Paso Robles is inland from Cayucos about 35-40 minutes, through some of the prettiest landscape ever...windy roads through golden hills, dense cypress trees, vineyards...Before we got to the actual town of Paso Robles, we met up with our friend Joeli who owns the General Store in Paso (they abbreviate it), who wanted us to meet her friends Alex and Monica who own the Villicana Winery and Re:Find Distillery. They started making wines in this area back when there were only 17 vineyards, and now there are over 300 (and that's just in the last 15 years). Their wines are amazing, as are the vodka and gin they are producing. They are the nicest people, so if you're driving up or down the 101, it is worth making a quick detour to come to their tasting room.
General Store. Besides it having the best edit of everything from cookbooks to food to kitchen pantry items to beauty products, it's just a community hub. Joeli and her partners that own it are not just the nicest people, they are also the most enthusiastic. I told her she should go into real estate, and then also be in job placement, because she certainly made me want to move there. Since we didn't have the time to do anything but stop in her store, and the neighboring store called Firefly that is run by a mother and daughter, my only suggestion for this area is that you 1. need to stop here--it's 5 minutes off the highway 101, and 2. ask Joeli where to eat, where to stay, what to do. If you're in a hurry like we were, you can call ahead and have them prep a picnic for you, which you can just bring along on the road. It's certainly going to have some local products that are made with love, by some great artisan with a fantastic back story--that I can guarantee.
Below is from the store Firefly, which is just two doors down from the General Store.