Want to know one of California’s best kept secrets? We’ll give you a hint: it lies halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, is home to over 200 wineries and its name means “Pass of the Oaks.” If you haven’t been to Paso Robles, you’re missing out. The splendid hills of the Central Coast will welcome you with hills that are every bit as vibrant as their history, and despite the city’s size, it retains small-town vibes–you’ll feel right at home, especially with your Bowlus Road Chief to camp in. We know we did.
We recommend staying at the Stacked Stone Cellars. You’ll need a Harvest Host membership in order to stay at this location, but it’s worth it (tell them Bowlus Road Chief sent you for 10% off). Not only is the cost of an annual membership about the same as the cost to stay at an RV park for a single night, but Stacked Stone Cellars is charming. If you go at the right time, you’ll see them bottling the wine. Nestled in the eponymous stacked stone landscape, the Cellars is a sustainable vineyard that produces small quantities of handcrafted Zinfandel. You can enjoy a tasting with the owner, Donald, on the weekends or during the week by appointment.
Just a short way up Peachy Canyon Road is another winery, Calcareous Vineyard. In addition to its awe-inspiring vista, it offers a selection of world-class blends and varietal wines. Take an Uber, and then you can ride into town for restaurants and more tasting rooms. Here are a few places we recommend:
Il Cortile Ristorante – Rustic Italian fine dining with a menu that changes seasonally and incorporates both local ingredients.
BL Brasserie (formerly Bistro Laurent) – Relaxed and elegant French cuisine with an oyster bar.
Thomas Hill Organics – Imaginative entrees created from fresh and regionally-sourced ingredients.
Herman Story – A boutique tasting room with industrial decor, a sense of humor and big-bodied fruit-forward wines.
Bodegas – A tasting room specializing in Portuguese and Spanish varietals.
LXV Wines – A highly-regarded tasting room with brilliant Indian pairings.
Justin Vineyards, and The Restaurant at Justin – Justin also has a downtown tasting room, and their vineyard is particularly popular.
While you could spend the entire weekend tasting your way through wineries, distilleries and breweries, Paso Robles has even more to offer. In recent years, it’s become an olive oil mecca. Enjoy tastings and tours at any of the many orchards, or head to We Olive in downtown to sample olive oils from multiple orchards. Be sure to check out the renowned hot sulfur springs, the waters of which are rumored to have healing powers. Paso Robles also has an incredible music scene. Vina Robles is a boutique amphitheater that features world-renowned artists as well as a tasting room (of course).
Your Road Chief is just what you need to wind down at the end of the day. Kick back and read a book. Stream a movie. Enjoy a little decaf that you whip up in the galley. After your epicurean adventures, you can return to your mobile sanctuary, crank up the heated floors and snuggle down into the organic Libeco linens. The perfect weekend getaway? We think so, because Paso Robles and the Bowlus Road Chief go together like wine and chocolate.
Bowlus Road Chief