• North County

    The Pass Of The Oaks

    One Of The Best Cities In All Of California Paso Robles California – The Pass Of The Oaks

    Living in the Central Coast now for the better part of 37 years, I have seen a lot of changes take place in this once tiny little town. In San Luis Obispo California.

    I was brought into this town at the age of 5 years old, moving out of a much more populated area in the Los Angeles area. Honestly, my family moved out of Compton to move out here so I can say that parents made a great choice.

    When we first moved into town the entire town had a population of about 8,000 people or so. It was a smaller community of almond and walnut farming. How do I know? Be the son of Mexican immigrants, my parents worked on those farms. There were even times my dad would take me out to pick up a few walnuts myself so I could earn a few quarters to play Pacman at the local Lickity-Split Icecream shop that used to be on 13th street.

    As far as I could remember, there were 3 traffic lights in the entire town. There wasn’t much to the town. It was covered with giant oak trees called robles trees, and so, the name for the town only made sense. Paso Robles, also known as El Paso De Robles, which means the pass of the oaks in Spanish.

    It was a tiny community with just a handful of schools and tourism with no existing tourism at all. Maybe, at the time, people might have stopped by to stay at a local motel on their way to visit Hearst Castle out in San Simeon. That place is only about 40 minutes from here.

    As the years went by, the town slowly began to expand. Like all towns in California, a large population started to grow needed no housing and new stores to open up. As a kid in high school, I still remember the day that I believe Paso Robles really began to explore and expand. It was in 1995 with the addition of the Woodland Plaza and mighty WalMart entering the town. Things really began to take off from that point on. New roads began to get built. New bridges were built including the Niblick bridge. That was such a huge addition to the town and relieved a great deal of traffic congestion.

    It was around that time that wineries started to enter the city and start to grow grapes instead of almonds and walnuts. Obviously, it must have been a lot more profitable since all other farms followed suit.

    Within the next ten years, the town had completely transformed and housing really exploded. There were housing tracts being build all over the place jump-starting a huge construction boom in the town. Contractors in all shapes began to flourish with the added growth. There were concrete contractors, framers, driveway installers, landscapers, and everything else in-between that was really experiencing some serious growth in the town. There was a roofer in Paso Robles that started his entire business out during that time and was able to sell it off and retire. It was a great time for everyone.

    Of course, the housing crash happened and everything came to a screeching halt. Things began to collapse. After that rough patch of about four years, things really began to explode once again. The last 7 years or so have really put the city of Paso Robles on the map. Now with massive wineries, a thriving wine tour industry has caused some major player to come out and build giant hotels for people to come and stay at. They are not just building a bunch of Motel 6’s here. They are building luxury hotels and people are coming from all over to stay. Even celebrities stay at the resort type places and it’s only getting bigger.

    It’s amazing to see the complete changes that have come to this town. From a tiny little town of 8,000 and small almond farmers to a thriving town of 30,000+ and a wine industry that is the envy of many.

  • South County

    The Madonna Inn In San Luis Obispo

    If there is one thing that puts San Luis Obispo on the map here in California is that world-famous Madonna Inn.

    It is a hotel that is one of a kind.

    I worked in the linen and laundry industry for many years and have an inside perspective of the hotel and restaurant. As a delivery driver that delivered all of the sheets for the beds, all of the cook coats and uniforms for the employees, and all of the pink tablecloths and napkins for the restaurant, I got an inside peek on this hotel. I got to see a lot of behind the scenes stuff and see why this place is so popular and such a huge tourist attraction.

    I got to know a lot of people that worked at the hotel including the cooks, the housekeepers, the management, the owners, and hell, I even became friends with the guy that provides carpet cleaning in San Luis Obispo and cleaned the floors there. This gave me a cool perspective to this place.

    One of the weirdest but the central themes of this unique hotel and restaurant combination is the uniqueness of every single room a guest can stay in. Every room is themed to something as cooky as a caveman room, complete with rock walls and leopard patterns on the blankets to remind you of the caveman clothes to western looking themes with bed frames that look like old western wagons.

    It’s pretty crazy when you think of it, and that fact that it’s been pulled off and become successful is really quite impressive!

    The rooms can get pricey and the rooms like the caveman room are often booked a year or more in advance. From talking to the staff and guest that would stay there, it is well worth the experience. All of their services are top-notch and first-class. Delivering the sheets, I can tell you first hand, that they use some great 500 thread count sheets that are incredibly soft.

    Their restaurant is one of the best restaurants in the town. They offer gourmet meals and their steaks are just incredible! Take it from me! I’ve been inside their kitchen and seen first hand how everything is made.

    They also have an incredible bakery where they offer some of the best cakes around. How they make and structure their toppings have people from the entire Central Coast call them up and special order cakes for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and everything else. My personal favorite? Chocolate!

    Over the years, the family that still owns and operates the business has slowly added more features to the hotel and restaurant combination.

    About 7 years ago, they added a pool and spa section to the hotel. It was a slow process to get it constructed, especially to get it to blend in with the rest of the properties’ look and feel. Once the project was completed it became an instant hit. They designed it beautifully where the water is completely level to the ground giving it an awesome look. People use it and love it and it just adds to the experience guests can take in while staying at the hotel. The spa section is classy and relaxing. It’s quiet and tranquil and guest can schedule a spa treatment while they stay.

    The Madonna Inn is really original and was first set up as a truck stop for truckers by Alex Madonna in the ’60s. Who knew that once trucker stop would become such a massively popular destination for so many people from all over the world.

  • Uncategorized

    Bubble Gum Alley – Weird Attraction In San Luis Obispo

    San Luis Obispo is one of the most beautiful places to live here in California. It’s home to great weather, friendly people, wine country nearby, awesome small businesses located downtown, which leads me to a strange attraction.

    What’s this strange attraction?

    An alley that’s about 70 feet long and walls that are about 15 feet high. What makes this alley unique is the walls being completely covered in old chewed up bubble gum that people have left stuck on the walls.

    Yes, bubblegum.

    It is two walls completely covered in gum! Go ahead and type in bubble gum alley into Instagram and you will see literally thousands of pics of people posting up selfies with bubble gum alley in the background. It has become an increasingly popular spot for tourists to visit. Much of that growing popularity has a lot to do with people sharing on social media.

    The history behind it is a bit sketchy that I’ve heard goes back all the way to World War 2. It’s also been said that is started up in the ’70s. Throughout the years, some people have seen it as very unhygienic and have been cleaned up during those times.

    Obviously, the cleanups never lasted and time and time again, the walls get covered with gum. At this point, nobody really seems to care. It is a popular spot and it brings in a ton of people to the downtown area where many local businesses benefit from the added foot traffic.

    When you walk down the alley it really does give a person a cool view. It’s very artistic looking and it has a gritty and rugged texture to the whole wall. As you walk through it, you can see some people even try to create symbols and patterns out of their used up bubble gum. People do try to get creative with the gum and every single person that walks through just adds more gum to the walls.

    When one looks at it up close and personal it does tend to look a little on the gross side and one can see why some people would see it as unsanitary and might see the reason to clean it up.

    Doing a little research, one can see that germs, viruses, and bacteria do not really live or last long on gum after it leaves the mouth of someone. It takes about 30 minutes for the leftover moisture or saliva that can harbor germs, viruses, and bacteria to dry up so we really don’t have much to worry about.

    All in all, bubble gum alley in San Luis Obispo has really become quite the little touristy spot in beautiful downtown. The young and the old (and even animals!) have been drawn to the spot to see what all the fuss is about. It’s a narrow corridor covered with every single color of the rainbow that looks amazing to see especially in pictures.

    Don’t get to close as you pose it up for a selfie, it is best appreciated from a distance.

  • North County

    Paso Robles. Wine Town In SLO

    Being a resident of the town of Paso Robles California for well over 35 years, I can really tell you some history about this town and it’s growing popularity.

    When I first arrived here to the town of Paso Robles I was just 5 years old. It had a population of 10,000 people and had a total of about 3 traffic lights in the entire town. It was just a tiny blip on the radar in the state of California and pretty insignificant little town. It was always a very rural town and parts of the outskirts of it still remains that way.

    During that time it was known as a walnut and almond production town and if you drive around the rural parts of town, you can still see the old remains of old almond trees. As the 1990s started to roll around the town really began to grow. During this time, wine grape production began to start sprouting around. Before the year 2000 rolled around, full-blown wine production and grape growing had taken over the town. Today, you see a monstrous popularity in wine in this town and has pretty much made Paso Robles known for wine.

    Wine is such a huge industry in Paso Robles that some have even considered changing the city logo from an image of an oak tree, what the town was actually named for, to images of vineyards. Many of the original residents don’t care too much for all the vineyard growth in the town but they can not deny that it has placed the town on the map.

    When people think about San Luis Obispo County many think of the beautiful town of San Luis Obispo itself, the wonderful climate of the 5 cities area, Morro Bay coastline, and the wine in Paso Robles. Its popularity has lead to massive growth in the last decade. Housing has sprung up everywhere. Many of the residents here in town have moved from more expensive areas to live like the Bay Area and the Southern LA area and increased the amounts of luxury homes. There is a massive amount of tourism that takes place in the town which has lead to the building of a large number of large hotels throughout the town. There are wine tours that take place year-round and tourists love the rural drives out to many of the vineyards located around the outskirts of town. One can even make the case that a driving school will soon be needed to teach drivers the many wine tours this town offers.

    Some of these vineyards have become so elaborate and fancy that many have become venues for events and wedding. It really is remarkable to see all the changes that have taken place. There are many award-winning wines and people come from all around to taste and tour the locations. You know you’ve hit wine country when as soon as you drive in from highways 46 east you see one giant billboard displaying their wine brands. Go ahead and type in #pasorobles into Instagram and I guarantee you that most of the pics you will see will be about wines a, wine tours, and wineries.

    There have been a few trends that are beginning to change. As you drive around you will see that now breweries are starting to sprout around. It all started with the addition of Firestone and it’s giant brewing operation. The beer has had explosive growth and some of its brews have spread out all over the country, mostly it’s popular beer the 805. Other breweries have also started to take off including Barrel House Brewery and Santa Maria Brewery. Who knows, Maybe this town has meant to thrive and alcoholic beverages. Whatever the case may be, it certainly has put Paso Robles on the map.

  • North County

    San Miguel – The Forgotten Town In SLO

    Without a doubt that central coast is one of the most beautiful places to live in this country. So, as I write this next post we’re going to focus on one of the parts of the central coast here in San Luis Obispo that very often gets neglected.

    And that part that gets neglected is the northern part of San Luis Obispo County. The part that always gets overlooked is the small and pleasant town of San Miguel California. San Miguel is one of the smaller cities in this county. With a smaller population of about 10,000 people, it’s a very rural town and it’s built on a small community.

    It’s a very pretty place to live if you enjoy a more rural feel and fewer crowds and traffic. Being that it’s in the northern part of the county, it is one of the most affordable places to live here in San Luis Obispo. It’s a strange thing to see, almost every town in all of California that has a mission built on it tends to be a very popular and populated town. For San Miguel, that never took place. It is home to San Miguel’s mission a historical landmark in a tourist attraction for a lot of people driving by the 101. That mission has been standing for well over 200 years and has in doored the elements of earthquakes and years of decay. Yet, it still stands there as a symbol of this town. The town has a very small feel to it and is home to a few local businesses.


    Home To Some Classic Shops & Businesses

    If you take a trip downtown San Miguel you will see that there are a lot of old shops and businesses still around. It reminds me of an old school feel and almost feels like I’m taking a trip in a time machine to a much simpler time. There is a quaint feel to it and almost doesn’t seem that you really want it to change. It feels nice and the people that live there really enjoy it. They also have their fair share of events like small car shows and Christmas parades that I’m sure everyone knows each other.  

    The population is small but it is also growing as new housing tracts have popped up as the years have gone by. There are growing neighborhoods that have been built with the self-house programs that allow owners to work on their new home as part of their initial down payment and helps many to become homeowners.  It’s a great thing in my opinion. It’s so expensive to live here that it’s great that so many can get into a home and still be part of this great county.

    There are a tremendous amount of secrets hidden out in this great town. Out around the parameters and outskirts of town. Out there are a huge amount of wineries that surround the town and give a tourist a place to go wine tasting. Paso Robles, that is only 7 miles away, is home to one of the biggest winery tours in the state.  Some of those many wineries are actually out in San Miguel. They are popular and are elegant. Many offer wedding venues and during the late summer months and early Fall, make for some great looking venues.

    They freeway near the town has recently undergone some major changes too. All new paving has been redone. It got bids from various different companies. Some from all over the state and even a company out in Nevada called great west that does asphalt paving in Reno NV.

    So, as you pass by the Central Coast and visit beautiful San Luis Obispo and some of the coastal towns, don’t forget about our little gem of a town up north.