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Monthly Newsletter | December 2023

Welcome to the December 2023 edition of our newsletter!

As the holiday season twinkles into view, we’re excited to showcase a festive collection of local treasures. This month, we feature a scenic hike that captures the winter charm of our landscapes. Indulge in culinary delights at our featured restaurant, guaranteed to warm your heart and palate. We’ll also uncork the magic of a local winery, offering the perfect pairing for your holiday meals. Don’t miss our exclusive holiday recipe, a delightful addition to any festive table. Lastly, we spotlight can’t-miss special events that embody the spirit of the season in SLO. Join us in celebrating the joy and warmth of December in San Luis Obispo County! 🌟



The 5 Cities Coast Walk is an inviting and accessible outdoor activity for those looking to explore the scenic coastline of this region. This hike is characterized by its manageable difficulty level, making it suitable for a wide range of hikers, from beginners to more experienced ones.

Spanning a distance of approximately 8 miles, the hike is actually a collection of three separate hikes in Oceano, Grover Beach, and Pismo Beach. Along the way you get to explore the Dune Trail in Oceano, the Meadow Creek Boardwalk trail in Grover Beach, and cross through the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo before ending at the recently renovated pier.

Each trail can also be hiked on its own, but if you’d like the challenge of hiking all three we highly recommend starting from the dunes in Oceano. The Dunes Trail picks up a short distance from the parking lot, and weaves behind the part of the beach where cars and trucks can drive.

From the dunes trail you end up in Grover Beach, and the Meadow Creek boardwalk trail picks up right across the street. The Meadow Creek boardwalk trail offers a nice break from hiking in the sand, and you get even more amazing views of the water right from the boardwalk. There’s even places to sit and take in the views along the way. The Meadow Creek trail continues past the Monarch Butterfly Grove (by the North Beach Campground), which pops out onto the streets of Pismo before you can connect back down to the pier.

This trail is a great way to experience the unique coastal landscapes of Pismo Beach, providing an opportunity to enjoy the fresh ocean air and picturesque views. Whether you are looking to have a leisurely walk, a fitness hike, or just a peaceful day out in nature, the 5 Cities Coast Walk offers a delightful experience for everyone​.

Dune Trail
200 Pier Ave, Oceano, CA 93445

Meadow Creek Trail
1 W Grand Ave, Grover Beach, CA 93433

Pismo Pier
100 Pomeroy Ave, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

🥾 ~8 Miles Out & Back
〽️ 157’
🦮 Dogs Not Allowed
🚵‍♂️ Mountain Biking Not Allowed



Pig Iron restaurant in Templeton, CA, not only offers a unique dining experience but also has a rich history tied to its location and ownership. The journey began when Taylor Odenwald, who once worked as a busser for AJ Spurs (the previous establishment in the building), decided to purchase the building with a group of friends, all locals from San Luis Obispo County. Their aim was to bring a new concept to Templeton’s Main Street while preserving the historical significance of the building​​.

The building, which is now home to Pig Iron, has been a part of Templeton’s history for many years. It was originally known as The Templeton Mercantile through the 1970s, owned by the Peterson Family, and has served various roles over the years, including a butcher shop, a grocery, and even a girls finishing school. In the 1960s, it was transformed into the Iron Horse restaurant, which was well-known locally for its bar​​.

The current owners, including Odenwald, Wyatt Ayers, Seth Roberts, Jeremy Limpic, and Joe Daniels, come from diverse backgrounds ranging from contracting to marketing technology, art, and machining. They shared a vision to not only preserve the building’s heritage but also to revitalize it as a key part of the downtown area. The Pig Iron was the first phase of this vision, with plans to further develop the site, including a cocktail lounge and a renewed steakhouse​​.

Pig Iron itself is designed with a California comfort food concept. It features an open patio equipped with heaters and a bonfire for cozy dining experiences, as well as a handcrafted cocktail and coffee bar.

The restaurant’s interior has been updated to maintain its historical charm, displaying old photos of the Templeton Mercantile and a completely renovated kitchen. A significant focus for the owners is supporting local businesses, sourcing ingredients from local farmers markets and featuring local goods in their mini mercantile room​​​​.

This blend of historical preservation, community integration, and innovative culinary and dining concepts makes Pig Iron a unique and cherished establishment in Templeton, and a destination worthy of seeking out as a foodie’s destination here on the Central Coast.

Pig Iron
508 S Main Street
Templeton, CA 93465

4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Friday & Saturday
10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
(Brunch 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)



Bianchi Winery, nestled in the heart of Paso Robles, California, holds a significant place in the region’s viticultural history.

Founded in 1974 by Glenn Bianchi and his father Joseph, the winery began its journey on the banks of the San Joaquin River in California’s Central Valley.

In a pivotal move, Glenn Bianchi acquired 40 acres of vineyards on the east side of Paso Robles in January 2000, marking the winery’s relocation and expansion.

This new property, now the home of Bianchi Winery, features a state-of-the-art tasting room and wine facility, along with a vineyard house for guest accommodations, all set amidst the picturesque estate vineyards.

Producing approximately 10,000 cases annually, the winery is a testament to the family’s dedication to winemaking excellence and innovation​​.

The Paso Robles AVA, where Bianchi Winery is located, is an American Viticultural Area established in 1983 and further amended in 1996. It’s part of the larger Central Coast AVA in California. This region is renowned for its unique soil composition, primarily consisting of weathered granite, volcanic, and marine sedimentary rocks, with overlays of sandstone, mudstone, or calcareous shales.

Spanning a total area of 666,618 acres, with about 40,000 acres dedicated to vineyards, the Paso Robles AVA is celebrated for its diverse grape production. It boasts over 40 wine grape varieties, including Albariño, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Grenache, Merlot, and Zinfandel, among others. The region is especially well-known for its heritage varietal Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Rhône-style wines. This diverse viticulture adds a rich and varied palette to the wines produced in this area, including those by Bianchi Winery​​.

Bianchi Winery, through its storied history and prime location in the Paso Robles AVA, exemplifies the rich winemaking tradition of California’s Central Coast. Its commitment to quality and its beautiful setting make it a notable destination for wine enthusiasts and visitors to the region.

Bianchi Winery and Tasting Room
3380 Branch Rd
Paso Robles, CA 93446

Monday – Friday
12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

By Chef Candice Custodio

Skip those pricey store bought hot chocolate mixes! Making your own is so much easier than you think, and much more affordable. You can also customize the flavors and truly make the hot chocolate of your dreams. This recipe is one you’ll love to have on hand and it works as a fun and tasty homemade gift. 

Chef Candice Custodio

A Cal Poly Alumni, Chef Candice Custodio is a Los Angeles native now permanently residing on the Central Coast. She has held various positions as an Executive Chef, Restaurant/Menu Consultant, Private Chef, and has been featured on the Food Network’s Chopped. She is currently the Chef and Owner of Club SupSup.



The Cambria Christmas Market, held in Cambria, California, is a festive event that transforms the coastal town into a winter wonderland. Inspired by traditional German Christmas markets, it showcases a dazzling array of lights, creating a magical atmosphere. Visitors are treated to an immersive experience with over two million lights, adorning the outdoor space with intricate displays and patterns, reminiscent of a fairytale setting.

As attendees wander through the market, they encounter a variety of vendors selling unique handcrafted gifts, ornaments, and seasonal treats, offering a perfect opportunity for holiday shopping. The aroma of mulled wine, gingerbread, and roasted nuts fills the air, contributing to the warm and welcoming ambiance.

The market also features live music and entertainment, adding to the festive cheer. Traditional holiday music echoes throughout, performed by local artists, enhancing the communal spirit of the event. For families, the market offers activities like Santa’s Village, where children can meet Santa Claus and engage in holiday-themed crafts.

This enchanting event not only celebrates the holiday season but also brings the community together, creating lasting memories. The Cambria Christmas Market is more than just a market; it’s a seasonal highlight that embodies the spirit of Christmas, combining traditional charm with a unique coastal twist.

2905 Burton Dr
Cambria, CA 93428

November 24 – December 23
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
(Lights Out at 9:00 p.m.)



The San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden, a haven devoted to plants from the five Mediterranean climate regions of the world, is hosting a special event called “Nature Nights.”

This event, taking place on Friday and Saturday evenings from November 17 through December 31, offers a unique experience combining art, light, and music.

Visitors can stroll through garden paths illuminated by captivating light installations and artwork in glass while enjoying live music each night. The event also features local culinary delights and regional wine and beer for guests to savor.

Located near the Pacific Ocean on the Central Coast of California, the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden spans 150 acres.

Once the Master Plan is complete, this non-profit botanical garden will be entirely dedicated to showcasing the ecosystems and plants unique to the world’s five Mediterranean climate regions.

The garden’s mission is to honor and preserve our connection with nature, serving both the residents of San Luis Obispo County and visitors from around the globe

San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden
3450 Dairy Creek Rd
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

Nature Nights
Every Friday & Saturday
November 17 – December 31
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.



If you love SLO County as much as we do (or know someone who does!), then consider giving the gift of SLO this holiday season!

Luis is Lost is a children’s search and find book inspired by many of the places we love around SLO County. Help find Luis on each page, and five of the things he loves best in each area!

Coloring SLO County is a coloring book for adults inspired by the places we love best around SLO County.

Cards About SLO is an unofficial but kind of official looking expansion pack for a super fun party card game. Every card is a different reference to San Luis Obispo County with 12 black and 42 white cheeky question and answer cards.


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If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading our newsletter! ❤️

We’ll be back next month with even more ideas to hike around SLO County; a new bar, restaurant, and winery of the month; another extra special recipe from Chef Candice Custodio; and more special events you don’t want to miss! 

See you next month!


We love San Luis Obispo County, and San Luis Obispo Guide was started as a way for us to share why we love living here and why tourists love coming here to visit. There are so many wonderful people, amazing places, and incredible products to share (not to mention all the fantastic food, drink, and wine!), and we want to promote that through our website, social channels, and podcast so everyone can discover what makes SLO County so special.

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