San Luis Obispo Mom Adventure Blogs

Wine Release Party at Vina Robles Vineyards

September 19, 2019
Over the weekend, we attended a wine release party at Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery in Paso Robles, California. (Paso Robles is part of San Luis Obispo county.) I'm still daydreaming about it because the food and wine pairings were fantastic. It was free for wine club members and that is so wonderful because sometimes other wineries still charge a fee for these release parties.

Ever since we've moved here, we've became wine club members for two wineries, Vina Robles Vineyards and Tolosa Winery (Edna Valley). We haven't gone to a wine release party for Tolosa Winery yet so this one at Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery is our very first wine release party ever! 

The wine release party was from 11AM - 2PM. By the time we have arrived in Paso Robles, it was about 11:10AM and there was a line to enter already. About 30 - 40 people were in front of us. It was over 100 degrees that day so it was going to be a very hot day! The staff members there were very polite and professional. Now looking back, next time we will arrive at 1PM because we'll still have an hour to go through all 6 tasting stations and the line by that time to enter was non-existent!

Although there were 6 different wine & food pairing tastings, as a bonus, you can try their blind tastings and those were another 3 red wine tastes.

It was such a wonderful event with chef worthy dishes, fantastic Vina Robles wine and a wonderful ambiance outdoors during a summer day. I really can't wait for the next wine release party here!

If you're looking to go to a concert, Vina Robles also has an amphitheatre where many famous bands perform here!

We watched Counting Crows when they came here! As another perk as a Vina Robles Vineyards club member, they let you join their pre-concert party! Entry to this pre-show party is only exclusive to wine club members. All of the concerts have pre-show parties if they are performing here at the amphitheatre. The amphitheatre only opened a couple of years ago so the place is beautiful and new. My husband and I shared the braised beef entree at the pre-show party for Counting Crows.

If you're not a wine club member, the main areas of the venue also have many different stations of food to buy! This is for every Vina Robles Amphitheater goer and there were a pizza station, another area to buy sandwiches and burgers, desserts and of course wine! You can also get beer here! Address of Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery and Amphitheatre: 3800 Mill Rd, Paso Robles, CA 93446

Find a Hotel in Paso Robles.
 

Our first experience with Parent Participation

September 14, 2019
After moving to San Luis Obispo county, we were recommended by a local to try Parent Participation. Two of the main ones are city-site run programs for parents with kids ages 0 - 4 years old (and sometimes five depending on which location you look at). To see more information about Parent Participation and other Parent & Me classes, go to the Mom Groups & Childcare section.

The one closest to our home is the one at Oceano Community Center in Oceano, California.

The Parent Participation programs for this area are categorized under South County (Lucia Mar) and offer four different class groups: 0 - 12 months old, 12 - 24 months old, 24 - 36 months old and 3 and 4 year olds. Each age group meets once a week for 3 hours. During the 3 hour session, we start out with free play time, clean up, circle time on the rug with songs, snacks (volunteered and snacks donated by parents), auditorium play while parents have an educational discussion about parenting, clean up and then ending with a nice story at circle time. Parents definitely participate in this class as they help assist the kids with clean up and participating throughout the organized day. These classes are a great way to get kids used to social play with kids within their age group. I paid $90 for the 6 week period (7 sessions). You can also add a younger sibling for a discounted price. If your child is not ready for preschool, Parent Participation is really a great transition to preschool since the parent gets to there with them the whole time.

Today is the third session I've attended among the 7 sessions included in the $90. My child really likes the program so far and refers to it as 'school'. He always gets so excited to come play, sing songs, learn letters and be a part of a classroom setting. When we came during our first day, both my little one and I were overwhelmed because we have just moved here earlier this year so we're newbies while most of the parents and kids have been a part of it together before. By now, we've gotten used to it and these classes are mainly for the little ones to thrive so it's all with positive intent. We have a planned field trip soon next month and we're really looking forward to that!

Other Parent Participation programs are located at San Luis Coastal Adult School (city run) in San Luis Obispo, California and another one not run by the city by Playtime Discoveries in Atascadero, California.

San Luis Obispo county has so many kid-friendly things to do and parent & me (mommy & me) type programs for the little ones. You can find all of these classes under the Mom Groups & Childcare section
 

Fall and Christmas Family Events for Pismo Beach Area & Nearby

August 15, 2019
Here's a list of free or cheap family friendly events in Pismo Beach Area and nearby for the Fall and Christmas season of 2019: 

Sept 20, 2019 (Fri) - Free Movie in the Park at Dinosaur Caves Park at 7:15PM in Pismo Beach. Showing Aladdin. Bring your blankets or lawn chairs. Food available for purchase at 6pm. Address: 2701 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Sept 21, 2019 (Sat) - Movies in the Park at Ramona Garden Park in Grover Beach from 6:30PM - 9:30PM showing Mary Poppins Returns. Food and drink for sale. Address: 993 Ramona Ave. Grover Beach, CA 93433

Sept 27, 2019 (Fri) - Movie Night at Heritage Square Park in Arroyo Grande at 7:30PM. Family-friendly and free. Address: 205 Nelson St., Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

Sept 29, 2019 (Sat) - Diaper Derby for ages 6 - 36 months at 12PM at Heritage Square Park. Infants and toddlers crawl & toddle for prizes. Address: 205 Nelson St., Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

Oct 12, 2019 (Sat) - Movies in the Park at Ramona Garden Park in Grover Beach from 6:30PM - 9:30PM showing Wreck It Ralph 2. Food and drink for sale. Address: 993 Ramona Ave. Grover Beach, CA 93433

Oct 25, 2019 (Fri) - Carved Pumpkin Contest & Halloween Activities at Ramona Garden Park Center from 5PM - 8PM. Fun for the whole family. Only decorated pumpkins will be accepted for ages 6 and under for carved pumpkin contests. All other ages will need to have a carved pumpkin (not decorated) to enter. Trunk or Treat & Free hot dogs, and carnival games. Ballooney the Clown will be there. Address: 993 Ramona Ave., Grover Beach, CA 93433

Oct 26, 2019 (Sat) - Pumpkins in the Park in Pismo Beach at Dinosaur Caves Park. Free events from 10AM - 1PM. Downtown Trick or Treating from noon - 2pm. Pumpkin Decorating for first 500 children. Food & Beverages available. Costume Contest, Games, Crafts and Bounce Houses. Address: 2701 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Oct 26, 2019 (Sat) - Halloween Carnival & Haunted Maze in Arroyo Grande from 4:30PM - 7:30PM. Carnival Admission: $5 for children and $2 for accompanying adult. Admission to Haunted Maze is $3 per person. Carnival booths, haunted maze, costume contest, prizes, and cookie decorating. Bring your carved pumpkin for the pumpkin-carving contest. Address: 1221 Ash St., Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

Dec 6, 2019 (Fri) - Holiday Harmony at Pismo Beach Pier from 5:30PM - 7:30PM. Free fun-filled family event with tree lighting ceremony at 6PM. Kids activities include snow, santa, cookie decorating and bounce houses. Address for GPS: Promenade & Creek. Pismo Beach, CA

Dec 7, 2019 (Sat) - South County Holiday Parade Holiday Sparkle at 10AM. Santa's Workshop from 11AM - 7PM starts after parade at Ramona Garden Park Center with craft faire, snow, tree lighting. Address: 993 Ramona Ave., Grover Beach, CA 93433

Dec 14, 2019 (Sat) - Annual Breakfast with Santa at Woman's Club Community Center in Arroyo Grande from 8:30AM - 11AM. Enjoy pancake breakfast and a picture with the jolly man himself. Space is limited and must register at www.arroyogrande.org/catalog and it is $10 per person. Address: 211 Vernon St, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

Dec 14, 2019 (Sat) - Storytime with Santa at 11AM at the Volunteer Library in Grover Beach. Address: 240 N. 9th St., Grover Beach, CA 93433

To see other upcoming events all over San Luis Obispo county, go to the Family-Friendly Events page.

 

Tolosa Winery

August 5, 2019
Ever since moving to San Luis Obispo county, we've gone to about 10 different tasting rooms and we haven't even reached our 1 year milestone as residents. Wineries and San Luis Obispo county go hand in hand. If you're a wine enthusiast, you're definitely in for a treat when you visit SLO! The wine culture here is amazing.

When it comes to wine tasting, it's better than San Diego (Temecula), LA and in my opinion, San Ynez Valley too! The weather here, proximity to local things to do and the people make The Edna Valley San Luis Obispo wine tasting experience so special. 

Did you know that Edna Valley is located in San Luis Obispo, California? I mean, not just San Luis Obispo county but actually in San Luis Obispo, California and near the airport! Their central location makes it wonderfully close to downtown, the beach areas and with the best weather! And in Edna Valley, there are over 12 different wineries! You're not going to get scorching hot summer weather like Paso Robles (also in San Luis Obispo county) so if you're afraid of the heat, go to Edna Valley for some wine and cooler weather and then hang out at the beach (15 minutes from Edna Valley) afterwards. 

Today, I'm going to put the spotlight on Tolosa Winery. They don't know who I am nor paid me for my opinion so everything that I write in this post is from my experiences as a local mom who lives here. I've tried many wines and been to many wineries and oh boy, Tolosa Winery has impressed me so much. 

Just the drive to Tolosa Winery from the entry point towards the parking lot has always wowed me. You feel like you right inside the winery and not just on some side road. The vineyards engulf you as you continue towards the parking lot. Here's the video that I took (non-edited and not a boomerang-type effect) from our drive from entering the road.

I've been to this winery over a handful of times and each time, the enticement creeps up through this wonderful road for some tastings.

Each and every time we've visited Tolosa Winery, there is always a host or hostess in front of the double doors outside to greet you and take your name down. This personalize experience makes you feel like you're entering into an elite group of wine enthusiasts, whether you are a club member or not. Whomever made this a standard as the Tolosa Winery service to greet you, no matter if it's a slow weekday or a busy weekend, deserve a big star! It's impressionable. It's a no wonder that we decided to become wine club members. We know we can rely on Tolosa to deliver excellent service. 

As the host or hostess seat you or usher you into the tasting room, you'll be presented a tasting menu with a few options. The lowest tier is $25 and includes 4 different tastings. This may seem high compared to some of the other places but it's really not for the service and quality of wine you get. You'll be happy with the size of their pours. I just found out recently that in Napa Valley (about 4 hours north of San Luis Obispo), the tastings at some wineries there are $50 now! Compared to Napa Valley, the tasting cost and experience here in Edna Valley, and specifically Tolosa Winery, are truly just a better choice. There is also still a lot of pride in winemaking and delivering a good wine tasting experience here. You can just tell. 

If you have a question about a specific bottle of wine, the Tolosa Winery staff there is very knowledgeable, friendly and always eager to answer your questions and give you their thoughts. The chardonnays are refreshing and the pinot noirs are full of body and teasing to the tastebuds. You won't be disappointed. I'm normally more of a red wine girl but here at Tolosa, their chardonnays are so amazing that I'm an everything girl when I'm here!

Their cuvee is still my number one favorite among my tasting list right now. 

If you're tasting inside, don't forget to walk go outside near the patio area to enjoy the pretty vineyards view with the mountain backdrop to take a picture for memories. We've taken 3 different couples here at Tolosa Winery within the last couple of months and they've all enjoyed it and appreciated visiting us for this experience.

As part of our membership, we can go to the membership lounge to enjoy our tastings but we haven't had a chance to experience that yet because kids are not allowed to go there. We've mainly enjoyed our tastings outside at the patio, which makes sense because our kids can be rowdy. I've seen others brought their kids and set out picnics out here. However, in order to enjoy the picnic that you brought, you have to sit in their picnic area and order bottle service. I learned this from calling them and asking ahead. The bottle service requirement for picnicking is one bottle per 2 guests. We've always just done tastings here. Address of Tolosa Winery: 4910 Edna Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

We haven't gone to a special Tolosa Winery event yet and our membership tier is on the low side and most of the membership events require a fee for us to attend. When we get to experience our first special event here, I'll continue this post and add that here. Cheers!

Find a Hotel in San Luis Obispo.

 

What Your Child Should Know Before Kindergarten

July 25, 2019
My first-born is starting kindergarten next month. Back in May 2019, he had his round-up (something that they have around San Luis Obispo county for the little ones who are about to start kindergarten in a few months) where they tested him on at least 10 things: like drawing a picture of himself, writing his name, counting to 20 and more! I was surprised that they were testing them on all that because I was expecting a 'round-up' to be like an orientation. My son passed all of it, thankfully, but I saw another little boy cry while he was being tested. Talk about pressure! I truly feel like kids can't miss preschool like the old days or else they'll be behind. Before we left the round-up, one of the school staff members gave me a big packet for my son to work on over the summer before he starts preschool and a list of what my child should know before his first day of kindergarten. Here is the list below:

What Your Child Should Know Before Kindergarten

Reading:
  • Recognize 26 of the 52 letters (upper and lowercase)
  • 10 letter sounds
  • Readers read left to right
  • All letters in their first name
Writing:
  • Use correct grasp to hold pencil, marker, crayon
  • Pretend to write a left to right direction
  • Write first name
Math:
  • Count to 20
  • Recognize 1 - 10
  • Point and count up to 10 objects
  • Make simple patterns
  • Recognize basic shapes and colors
Behaviors:
  • Listen to adults
  • Share
  • Take care of things and put them away
  • Button and unbutton own clothes
  • Zip and unzip own clothes
  • Try to tie own shoes
I have to admit that my 5 year old still needs to work on his "Behaviors" category as he cannot zip his own sweatshirt yet nor tie his own shoelaces and he needs to work on the sharing a bit too. 

We have 3 weeks left until the first day of kindergarten! Today, I had my son work on zipping a sweatshirt. The unzipping was easy. It's the zipping.

 

Wine Tasting in Buellton near Solvang

July 22, 2019
Have you ever watched the movie Sideways? It's a story about two San Diego State University alumni (like me!) who decided to go to Buellton for some wine-tasting adventure as a bachelor party. It's a wonderful story and very comical.

Lucky for us, Buellton is only an hour south drive from here! It's also on the way to Solvang, the Danish Capital of America. In Buellton, there is a main street where you can hit many wine tasting rooms within the same block called Industrial Way. Once you've parked, you will not have to repark again to get to these wine tasting rooms which makes it such a fun and easy adventure. See the list of wineries in Buellton that we visited below:

Alma Rosa

This place has such an elegant tasting room. I loved the sleek, modern and fresh feel as you sit down and enjoy a tasting. Tastings were refreshing and they did a great job of making sure the wine bottles were chilled before pouring. I would definitely recommend coming here with a loved one to relax and chill. Address: 181 Industrial Way C, Buellton, CA 93427

Imagine Wine

Our double stroller didn't quite fit through the door so we hung out outside in the patio area. It is small and quaint and was the first wine tasting room that we visited in that strip. The rest of the tasting rooms on this list are all literally next to each other. Address: 140 Industrial Way d2, Buellton, CA 93427

Tierra Y Vino

Tierra Y Vino is kid-friendly and dog-friendly and you can bring your own food here to enjoy the wine with. It's definitely the most casual atmosphere of the bunch. Address: 140 Industrial Way, Buellton, CA 93427

Buscador Wine

Don't be surprised if the winemaker himself pours you your tastings! I think this made Buscador more memorable for us. How often do you get to taste wine and ask the winemaker himself about it! Address: 140 Industrial Way, Buellton, CA 93427

Kalyra Wine Tasting Room

Also right in the same strip, Kalyra has a urban feel to the tasting room with an outdoor picnic table and a nice shady outdoor space. Address: 140 Industrial Way, Buellton, CA 93427

If you want, you can also stay at the Sideways Inn in Buellton, where the characters in the movie Sideways stayed at. It was really family-friendly, well-kept and with a very decent rate. Read more about our stay there in this blog entry.

Find a Hotel in Solvang.

 

Spyglass Park and Hidden Beach

July 16, 2019
You're going to discover a hidden secret if you stumble onto this post. As a local, I've discovered that you can actually walk down from Spyglass Park but don't stop once you get all the way down. If the tides are not too high, you can curve around the bluffs to the right and find a small tiny beach! Now all of this is risky so I don't advise you to do it if the winds, weather and tides are not in your favor. I've seen a few guys with coolers traveling around those rocky trails down and then disappear around the corner. 
(Photo taken by SanLuisObispoMom.com)
The very first time I went to Spyglass Park was to take my kids to the new playground structure that they have just replaced there. The view is fantastic as I'm watching the kids. It's an amazing backdrop. After I brought my husband here for our second visit, I asked him to watch the kids while I try to hike down to get a closer glimpse of the view from down there. 

You can also find surfers along here. 


Address: 2549 Spyglass Drive, Pismo Beach, CA 93449
All photos of Spyglass Park in this post were taken by SanLuisObispoMom.com. Please give credit if you plan on using them.
 

The Rooftop at Inn at the Pier Hotel in Pismo Beach

July 15, 2019
A dear friend from the Bay Area came down and visited me. I wanted to take her to a special place where a successful yuppie like her would appreciate. After some research online, I decided to take her to The Rooftop at Inn at the Pier hotel in Pismo Beach that overlooks the pier and ocean. It was absolutely the right pick!

The entrance to the hotel took a bit of time to figure out because it's on the opposite end of the beach parking lot. However, once we got on the property, I instantly felt relaxed.

In order to use the elevator to get to The Rooftop, a key is required so I asked the front desk if we could get to The Rooftop (because we're not staying there as a hotel guest) and I'm glad the front desk personnel was so pleasant as she activated a card and handed it to me. She hoped we would enjoy it. I was already excited! This key in hand was special.

As we slid the card into the slot of the elevator and pressed the button to get to the top floor, my friend and I looked at each other with amazement as everything looks so new. As we exited the elevator, it was easy to find the entrance to The Rooftop as the sunshine brightened the room from inside. Like finding an oasis in a desert, we've entered The Rooftop with the sound of the heavens in my head.

To my surprise, there are actually small pools up here! There were also kids from the hotel enjoying a nice time with their parents. There was the bar at the very end, opposite from the ocean. And then there was the view of the pier and ocean! 

Seriously, you can not get a more vertical view of the Pismo beach pier from anywhere else!

With many lounge seats, patio tables and chairs, you pick a place to sit and a server will come to you to take your order. The place had many patrons there already and we found a table as close as we could towards the ocean.

We ordered drinks and food. My friend ordered the Bloody Mary and I ordered a local beer called Cali-Squeeze. Both were very refreshing and great!

I ordered the clam chowder, while my friend ordered the corn and home made chips. All were delicious and definitely chef-ly made!


We talked and laughed. We shared personal stories. It was the best hang-out place that my best friend and I have ever shared together and we've known each other since I was four years old. I can't wait to come back to The Rooftop again.

All photos were taken by SanLuisObispoMom.com. This review and experience are my own and not sponsored or endorsed in any way. Find hotels in Pismo Beach.
 

Madonna Inn Pictures in San Luis Obispo

July 15, 2019
Even after becoming a resident of San Luis Obispo County, I'm always so happy when we get to go to the Madonna Inn for dinner. I have yet to have a staycation here but I can always dream. 

Here are the pictures I've taken while visiting here whenever we'd come for a meal or an event. SanLuisObispoMom.com will continually add more to this page as more pictures are taken.



Desserts we've tried:
Raspberry Delight


Pink Champagne Cake


You can also pre-order a whole cake for special occasions like this Pink Champagne Cake I ordered for a special family member.

Other delicious and beautiful cakes in display from orders at Copper Cafe at the Madonna Inn


Events we've attended:
Circus Vargus at the Madonna Inn


Valentine's Day Dinner at the Madonna Inn


Entrees at the Madonna Inn:
Alfredo Ravioli from a daily special at Copper Cafe


Other neat things at Copper Cafe at Madonna Inn:

New Vegan Options

Find a Hotel in San Luis Obispo, California.
 

Ventana Grill Panoramic Beach and Cliff Views

July 12, 2019
 (Photo taken at Ventana Grill by SanLuisObispoMom.com)
Before my family and I moved to the San Luis Obispo area, my husband was raving about the dinner spot that his company took him after his final interview. They had flown him from South Carolina, where we had lived, to come to San Luis Obispo for this new job opportunity. It didn't take him long after that to make his decision. He wanted to move here and be able to see this panoramic view with me. 

We had moved here in January 2019 so it had not been long. Within a week of moving our whole family here, my husband took me to Ventana Grill, where his company had taken him, and I got to see the view he couldn't wait to show me. It is out of this world! 

This view and the location of this restaurant took some bravery. It is right above the bluffs. I can't imagine the special planning it took to build this right here. Anyone is welcome to walk around the balcony and take wonderful pictures for memories. I often look back on the photos I've taken here. 

(Photo taken by SanLuisObispoMom on the balcony of Ventana Grill)

Ventana Grill is a really special place to us and when we have visitors, we try to take them here for dinner. The ambiance is perfect, service is excellent and food is high quality. They do take reservations but it's not required. We've dined here without reservations but you're not guaranteed a window seat. Even without sitting by the window, you can still see the ocean and cliff views and at anytime, you can walk outside on the balcony and see this wonderful panoramic view of Pismo Beach and Shell Beach.

To see other restaurants in San Luis Obispo county, including the beach areas under this county, go to: Family-Friendly Restaurants.
 

About Me


SanLuisObispoMom.com Originally from San Diego, California, the publisher of SanLuisObispoMom.com is a San Diego State University alumna, veteran's wife and mom of two kids who were born two years apart. After living on the East Coast for 6 years, they now reside in San Luis Obispo County and here the exploration continues.

To find family-friendly activities in the SLO area, go to the 'Family-Friendly Things To Do' page.

Check out our sister site: ThePacificBeach.com.

Pacific Beach is a popular beach town in San Diego, California.

San Diego, California is about a 4 hour, 45 minute - 6 hour drive south of San Luis Obispo County (depending on how bad LA traffic is). Check out kid-friendly attractions in San Diego like LEGOLAND┬« California in Carlsbad (Read a thorough review of LEGOLAND California from SanLuisObispoMom.com), SeaWorld SanDiego, and the World Famous San Diego Zoo


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