Paso Robles and its surrounding area is certainly best known for its myriad of wineries. The region also offers hidden charms that delight and cajole the senses and are well worth exploring. In the 1880’s Paso Robles was a sought-out health resort destination known for its bathhouses and mineral hot springs along the legendary Camino Real trail and later became a railroad stop. This rich tradition of health, bodily delights, and the spa life are still very much alive and vibrant here even in the 21century.
Today, the Serenity Retreat Center and Wellness Inn is a true hidden jewel designed to offer an experience to entice all the senses. Tucked away along a winding country road above the peaceful hills of Paso Robles the retreat opens to a spectacular visual feast.
Arrive early and enjoy the expansive gardens, brooks, hidden benches to read and relax, a huge swimming pool nestled into the hills surrounded by replicas of antique statues invite visitors to experience a rejuvenation of body and mind. An airy porch with splendid hillside views is curtained off affording private spa and massage treatments.
Try the retreat’s Tranquility Spa treatment package. The two-hour journey to tranquility begins with a 30-minute Far Infrared Sauna and a cup of meditation tea. Afterward, an herbal blend is brushed onto your body and massaged into the skin. You are then wrapped in a warm blanket while you relax for 30 minutes and absorb the herbs’ rich properties to detoxify and nourish the skin.
Next, an experienced and radiantly healthy looking masseuse mists the entire body with a Chi Herbal Infusion Muscle and Joint spray to relieve soreness of muscles and joints followed by an exquisitely relaxing full body massage. A Chi Herbal Infusion Skin Rejuvenation formula concludes the holistic experience to further rid out toxins. After the two hours, you emerge radiant, relaxed and refreshed.
Other packages include the traditional acupressure massage, hydrotherapy, and specialist Ayurveda treatments. Stay for one of their yoga classes to round out the experience.
Head back to town and indulge in one of the culinary delights of the area. Olive oil is produced in the region and ‘We Olive’ devotes its store solely to a range of extraordinary olive oil products. Visitors are invited to taste the wide variety of local and imported olive oils, tapendades, and try out the olive-based skincare.
For lunch head to Panolivo French Bistro. This quaint spot offers outdoor tables and a delicious lobster purse; a flaky filo purse filled with lobster meat, julienne vegetables in a sun-dried tomato sauce with crème fraiche. For a more hearty appetite, the traditional cassoulet Toulousain is just the thing; pork, sausage, beans and duck confit cooked slowly in tomato.
Afterward, head to the Central Coast’s premier cheese tasting room. Vivant Fine Cheese Store features premium local and imported handcrafted artisan cheeses paired with local wine and beer. A must-try cheese is the Banon, an aged goat cheese wrapped in chestnut leaf paired with a rustic young red of Provence.
When you head out of town stop by Templeton. Seemingly suspended in time, the town transports visitors back into early California lifestyle. Perfect scenery for an old Western movie set.
Finally, on the way back to Los Angeles the Green Acres Lavender Farm outside Atascadero entices with its sweet smells. The owners, Janice Silva and Bob Bostwick grow more than 12,000 plants of different lavender varieties. There they create lavender oils, lavender facial sprays, culinary rubs, lavender lemonades, home décor and lavender pillows. You can also stay the weekend in one of their rooms and participate in the daily pilates classes or enroll in a variety of cooking classes offered here. During summer, the couple organizes grass-roots weekend music events. It’s best to call ahead to find out their schedule.
Enjoy the scenic ride as the fragrant hills of the Paso Robles and Atascadero region slowly recede from view as you head home.
What & Where:
Serenity Spa and Wellness Center (740 Park St, Paso Robles; 805-239-9591)
We Olive (1131 Park St, Paso Robles; 805-239-7667)
Panolivo (1344 Park St, Paso Robles; 805-239-3366)
Special brunch menu on Sundays
Vivant Fine Cheese (840 11th St, Paso Robles; 805-226-5530)
Green Acres Lavender Farm (8865 San Gabriel Rd, Atascadero; 805-466-0837)
WHEN TO VISIT PASO ROBLES
My favorite time of year in Southern California is early fall. September and October have gorgeous weather and is less crowded than summer months. Summer can be quite hot and winter does cool down. You’ll find the low’s in the 30’s and high in the 60’s in December and January.
If you enjoyed this article about Serenity and Wellness in Paso Robles, you’ll also love Paso Robles Wine Country.
Traveling To Paso Robles? Here are a few tips:
How to get there: Paso Robles is located just off US Hwy 101, 158 miles south of San Jose, 204 miles from San Francisco, 207 miles north of Los Angeles, and 110 miles from Bakersfield.
Where to stay: There are many places to stay in Paso Robles. There is a wide range of hotels, from budget to luxury. For a luxury hotel that won’t break the bank, I recommend the Hotel Cheval, which is currently the #1 hotel on Tripadvisor. For a mid-level hotel, I suggest the Best Western Plus Black Oak. Finally, for a budget hotel, try the Adelaide Inn. You can also check HotelsCombined for the best Paso Robles Hotel Rates.
What to pack: Summer temps soar in Paso Robles Wine Country, easily breaking triple digits regularly. That means you’ll need a quality tube of Sunscreen and probably a hat, too. Pack a good pair of cowboy boots and you are good to go in Paso Wine Country. From vineyard tours to picnics to hiking, biking, and horseback riding, you’re sure to get a little dirt on your denim. Even though summers sizzle, Paso Robles Wine Country is known for its drastic swings in temperature. There might be a 30-degree difference from day to night and that means you should always bring a jacket, even if the weather report calls for a sunny, hot day.
Paso Robles Trip Essentials
6 Indispensable Items to Pack for a Paso Robles Vacation
- Get the Discovering Paso Robles & San Luis Obispo Wine Country: The Premier Guide to Wine Country.
- Bring a good quality mirrorless camera for getting those beautiful Paso Robles landscape shots. I use the Sony Alpha a6000 .
- Summers sizzles in Paso Robles, so make sure to bring Neutrogena Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Spf 45
- A great cross body travel bag. Cross body bags prevent theft and are much easier to access.
- Don’t forget sunglasses for the beautiful sunny days. A.J. Morgan Unisex Sunglasses are a great choice and very affordable!
- Comfortable shoes are a great item to pack as there can be a lot of walking when visiting vineyards and wineries.
Read More About California
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A California Road Trip With The 2018 Toyota Rav4
Baja California Perfect Travel Gear List
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Silvia Kratzer is a professor of Film and Television at UCLA and at Chapman University. She has previously published her work in the academic field. More recently she has written screenplays and fiction and non-fiction essay published in the e—zine Crumpled Papers that she co-founded with other writing members and café literati of Hollywood. Originally from Germany, she has lived in Hollywood for over ten years. She can be reached at email@example.com.