my friend, Val, and I decided to take a 36 hour escape up the coast. I recently got a cute red convertible Mini Cooper and couldn’t wait to take it out for it’s first long car ride … and inaugural ‘bugs on the windshield’. What better place than the Central Coast of California.
We set out at 6:30 am, masks in hand (…and on our face at every stop along the way) and felt giddy as the ocean came into view just above Ventura. I made believe we were on the coast of the Mediterranean! We stopped in Montecito at Bree’osh for some breakfast pastries and continued up to the Los Olivos/Solvang/Santa Ynez area. We reached Los Olivos at 9:30, strolled around J Woeste, a charming garden store, for a bit, got some coffee and basically lost ourselves in the change of scenery. Although we’ve both been up there numerous times before, it was as if we were discovering it for the first time, ecstatic in our gratitude for our “cambio de aire” (thanks Mimi for the perfect phrase). We went wine tasting at Gainey vineyard and it was heaven. Gainey’s wine tasting, in this time of Covid, is no contact, so the masked server brings you the “flight” of wines in tiny carafes all at once on a tray with a card that has information on each wine so we could serve ourselves. All the tables were outside, facing the vineyard and all spaced more than 10 feet apart. The wine tasting reservation is for one hour and before we arrived we thought “One hour?…we can’t wine taste for an hour!” We ended up going over our hour allotted time just soaking up the gorgeous weather and scenery.
Every place we stopped required masks, social distancing and offered hand sanitizers outside before you walked in. It felt safe. The only time we were unmasked was in the car and when we were eating or drinking.
We had a delicious lunch at Dos Carlitos (chips and salsa are my weakness!), headed to the hotel, walked around Solvang for a bit and realized it was time to leave for our hour-and-a-half drive up to Paso Robles to see the light installation Sensorio. My friends had recommended it and we loved the idea of an outdoor work of art! We ate dinner at Taste, a yummy craft eatery with an interesting concept that had some good reviews. You can order a couple items off the menu as you normally would, but most dishes are ordered as Trio, Duo or Quartet, so it’s like tapas … a little bit of everything. My favorite way to eat! I had some amazing brussel sprouts with bacon, goat cheese and balsamic (I recreated them again at home a few days later); one slider; and a caesar salad. Small portions of each made it the perfect meal. Check out their menu … I’d recommend! There’s also one in SLO.
Sensorio is a really cool outdoor art installation that you walk through (one-way, spaced apart, masks required). They look like white sticks with bulbs on the end, until they start lighting up right after sunset, and then fully come alive around 9pm. The sunset alone is worth the wait … stunning with all the gorgeous oak trees that gave the city of Paso Robles it’s name … El Paso de Robles, the pass of the Oaks. Pictures tell the best stories. Enjoy…
We got back to our hotel around 11, woke up leisurely the following morning and headed home. We took a detour to stroll a bit in Carpinteria, and then again in Oxnard, off the 101, to pick up Hwy 1 for a lazy, beautiful drive along the water through Malibu and Santa Monica. We were going to stop for lunch with a view of the water, but sadly, Gladstone’s, our restaurant of choice, was closed, so we headed back towards the 405 and on homeward. We were back home by 3:00, feeling invigorated and ready to head back to work on Monday.
It wasn’t the usual summer adventures I’d been hoping for but as Val said, “When there’s not a lot of time, you take the time to enjoy it!” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!