Difference between revisions of "Paso Robles"
Revision as of 15:23, 16 October 2007
Paso Robles, meaning "Oak Pass" or "Pass of the Oaks," is a historical resort town, known for its hot springs, located on the California's Central Coast about 30 miles north of San Luis Obispo. Nearby cities include Templeton, San Miguel, and Atascadero. The city is surrounded by mountains, beaches, and deserts. Paso Robles' major industry is wine production, with vineyards located throughout the surrounding area. The city limit sign shows a current population of between 29,000 and 30,000.
The nearest airports are the Paso Robles Municipal  (PRB), with no scheduled services, and the San Luis Obispo County Regional  (SPB), served by regional airlines through Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Phoenix.
Paso Robles is about halfway between the Los Angeles area and the Bay Area--about three to four hours of drive time from each--and cheaper flights may be available into airports in those areas. Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport  (SJC) is the closest major airport (about two and a half hours by car) and is served by discount airlines (keeping prices fairly low). Other airports in the Bay Area are Oakland International Airport  (OAK) and San Francisco International Airport  (SFO).
In the Los Angeles area, Bob Hope Airport  (BUR) in Burbank is the closest and most convenient for driving north. Los Angeles International Airport  (LAX) is larger and may feature lower fares and lower car rental prices. Other airports in the Los Angeles area are Long Beach Airport  (LGB), LA/Ontario International Airport  (ONT), and John Wayne Airport  (SNA) in Santa Ana; however, these are farther away from Paso (in other words, they involve driving through more Los Angeles traffic) and may be more expensive.
Paso Robles is served by Amtrak's Coast Starlight  and by timed Amtrak Thruway bus connections to the Pacific Surfliner  in San Luis Obispo. Thruway bus connections also lead to the San Joaquins  via Hanford, which may be more convenient than the Coast Starlight for travelers from the Bay Area and Sacramento.
Paso Robles is located at the intersection of U.S. 101, which runs mostly along the coast between Los Angeles and Seattle, and CA 46, which runs from the coast west of Paso into the Central Valley. Although Paso Robles is reached more quickly from the Los Angeles area via Interstate 5 to Highway 46, the drive up the coast on Highway 101 is only marginally longer and passes through or near dozens of interesting towns (such as Santa Barbara, Solvang, Pismo Beach, and San Luis Obispo) and gorgeous scenery. From the Bay Area, the main route is on Highway 101, which is less interesting than the approach from the south, although it is slightly shorter. Alternatively, the beautiful but slow CA 1 can be accessed just off of Highway 101 near Salinas. The drive follows the coast through Monterey, and Big Sur, and intersects Highway 46 near Cambria and San Simeon (near the famous Hearst Castle).
Note that Highway 46 runs concurrently with Highway 101 for a few miles through the area. Highway 46 leaves Highway 101 to the east in the northern area of town at the 24th Street exit and leaves Highway 101 to the west at the southern edge of town.
Downtown Paso Robles is laid out in a grid to the west of Highway 101, which runs north/south along the Salinas River. Streets running east/west are numbered from south to north (e.g. First Street is the southernmost street). North/south streets are named in no particular fashion. Spring Street, the main street, runs north/south. The historic core of Paso Robles is centered around 12th and 13th streets near City Park.
The historic core features several locally-owned shops and restaurants. Outside of that area, the main commercial developments with chain stores are south of town at the intersection of Highway 101 and Highway 46 West, at the intersection of Niblick Road and River Road, and at the intersection of 24th Street and Highway 101.
Most of the area's vineyards are strewn along Highway 46 on both sides of town. Connoisseurs differentiate the area's wines between those along Highway 46 to the west, which has a cooler and wetter coastal climate, and Highway 46 to the east, which is hotter and drier.
The large area to the east of Highway 101 along Creston and Niblick Roads is mostly residential development.
Getting around Paso Robles on a bicycle is easy. The downtown area, with most of the sights and restaurants, is compact. Take a ride down Vine Street and see the restored Victorian homes. During Christmas, Vine Street is ablaze with decorations on the houses and amateur theater performances in the front yards.
During the spring and fall, you can ride to San Miguel, about seven miles up North River Road, and visit the historic Mission San Miguel Arcángel. The road meanders by the Salinas River and then crosses over to the mission in San Miguel. The mission is being restored, but as of December 2006, you can see the graveyard with old bell and the courtyard.
During the summer, you can escape Paso heat by taking Santa Rita Creek Road over the coastal range to Morro Bay, starting at Templeton, about a 30-mile ride. This is a dirt road part of the way, and a mountain-type bike is best. Ride into Morro Bay and load up on fish and chips at the bay. Paso Robles is a bike mecca for many enthusiasts throughout the year. There are many hilly and deserted roads around the area with few cars or people.
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