Summer Road Trip

Hello, hello!!  It feels like it has been forever since I have had a moment to sit down and start writing about our recent road trip.  As you may know from Instagram Chris and I took a 10 day road trip all the way to Atascadero and back.  I have LOTS of photos, recommendations, and travel guides coming your way over the next couple weeks but wanted to start here, with an overview of our trip.  We decided to use our friend’s wedding in Atascadero as the starting point and work our way back to Palm Springs slowly and with plenty of fun along the way.

Day 1 – Palm Springs to Atascadero (non stop drive time: 5 hours)

Photo Aug 09, 8 46 26 AM
Peace out PS!

We left Palm Springs around 9am to avoid the LA traffic crunch and it worked out pretty well!  By 12:15pm we were exiting the 101 in Ventura to grab a bite to eat.  I did a search for a healthy and inexpensive lunch spot and found Nature’s Grill & Juice Bar on Main Street.  I ordered a wrap with black beans, veggies, and brown rice and Chris had a chicken sandwich.  The food was delicious and the location was a great spot to stretch our legs.  After lunch Chris grabbed a coffee at the Starbucks while I popped into Blenders (a Central Coast staple) for a green juice.  By 1:30pm we were back on the 101 heading North.  We made a quick stop in Pismo Beach and then in San Luis Obispo at Trader Joe’s for a few weekend necessities. We arrived to our AirBNB just before 5pm.

Day 2 – Atascadero

We spent our second day wine tasting and enjoying our friend’s wedding.  More details on Atascadero coming soon!

Day 3 – Atascadero to Los Alamos (non stop drive time: 1 hour)

Photo Aug 11, 10 30 31 AM

We were up early and on the road south by 10am.  We made another quick stop in Pismo, this time for a Sunday treat…donuts from Surfside.  We also made a stop at a favorite surf shop, Panchos, before continuing South.  We made plans for some wine tasting in Santa Maria on our way.  First up, a favorite of mine, Rancho Sisquoc Winery.  If you remember my trip from last year, we spent a lovely afternoon sipping big, bold reds and have loved the venue and the wine ever since.  After our tasting at Rancho Sisquoc we made our way to Cambria (also on the Foxen Wine Trail) for flight.  Cambria offered some beautiful pinks (my fave) and Pinot Noir which is what the Santa Maria Valley is known for.  By 2pm we were in Los Alamos ready to spend the next few days totally relaxing.

Day 4 – Los Alamos/Casmalia

Photo Aug 12, 6 11 09 PM

I have a whole Travel Guide about Los Alamos for you to check out! We did take a quick 25 minute drive to Casmalia for dinner at a Santa Maria area institution, The Hitching Post.  The Casmalia location (aka the original) is over 100 years old and serves up the best BBQ you’ll ever have.  We ordered a bottle of Rancho Sisquoc Cabernet and each had steak, shrimp cocktail, BBQ Quail, salad, and even ice cream for dessert.  This location is  a do not miss in my opinion!

Day 5: Los Alamos to Santa Barbara (non stop drive time: 57 minutes)

Photo Aug 13, 2 14 59 PM

We departed Los Alamos heading south to Los Olivos for another wine tasting.  Before our trip I found this adorable tasting room, The Hideaway, on Instagram and knew we had to stop.  There are only 5 seats in the tasting room, officially making it the smallest tasting room I have stepped foot in.  There is also a quaint back patio with wood and tile detail plus plenty of mature trees to provide shade.  The wine is a mix of classic and modern with plenty of nods to the Central Coast.  The #FlockingFabulous rosé was crisp and clean while my hands down favorite (a bottle even made it home) was the Sangiovese.  The Hideaway is the perfect way to start your wine tasting day in Los Olivos…HIGHLY recommend!

Once we wrapped up in Los Olivos we continued South on the 154 to Cold Spring Tavern.  If you aren’t familiar with Cold Spring Tavern let me give you the low down…it was built sometime around 1860 and was a stagecoach stop on the San Marcos Pass.  It obviously still operates today and serves up some of the most delicious tri-tip sandwiches and chili you’ll ever have.  There is no cell phone coverage once you turn onto Stagecoach Road making the experience even more of a step back in time which I personally love. After lunch we arrived to our hotel in Santa Barbara.

Days 6 & 7: Santa Barbara

Check out my Santa Barbara Travel Guide for some favorite spots.

Day 8: Santa Barbara to LA (non stop drive time: 2 hours)

We woke up early for some breakfast and coffee before our drive.  We made it to Beverly Hills for lunch at Urth Caffe around 1:45pm.  I had their grilled veggie sandwich on gluten free bread with an oat milk spanish latte and Chris had the tuna sandwich and one of their heavenly chocolate chip cookies.  I made a special appointment to try on a few wedding dresses at  BHLDN while in Beverly Hills while Chris sipped an Old Fashioned at Montage.  We then made our way to the Sofitel for our night in LaLaLand (Read all about our stay at The Sofitel!).  We spent our evening in LA having drinks and small plates with friends at Cal Mare inside the Beverly Center.  Cal Mare offers and all night happy hour menu at the bar that includes Aperol Spritz, oysters, and calamari, yum!

Day 9: LA to Lake Arrowhead (non stop drive time: 2 hours. Our drive time: 3 hours)

Photo Aug 17, 6 56 55 PM

After a morning spent at the hotel we walked down Beverly to grab some Glory Noodles from Vegan Glory (I dream of these since my days living in LA) and dim sum from Bao.  Our last stop before home on this trip was to Lake Arrowhead for the concert and some time with friends…the perfect last night of vacay.

Day 10: Lake Arrowhead to Palm Springs (non stop drive time: 1 hour 15 minutes)

After a morning walk by the lake we packed up the car one last time and headed towards home.  Since we didn’t take Sarge on this trip we decided to stop in Redlands for coffee at Augie’s, some vintage shopping, and a Trader Joe’s run (because you must begin and end the trip with one).

Be sure to check out my Instagram Highlights for more behind the scenes of the trip!

XO, Niki


3 thoughts on “Summer Road Trip

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