Monday, January 28, 2008

On hiatus

If you haven't noticed, I am taking a hiatus from writing for Discover SLO to focus on my full-time gig as editor of

We have some massive undertakings in the works, including a soon-to-launch new community site where users can post photos, keep their own blogs, interact in forums and more. We will also be redesigning this year to better organize and present all our great content. And we'll be upping our multimedia offerings, with more video and audio for our users.

All this is keeping me quite busy, but I hope to return to the blog down the road. Thanks.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Village winery

Wood Winery -- which used to be Wild Wood Winery and used to be in a tough-to-get-to spot of Highway 101 north as you headed up the grade -- has opened a tasting room in Village of Arroyo Grande.

The tasting room shares space with the Gallery on Bridge Street on, you guessed it, Bridge Street.

Hours are 10-5pm except Friday and Saturday when it stays open until 6 and Monday when the shop is closed.

So if you're poking around the village, stop by to sample some wine -- the winery features fun labels and names too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

VIDEO: What we do in wine country for fun

For me, a messy highlight of SLO Vintners' annual harvest festival was the inaugural grape stomping contest at Per Bacco Cellars.

My fellow competitor, Tribune reporter Sarah Arnquist, and I did terribly -- we had filled only half a bottle when the winners completed their two -- but had a great time.

We learned that strategy and technique (plus a little cheating) are key, so start working on yours for next fall. I'm sure the event will back and even more poplar.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sycamore Springs is a treat -- Discover for yourself Sunday

Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort is a treat and a retreat for the mind, body and soul.

And to spread that message to the community, the resort is holding an open house of its spa and wellness center -- the heart of that retreat -- from 1-4 Sunday. There will be plenty of activities to indulge in, all free or discounted.

I recently enjoyed my own version of the open house, starting with a light lunch in the gazebo courtyard before stripping down for a 30-minute soak in an open air tub with a view of the surrounding hillside foliage.

My state of relaxation was only furthered by a 30-minute massage of long, flowing strokes that nearly induced a catatonic state. I was a bit worried about the energy needed for a yoga class to follow, but the gentle class kept us close to the ground, focused on nice, restorative stretches and breathing. The hardest part was the climb up the hill to get there.

A mind-clearing walk through the labyrinth and the meditative gardens was followed by a flavorful and fresh four-course dinner and wine. It was one of the most relaxing escapes of my whole life.

And you can experience your own mini-escape at the open house Sunday.

There are free classes in the Healing Arts Institute, the "yoga dome" a brisk walk up a hill.
* 1:15-1:45: Pilates
* 2-2:30: Hatha yoga
* 2:45-3:15: Tai Chi
* 3:30-4: Restorative yoga

There are discounted spa treatments -- a deal at $35 for a 30-minute massage or facial plus a 30-minute soak in a mineral spring tub (must be pre-booked). There also will be 10-minute garden massages for $10.

Complimentary refreshments -- light fare and beverages -- will be served in the gazebo courtyard from 1-3:30, to the tunes of guitarist Mark Owens, who will play again in the bar from 5-7 for a happy hour with drink specials and appetizers.

The gift store will offer coupons for a 20 percent discount good through Dec. 24. And anyone who signs up for the resort newsletter is eligible to win half-hourly giveaways, including a grand prize of an overnight suite stay.

Wrapping up the day, the purchase of two dinner entrees gets you a free 60-minute hot tub soak.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Tops in port wines and historical colors

Well it was a fun weekend of wine and food sampling -- as well as grape stomping -- at the SLO harvest festival. I'm hoping to have a video of my sad attempt at the grape stomp contest at Per Bacco Cellars with reporter Sarah Arnquist later this week.

In the meantime, a few tidbits from Sunset magazine.

With an article on dessert wines, Sunset highlights EOS 2003 Zinfandel Port and Robert Hall 2003 Vintage Port as its picks for port-style wines. "Plush, textured palate of chocolate, coffee, licorice and blackberries," is the description of the EOS offering. Robert Hall's port is described as "made from traditional port grapes, with an interesting mix of anise, herbs, dried cherries and chocolate." Yum.

The same November issue features a curb-appeal makeover of a Ventura bungalow with a big plug for San Luis Paints. "After spending a lot of time agonizing over house paint," the couple who owns the home selected on two shades from San Luis Paints' historical color series.
"If we'd known to start there, we could have saved ourselves a lot of time," one of two said. Now that's a compliment indeed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

After Halloween, it's Harvest (again)

The harvest celebration has come and gone in Paso Robles, but it's hitting SLO this weekend, and there's still time to get tickets to many of the festivities.

Friday night features winemaker dinners at area restaurants. Some are already sold out, though reservations for others are still available. The most unique might be dinner in the rose garden at the Mission de Tolosa with Tolosa Winery.

Saturday from 1-5pm the wineries and local restaurants join together for the Grand Tasting at Avila Beach Golf Resort, with food and wine, live jazz, live and silent auctions. Tickets are $75.

Sunday, I'll be stomping grapes at Per Bacco Cellars, one of many special activities at the wineries of the San Luis Obispos Vintners and Growers Association. Among other activities, Baileyana will break in its new bocce ball courts and many others are featuring special food and/or live music.

Find information on all the events here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A hauntingly good time for all

There are countless Halloween activities out there tomorrow night, but here's one that can be enjoyed by young and older.

With Oktoberfest drawing to a close (though Thursday-Saturday celebrations continue through this weekend) Old Vienna in Shell Beach is transforming itself into the Enchanted Black Forest.

For singles and parents, the bar is open for spirits and witch's brew, and kids can keep themselves occupied with the free "not-to-haunted house," spooky snacks and wormy swamp punch.

Festivities go from 5-9pm.