- Newsletters | Madrone Landscapes - Part 2
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- 17 Beautiful Pacific Coast Highway–Centric Hotels for Your Next California Road Trip
- 8 Quintessential Places to Visit on California’s Central Coast
You won't find much in the way of gay nightlife, for example, but this is a laid-back, welcoming part of the country, and there are plenty of terrific bars, cafes, and restaurants in San Luis Obispo that draw a mix of LGBT folks, and as a romance-driven food-and-wine destination with plenty of engaging outdoorsy activities, the area has tons to offer. It's halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles about a 3- to 3.
SLO County also makes a great one- or two-night stop if you're making the famed drive along mesmerizing Highway 1, as it's right between the stunning sea cliffs of Big Sur and and the vibrant arts, culture, and wine-touring of Santa Barbara County.
Newsletters | Madrone Landscapes - Part 2
Deciding where to stay? Not sure where to eat and drink? Right in downtown San Luis Obispo, Central Coast Gay Pride takes place in early July and has been going strong since , typically featuring a top-name entertainer along with a bunch of fun parties and events in the area. But this is a great year-round destination with festivals and events see wine-tasting, below throughout the year, and if you have time for to visit for more than just the weekend, you might consider coming on Thursday, when downtown SLO's legendary farmers market it feels more like a downtown food-arts festival takes place.
Definitely have a look at the extremely helpful website of Visit San Luis Obispo County , which has tons of useful information on local attractions, key events, and what to do throughout the region, whether you're road-tripping along the coast or experiencing the acclaimed wine and food scene a bit inland. For more on wine-touring, the Wine Institute of California produces a terrific site with specific information on each of the state's key wine regions, including the San Luis Obispo County and Paso Robles wine countries. With nearly wineries spread throughout Paso Robles as well as the Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande AVAs near the town of San Luis Obispo , this sunny swatch of coastal central California has developed into a world-class wine destination over the past three decades.
Set regally on a 1,foot-elevation hilltop with commanding views of Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Hearst Castle ranks among the most curious and celebrated homes in America. The main 68,square-foot house, Casa Grande it has rooms! Construction on the castle began in , but the two continued adding and augmenting the estate until In the late s, a few years after Hearst's death, his heirs donated the estate, including the several adjoining outbuildings, a tennis court, and two over-the-top breathtaking swimming pools the outdoor Neptune Pool is pictured here to the state of California, which now operates it as perhaps the most famous property in the state park system.
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A visit here starts by at a large visitors center a short way off Highway 1, which has extensive guest services, a cafe, exhibits, and a theater showing a film about the castle. From here, tours depart on buses for the scenic minute bus trip, which climbs the winding original driveway to the estate. The guides who conduct these tours which generally last for one to two hours are uniformly knowledgeable and entertaining - they're well worth the admission. If it's your first time visiting, consider the Grand Rooms tour.
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You can also opt for more than one tour on the same day others cover the cottages and kitchen and the upstairs suites; there are also evening tours that afford guests the chance to imagine what it would have been like to be an actual guest of Mr. Hearst Ranch Winery turns out an impressive roster of elegant wines there's a second location inland at Jack Ranch in Cholame , including a critically lauded, full-bodied Petite Sirah and picnic-perfect dry rose, and you can pick up sandwiches, sweets, and gourmet snacks in the adjoining market inside this handsomely restored s general store.
The ziplining course here consists of six different ziplines and includes an amazing finale, where you glide for some 1, feet across a vineyard of Pinot Noir grapes. If you're up for, before or after your high-flying tour over the vineyard the guides here do a great job of explaining the wine-growing process and the ranch's history , you can walk just across the street to taste wines at Ancient Peaks Winery , which produces a variety of first-rate especially given the reasonable prices wines; tour guests receive a discount on wine and the tasting, and light food is served in the attractive Tasting Room Cafe and on the adjacent patio.
Wine highlights include a crisp, lightly citrus-y Sauvignon Blanc, a spicy medium-body Zinfandel, and an age-worthy blend of Rhone and Bordeaux grapes named Renegade. The outfitter and winery are located in the small town of Santa Margarita, which is in a fertile wine-growing valley between SLO and Paso Robles, adjoining historic, 14,acre Santa Margarita Ranch , which is home to sustainable vineyards, a natural-beef cattle business, and some of the county's prettiest wedding venues this would make a very special setting for an LGBT marriage ceremony and reception.
Nearly a century after its initial iteration, the hotel stands just as glamorous today. Smith feature a monumental double staircase, massive two-story windows, and a custom-made iron chandelier with handblown glass beading. The property also boasts an eco-conscious spa and two locavore dining outlets.
The property was revamped by L. The 13 guest rooms feature Casper mattresses, Bluetooth speakers, Wi-Fi, and retro fans. But no air-conditioning or TV. Relax on your private patio or explore nearby Zuma Beach or Point Dume.
Interiors designed by Peter Marino feature wrought-iron railings, cut-metal chandeliers, and handcrafted ceramic tiles. Brick-lined walkways overlook mature tropical gardens and are lit by romantic gas lanterns every evening. Conceived by architectural designer Kipp Stewart, the recently renovated Ventana Big Sur boasts a variety of room types, all with stunning views of the dense forest or the ocean beyond. The natural beauty is brought indoors in cedar-lined guest rooms or suites with baths covered in locally sourced slate.
To that end, the hotel also offers its own Glass House Gallery with work by local artists.
Guests can also take part in a number of specially created experiences, from garden tours to falconry to photography hikes. Last fall, the resort also launched a glamping program with 15 safari-style tents set in the redwood forest.
17 Beautiful Pacific Coast Highway–Centric Hotels for Your Next California Road Trip
The 40 guest rooms and suites are nestled along the ridge and range in design from tree houses to butterfly-shaped structures. Each structure on the acre property was built using natural materials and green building techniques. The hotel is also the home of the Sierra Mar Restaurant, which boasts spectacular panoramas and a wine cellar with over 14, bottles. Guests can enjoy meditation and yoga classes, as well as guided hikes and nightly star gazing. This recently renovated gem in the artsy cobblestone-lined village of Carmel-by-the-Sea has just 27 rooms and suites, all devised by L.
Interiors are complete with locally sourced wood accents, Big Sur coastal photography by local artist Matt Schwartz, and, in some cases, in-room fireplaces.
8 Quintessential Places to Visit on California’s Central Coast
In public spaces, traditional Carmel-by-the-Sea cottage architecture melds with rustic-modern touches like a farm table check-in counter, a living room with a communal marble-top table, and reading nooks. Outside, a garden courtyard offers a Jacuzzi and outdoor fire pit, and a landscaped terrace is the ideal spot for an intimate event. The 20 guest rooms have French windows, antique doorknobs, and coved plaster walls, giving the spaces an intimate, Old World charm.
The hotel can also arrange sunset cruises, wine tasting walking tours, and Big Sur hikes with a gourmet picnic lunch. This San Francisco hotel offers spectacular views, stretching from the Oakland Bay Bridge all the way to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the official end point of the great California coast road trip. The best vantage point for these vistas would definitely be the 40th-story Sky Deck, which also turns into a cocktail bar Tuesday through Saturday nights.
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