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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 4:53 pm | Partly Cloudy 56º


Donna Polizzi

Here & There

Donna Polizzi: Wine, Dine and Unwind Like a Local in Paso Robles

Let Unwind on Vine be your base for a weekend getaway with delicious food and wine, tempting shopping and small-town charm


Once in a while, I need to get away and unwind. Keys 2 the Coast recently discovered a great escape in Paso Robles — an ideal place for rest, relaxation and good food, with an absolutely perfect name: Unwind on Vine.

Caroline and Casey Shepherd are the owners of Wine Country Rentals, and they know how to make a rental feel like home. Unwind on Vine is their charming, two-bedroom, two-bath house, and it’s just the spot where you can disappear for a few days in Wine Country.

Talk about curb appeal! Old-fashioned wooden rocking chairs are waiting on the quaint, shady porch for you to sip your morning coffee while taking in the view of other adorable homes on the street.

The front door opens to a stunning floor plan, with a beautiful living room, dining room and spacious kitchen to make most envious. Hardwood floors are throughout the house.

Very comfortable, queen-size beds ensure that you’ll get a great night’s sleep.

Small and interesting touches make your stay that much more enjoyable, including closets and baskets loaded with extra pillows.

The gorgeous kitchen is well designed, with charcoal and earth tone marble countertops and Viking appliances. It’s Old World charm meets contemporary class and comfort.

This lovely home has ceiling fans in many of the rooms, air conditioning and heating and, best of all, a large rain shower in the well-appointed bathroom. And did I mention the option of having a bubble bath in the claw-foot tub at the end of a perfect day?

The house is at 1445 Vine St., at the corner of 15th Street. It’s easy walking distance to Paso Robles’ downtown City Park at 11th and Park streets. The spacious park has picnic tables and a playground, and is surrounded by excellent restaurants, fun shopping, antiques, unique boutiques and tasting rooms.

If you enjoy shopping, Jayde is a quaint, little boutique at 823 12th St. It has beautiful clothing and styles that you don’t normally see, as well as jewelry, Brighton handbags and gift items from furry scarves to hats.

I stopped for brunch at an awesome little place called La Cosecha Bar + Restaurant, 835 12th St., Suite A. It’s a small restaurant that is big on atmosphere, with a big city, downtown vibe.

“I love working here,” bartender Craig Newman told me. “My co-workers are like good friends.”

Newman makes a mean Bloody Mary. It’s a work of art, loaded with lemon, lime, shrimp, crispy bacon and slices of jalapeño olives, celery and pickled onions.

Pianist Marshall Otwell, with Daryl VanDruff on drums and Kevin McDonald on bass, rocked the house with good music, while artists in the kitchen created some impressive and delicious dishes, including Huevos Español, a locals favorite.

I ordered one of the best omelets I’ve ever eaten. It was scrumptiously loaded with house-made sausage, fontina cheese, red bell peppers, onions and generously topped with avocado. I’ll definitely go back to try other menus items.

Owners Carole and Santos MacDonal opened the restaurant in 2013.

“Our goal was to create a New York- or San Francisco-style restaurant that people will want to come back to again and again,” Carole told me.

The brick walls and rustic, repurposed wood give it a cozy, comfortable warmth. Light fixtures are made with blown glass. I have seldom been in a place where the employees and the other guests were so friendly.

Take a stroll around the businesses surrounding the park and do yourself a favor by stopping at Brown Butter Cookie Company, 801 12th St. You’ll quickly become addicted, but don’t worry: The store is happy to ship cookies to you and a sister location is in Cayucos.

If you’re interested in visiting Paso Robles and are looking for a great place to stay or simply have questions about the area, the Shepherds enjoy helping guests find new favorite places. They can be reached at [email protected] or call 805.423.7092.

— Donna Polizzi is a regional travel expert and founder of Keys 2 the Coast, a free Central Coast travel resource providing honest recommendations on the best places that locals want to go. She also is a board member of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center. She can be contacted at [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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