Castle and wine
Trip Start Oct 20, 2006
15Trip End Nov 05, 2006
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The coastal drive takes us to San Simeon. The Visitors Center is where we pick up our pre-confirmed tour tickets ($20 per person) then we head into the theatre for the movie detailing Hearst life and the building of his dream. Then onto the bus for the ride up the mountain to the "Castle." The driver stops for some quick photos as the Castle comes into view. We disembark, and the tour guide starts his presentation on the lower patiohttp://www.hearstcastle.org/tours/tour_1.asp
I can't imagine how guests could adapt so quickly to this opulent lifestyle during their brief stays. And the perk of working on site is that employees get use of the famous Neptune outdoor pool if tours are not being conducted. I'd be wearing a swim suit under my uniform everyday to work.. just in case.
Back to reality and back in the car heading to Solvang. We stop at Morro Bay Campground (only because I nagged Kary enough during the ride about wanting to see the famous Monarch butterflies that arrive in October and cover the trees). I pull out my paper that says they should be near campsite 116. Well, we're there, and out walking but no Monarchs. Seems we are a little to early. Nature just doesn't want to cooperate on this trip.
Kary saw a Trader Joes on the way and says we should pick up some sandwiches here for lunch. My first time in a TJ's and I'm stuck at the front of the store looking at all the types of wine and thinking we could just buy it here, take it to the hotel and forget the wineries. We buy a few bottles and some specialty beers for my son-in law and discover when we open the trunk that we still have those trohpies to UPS back
I thought that any hotel would be an upgrade from last nights saggy mattresses, banging & moaning heating system and astro turf carpeting. Kary picked the Wine Valley Inn in downtown Solvang, so I was keeping my thoughts to myself, which at times if very difficult to do. When we drove thru this town that had decided to take all the old architectural features of the existing homes and businesses and turn it into a little Danish village in the Middle of California. This "fake" town where there isn't a Danish speaking person to be found, I had a feeling that our hotel would rival last nights for atmosphere and comfort.
The reception are is clean, well decorated and modern. I'm feeling a little better. After getting our keys and walking back thru the outdoor area to our room, I am starting to feel very relieved. Fountains, pond, green areas, and when opening our door a beautiful comfortable room. and The Wine Valley Inn is perfect. I mention that I could just sit and relax. Nope - not an option we are going to tour some vineraries. Kary has a map.
I didn't realize how many wineries are in this area. Our first stop is at Gainey Vineyard. We can do a wine tasting, or we can taste and tour. Never one to miss any type of tour we opt for the T &T. Tasting is first
Hmmm. A quick cell phone call to Kary's husband who just happens to have his office in Delaware, and we are now shipping our wine to Deleware. Life is good, and on to the next winery.,which was on the way back to Solvang. We joined this wine club and shipped a few more bottles to Deleware. We saw a UPS store on the way into town, and figure we will stop there tomorrow.
Back in Solvang, we hit the town looking in the small stores.
I'm headed to a huge red dutch shoe on the sidewalk for a classic photo. Got it only to discover we are on winery row. aka Copenhagen Drive: Lucas & Lewellen 1645, Royal Oaks, 1651, Lions Peak 1659, Stolpman 1659 (this is a double tipper) and Mandolina 1665.
Oh my gosh, which wineries do we try? Just a few of them. And forgot to ask about shipping, so now we have more bottles of wine in the trunk with the trophies.
We discover a Pittsburgher owns a restaurant in Santa Barbara (after deciding that Danish food just isn't in our menu selections) so we drive 25 miles south to Aldo's Ristorante Italiano. Well worth the drive. The food was fantastic, and the atmosphere was just what we were looking for. A piece of cheesecake followed us back to the hotel. Later we split the cheesecake and opened a bottle of wine. Ahhh, we really are on vacation.