Sunset over the Fess Parker Vineyard

Horseback Riding at the Fess Parker Ranch in Santa Ynez Valley

Notes from the road

California Dreaming

Nearby, the towns of Santa Ynez and Solvang offer up tasty fare. The area is also great for hiking, horseback riding, wine tasting and playing tennis and golf.

And it’s all only a 45-minute drive to Santa Barbara’s beaches and storied resorts: El Encanto up in the hillside, Hotel California near the beach and San Ysidro Ranch give geographic setting, like with the others. The bustling college town of San Luis Obispo, home to Cal Poly, boasts the new Hotel Cerro – complete with rooftop pool.

Kayaking in Morro Bay

Heading south, the little-known Edna Valley is a great place to bike and sip. Los Alamos has that Wild West feel with some great places to eat, including the French-inspired Bell’s and the California-fresh Full of Life Flatbreads. Kayak Morro Bay, and visit the elephant seal colony near Cambria before heading inland to the the town of Paso Robles and its surrounding vineyards. There, the Allegretto Hotel just outside of town has a tempting pool and spacious grounds, while the Hotel Cheval is the best right in the heart of things. For a unique treat, take in artist Bruce Munro’s Field of Light at Sensorio, an illuminating show made up of 58,800 fiberoptic spheres carefully positioned among the vines — on view until September 20.

Bruce Munro’s Field of Light at Sensorio

The Gray & Co. Team