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    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 town 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 was 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.


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    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, wedding, 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 quite 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.

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    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 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 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 business 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 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.

    So, as you pass buy 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.