A couple of weeks ago, we escaped into Paso Robles wine country for a pre-Christmas getaway. Our goal was to visit a winery we’d enjoyed a lot and get some more wine from them. We also wanted to try out the Sycamore Mineral Hot Springs Resort. I had booked a night there months ago but that was before the fires started in Ventura. The air quality at home had gotten so bad that we were wearing particulate masks every time we went outside. I had developed a deep cough and we really needed some clean air.
With the fires nowhere near our home, we headed out. Unfortunately, the Hearthstone winery we loved so much was closed – changing hands apparently. Ergh! But there is no shortage of wineries and vineyards here – there are at least five on every corner! So, we stepped next door to Dover Canyon and met this cute over-sized poodle-doodle.
We had some wine here – it was good enough to buy a few bottles. and we headed over to another place we’d heard about from some people we’d met on another wine tasting.
The grounds of this place were awesome – breathtaking California wine country views. This is Calcareous Winery:
The wines here are very mineral tasting to me and I wasn’t super fond of them. More dry than I’d like but the later Cabernets in the tasting spread were nice.
Yep, Steve bought some bottles there too.
Now, we were supposed to head over to our hot tub and comfy room but driving by Stacked Stone Cellars winery Steve made a hard right into the driveway. He’s incorrigible.
These were the resident greeters – two dogs and several cats. This place was a large spread with lots of animals. The wine tasting room was not fancy, but it fit the place.
There was a St. Francis, which is appropriate given the range of animals.
There were pigs roaming around.
We carried our wine glasses out to meet these guys.
Before we saw this sign.
It was true too – the larger horse definitely tried to bite Steve several times. Kinda tricky because he definitely neighed and flirted to get our attention. Sneaky.
We eventually escaped the wine farm (yes, Steve bought more wine there too) and got to the hot tubs.
For the next 12 hours or so, we soaked, curled up by the fire, soaked some more and slept. It was sheer bliss.
The next morning, we woke to yellow-brown skies. The smoke from the fires had followed us here.
There were tons of big birds in the trees. The strange sky and the smoky air made things a little strange.
Seeing the fires creeping toward Santa Barbara and near-er to our home, we decided to cut the day short and head back. This year, fire season extended into December.
The rest of our pre-holiday time has been much wait-and-see. We were never in the evacuation zones, but we had many friends who were. The businesses were shut down and shuttered, which made holiday shopping and eating and connecting with friends stop. It’s been a long month and many people have lost their homes and pets and everything they own. We are grateful to be safe and that our homes are still standing. Now that the fire danger has cleared, we prepare to head to New Mexico to spend time with family.
Here’s to a Merry Christmas all! I hope you are safe and warm and protected this season.