125 Years Old and Counting – El Paso de Robles

El Paso de Robles, or Paso, as the locals call it, has always been proud of her heritage.  This Spanish land grant of approximately 26,000 acres was purchased by Daniel and James Blackburn and a partner for $8,000 in the mid 1800’s.  This

Downtown charm

Downtown charm

was a place full of oaks, natural hot springs, cattle grazing land, and the Salinas River running through it all.  Three years after the Civil War, Drury James (uncle to Jesse James) purchased a half interest in the town.

In 1900 the main settlement was the town of San Miguel where the San Miguel Mission is located.  That is where the train stopped and the farmers would bring their harvested winter wheat and barley for shipment.  But when a sustained drought occurred in the early 1900’s, the town declined and because Paso Robles had the hot springs and a hotel for travelers on their way to San Francisco, it grew in popularity.

There is no Main Street in Paso.  Our Main Street is Spring Street because this is the location where hot springs once bubbled unchecked out of the ground.  It’s pretty, clear, blue green water,  about 120 degrees and smells like rotten eggs.  One life long resident of Paso said that the town always smelled like sulfur.  Eventually the hot springs were all capped, and the smell disappeared.

Spring appearance after the 2003 earthquake

Spring appearance after the 2003 earthquake

Although grape growing had taken place in this area since the Padres planted them around Mission San Miguel, they did not become part of the agricultural landscape until the 1980’s.  When vintners realized that the hot days and cool nights were perfect for many red varietals, the landscape around Paso began to change dramatically.  As the grapes came, so did the wineries, the restaurants, the tourists, the hotels and the money to change a small farming and ranching community into a tourist destination worthy to be featured in magazines worldwide.

Still small enough to be friendly and inviting, this City of about 31,000 residents is full of fun.  From a simple drive through the lovely landscapes, to wine tasting, car shows, art studios, shopping and amazing restaurants, there is something here for everyone.  We even have world class golf course  and a water park!

Oaks and sky

Oaks and sky

And only 30 minutes will get you to San Luis Obispo (a wonderful destination in itself) or the Pacific Ocean.

There’s so much to see and do here that I have to continually update my list of Community Resources.  So make sure and check there for new listings of recommended places to go and things to do.

Happy Hunting!  Joanie Williams

Call me anytime for more information!  805-674-1968




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