Dear Friends and Followers,
Gourmet Girl Gail here writing from Santa Barbara. Happy New Year (almost)! And what a year it’s been. Bring on 2021! Even though we’re not out of the woods yet with COVID, I’m seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s just say I’m optimistic, which is pretty much my nature. Speaking of nature, my RV companion, Kathy Moran, and I continue to take road trips in our rigs whenever possible.
We’ve added a new venue to the beginning of our excursions called Harvest Hosts. Harvest Hosts is a membership program that provides access to a network of wineries, farms, breweries, museums and other unique attractions that invite self-contained RVers to visit and stay overnight. What a find! The only stipulation is that you purchase one of their products, be it a bottle of wine, olive oil, soap, walnuts, or whatever they are known for and stocking.
So far, we’ve stayed at two Harvest Hosts. The first one was Hammersky Vineyards, set in a beautiful environment, on Vineyard Drive in Paso Robles. The house and barn reminded me so much of New England.
Everything was outside and COVID safe. Even Abigail enjoyed her time there. Yes, she’s kind of like a person to us and usually gets treated as such!
Our rigs were situated over a knoll and down near some of the vines. Very peaceful, except for the really big rig that kept its generator on often and whose inhabitants decided to cook outside, which was banned by this particular host. There are rules and etiquette that come with the privilege of staying with a Harvest Host. They call it a code of conduct. For a reason!
The second Harvest Host we stayed at was Bon Niche Cellars, also in the Paso Robles area. Melani, the owner and winemaker, is a former Navy nurse who was stationed in Naples, Italy (lucky her!), where she became interested in the wine making process and liked how wine brought people together.
This was a much more rustic setting, and the winemaker’s presence made it very special. She attended to the tastings, all the while making sure we were social distanced. She also introduced us to Barley, her rescue dog. Three-quarters standard poodle and one-quarter St. Bernard (yes, really!), this St. Berdoodle loves being in the vineyard. He loves chasing birds, gophers, and rabbits. His favorite part of having people visit the winery is the scratches he gets above his tail!
In 2020, Barley was hit by a car and became a tripawd – he’s still a happy dood. Abigail instinctively took to Barley even though it may be awhile before he’s back up to speed. Sorry I didn’t get a photo of the handsome Barley with Abigail! But he does have his own Instagram page if you want to check him out there.
Our rigs were stationed above the tasting facility, with goats nearby. And we got to view a stunning sunset at the end of the day.
We’ll be staying at more harvest hosts on future trips. Personally, I have my sights set on an olive oil farm in San Ardo, California, about 30 miles north of Paso Robles. So, be sure to stay tuned for more Harvest Host adventures!
Until then, be kind to yourselves and have a safe and healthy New Year!
Gail, Denise, and Lindsey