All posts by Sherel Purcell

Enjoy Great Wine on a Road Trip to Paso Robles

Enjoy great wine and beautiful vistas on a scenic California road trip to Paso Robles. The hilly inland Paso Robles terroir offers superb and tasty full-bodied reds, because of its hotter, drier climate and riverbeds. Paso Robles is a three hour drive north from Los Angeles or a 3 hour drive south of San Francisco.

Opolo Vineyards Paso Robles
Opolo Vineyards Paso Robles

On your first day, take a drive east along Highway 46 to Opolo Vineyards at 7110 Vineyard Drive. Owners Rick Quinn and Dave Nichols have produced Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Muscat Canelli on 280 acres of vineyards since 1999. Our favorite out of many great bottles? Opolo’s fantastic tempranillo. Pair it with one of their tasty gourmet pizzas for a memorable lunch.

Brecon Estate Winery, Paso Robles
Brecon Estate Winery Paso Robles

Just a few minutes away, drop into the Brecon Estate winery at 7450 Vineyard Drive. We love their 2017 Forty Two –a red Rhone blend that scored 93 points from Wine Enthusiast. This was their first screw cap red wine, but, as they say, “the romance is in the glass, not in the cork.”

Pasolvio, Paso Robles
Pasolvio, Paso Robles

Another few minutes further along at number 8530, stop by Pasolivo for a different tasting experience – a taste of palate-cleansing olive oils. Pasolivio offers personal one on one tutoring sessions and lots of great recipes.

Where to Eat in Paso Robles

Road-trippers will appreciate dinner at Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles, thanks to a menu of local fresh ingredients used in the imaginative and colorful dishes. The emphasis here is on organic, regionally-produced food: poultry, fish, grass-fed beef, lamb and exotic meats. Nearby farmers provide all the fruits and vegetables, and breads are baked locally.

Eberle Winery Paso Robles
Eberle Winery Paso Robles

On the next day, visit pet-friendly Eberle Winery, 3810 E Highway 46,  for a tasting and cave tour. For a one of a kind experience, book a private tasting in the underground caves,  one of the most unique aspects of Eberle Winery.

Underground Cave at Eberle Winery, Paso Robles
Underground Cave at Eberle Winery, Paso Robles

In the 1990s, American Wine Legend Gary Eberle expanded underground, building the first wine caves in Paso Robles. Gary still greets guests daily with complimentary wine tastings, public tours of the production facility and the 16,000 square feet of underground caves.

Cass Winery, Paso Robles
Cass Winery, Paso Robles

From here, a 20-minute drive southeast takes you to Cass Winery at 7350 Linne Road. In addition to wine tasting, the on-site café offers lunch – try the succulent Benny Burger. The knowledgeable staff have great suggestions for wine pairings with lunch.

At Cass Winery, guests have the option of staying on site. Choose between The Geneseo Inn, a contemporary boutique hotel created from shipping containers or the Guesthouse, a three bedroom ranch house.

Where to Stay in Paso Robles

Allegretto Vineyard Resort Paso Robles
Allegretto Vineyard Resort Paso Robles

Start your Central California road trip with a stay at the 4.5-star Allegretto Vineyard Resort in Paso Robles, where U.S. 101 meets Highway 46. It’s a perfect base for exploring many great Paso Robles wineries all connected by scenic road trips.

Terrace at Allegretto Vineyard Resort Paso Robles
Terrace at Allegretto Vineyard Resort Paso Robles

The excellent onsite Cello Ristorante is available for all-day dining. The resort also offers an upscale tasting room, spa services, steam room and an outdoor pool in peaceful surroundings of lush gardens and vineyards.

Explore Canada’s Rideau Waterway on Le Boat

Explore Canada’s scenic and historically significant Rideau Waterway with Le Boat,  the largest operator of self-drive boating holidays in Europe. As the captain of your own boat, you  cruise in your own time and stop at your leisure. 

Le Boat docked at twilight
Le Boat docked at twilight photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Depending upon the model, Le Boat accommodates between two and 12 passengers. All regular berths come with ensuite baths making Le Boat the perfect economic option for families and small groups traveling together.

Le Boat Interior cabin
Le Boat Interior cabin photo credit: Sherel Purcell

These custom contemporary styled craft offer a natural, light-filled kitchen/dining area and a spacious top deck for maximum cruising and viewing pleasure.

From Canada’s capital, Ottawa to her former capital, Kingston, the 125-mile (202 kilometers) route traverses forests, wetlands, the rocky Canadian Shield and the famous locks system – a technology dating from the 1830s earning the waterway a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

The cities and towns abutting the Rideau Waterway where boaters dock at marinas and lock sites are well worth a visit. Ottawa, the largest city on the watery route, offers docking near the downtown area. Highlights include the National Gallery of Canada, the Ottawa Art Gallery, the Museum of Nature, the parliament buildings and the selfie – worthy Ottawa sign-sculpture on the edge of the Byward Market.

Smith Falls Golf and Country Club
Smith Falls Golf and Country Club photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Heading west on the Rideau, the happening town of Smith Falls is served by Via Rail and is home to Canadian golf sensation, Brooke Henderson and her sister-caddy, Brittany. Their home course, The Smith Falls Golf and Country Club allows visitors to play at reasonable rates for a pretty course in excellent condition.

Tweed, a new cannabis operation occupying 1,000,000 square feet offers tours of this highly scientific venture focusing on recreational and medicinal products that seeks to provide beverages to rival the alcohol market with a new emphasis on flavor. In homage to the former Hershey factory’s roots they’ve started producing chocolate and post tour samples are available as is their excellent coffee.

Eastern Canada’s only railway museum and a heritage museum that focuses on the old and the new are worth a visit. A good dining option, the Axe and Arrow offers tasty fish, seafood and local specials along with products from the excellent Perth Brewery.

A few hours sail away – Le Boat caps the speed at 10 kilometers an hour (6 miles) – sits the town of Perth, famous for its sizeable collection of limestone buildings and a main street built over the waterway. Quality local goods, new restaurants, cafes, a cheese shop and an English garden complete the pretty picture. The Rocky River cafe offers high-end pub food and healthier options in an attractive indoor/outdoor setting with excellent local brews.

Town of Westport Ontario
Town of Westport Ontario photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Another worthwhile stop, Westport, is home to the Scheuermann Winery whose folks will transport boaters to the scenic, six-acre vineyard and cafe above the water amidst rolling hills. Oven-fired pizza, inventive salads and tasty varietals top off a perfect day of boating.

The Westport Brewing Company occupies an intimate, contemporary-styled pub with a patio overlooking the waterway and serves tasting flights of their pale and darker brews.

Chaffey’s Lock, along with the usual waterside picnic and barbeque sites and friendly, helpful Parks Canada Lockmasters, offers good access to the 104-kilometer Cataraqui recreational trail – perfect for the folding bikes that can be rented from Le Boat to accompany your trip.The Lockmaster’s House Museum, an art gallery and the excellent cuisine of the Opinicon Resort all warrant a visit.

Previously published on USA Today 10Best.com