{Laguna Lake}

Since it’s been so nice around here lately, I decided to head to Laguna Lake this weekend for a little post-New Years run. Laguna Lake is just off of Madonna Road in SLO, and is a beautiful spot to get some exercise, have a picnic, or just lay in the grass and soak in some sun. They have miles of dirt walking, running, or hiking trails to explore in an I-can’t-believe-I-live-here setting.

While dogs have to be on leash on all of the trails, Laguna Lake also has a great off-leash dog park that is always packed with people and their little furry friends.

Here’s a few pictures of the trails and the surrounding area, I highly recommend checking it out if you’re ever in town and looking for a little exercise!

Laguna LakeLaguna LakeLaguna LakeLaguna LakeLaguna LakeLaguna LakeLaguna LakeLaguna LakeLaguna LakeLaguna LakeLaguna LakeLaguna Lake

Check out the City of SLO website for more information about Laguna Lake Park.

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{Sierra Nevada Brewery}

It’s no secret–I love Sierra Nevada beer. There’s almost always a case of their Pale Ale in our house at all times, along with a few of their seasonal varieties tucked away in the fridge. Luckily for me, my brother lives in Chico, birthplace of Sierra Nevada and home to their brewery and taproom, so I try to make an excuse to visit whenever I get the chance (of course, visiting my brother is the real reason!).

Since I was in the area at Christmas, I decided to drag my family up there for a little afternoon brewery visit. Sierra Nevada’s taproom and restaurant has some of the best pub food I’ve ever had and this past visit was no exception. The menu features beer-inspired dishes with local ingredients.

Here are some photos of the meal:

Goat Cheese and Beet Salad

Mushroom, Garlic, and Pecan Pizza

French Dip

Roast Beef and Potato Pizza

Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup

Plus, they always have 15 beers or so on tap to try in tasters, half pints, or pints, many of which you can only find in the brewery. Growler, anyone?

You can check out more about Sierra Nevada on their website here.

{My Favorite SLO Things Gift Baskets}

Gift Basket

For Christmas gifts for our parents this year, Jeff and I decided to make a favorite SLO things gift basket. We thought it might be a fun idea since I’ve started this blog and since this is our last year in SLO (trying not to think about that part yet!). I had so much fun picking and choosing which places to include in the gift basket, but, of course, there were some price and size limitations to consider. Here’s what we ended up with.

1. Sweet Earth Chocolates— Sweet Earth Chocolates is a local, organic, fair trade chocolate shop. Jeff and I actually used their chocolate truffles as favors for our wedding last year! I got a few pieces of their dark chocolate almond bark and their chili orange walnut bark.  Yum!

Sweet Earth Chocolates

Sweet Earth Chocolates

2. We Olive Oil–We also put a bottle of the local olive oil store’s Tuscan Blend, an unfiltered olive oil from Paso Robles. At the store, you can buy a large container and then keep refilling the bottle at a discounted price.

We Olive Olive Oil

We Olive Olive Oil

3. Mo’s Barbecue Sauce–You already know I love Mo’s Barbecue, so a bottle of their sauce seemed like the perfect addition to the gift basket. My favorite is their Sweet Carolina, but we decided to go with the more universally delicious Philthy Phil’s.

Mo's Barbecue Sauce

4. Off the Farm–We also included an Off the Farm Blueberry Vanilla energy bar in each of the gift baskets. I’ve been noticing these little goodies in a few local stores and markets and since they’re made locally, I thought they would be a great little addition to the basket.

Off the Farm

5. Kenneth Volk–My parents drink more wine than beer, so we decided to include a bottle of wine from our favorite winery, Kenneth Volk. We went with a bottle of their chardonnay and it was great, just as always.

Kenneth Volk Chardonnay

6. Tap It–In Jeff’s parents’ gift basket, we also included a bottle of Tap It’s IPA and APA from the local brewery.

Tap It

Here’s the finished project!

Gift Basket

What do you think?

 

{SLO Creek Farms}

SLO Creek Farms

After our delicious breakfast at Honeymoon Cafe this past weekend and a quick but gorgeous walk on the beach, we headed over to SLO Creek Farms for a little apple picking birthday fun. I know it’s a bit late in the apple season, but I was hoping there would still a be a few apples left on the trees to snatch up!

The farm just has a little stand on the side of Monte Rd., right by the exit for Avila Beach. You can either purchase already picked apples at the stand or grab a bucket and head out into the orchard to pick your own! The trees were looking more than a little barren, but we still decided to see if we could find any to pick. Plus, you can eat as many apples for free as you want while you’re out in the orchard!

SLO Creek Farms

Let’s just say it took a bit of hunting to find the good apples, which we tried to do quickly as the entire orchard had a pretty foul smell of fermenting, decaying apples! But I must say, we did have fun hunting and searching for the best ones!

SLO Creek Farms

Here was our loot!

SLO Creek Farms

Overall, SLO Creek Farms is definitely a fun family-friendly afternoon trip idea, although may I recommend going a bit earlier in the season! The farm also encourages you to bring along a picnic lunch and make a day trip out of it which I think would be a pretty fun idea. You can find more about the farm and their apple orchard here.