We coupled a visit to San Luis Obispo with our time in Paso Robles. The two cities are only about 20-30 minutes apart. Our first stop was actually not in San Luis Obispo, but closer to Avila Beach. Avila Valley Barn is a short drive from San Luis Obispo and a worthwhile stop if you are traveling with young kids. Upon arriving at the farm we jumped right in line for a hayride. A tractor pulled us around a short loop through pumpkin vines and apple trees. Next we hopped off our hay bales and explored the rest of what the barn has to offer.
A couple of the buildings are farm stands selling all sorts of goods. There are all types of produce, baked goods, canned goods, flowers, toys, and candy. I could’ve spent all afternoon perusing the merchandise, but sometimes a crying baby cuts the browsing short! One of the buildings also sells sandwiches, hot dogs, and ice cream perfect for a picnic lunch at the tables outside. We opted for a snack of blackberries and a smoked artichoke with pesto aioli. The artichoke was so delicious, probably the best I’ve ever had! And the aioli was so good our daughter was trying to eat spoonfuls of it by itself!By this time we had pretty much seen and done everything at the barn. So we hopped back in the car and took a quick drive out to Avila Beach to get a look at the water. Then we headed back to San Luis Obispo. We met up with our friend on Higuera Street which is a fun area of shops and restaurants. Firestone Grill was recommended to us for the tri-tip sandwich. They also serve burgers, fries, pulled pork, and chicken sandwiches. It was cheap, good, and big portions. Then we wandered the rest of the street stopping in at Rocket Fizz for a treat for our daughter and Kreuzberg Coffee Company for a drink for me!
Our final stop before returning back to Paso Robles for the night was the famed Madonna Inn. This hotel is a unique place that is ornately decorated and unlike any other hotel I’ve set foot in. Since we had already eaten, we just stopped in to take a look around, but I would’ve loved to sit and have a meal in their pink dining room. It actually looked like the perfect place to take a little girl for her birthday. Pink, flowers, twinkle lights, colorful glasses…magical!
Of all the things in the gift shop, our little peanut was most excited over the princess jellybeans. So for $1.25 we made her day. It was a full day of fun for the whole family. We took the scenic route back and enjoyed coastal views and vistas through hills and vineyards. Along highway 46 we saw several more of Paso Robles’ wineries and wished we had allowed more time to go and visit a few. That’s alright though, because it gives us a reason to go back!