Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vacation? What's a Vacation?

For all the traveling that Len and I have done together and separately in the last 19 years, very little of it has been devoid of a business component. This little frolic and diversion through the central coast of California qualifies as a real vacation. I have no idea why we don't do it more often.

We left home just before noon and headed to Santa Barbara where we expected to catch lunch and do some walking. We made great time, getting there in about 75 minutes. So we found parking and went in search of a restaurant. I had a thought about seeing if a New Orleans-style place we had eaten at a number of years ago was still around. It was right across the street from the parking structure and we did eat there. First though we went shopping.

We discovered a great clothing store called The Territory Ahead. I'm not much for clothes shopping, but this place really had great clothes for travel--in some ways like Banana Republic used to be 25 years ago. Len wound up buying 3 leather jackets--they were having a 75% off sale, so we got some great bargains. Best kind of shopping there is.

We also went into a couple of antique shops on the main street. There used to be a lot more of them. I found a stirling silver "spirit horse" pin to add to my collection of horse jewelery. In another shop I saw a spectacular horse-head gold-tone pin about 3" x 3", but it was $195--for that kind of money, it should be real gold. I don't care what kind of an antique they claimed it was, it couldn't have been older than about the 60s. So it still sits in the display case.

We drove on to San Luis Obispo, where there's a huge farmer's market on Thursday night, so we found parking and walked the length of it in both directions. I bought a bottle of raspberry vinegar and one of blackberry as well. They tasted wonderful. We also went into an olive oil shop for a tasting, which was interesting.

I've been struck by the number of vineyards which line the 101. There are so many more than there used to be. We saw a new one going in over what looked like several thousand acres--brand new plants just starting to climb the guide posts that went on as far as we could see from the road.

We're spending the night in Paso Robles where there's a stock horse show going on right across the street from our hotel. I'm hoping to see if there's anything that looks like a shopping area before we head on to Salinas tomorrow morning. We'll be missing the olive festival that's going on here on Saturday, but we'll be having a good time on the Elkhorn Slough Safari that morning and going to a surprise birthday party for an old friend of mine that evening.

I am very annoyed that my pocket camera's battery was low and I didn't realize it when I left home. It died on me in San Luis when I tried to take a photograph of the line of olive oil bottles in the shop. I didn't pack the recharger, so I'll be using the "real camera" for the rest of the trip. The photographs will be better, but it doesn't slip into my purse quite so well.


Cheryl Ann said...

We LOVE the wine country of Paso Robles! It is such a cute town! Have you had breakfast or lunch at the Garden Cafe yet? Yum, yum! Lots of fresh bread, baked daily! Their salads are GREAT!

M. C. Valada said...

No, Cheryl, we did not eat at the Garden Cafe. Perhaps the next time through. Thanks for the suggestion.