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Paso Robles; photo by Richard Bilow; courtesy of ETG

They say a weekend away can do wonders for your relationship…but who says you have to spend the entire weekend together? I can understand the reasoning behind the new trend called solomoon or unimoon. A March 2019 NY Times article tells the story of recently married couples who choose to take separate trips over a honeymoon. However, this goes a bit too far for me. My husband and I recently took a weekend jaunt up the coast to San Luis Obispo County. He is a professional photographer and was excited to chase the super blooms in Carrizo Plain National Monument and willing to wake up before dawn to catch the sunrise…I was not. So on this getaway trip we decided to stay in Paso Robles where I could sleep in, then do some shopping and wine tasting while he photographed the wild flowers. View his amazing photos and read his article “California Wild Flowers: Chasing the Super Blooms.” 

The Wildflowers of Carizzo; Photo by Richard Bilow; courtesy of ETG

La Bellasera Hotel & Suites proved to be the perfect choice. It is situated in the midst of many wineries and a short drive from town. The room offered a balcony, a private sitting area with a couch, TV and chairs, sink, fully stocked bar with a coffeemaker, as well as a completely separate sleeping area (with a large bathroom dividing the two). The sleeping area featured another TV, a refrigerator, and many additional amenities. A complimentary bottle of wine awaited us, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

photo by Richard Bilow; courtesy of ETG

We did have a chance to do some wine tasting prior to dinner at the Midnight Cellars Winery and Tooth and Nail Winery…both conveniently located on the same street Anderson. Then it was back to Bellasera’s in-house restaurant, Enoteca for dinner. It was fantastic. I was truly impressed – starting from our cocktails all the way through to the dessert. This was a great chance for my husband and I to reconnect. The ambiance was romantic and the cuisine was truly exquisite. Read my full review HERE.

Outside view of Enoteca Restaurant at La Bellasera Hotel & Suites

The next day, I awoke to a quiet serenity that I rarely experience in Los Angeles. As an arts and entertainment writer, I am always on a deadline. Breakfast in bed is a favorite luxury of mine. Provided by Enoteca, I savored the Central Coast Eggs Benedict with Canadian bacon, spinach and avocado…it was spectacular. This was a much needed respite. I allowed myself to be indulged with a massage provided by the in-house spa, then dipped into the Jacuzzi, and sat by the pool until I was ready to start wine tasting.

Downtown Paso Robles is small but charming. I did a quick walk about and found artist Dale Evers’ studio on Park Street. I had read that his work was on view at Sculpterra Winery and Sculpture Garden which was on my list, but the day was already flying by. When I saw the breadth of his work, I knew I had to make time to see his larger work at the winery.

Dale Evers’ Studio; photo by Kathy Leonardo; courtesy of ETG

I stopped for a quick snack at the Berry Hill Bistro – I enjoyed the pesto pizza bread with artichoke hearts on the outside patio and took in a twenty-minute people watching session…after all I was on a schedule. As I wandered around town, I spotted Symbiosis Wine. I walked into a small storefront tasting room, where I met its charming owner Glenna Thompson. When I asked where the wine was made, she led me to the back room where I saw about 20-25 barrels. I was impressed. Years ago, a wine tasting trip to Paso Robles changed her life and she soon starting working for wineries (running labs). Thompson has a background in Biology and a Ph.D. in Marine Microbiology. She saw the symbiotic mix of art and science and decided to create her own wine. In 2007 she launched Symbiosis Wines.

Symbiosis owner/winemaker Glenna Thompson; photo by Kathy Leonardo; courtesy of ETG

The shopping in town was wonderful, and the boutiques showcased many local artists/designers. Some of my favorite stores included the General Store, Sugar Fashion Beauty, along with And Be Boutique which had sign on the front door saying Wine Tasting in the back. That’s how I found Paso Underground, a wine collective which was established in 2013. Offering tastes from four wineries Copia Vineyards, Hubba Wines, Lost Blues, and Ranchero Cellars, it’s the perfect place for wine tasting, if you don’t have a lot of time.

Feeling a bit tipsy, I decided to try out another restaurant I had heard about Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ (the entrance is in an alley). Being raised in New York City, I normally wouldn’t wander into a back alley looking for a restaurant. However, I heard great things about the owner, Chef Jeff Wiesinger who was a multi-award winner of two well-known Paso Robles food festivals – The Mac & Cheese Fest and Pinot & Paella Festival. The rumors were true – I tried both his Mac & Cheese and Paella signature dishes. Be sure to stop into this casual counter style service eatery on your next visit to Paso Robles.

Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ, Paella; photo by Kathy Leonardo; courtesy of ETG

After eating, I was once again ready for some wine tasting. I made one final dash to Sculpterra Winery and Sculpture Garden. Being an art writer, I naturally was drawn to this winery. Upon arrival I found out it was so much more. The grounds feature large scale sculptures from local artists such as Dale Evers, John Jagger, Robert Bently and more. There is even a rotating art show inside the tasting room featuring additional visiting artists. The majesty of the sculptures and the landscaping (originally designed by John Jagger) makes for an enchanting place to sip a glass of delicious Petite Sirah.

Sculpterra Winery and Sculpture Garden was founded by Dr. Warren Frankel who supported artists by bringing them in and allowing the unlimited space to create. He also established the medical missionary foundation “His Healing Hands.” With the help of his fellow Doctors, he travels around the world providing care to under-privileged peoples across the globe.

Sculpterra Winery and Sculpture Garden; photo by Kathy Leonardo; courtesy of ETG

Alas Los Angeles and my deadlines were calling me back. It was time to say goodbye to Paso Robles – what a beautiful wine and wildflower getaway. My husband and I reconnected, but also enjoyed our time alone. The whole ride home we filled each other in on our solo-day excursions. La Bellasera Hotel & Suites is located at 939 Spring St, Paso Robles, CA 93446-2513 https://www.labellasera.com

For more in-depth reviews about the hotel/restaurant/wineries mentioned above – visit the Destinations section of this website.

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