By Georgina Stassi, Santa Barbara View Food, Wine & Travel Columnist
I love spontaneous romantic getaways and though we may live at or close to the beach, spending a romantic evening in a different environment, away from the ordinary with your sweetheart may be in order right now. Many Central Coast hotels and restaurants are offering packages and specials for Valentine’s Day and through the month of February. Here are just a few ideas for you to think about just up the coast. The fun thing is that you can make a little wine & culinary road trip out of it, so I’ve listed one of my favorite itineraries with you:
1st: Stop: Los Olivos to see what winemaker Chuck Carlson is up to at Curtis Winery to do a little local wine tasting;
2nd Stop: Los Alamos to see to Jamie Gluck’s Bell Street Farm to have a delicious lunch of local goodies and pick up a picnic basket for your exploration of the Edna Valley
3rd Stop: Edna Valley Wine Country (just off Price Street in Pismo Beach) to visit Mike Sinor and Nathan Carlson at Center of Effort and enjoy the picnic overlooking the entire valley; next, across the street to Kynsi Vineyards; then up to Wolff Vineyards; if possible, make an appointment to taste the award winning wines of Alban; then to Tolosa for the wine and artisanal cheese pairing before settling in at a relaxing seaside resort in Pismo Beach and later a delicious wine country inspired dinner. Here are some of my favorite resorts in no particular order:
• The Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa celebrates Valentine’s Day the entire month of February. Guests can enjoy an unforgettable one-night stay in the premier all-suite, 4-Star hotel. Upon arrival, guests will be greeted with a festive bottle of Laetitia bubbly and six luscious chocolate-covered strawberries to share as well as a wine country-inspired dinner created with local ingredients and farm fresh produce by Executive Chef Brian Collins of Lido Restaurant
• SeaVenture, a beautiful resort situated directly on the beach, offers guests a choice of three Romance packages and an Aphrodisiac Menu for the entire month of February. With The Leap Into Love package, guests can celebrate the Leap Year and that extra day in February, in a spacious king size featherbed, a cozy fireplace and soothing hot tub on their private balcony. In the room, guests will be treated to a handcrafted trio of artisan chocolates from Chocolats du Calibressan paired with a bottle of champagne. Guests will also have the opportunity to add a $50 dining credit for the cost of only $40 for a romantic dinner at the ocean-view SeaVenture Restaurant. If guests don’t feel like leaving the privacy and comfort of their room, the dining credit is also valid for room service.
• The Cliffs Resort, offers gorgeous oceanfront suites, with a whirlpool bath and private balcony; and including a bottle of Central Coast red wine and rich chocolates to share. Guests can add dinner for two at Marisol with Chef Greg Wagard’s Aphrodisiac Menu, ending with sensuous dessert in your room for just $50 per person.
Two other beautiful and romantic places to check out in Avila are Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Avila Lighthouse Suites. The menu at Sycamore is fabulous and you can have a soak in a mineral spring hot tub and get a great massage. Lighthouse Suites has lovely properties in both Pismo and Avila that are a great value for suites right on the water.
I hope I have inspired you and that my quick itinerary is helpful. For more Information on hotel packages and specials check out the promotion dates and offerings at http://www.classiccalifornia.com/lodging. Enjoy! We are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful state with so many wonderful things to discover.