Things I LoveU.S. TravelWining/Dining


Weddings are generally happy occasions, but some are just downright joyful … and a recent family wedding definitely was the latter.  All the elements were there: gorgeous setting (HammerSky Vineyards in Paso Robles); beautiful bride and handsome groom; wonderful weather (unseasonably mild); and the feeling that this couple is in it for the long haul.
First the location.  I have written about Paso Robles in a previous post — i.e., it is now what Napa was many years ago, minus the crowds.  PR doesn’t yet have the great eateries of Napa and probably won’t for a long time, but it is easier and closer to access from So. Cal., plus it is about 30 miles inland from Hearst Castle and the gorgeous coastline.
Most of the guests stayed at the Paso Robles Inn, a fine hotel (but for the rock-hard pillows).  One cannot beat the location, across from PR’s main town square, and the rates are affordable.  For a more luxurious stay, I would opt for Summerwood Winery & Inn, where many of the wedding party stayed and site of the morning-after brunch.  It is close into the main part of PR, but with the feeling of truly being far away, a win-win. The addition of many amenities: wine tasting, home-made breakfast, evening appetizers, etc., are all a big plus in my book.
Full disclosure:  I won’t be totally objective in describing the main event, because it’s family — specifically the groom is my nephew and the ceremony was officiated by his sister/my niece — a true family affair. On top of that was meeting my great niece for the first time — daughter of the officiant, granddaughter of my sister, niece of the groom.  Got all that??
L-R:  Grandma Janie; great auntie Margie with Doron
wearing her “My Auntie Rocks” t-shirt gift from us —
nice touch for our very first meeting … 
For the wedding, guests were taken via shuttle to the vineyard, about 20 minutes from downtown PR. HammerSky Vineyards has become known as a prime wedding destination. Owner (and still-practicing dentist) Doug Hauck and his wife Kim have owned the property for less than 10 years, but have created a real gem. Doug was a hands-on presence at the wedding, answering questions both about his wines and the venue.



Top:  The setting
Above:  The ceremony
Below left:  Placecard & Menu
Below right: The table
Some of the offerings:  Risotto; roasted vegetables;
lamb; scallop in carrot puree
The ceremony was beautiful, emotional, funny, and very personal as stories were shared, vows spoken, and Jon & Lauren became Mr & Mrs Grauman.  It was then on to special cocktails, wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres before being seated at tables of different sizes for dinner.  As the sunlight faded, candles were lit and lights hung from the trees were illuminated for a beautiful effect. Music played a bigger-than-normal role in the event, as the groom started out in the music industry and has very close ties to this day.  I’m happy to report it was a good mix and there was plenty to dance to for everyone’s tastes.  There was an after party, and even an after-after party (I’m told), but that was for the others….
The aforementioned brunch at Summerwood was the perfect ending to the event.  Delicious food, casual gathering, idyllic setting.  And another visit with the aforementioned great niece, Doron — too bad we had to share her with lots of other family members!  She lives in Seattle so the next visit will be in December and I look forward to that.
Niece/officiant/new mom Jenna; baby Doron; our daughter Hannah



So congrats to the newlyweds!   Here are a few quotes on marriage, with which you can either have a laugh or take to heart … 
“I had an exciting time.  I married for love and got a little money to go along with it.” ~ Rose Kennedy
“Married men live longer than single men. But married men are a lot more willing to die.” ~Johnny Carson
“All men make mistakes, but married men find out about them sooner.” ~ Red Skelton
“When marriage works, nothing on earth can take its place.”  ~ Helen Gahagan Douglas