Paso Robles – The Uncharted Wine Getaway 200 Miles North of Santa Monica
JUSTIN Winery, ONX Vineyards, La Bellasera Hotel & Suites, Adelaida Vineyards & Winery and Thomas Hill Organics
August 3, 2017
A few weeks ago Edible Skinny was lucky enough to tour the wine wonders of Paso Robles. Now we've done California vino before with jaunts to Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara, and Temecula, but this was our first delving into the world of Paso. It was an uncharted wine getaway, the perfect excuse for Kat and Kelly to hop in the car and discover all that this growing wine region has to offer.
Paso Robles is located approximately halfway between the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is a community in the process of defining itself as an independent wine region. Cabernet is most widely planted grape in the area. It is primarily shipped North to more notable wine regions such Napa and Sonoma as filler wine; but the times they area a changing.
The booming Paso Robles wine region is now home to more than 100 tasting rooms and more than 200 wineries. This translates to over 32,000 acres of vineyards on which about 40 varietals of wine grow. This expanding wine region now gets 1 million visitors per year (Napa by contrast gets 3.5 million visitors).
The "Templeton Gap," a notch in the coastal Santa Lucia mountain range, allows marine air to cascade inland and across the Paso Robles wine country. This cooling influence fosters quality and complexity in the local wines as temperature swings of 50 degrees within a 24-hour period are not uncommon during the late summer months. About two-thirds of Paso Robles wineries produce less than 5,000 cases. In other words, they are smaller, more boutique wineries. And so, Edible Skinny delighted in diving into the world of the emerging wine region of Paso Robles.
We started our wine weekend with one of Paso's biggest JUSTIN Winery. JUSTIN is one of the largest wineries in the area producing 180,000 cases per year on 1,000 acres of property.
Our server Mark was the perfect pour-er, being present when needed and scare when not (he recommended always to toast from the bowl of the wine glass... "No clink when you drink...."). Mark noted the "tasting is about trust" Some of favorites included the Right Angle, a wine that is only available onsite. As Mark noted, "it's my Tuesday wine."
But the most famous wine made by JUSTIN is their Isosceles. Named after the triangle that has a ratio with two sides of equal length Isosceles is a combination of lots of Cabernet and equal pats Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Kelly chirped in that the wine "makes me want to be in the bathtub." We finished this off with the Isosceles Reserve, an elusive wine as they only make 350 cases per year, making it only available to members of the Isosceles Wine Club. With a mouth swirling of Blackberry Pucker and Ruby Raspberry Kelly commented, "it tastes like the first day of fall when you build a fire."
Niner Winery is without a doubt the best restaurant Edible Skinny has visited all year. With their astounding view of the estate, including Heart Hill, food grown a few feet from your table, and the juxtaposition of idiosyncratic textures and flavors, Niner has mastered the ultimate edible experience. Their staff is not only friendly and beyond knowledgeable, but talk about food and wine as if the closest thing to their heart. They describe each flavor profile or big red as if speaking about a dear friend, or favorite memory. They highlight each flirt and quirk to create the most provocative and divine pairings.
Niner, voted 2017's Best Winery Restaurant in America by Food and Wine Magazine, says, "Everyone talks about farm to table cuisine; our goal is to live it." And that is exactly what they do. Executive chef, Maegen Loring, takes pride in every ingredient. He is invested from first sprout to last bit. This is not farm to table, its backyard to table. A place where your food is grown a few feet away. Niner, regulates quality, with 100% care and supervision. Nothing is too small to be looked over and cared for. With over 200 acres their outstanding wines are 100% estate grown, the chicken eggs come from chef's house, their shelter (that they frequently escape from) was built by the winemaking team, and they feed on leftover veggies grown from their Estate Garden & other compostable from the restaurant. We were told by Sam, Niner's Restaurant and Events Manager that Loring even meets and visits with the cows.
Throughout our meal we paired Niner's amazing wines, with food inspired by creativity and daring dazzle. Starting from white to red, we first enjoyed the Marsanne, which Sam called his "daily drinker." which first sips soft and then opens up. This was perfect pairing with our appetizer of burrata with grilled peaches and beets. A creamy dive into ripe summer time flavors. We also sampled Niner's Chardonnay which is one of the most balanced buttery minerally chardonnays we have ever had. This complemented Niner's Ricotta Tart made with lemon, ricotta, asparagus, mixed greens, garden herbs. The super flaky croissant crust and turmeric lemon zest from garden was light but decadent.
Next we tried the Pinot Noir which was Kelly and Kat's Favorite. From Coastal Vineyard Jespersen Vineyards this wine is describe by Niner as, "quiet but impressive with aromatics of blueberry, black raspberry and cloves. Niner's Pinot Noir, "slowly wake up as you swirl this wine in your glass."
Next we had the Flatiron Steak pineapple salsa, coconut risotto, pear mint jalapeno chutney. A traditional dish with a non-traditional approach, this combination of flavors not usually found together gives Los Angeles restaurants a run for their money. This paired nicely with Niner's Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, a nice fireplace wine. This wine is rich a rounded with black currant, tobacco, dried herbs. Also on the palate black cherry, dark chocolate and dried sage are balanced for a long elegant finish. We also enjoyed their Super Paso, a wine that, "This wine pays homage to the Super Tuscan winemakers who scorned convention in order to create unique blends." This blend drinks with the confidence of a great wine and the Paso region, a paradise gaining more and more much deserved attention. The Super Paso was one of Edible Skinny's favorite reserves. It's reminded us of "a dark wood kitchen with stone hearth and copper kettles." There was a traditional sense of taste and history.
To finish our meal we sipped on a French press barrel-aged Coffee aged in Niner's Syrah barrel and roasted locally by Joebella Coffee exclusively for Niner Wine Estates. This coffee with accents of wine, was one of the most luxurious experiences Edible Skinny has encountered, and trust us, we have had a few. That paired with the panna cotta with blood orange, albarino, candied orange was a heavenly final note.
From start to finish Niner restaurant and wines are a showcase of both grace and gusto. Their dedication to the freshest flavors juxtaposed with creative culinary combinations makes Niner one of our favorite dining experiences in the state.
Our final vineyard of Day One was the delightful ONX Vineyards. Down a windy dirt road nestled behind a suburban housing development that would give Weeds a run for its money is ONX. There we encountered our tour guide Mike who led us through the hour-long Tour Experience which began in the Tract Shed, an outdoor tasting room where you can wander out back for tranquil views of the Santa Rita Creek.
From their Matt our knowledgeable guide (who has an issue with Boxer dogs that grab cash of his wallet and chew it up) drove us around the vineyard in an off-road vehicle. These vineyard tours are available by appointment (ONX also has a tasting room in Tin City) but we highly recommend the vineyard tour.
ONX is a boutique vineyard, 120 acres making only 3,500 cases per year, a number that allows for a dedication to detail. With our Tour Experience, we stopped at ONX's Oasis areas to drink each of our tasting wines; sipping our wines surrounded by the varietals we were drinking. Picnic areas decorated with vintage accents and arbors covered in vines were serene hideaways offer respite from the busy world beyond the vineyard.
With fun names like Field Day, Indie, Brash, and Mad Crush ONX doesn't take itself to serious. One of the most notable was their Brash (of which they make 274 cases). Their tasting notes for this Zinfandel were so poetic I couldn't not rewrite them, "Brash parades a multitude of down home aromas. Plummy compote and a heaping portion of berries intermingle with cinnamon." Brash is a "Hot Wine," which rounds the corner running straight into a peppery spices.
We finished our last wine at the recently opened Briarwood Cottage, an English Fairytale Cottage with a field of lavender and a tire swing hanging over a gully in the backyard. There in the storybook vineyard house we sipped another standout ONX's Mad Crush, which received 91 in Wine Advocate. Our mouth swirled with lavender, sage, and cranberries. An "infatuation with delicacy. The innocence of an ingénue; the bone structure of a star."
La Bellasera Hotel & Suites
A long day of wine tasting can be difficult and tiring work. All that deliciousness and decadent sure has a tendency to tucker us out. While Paso offers many place to sip the day away, it's important to have place to rest and recover. La Bellasera Hotel & Suites, a boutique Paso Robles hotel, is the perfect retreat from your exhausting winescapades. With a charming mix of comfort and elegance Bellasera provides every amenity you need for a perfect wine country experience.
Nestled in the heart of Paso, La Bellasera fuses the Italian and Mediterranean architecture with Central Coast countryside. The full-service hotel with 60 over-sized rooms has anticipated every need for those returning from a long day of fun or for those who don't want to leave the premises. In fact, a day spent at La Bellasera feels like a vacation itself with their in house spa, dining and signature bedding. Seriously, Edible Skinny thought the bed sheets were smooth as butter. La Bellasera even offers in-room spa therapy treatments for looking for the ultimate experience in relaxation.
La Bellasera also offers a flare of culinary creativity at their very own Enoteca Restaurant & Bar. Their Innovative menu pairs bold flavors, seasonal ingredients and award-winning wine highlight the elegance and organic flair of California cuisine. With a heated outdoor patio and weekly live jazz, this is a relax, sit back and drink in all the La Bellasera has to offer.
La Bellasera is focused on luxury through every guest encounter. Each detail is a commitment to comfort with their Hypoallergenic Goose Down Pillows to their plush bathrobes to their pool and Jacuzzi overlooking the Paso landscape, La Bellasera feels likes its own vacation. Edible Skinny had a suite larger than most Los Angeles apartments. We also had a bathtub the size of a swimming pool. La Bellasera offers outstanding amenities and suites to make every moment and outstanding one without breaking the bank. With rooms starting at $199 La Bellasera is affordable luxury allowing extra cash to buy more wine. La Bellasera is also more than happy to accommodate corporate retreats, wine tasting tour groups, family reunions, and other group travel.
Adelaida Vineyards & Winery
The next day we started with one of Paso's pioneers, established in 1981, the enchanting Adelaida Vineyards & Winery. Peaking at an elevation of 2,320 feet, the Adelaida Estate marks the highest point in the Paso Robles AVA and is an impressive patchwork of mountain vineyards and ancient soils. The vineyard is composed of 2,000 acres, but only 168 acres are planted with grape vines with another 600 acres of organic dry farmed walnuts, the rest of the space is open for vegetation and animals.
As soon as we got there we were whisked away on a TT&T – Tour, Taste, and Tailgate. For only $50 guests see first-hand the landscape, vineyard practices, and the terroir that bring their wines to life. The tour culminates with a tailgate picnic at 2,300 feet. As Adelaida staff member Paul notes, (who has a side hustle business of owning 24 sheep that weed for local farmers), "tastings come with an outrageous view and charcuterie. Our SUV ride up to the top of a mountain (see the Drone footage on our YouTube page) was with Jeremy Weintraub, Adelaida winemaker. Though best known for its Rhône wines, Weintraub creates classic wines at Adelaida – Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. He noted, "I'm happiest when wine is described in emotional terms. My primary motivation is to make distinctive and beautiful wines."
We then descended to 2320 Hilltop, another SUV stop under a canopy of a 100 year old oak trees with breathtaking views of the Santa Lucia Mountains. There we explored Adelaida's Picpoul Blanc. Picpoul is an ancient variety, native to the Languedoc of southern France, that's the new white wine in town. Luscious, straw color, the wine is immediately brisk and refreshing. With pings of Lemon zest, grapefruit tang, flavors of juicy pineapple with deceptively rich and expansive finish reminiscent of guava nectar and cashews, the wine received 90 points in Wine Spectator for Adelaida.
After a descent to the tasting room, we sampled another one of Adelaida's standout wines, their Cabernet Sauvignon from the Viking Estate Vineyard. The wine was firmly rich with accents of tobacco, dirt, and dark chocolate. It tasted of the warm of a velvet cloak donned before a winter ball.
Thomas Hill Organics
As the farm to table movement grows in California, we have more and more restaurants focused on sustainable food and organic offerings. While the organic movement brings fresh flavors, many are never pushed to their full potential. Many health-focused restaurants keep flavors simple and sometimes safe, but not Thomas Hill Organics. Thomas Hill Organics has one of the most innovative and creative menus featuring any farm to table fare.
Thomas Hill Organic, located in the heart of downtown Paso, puts a funky spin on organics creating flirty flavors that tap dance on our palette in fresh, unexpected ways. Thomas Hill offers a dynamic menu offering a variety of imaginative dishes full of savory surprise.
Not to mention, Thomas Hill Organics decor is also a designer's dream. Owner Debbie Thomas, has a great eye for not only food but decor. The restaurant is decorated with funky light fixtures, one of a kind art, and bright umbrellas that make every color pop. With touches of European accents it reminds us of spring picnic in the plaza meet California casual. Thomas Hill has the perfect patio to sip some wine and soak in the sunshine, all while providing regionally-produced food so fresh it tastes straight from the soil.
Edible Skinny sampled some incredible dishes but was also blown away by the exceptional service. Christine, our server, who has been with Thomas Hill for the past seven years knew the menu and wine list inside and out. Owner Debbie Thomas, shared stories of passion and inspiration. From hostess, to server, to owner everyone at Thomas Hill Organics anticipated our needs before we even knew we had them, making for a relaxing experience full of bright flavors and foodie fun.
To begin our meal we started with a glass of the 2015 Sea Monster, Eclectic White, a Rhone White, Viognier, Riesling, Grenache Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Blend from Central Coast, CA. This is the perfect sipping wine for a light lunch on a hot day.
The Sea Monster complimented the creative blend of spices and textures in Black Lentil Tacos. It would be selling this appetizer short not say these were the most delicious vegetarian tacos Edible Skinny has ever had. Made from Carrot purée, candied jalapenos, cashews, pickled watermelons, cilantro, coconut this was Bombay meets Nantucket summer vacation. Really complex in Indian sweetness, but also traditional in the New England summer flavors often selected. They were savory enough to satisfy but not too heavy to fill us up. And we want to go back just talking about them.
For entrees Kat had the Goat Cheese Sandwich. A picnic perfect combo of strawberries, pistachio, balsamic reduction, arugula, toasted whole grain bread. This combo, another perfect vegetarian dish, was creamy and light, with sweet hints of fruit contrasted by the tang of balsamic. Thomas Hill Organic is a master of combining flavors for a full palate of taste.
Kelly, a seafood junkie loved, the Smoked Salmon Sandwich. Made with macerated onion, avocado, blonde frisee, sriracha aioli, on wheat toast. The salmon, sliced and served cold, was a perfect hearty (but cold) hot weather sandwich rounded by the flavor of chipotle zest.
While we were too full for dessert we are positive that Thomas Hill's we are certain that their olive oil cake with olea lemon verbina olive oil, seasonal preserve as well as their pumpkin bread pudding with pepita brittle, crème anglaise, caramel are out of this world.
Parrish Family Vineyard
Parrish Family Vineyard was Paso's perfect place to pamper your taste buds during a girls' getaway. With an intimate tasting room located in Paso's charming downtown, Parrish offers everything a girl could want: chocolate, cheese and (you guessed it) wine. Not to mention the close proximity to great shopping and sensational restaurants.
While the choice between chocolate and cheese is a tough one or any gal, we simply couldn't pass up Parrish's delectable duo that pairs decadent wines with locally handcrafted crafted chocolates. And what a divine sipping experience.
We sampled Parrish Family Vineyards 7 wine tasting ( 3 whites and 4 reds which includes Silken and & Estate Cabernet Sauvignon for $12) & with a seven chocolate pairings crafted from the Chocolate Stache ($10) Each chocolate was created and crafted to bring out added accents and aromas, to deepen the complexity of flavors.
Below is a list of some of our favorites:
--The 2015 Sauvignon Blanc paired with white chocolate and nectarines. This is the perfect summer pairing for those sweltering days. Light and brights the Sauvignon Blanc has aromas of white peaches with hints of guava, coconut shavings, and gardenia. It is a refreshing wine with beautiful notes of grapefruit, apricots, cara cara oranges throughout the palate and emanates honey into the lingering finish. This white chocolate and Sauv Blanc combo is bright and light, a perfect hint touch of dessert after a heavier meal.
--The 2016 Estate Rose paired with Chocolate: A' La Manzana was picnic perfection. Great for summer days this Grenache Rosé has a delicate nose of rose petals and bubble gum. Its palate also opens with hints of strawberries, hibiscus, with soft notes of stone fruit.
--The 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon paired with a Fig & Pistachio Dark chocolate was luscious luxury. With boysenberry and hints of suede and sandalwood, blackberry and a touch of coffee, the rich and velvety chocolate paired perfectly with this deep and balanced Cabernet.
--The 2012 Silken paired with Lavender Espresso Dark Chocolate was by far our favorite "treat yourself" combo. It was the equivalent of silk pajamas for your palate, a perfect pampering. The Silken blend at 60% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Petite Sirah has notes of dark berries, plum, and hints of black pepper. It also accompanies with smooth, sumptuous blackberry and hints of cocoa that lingers on the finish. The Silken has ranked 93 points with Wine Enthusiast, and a Gold Medal at San Francisco International Wine Competition and Silver Medal at Orange County Fair Wine Competition.
We took a break from our grape juice imbibing for a detour into the world of olive oil tasting at Pasolivo. Nestled on Park Street, the award winning olive oil, exotic salts, and spices provide complimentary tastings.
In the twenty minutes we were there I was able to fall in love and procure a bottle of their peppery flavored Lemon Olive Oil. This robust extra virgin olive oil is blended with the oil from the zest of Meyer lemons to create this versatile and brightly flavored oil. Delicious drizzled over vegetables, as a finish for seafood, a rub for chicken or for creating an amazing fresh fruit tarts and desserts.
DAOU Vineyards and Winery
After the charming sidetracking of our olive oil adventure we then continued on our tasting at the gorgeous DAOU Vineyards and Winery.
The French brothers of Georges and Daniel Daou grew up drinking wine at every family meal. This day in/day out ritual compelled them to fall in love with the communal aspects of wine. Years later after brothers had immigrated to California and made their mark in computerizing hospital records, they decided to revisit this love. The brothers flew to Napa, explored Temecula, in the end they spent seven year circumnavigating California for the perfect spot for their winery. The place they eventually staked their flag was the ideal expression of terroir, with the soil of Boudreaux France but the climate of Napa. And so in 2008, they settled on top of the DAOU Mountain in the Adelaida District of Paso Robles with a vision is to make California "first-growth" wine, fulfilling the district's destiny as the world's next benchmark for Bordeaux varieties. Every year the winery holds a grand ball with themes such as The Great Gatsby and James Bond celebrating their luck in finding the perfect place for their wine adventure.
Everything at DAOU is done the classic French way, no additives, no filtering, no clarifiers, no watering of the grapes. "We are purist, we want to focus on the wine," states Daniel Dou. "I try and make wine by what I'm trying to express." One of Daniel's favorite wines, a Soul of A Lion was named after the title of his father's memoirs. This primarily Cabernet based wine, is a swirling adventure of vanilla and blackberries. It the perfect glass to enjoy on their tasting room's patio or lawn terrace, overlooking the vineyards with panoramic views at an elevation of 2,200 feet. It like DAOU's other wines, was a smashing success receiving a 96 from Wine Advocate.
The DAOU brothers founded the Paso Robles Cab Collective, a consortium of wineries in the Paso area helping to uplift the region as a whole. "You don't make a region with one winery," notes Daniel. "Wineries, we're shy but we need to work together." His philosophy, don't compete with Napa, instead celebrate the specialness of the Paso Robles area. "With that I believe we can go toe to toe with Napa."
Our next winery to explore was one of the grandfathers of Paso Robles wine: Eberle Winery, established in 1982, by Gary Eberle. Eberle is a braggadocios man, but with every right to be. Before finding wine he played football at Penn State and pro ball for 18 days with the Detroit Lions. But, a National Science Fellow, the science of wine was his calling. After a mentoring from Robert Mondavi, he has been making wine every year since 1973. "Mondavi was the PT Barnum of wine, and I say that with the most admiration ever," noted the wry Eberle.
The Eberle Winery Tasting Room is open seven days a week, offering complimentary wine tasting, cave tours and spectacular views of their vineyard. Eberle, a Swiss name for "little boar," now does 30,000 cases per year with a focus primarily on red wines (which constitute 83% of their inventory). According to Gary, Eberle is the busiest tasting room in Paso, and the second busiest tasting room in the state. The winery does 90,000 guests a year, with 50% of retail sales in storefront. "We sell everything." In 1991, Eberle was seeking additional space for their red wine program and decided to go underground. Today there are 16,000 square feet of underground caves and tunnel located below the winery.
Eberle's winemaker is also carries the last name of Eberle, although he's not blood related. Chris Eberle attended Cal Poly for Ag Business and Viticulture before traveling the world making wine in Europe, Australia, and South America. Gary was looking for a winemaker and friend requested him on Facebook, the rest is history.
Some of our favorites from this tasting included Eberle's Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. Eberle only makes a Reserva approximately half of the time. "It has to be the best of the best to make it." This wine will be released in 2017 and according to Gary will be sold out by Christmas. This is a wine of detail (with the label painted straight onto the glass bottle), with velvety tannins bringing up hints of cherry and cedar. Another fantastic wine is their 2016 Muscat Canelli Double Gold. Refreshing and semi-sweet, this wine with its flavors of Jasmine and Orange blossoms is a fantastic aperitif or to complement a decadent dessert.
Allegretto Vineyard Resort by Ayres
We finished off our second night of tasting of wine tasting in Paso at the Allegretto Vineyard Resort by Ayres.
Tucked into the beautiful hills of the Paso Robles Wine Country, on 20 acres of vineyards and olive and fruit trees, this European-style retreat is the first of its kind by the Ayres family, who has run a thriving Ayres Hotel chain throughout Southern California since 1904.
The property is a world unto itself with 171 guest rooms and suites, a wine bar featuring the resort's own private wine label among many others, full-service spa, pool, manicured gardens, walking paths, medieval-style Abbey, hundreds of antiques, 12,000-square-foot courtyard. The space, a passion project of world traveler Doug Ayres, includes inspired vignettes of art that emphasize the world of sacred geometry. Antiques and artifacts from across the globe and the ages, including a five-foot stone polished to a beautiful sheen after tumbling in a river in India for 5,000 years; a towering Siddhartha statue from India; and a massive cross-section from a Sequoia tree whose rings date back to before the building of the Great Wall of China and the birth of Christ.
Allegretto was named for the Italian musical command, which is an indication to play quickly and with joy. And it is with this happiness that we sampled four Allegretto Estate Wines. One of my favorites was the Tannat, Bella Collina Vineyard, 2013 (since this is one of my personal favorite varietals). With a nose of cinnamon and anise, and a palate of cherries and earth this wine makes you feel like your drinking terra firma. Another wine we cherished was their Zinfandel, Loma Linda Vineyard 2013. A "waltzing wine" it flaunts its palate turns of White Peppers, Blackberries, and Blueberries
We continued the gastronomic festivities at Allegretto's restaurant: Cello Ristorante & Bar, a culinary getaway that "celebrates the Allegretto culture of joy, discovery and the good life." A farm to fork dining adventure that focuses on Northern Italian cuisine. We started our meal out with some fantastic cocktails. I dabbled in a Gold Fashioned, a modern day take on the Old Fashioned composed of Eagle Rare Bourbon, Benedictine Liqueur, Angostura Bitters, Lemon Essence, and actual Gold. Kelly had the Paso R&R concocted of Re:Find Cucumber Vodka, Rhubarb Simple, Lime Juice, Rose Bitters, and Champagne. The poet remarked, "It tastes like an acceptance letter to Harvard."
We then perused the menu for some items from Executive Chef Eric Olson to nosh on while we were biding our time for the sun to set. Between bits of a Burrata Martini, with all the classic highlights of heirloom tomatoes, Burrata, and Balsamic Vinegar and a Butter Leaf Lettuce Salad with Thyme Seared Day Boat Scallops, Morro Bay Avocado, Mango, Pickled Sushi Ginger, topped with a Creamy Eberle Chardonnay Reduction Dressing. Trés Yummm, with 3 Ms!
After a sunset stroll of the grounds we returned to Cello our main meals. I delighted in my Foraged Mushroom including Eggplant, Shallots, Leeks, Garlic, Italian Parsley, Shaved Truffle Cheese, and a contrasting Winter Salad topping it all off. It was like eating the coziness of a winter sweater. Our dining companion dived into the Crab Spaghetti which included Snow Crab Claws, Sliced Jalapenos, and Minced Scallions, Lemon, Allegretto Viognier Butter.
Allegretto was the Pièce de résistance on a trip that allowed us to explore the expansive evolution of this burgeoning wine region. Paso has now become a wine space that people are taking note of, in 2016 Paso Robles named Best Wine Region in the West by Sunset Magazine.
So if you're looking for an escapes only four hours away from Los Angeles (or San Francisco), hop in that car and start heading towards your getaway.
Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at http://www.thiswayadventures.com