The Carlton is the ideal midpoint of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Paso Robles is underrated wine country due to its big sisters, Napa and Sonoma, located just up on the 101. This territory should not be missed; I am not lying when I say that I returned home with five bottles from the two vineyards that Jamie and I visited.
Atascadero is the idyllic town about twenty minutes south of Paso Robles and the second stop on the Friendship Road trip. The trip up from Palm Springs was picturesque, at least after passing through Los Angeles. Our stay at The Carlton was the perfect punctuation at the end of the drive.
Located within the Colony District and walkable to seemingly everything worth visiting in Atascadero, The Carlton was established in 1928 as a one story building at the corner of El Camino Real and Traffic Way. The following year brought a second floor annex, consisting of 52 guestrooms, topping the first floor of department stores. (Don’t you just love a mixed use project?) The 1930s brought a new owner, a new neon sign, and celebrity clientele. The hotel changed hands several times in the last half of the twentieth century before it was converted into a senior living complex. Eventually it became nascent until 2005 when it was restored and returned to its former glory as The Carlton.
Jamie and I had a room that opened into the center courtyard. Funny story: We unknowingly kept the French doors open but drew the curtains. Only when we woke up to especially fresh air did we realize that we each were under the impression that the other closed and locked the courtyard door. Regardless, we both felt safe on the property which is something that is of priority when I travel.
No stay at The Carlton is complete without stopping at the Back Porch Bakery. Jamie and I selected a loaf of walnut and blue cheese bread which proved to be necessary (especially for Jamie who was our designated driver) on our vineyard stops. Along with provisions from a local craft cheese and butter store, we took out the entire loaf of the artisanal bread and you know what?
We had no regrets.
Sincerest thanks to The Carlton for sponsoring our stay.