What’s New in Paso Robles, CA: May-August 2012

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Nestled in the mountains of Central California, Paso Robles is conveniently located midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Below is a roundup of exciting new restaurants, wineries, activities and treasures for travelers to enjoy during a relaxing getaway to Paso Robles this summer. For more information on attractions, dining and lodging in Paso Robles, visit http://www.travelpaso.com. For the latest news, visit http://blog.travelpaso.com.

Summertime is quickly approaching in Paso Robles, CA ushering in a multitude of lively festivals full of music, art, food and wine. Enjoy world-class wines, farm fresh culinary delights and winemaker seminars during the 30th annual Wine Festival, or learn about the other local riches Paso Robles has to offer at the Lavender and Olive Festivals. A sampling of new art galleries, restaurants and wine experiences add to the ever-evolving atmosphere of this flourishing destination.

Nestled in the mountains of Central California, Paso Robles is conveniently located midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. This stunning hideaway offers the authentic California experience featuring miles of breathtaking, untouched natural beauty, an abundance of delicious farm fresh cuisine, local artisan shops and galleries, a wide selection of accommodations and over 200 wineries boasting some of the best wine in the country.

Below is a roundup of exciting new activities and treasures for travelers to enjoy during a relaxing getaway to Paso Robles this summer. For more information on attractions, dining and lodging in Paso Robles, visit http://www.travelpaso.com. For the latest news, visit http://blog.travelpaso.com.

Special Note: All locations are in Paso Robles unless otherwise noted.

Phantom Project Art Exhibit
May 5 - June 2
A&R Furniture Building, 12th & Pine Streets
The Phantom Project, an avant-garde pop-up art show featuring over 500 works of physical visual art media, is coming to Paso Robles. All artwork that is submitted to the project will be on display for jurors and the public to vote for their favorite artists who will have the chance to win cash awards. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, May 5 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. and a closing reception will be held on Saturday, June 2 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. where the winners of the “People’s Choice” will be announced. Entry fees: One or two pieces: $25; Three pieces: $35. For more information, visit http://www.sloma.org. Media Contact: Michael Reddell, (805) 924-1760, Michael@reddell.net.

National Train Day - May 12
Wine Rail Excursions – May- Oct
San Luis Obispo County
Leading up to the fourth annual Central Coast Railroad Festival, held Oct. 4-8, are a variety of events including National Train Day on May 12 in San Luis Obispo, a day to celebrate the 143rd anniversary of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad. In addition, Central Coast Railroad Festival Wine Rail Excursions are offered the second Sunday of every month. The trips include a ride on Amtrak's Coast Starlight up or down the Cuesta Grade between Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo, complimentary wine tasting, light lunch snacks, rail history and a private bus trip in the opposite direction from the rail trip. The trips generally stop at one or two rail related wineries. Tickets for most trips are $49 for adults and $39 for children 15 and under. Excursions are limited to 24 guests and generally sell out in advance. For a list of excursions, visit http://ccrrf.com. For more information about National Train Day, visit http://www.nationaltrainday.com.

30th Annual Paso Robles Wine Festival
May 18-20
Paso Robles City Park
Combining past traditions with innovations of the future, the Paso Robles Wine Country comes together to honor 30 years of the Paso Robles Wine Festival in Paso Robles City Park this May. World-class wines, farm fresh culinary delights and winemaker seminars make this festival the place to be for wine enthusiasts. Guests can experience the character and rich history reflected in each glass of Paso Robles wine. This celebration will include the finest food and wine and embrace all that defines Paso Robles Wine County. Whether crisp whites or bold reds satisfy your palate, the Paso Robles Wine Festival has something for everyone. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (800) 549-WINE or visit http://www.pasowine.com.

Festival of the Arts
May 25-27
Downtown Paso Robles
Celebrate summer with this magical three-day event for families. New this year is a Plein Air Masters exhibition, two-day workshops (taking place the week prior to the main events), guest lectures and an Art Tour. Saturday starts with a Plein Air Quick-Draw and auction, followed by a fine art show, a public mural project, hands-on youth art stations, the Travel Channel’s Sand Masters constructing giant sand castles, street performers, adult art seminars, live music, dance performances, stilt walkersand other musical and visual surprises for kids. This three-day family event features guest lectures on Friday, and an Awards Brunch followed by the Exclusive Westside Art Tour of two private collections on Sunday. (888) 988-PASO (7276). Event tickets are available at http://www.pasoartfestival.com; the Saturday Main Event is free; Media Contact: Shonna Howenstine, (805) 227-7236, tourism@prcity.com.

Great Western Bicycle Rally
May 25-28
Paso Robles Event Center
Gather some friends, hop on your bikes and get ready for a thrilling weekend of bicycling through the rolling hills of stunning Paso Robles. A variety of routes are geared for all levels of riders so everyone can join in. This is a fun and reasonably priced family vacation option. For more information and to register, call (866) 909-4927 or visit http://www.greatwesternbicyclerally.com.

First Annual BBQ Fun Fest and Kids Day in the Park
June 1-2, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m., June 3, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Downtown Paso Robles City Park
Get ready for the First Annual BBQ Fun Fest and Kids Day in the Park, a three-day event filled with mouthwatering BBQ, including pulled pork, turkey legs, chicken, tri-tip and sausage available for purchase as well as beer and wine. On Friday night guests can enjoy live music from Steve Sturgis & Roadhouse, with a special introduction by the Paso Robles High School Jazz Bank, followed by a BBQ Cook Off Contest on Saturday. Fun for the whole family, there will a giant bounce house for the kids to enjoy and a “Kahuna Kids’ Kids Day in the Park” on Saturday, featuring vendors, crafts and youth demonstrations. For more information, visit http://www.pasoroblesdowntown.org. Media Contact: Norma Moye, (805) 238-4103, mainstreet@tcsn.net.

Model A and Model T Car Show
June 2, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Rios-Caledonia Adobe in San Miguel
Join the fun at this free event when the local antique car clubs exhibit their unique old Model A and Model T automobiles on the original old highway that runs in front of the Adobe. Vote for your favorite and participate in the 50-50 drawing. Added interests this year include the Santa Lucis Rockhounds showing their wares in the Information Center and Central Coast Lavender displaying and illustrating their fragrant lavender products. Food will be for sale by the "Three Amigos" - super cooks Terry Scantlin, and his wife, Mary, and Monica Cisneros. Dance to music by Ron Domingos and Friends and sip wine in the old bar in the Adobe by Tackitt Family Winery of San Miguel. For more information, call (805) 238-0506 or visit http://www.pasorobleschamber.org.

First Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Brewfest
June 9
Paso Robles Event Center
Gather around for some of the best breweries in the U.S. as they pour their finest beers at this inaugural festival, where the brewers will be on hand to talk about their beers. Some of the Central Coast’s finest restaurants and food providers will show off their culinary skills as they pair delicious foods with the featured brews. This event benefits the Pioneer Day committee, which is dedicated to the preservation of the unique history and culture of Paso Robles. For more information, visit http://www.firestonebeer.com.

June 12-17, 8 a.m. daily
Paso Robles Event Center
The NRCHA (National Reined Cow Horse Association) Derby, celebrates the working cow horse by upholding vaquero traditions with exciting displays of horsemanship, training and spirit. For more information, call (580) 759-4949 or visit http://www.nrcha.com.

Concerts in the Park
June 12 – August 31, Friday evenings from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Downtown City Park
Enjoy the sounds of live jazz, blues, rock, fusion and more at this free summer concert series in downtown Paso Robles. Savor a glass of J. Lohr wine for sale at the concert. Proceeds benefit the REC Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.travelpaso.com.

Trading Day and Kids Flea Market
June 25, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Downtown City Park
Find that coveted antique table or discover the perfect piece of artwork at this popular outdoor yard sale filled with collectibles and curiosities. Not be left out, children between third and eighth grades will learn the basics of entrepreneurship by selling their own items at the Kids Flea Market. For more information, call (805) 238-4103 or visit http://www.travelpaso.com.

Central Coast Shakespeare Festival
July 13 – August 11
Friday & Saturday, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 6 - 8 p.m.
River Oaks Amphitheater
Enjoy a summer of outdoor classical theater under the stars next to a beautiful lake. Be sure to bring low back lawn chairs or blankets and a picnic meal to enjoy during the show. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.centralcoastshakespeare.org.

Lavender Festival
July 14, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Downtown City Park
Relax and recharge your spirit at this fragrant festival. Indulge in lavender ice cream and unwind with body oils and bath products infused with this aromatic herb. Learn about lavender cultivation, distillation and sustainable farming practices from growers from around the country. Guests will also be treated to live music, a special children’s activities area, a juried arts show, a lavender tasting garden and complimentary samples and demonstrations. For more information, visit http://www.cclavenderfestival.com.

California Mid-State Fair
July 18-29
Paso Robles Event Center
This star-studded annual event features the brightest stars in show business. Past headliners include Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Alan Jackson, Jason Aldean, Stone Temple Pilots, Justin Bieber, and Selena Gomez, just to name a few. Accompanying the live music are carnival rides, fabulous fair food, and amazing Paso Robles wine, of course. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (800) 909-FAIR or visit http://www.midstatefair.com.

Winemakers’ Cookoff
August 6, 6 - 9 p.m.
River Oaks Hot Springs
More than 30 winemakers will show off their culinary talents, pairing culinary creations with their finest wines to compete for the Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice awards. Proceeds from this event support local high school seniors in need of financial assistance for college. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (877) 264-6979 or visit http://www.winemakerscookoff.com.    

Olive Festival
August 17-18, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Downtown City Park
Bring the family for a day of olive-inspired fun. Enjoy complimentary olive oil and olive product sampling (including olive oil ice cream!) from producers from all over California, a “Culinary Row” filled with delectable local cuisine, local wine and beer tasting and an open olive dish cooking contest. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (805) 238-4103 or visit http://www.pasoroblesolivefestival.com.

Wine Country Auction
August 18
Join your favorite local winemakers for the Paso Robles Wine Country Auction as they bring out rare wines from within their cellars to be auctioned off. Held at Summerwood Winery, guests will gather for a delicious locally-inspired meal and a riveting evening of competing bids. Funds raised through the Wine Country Auctions will benefit San Luis Obispo County organizations that support healthcare, education and greater community services. Summerwood Winery, 2175 Arbor Road, (805) 239-8463, http://www.pasowine.com.

Paso Robles Classic Car Weekend
August 30 – September 2
Downtown Paso Robles
A Paso Robles tradition, every Labor Day Weekend classic car owners converge on Paso Robles and fill the downtown. Classic Car Weekend includes a Friday Cruise, Saturday Car Show, and Sunday BBQ with live music. For more information, visit http://www.travelpaso.com.

Grand Oaks
Keep an eye out for the Paso Robles Grand Oaks Hotel, opening in 2012 in Paso Robles. This new hotel boasts three stories and 90 comfortable guest rooms. The hotel will also provide a number of services and amenities for its guests, including hot breakfast, wine tasting bar, conference room, exercise room, pool and spa, as well as a stunning restaurant, making the Grand Oaks Hotel a great place to enjoy a relaxing stay in Paso Robles. Riverside Avenue and Black Oak Drive,

Winemaking Hoteliers
After two years of hard work, dedication and passion, La Quinta Inn & Suites Paso Robles will release their own custom made wine this June, a field blend of Petite Sirah and Primitivo. They are the only hotel in the area, and the only one known in the hotel industry, to create their own wine from start to finish. Led by General Manager Victor Popp, the entire staff was highly involved in this wine-centric team building endeavor, from meeting in the fields at 6 a.m. to pick one ton of grapes all the way though to the “punch downs” during fermentation and the bottling process. Guests can taste this wine at the complimentary evening Wine and Gourmet Cheese Receptions (held every night in June) and purchase it in the wine shop. 2615 Buena Vista Drive, (805) 239-3004, http://www.lq.com.

S’more Please!
Visit Hotel Cheval for a nostalgic, summer evening treat. After the sun goes down, Hotel Cheval sparks up the hotel’s two outdoor fireplaces and brings out the signature Red Rider Wagon full of the finest ingredients for making the perfect s’more. Guests can make traditional s’mores, or they can get creative with marshmallow flavors including orange, coconut, raspberry or cinnamon and with chocolate choices with hints of caramel or raspberry. Complimentary for guests. Available Thursday – Sunday. 1021 Pine Street, (805) 226-9995, http://www.hotelcheval.com.

Firestone Food
For fresh local brews and delicious locally sourced comfort cuisine, head to the newly opened Taproom, owned and operated by the Firestone Walker Brewing Company. The modern expansive space features a large dining room, and a comfortable bar area. Guests will love how ingredients from the brewing process are creatively integrated into some of the dishes, such as the spent grains used to make pizza crusts, and “beer honey” made with sweet beer from the early stages of fermentation. Enjoy a wide selection of farm fresh appetizers, salads, pizzas and entrees. While you’re there, pick up a few six packs of their renowned “805” beer to take home (sold exclusively in the 805 area code and previously only offered on tap). 1400 Ramada Drive, (805) 225-5911, http://www.firestonebeer.com.

Winemakers Dinner
On May 18, Thomas Hill Organics Bistro will host the Tablas Creek Winemaker Dinner. This mouthwatering five-course meal begins with passed appetizers followed by a delectable menu of grilled spice quail, filet of venison and a ginger and pineapple bread pudding. Each course will be expertly paired with a different wine from Tablas Creek Vineyard for a delicious combination. $89 per person, not including tax and gratuity. Reservations required. 1305 Park Street, (805) 226-5888, http://www.thomashillorganics.com.


Wine Tasting by Carriage Ride?
Wine tasting by van, limo and even bicycle is now typical, but how about by carriage ride? Visitors can now tour the Paso Robles region with White Horse Carriage Co. in an elegant horse drawn Victorian carriage pulled by a beautiful white horse. The coach travels down Anderson Road, stopping a choice of tasting rooms. Packages include tour of two to four boutique tasting rooms and a light picnic luncheon in one of their favorite vineyards. $125 per person. 4626 Ross Drive, (805) 296-2289, http://www.whitehorsecarriage.com.

Midnight Tasting
Midnight Cellars, originally established in 1995, is giving their tasting room a facelift to be completed in mid-May. Visitors will now be able to taste their award-winning wines in a new airy, light room with pops of Midnight blue. Complementing the new tasting room is the launch of their new website. Stop by this boutique producer for premium Syrah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Bordeaux, Rhone and Italian blends as well as Chardonnay. 2925 Anderson Road, (805) 239-8904, http://www.midnightcellars.com.

First Crush Winemaking Experience
First Crush’s winemaking experience gives guests the opportunity to experience the joy of making wine. This summer they are offering three new tours to help make the experience of winemaking even more exciting!

  •     Paso Zin 101: The Seven Heavenly Zins – Perfect for Zinfandel lovers, this tour covers the history of Zinfandel production in Paso Robles, as well as a tasting of seven delicious Paso Robles Zins.
  •     Historical Vineyard & Winery Tour – Guests will be treated to a historical tour of the Paso Robles wine region through local vineyards and wineries that are an important part of the history. There will be tastings at each of the wineries, as well as lunch and/or cheese pairings.
  •     Harvest Tour de Vin – This elaborate three-day winery and vineyard tour during harvest provides and educational, interactive way to learn about Paso Robles, the region’s wines and how wine is made.

2995 Pleasant Road, San Miguel, (805) 434-2772, http://www.firstcrushwinemaking.com.

Vina Robles Winery
Enjoy delicious new food and wine pairings at Vino Robles Winery, where guests can indulge in cheese, chocolate or lunch, while discovering the perfect pairings with Vino Robles’ wonderful wines.

  •     Private, Sit-Down Wine and Cheese Experience –Enjoy five selections of artisan cheeses matched with special release wines that are exclusively available in the Vina Robles tasting room. Knowledgeable tasting room associates will educate and guide guests through the various flavor profiles. Introductory price of $20 per person is valid through May 31, 2012.
  •     Petite Sirah and Chocolate Truffle Experience – Visit the new Segredo Bar in the Vina Robles tasting room to indulge in that sweeter sensation. Here, guests may taste four different Petite Sirahs, followed by the recently released Segredo Dessert Wine. Each wine is perfectly paired with a premium handmade chocolate truffle by Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates.
  •     Gourmet Lunch Tasting – Savor the finest of flavors as well as the beauty of Paso Robles wine country during this tasting, where guests will start with a tasting of five selected wines from either Vina Robles’ Estate or Reserve list. The tastings will then be followed by a special gourmet lunch, specially prepared by Kelly’s Grill at Hunter Ranch Golf Course, during which guests may select their favorite Vina Robles wine by the glass to enjoy with their meal.

3700 Mill Road, (805) 227-4812, http://www.vinarobles.com. Media Contact: Simone Michael, (805) 227-4812, s.michel@vinarobles.com.

Bacon & Wine
Join Hope Family Wines during Harvest Weekend on May 19-20 for their 2012 Bacon and Wine Pairing event. Guests can savor the deliciousness of artisanal bacon and charcuterie from the finest producers in the world, paired with Hope Family Vineyards’ current releases to create a decadent combination. $15 per tasting. 1585 Live Oak Road, (805) 238-4112, http://www.hopefamilywines.com.

Terry Hoage Rhone Reds Blending Seminar
Don’t miss part two of the Terry Hoage Vineyards blending seminar on August 4 where guests will learn about the esteemed red grapes of the Rhone. This seminar will kick off with a discussion and tasting of estate-grown Rhone red varietals, after which guests may create their own cuvee using barrel samples from their 2010 vintage. Lunch is also included. Seminar is limited to 24 attendees. $50 per person. 870 Arbor Road, (805) 238-2083, http://www.terryhoagevineyards.com.

Visit any winery in Paso Robles without having to worry about the drive home with Uncorked Wine Tours. Featuring a recently expanded fleet, they now offer shuttle services and can accommodate up to ten people in a tour. Guests can customize their own tour and schedule, visit as many wineries as they want, and stay as long as they like. (805) 459-4500, http://www.uncorkedwinetours.net.

Pithy Little Wine Company
For a unique tasting experience, visit Pithy Little Wine Company, which has some fun new additions for guests to enjoy this year.

  •     “Drinkwell Creative Design Lab” – On select weekends, guests can create their very own wine label. They simply choose a wine, how many bottles they want and personalize the design with their own name, photograph or special message. Check online (http://www.pithywine.com) for schedule.
  •     Fortuity Table Collection – Little Pithy Wine Company has recently added its “Fortuity Table Collection” of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. These farm-to-table oils and vinegars include unique and tasty flavors such as Meyer lemon or harvest garlic olive oil, and peach, raspberry or pomegranate balsamic vinegar.
  •     Pithy Little Soda Works Soda Tasting Flight – For an ideal family-friendly adventure (and also ideal for designated drivers) check out the new Pithy Little Soda Works Old Fashioned Soda Flight which includes a sampling of five sodas paired with a choice of gourmet popcorn for $10. Soda flavors include root beer, back cherry, cream soda, orange cream and cola, and popcorn comes in unique flavors such as caramel, chipotle caramel and black truffle + white cheddar.

1244 Pine Street, Suite 101B, (805) 546-1059, http://www.pithywine.com.

Wildflower Tours
Join Ancient Peak Winery for their weekly guided wildflower and lunch tours on the Santa Margarita Ranch. Start this three-hour tour in the tasting room, and then venture throughout the ranch, where guests will learn all about the history, geology, geography and wildlife of the ranch. Guests will also be able to enjoy a picnic lunch among scenic views on the ranch before they end the tour with wine tasting in the Ancient Peaks tasting room. Reservations for the Wildflower Tour are required. 22720 El Camino Real, Suite B, Santa Margarita, (805) 365-7045, http://www.ancientpeaks.com.

Studio MPK
Studio MPK is the latest addition to Paso Robles’ budding creative art community.
Offering weekly art classes and workshops for students of all ages and skill levels, they strive to inspire and encourage the creative arts for personal reflection and creative play in an open studio environment. All classes and workshops are $10 per person, which includes all materials. 603 12th Street, http://www.studiompk.com.

About Paso Robles, CA
Nestled in the Santa Lucia Mountains of the Central California Coast midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Paso Robles is a welcoming retreat that offers the authentic California experience. The extensive variety of activities and experiences provide enjoyment for everyone including untouched natural beauty, more than 200 wineries, renowned cultural attractions including nearby Hearst Castle, a bounty of fresh cuisine supplied by local organic specialty farmers, ranchers and fisherman, first-class shopping, golf and entertainment, and much more. Visitors can choose from a wide selection of accommodations, from historic hotels and boutique inns to leading brand properties and affordable, family friendly motels. For information on how to make the most of your stay in Paso Robles and to order a free visitor guide, visit http://www.travelpaso.com, call (888) 988-PASO (7276) or email tourism(at)prcity(dot)com. For the latest news on the area, visit http://blog.travelpaso.com, join us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/travelpaso and follow us on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/travelpaso.

About the Travel Paso Robles Alliance
The Travel Paso Robles Alliance (TPRA) was founded in 2008 by a group of 19 area hoteliers with the mission to market Paso Robles as world class visitor destination. The alliance offers information on the 1,100 luxury, specialty, value, and budget room choices available to visitors, as well upcoming events, leisure and group activities and specialty promotions. For more information on Paso Robles and to order a free visitor guide, visit http://www.travelpaso.com, call (888) 988-PASO (7276) or email tourism(at)prcity(dot)com. For the latest news on the area, visit http://blog.travelpaso.com, join us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/travelpaso and follow us on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/travelpaso.


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Kelly Chamberlin