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Paso Robles is an artisan community...


G


etting hungry? What’s wine without cheese? For the


adventurous, you can make your own goat cheese at Happy Acres Farm. For everyone else, down- town Paso Robles is thriving with tasty choices. Meat lovers can chow down on Santa Maria tri-tip at the supposedly haunted Paso Robles Inn, which also features rooms with private Paso Robles mineral spring spa tubs. And then there’s Villa Creek and Artisan, a couple of classy local dining staples bordering the town square. If you’re hanging out near the


town square before lunch or din- ner, the unique Studios on the Park houses up to 19 artists at work, and the public is encour- aged to watch and support the creative process. If you are dying to see more


art, the collection of European and Mediterranean pieces at Hearst Castle is a must. Publish- ing tycoon William Randolph Hearst built his 165-room castle—situated on 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways—mainly to showcase his art. It’s worth the detour out


of Paso Robles. Hearst Castle was named as one of America’s 10 Amazing Castles by Travel.com. The castle was also the inspiration for the “Xanadu” mansion in the 1941 Orson Welles fi lm, “Citizen Kane.”


No.15 at Hunter Ranch Paso Robles is golf... D


on’t forget to pack your golf clubs as you load up the car for a trip to


Paso Robles. Even if your fi nal destina- tion isn’t Paso Robles, a quick round at Hunter Ranch—which you can see just off Highway 46 East—is an enjoyable way to break up any trip south. Built in 1994, Hunter Ranch was


developed by the owner of two great tracks in Santa Barbara County— Sandpiper and La Purisima. A mem- ber at the Valley Club of Montecito, Kenneth Hunter was an admirer of architect Alister MacKenzie. “From a design standpoint, Mr. Hunter was looking at creating a classic golf course,” Bremer said. “He looked at Augusta and a lot of MacKenzie courses. That was his big- gest infl uence.” And as the Boss of the Moss can


attest, Hunter Ranch is a subtle, but challenging test. The par-72 course tips out at just 6,741 yards, but throt- tling back is the most prudent strategy. “This is a golf course that really


Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle


rewards patience,” Bremer said. “If you try and go out there and attack the golf course, it can hurt you. There are enough scoring opportunities where if you are keeping the ball in play, and playing the course in a fairly conserva- tive manor, you will be rewarded with a lot of birdie opportunities.” Of course, Rickie Fowler showed up to Hunter Ranch sight unseen as a junior at Murrieta Valley and fi red a 10-under 62 at the CIF Southern Cali- fornia High School Championships. Different strokes for different folks. Hunter Ranch also hosted a


popular Futures Tour event for two WINTER 2014 / NCGA.ORG / 43


years, and is the site of the Paso Robles City Championship every June. “I really like the strength of some


of our shorter par 4s, which are much more reliant on accuracy than dis- tance,” Bremer said. “If you want to take a little risk you can pull out your driver, but it’s not necessary. It gives players options, and that’s always fun.” While Hunter Ranch winds


through rolling terrain and mature oak trees, Paso Robles Golf Club is an easier walk. Originally a private club, Paso Robles GC is now a public course that underwent an extensive renova- tion and rejuvenation over the last three years. “We renovated the entire place,” said Mike Rawitser, owner of Paso Robles GC. “The club itself was a landmark in town. It was a social hub. Now they’re all coming back, and it’s a good thing for the town.” Rawitser has planted close to 400


trees since buying Paso Robles GC in 2011, and renovated both the course and the clubhouse, including the famous horseshoe bar that overlooks the course. “The greens are very fast now,”


Rawitser said. “It’s a sporty layout with push-up greens. There are 14 water holes. It’s a really beautiful walk in the park.” Rates at Hunter Ranch range


from $38-79, and just $20-35 at Paso Robles GC.


Paso Robles is one of the best-kept secrets in California.


Check that off as another reason


PHOTO: MARYANN STANSFIELD


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