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Monthly Newsletter | March 2024

Welcome to the March edition of our Monthly Newsletter where we journey through the vibrant landscapes and flavors of San Luis Obispo County, CA! As spring breathes new life into our surroundings, join us in exploring a kaleidoscope of experiences. This month, lace up your boots for a scenic hike along the coast, indulge in the culinary delights of a local eatery, savor the bouquet of a renowned winery’s offerings, mark your calendar for a special events throughout the month, and embrace the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day as we toast to the joys of discovery and renewal in this enchanting corner of California ☘️



HIKE OF THE MONTH

ELFIN FOREST

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California, is a magical natural enclave that seems as though it has been plucked straight from a fairy tale.


Covering approximately 90 acres, the Elfin Forest ecological reserve offers a rare glimpse into the diverse habitats and unique plant and animal species that thrive in the coastal zone of San Luis Obispo County. The Elfin Forest, named for its dwarfed oak trees, provides an enchanting experience for nature enthusiasts, hikers, bird watchers, and anyone looking to escape into a serene and mystical natural world.

At the heart of the Elfin Forest’s charm is its pygmy oak woodland, where the California coastal live oak trees (Quercus agrifolia) are naturally dwarfed, some reaching no taller than 4 to 20 feet at maturity, a stark contrast to their typical towering counterparts. This unusual growth pattern is due to the forest’s unique environmental conditions, including nutrient-poor, sandy soil and persistent coastal winds. Walking through the Elfin Forest, visitors are transported into a Lilliputian landscape, where the small stature of the trees creates a canopy that feels both intimate and expansive.

Beyond the pygmy oaks, the Elfin Forest is home to a rich biodiversity, including over 200 plant species, numerous bird species, and various mammals, reptiles, and insects. This biodiversity is a testament to the variety of habitats within the reserve, from coastal dunes and marshes to the oak woodlands. Springtime is particularly magical, as the forest floor and surrounding areas burst into a vibrant display of wildflowers, including the vivid hues of lupines, poppies, and the endangered Morro Bay kangaroo rat’s habitat.

The Elfin Forest is not only a haven for biodiversity but also a sanctuary for the soul. The reserve features a 1-mile-long boardwalk loop that meanders through the forest, allowing for accessible exploration of this delicate ecosystem without disturbing it. Along the way, interpretive signs provide insights into the area’s ecological, geological, and cultural history, enhancing the visitor’s experience and understanding of the forest’s significance.

ADDRESS
Trailheads off Santa Ysabel Ave &
11 – 17th Streets
Los Osos, CA 93402


🥾 1 Mile
〽️ 59’
🔁 Loop
🦮 Dogs On Leash Allowed
🚵‍♂️ Mountain Biking Not Allowed

Conservation efforts have been pivotal in preserving the Elfin Forest’s natural beauty and ecological importance. Local organizations, such as the Elfin Forest Support Group, work tirelessly to protect the area from the threats of development, pollution, and invasive species. These efforts ensure that the forest remains a pristine natural resource for future generations to enjoy.

The Elfin Forest also holds cultural significance, with evidence of Chumash Native American habitation in the area. The Chumash utilized the rich resources of the forest and surrounding lands for food, shelter, and tools. Today, the Elfin Forest serves as a reminder of the deep connections between humans and the natural world, encouraging visitors to reflect on the importance of preserving such unique environments.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos is a remarkable natural treasure that captivates the imagination and soothes the spirit. Its unique dwarfed oaks, diverse habitats, and rich biodiversity make it a must-visit for anyone interested in the natural wonders of California’s central coast. Through conservation and education, the Elfin Forest will continue to enchant visitors for generations to come, serving as a testament to the beauty and resilience of nature.

RESTAURANT OF THE MONTH

BEAR & THE WREN

Bear and The Wren, nestled within the vibrant Creamery Marketplace in San Luis Obispo, California, is a culinary gem that marries rustic charm with modern flair, offering an unparalleled dining experience that captivates both locals and visitors alike.


As you step through the inviting wooden doors of Bear and The Wren, you’re immediately greeted by a warm and inviting ambiance. The interior decor effortlessly blends industrial elements with cozy accents, creating a welcoming atmosphere that invites patrons to settle in and savor the moment. Exposed brick walls adorned with local artwork provide a nod to the area’s rich history, while plush leather banquettes and carefully curated lighting add a touch of elegance to the space.

The menu at Bear and The Wren is a culinary masterpiece, thoughtfully crafted to showcase the finest seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms and purveyors. With a focus on modern American cuisine infused with global influences, each dish is a celebration of flavor, texture, and creativity with something to tempt every palate.

In addition to its exceptional cuisine, Bear and The Wren boasts a carefully curated wine list featuring varietals from renowned local vineyards, as well as craft cocktails expertly crafted by skilled mixologists. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply savoring the moment, the attentive and knowledgeable staff at Bear and The Wren ensure that every dining experience is nothing short of extraordinary.

In conclusion, Bear and The Wren is more than just a restaurant – it’s a culinary destination where passion and creativity converge to create unforgettable dining experiences. From its inviting ambiance and impeccable service to its inspired cuisine and thoughtfully curated beverage offerings, Bear and The Wren sets the standard for excellence in San Luis Obispo’s thriving culinary scene.

Bear & The Wren
570 Higuera St #2
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401


Monday
Closed

Tuesday – Saturday
4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Sunday
12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

WINERY OF THE MONTH

RAILS NAP

Rails Nap Winery stands as a testament to the rich winemaking heritage of Paso Robles, California, nestled within the renowned Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA). With a history deeply rooted in the region’s winemaking traditions, Rails Nap Winery has recently reopened its doors, inviting wine enthusiasts to savor its exceptional wines amidst the picturesque landscape of the Geneseo District.


The history of Rails Nap Winery traces back to the early days of Paso Robles’ emergence as a prominent wine-producing region. Founded by a group of passionate winemakers in the late 20th century, the winery quickly gained recognition for its commitment to crafting premium wines that capture the essence of the Paso Robles terroir. Over the years, Rails Nap Winery became synonymous with quality, earning accolades for its distinctive varietals and dedication to excellence in winemaking.

The recent reopening of Rails Nap Winery marks a significant milestone in its storied history, signaling a fresh chapter characterized by revitalization and renewed passion. Under new ownership, the winery has undergone extensive renovations, blending modern amenities with the rustic charm that defines Paso Robles wine country. From its vineyards to its tasting room, every aspect of Rails Nap reflects a dedication to providing visitors with an unforgettable wine experience.

Central to Rails Nap’s allure is its location within the Paso Robles AVA, a renowned wine region celebrated for its diverse microclimates and distinctive terroir. Situated along California’s Central Coast, Paso Robles boasts a unique combination of warm days, cool nights, and varied soil types, creating an ideal environment for grape cultivation. This unique terroir imparts a distinct character to the wines produced within the AVA, contributing to Paso Robles’ reputation as one of the premier wine destinations in the world.

Within the Paso Robles AVA lies the Geneseo District, a sub-appellation revered for its premium vineyards and exceptional wines. Home to Rails Nap Winery, the Geneseo District encompasses rolling hills, sun-drenched vineyards, and a sense of tranquility that epitomizes the Paso Robles wine country experience. Here, amidst the rugged beauty of the landscape, Rails Nap cultivates its grapes with meticulous care, harnessing the full potential of the region’s terroir to craft wines of unparalleled quality and distinction.

Visitors to Rails Nap Winery are invited to embark on a journey of exploration and discovery, where each sip tells a story of tradition, innovation, and the timeless allure of Paso Robles wine. Whether enjoying a leisurely tasting overlooking the vineyards or participating in an exclusive wine-pairing experience, guests are treated to an immersive sensory adventure that celebrates the artistry and craftsmanship of Rails Nap’s winemaking legacy.

In essence, Rails Nap Winery represents more than just a place to enjoy wine—it embodies the spirit of Paso Robles, where passion, perseverance, and a deep reverence for the land converge to create something truly extraordinary. As the winery continues to write its story in the annals of Paso Robles winemaking history, one thing remains certain: the journey is as memorable as the destination, and the best is yet to come.

Rails Nap
5725 Union Rd
Paso Robles, CA 93446


Friday, Saturday & Sunday
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

CHEF’S CORNER

THE VERSATILE CHEF

By Chef Candice Custodio

If you’ve received our newsletter before, you know each month we publish a delicious recipe by our favorite local chef, Chef Candice Custodio. This month we’re celebrating the publication of Chef Candice’s cookbook: The Versatile Chef!

Inspired by Tamar Adler’s “An Everlasting Meal,” “The Versatile Chef” intertwines recipes with personal stories, creating a unique narrative experience. Each chapter and recipe is introduced by a tale, connecting the culinary creations to Chef Candice’s life. The book goes beyond being a mere cookbook, providing substitutions, modifications, and storage tips for every recipe.


We could not be more thrilled for Chef Candice, and hope all of our readers help us send her the warmest congratulations for the publication of her cookbook!

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 at Kindred Oak Farm in Paso Robles.

SPECIAL EVENT SPOTLIGHT

The Central Coast Craft Beer Fest is a pivotal event celebrating the rich culture of craft brewing on California’s Central Coast. Scheduled for March 23, 2024, this festival is not just a gathering but a vibrant showcase of over 55 independently owned craft breweries, cideries, seltzer makers, kombucha brewers, and wineries from across California. The event promises an immersive experience for attendees, set against the picturesque backdrop of the famous Sunken Gardens in Atascadero.

A standout feature of the festival is its live entertainment lineup, featuring performances by Silk Ocean, Carbon City Lights, and DJ sets by Traffic Records, ensuring that the atmosphere is electrifying from start to finish. Beyond the brews and beats, the festival is a community-centric event, offering a plethora of food trucks, a wide array of merchant vendors, and engaging lawn games like mega-sized beer pong. It’s an environment where friends can gather, new connections can be made, and the communal spirit of the craft beer culture can be celebrated.

The Central Coast Craft Beer Fest is more than just a day of indulgence; it’s a contributor to the local community and the broader craft beer movement. Proceeds from the event benefit local charities and the Central Coast Brewers Guild. The guild plays a pivotal role in educating consumers about the unique contributions of the Central Coast to the craft beer industry, highlighting the festival’s commitment to both celebration and education.

EVENT CALENDAR

Events for April

28th

Events for April

29th

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30th

Events for May

1st

Events for May

2nd

7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Come From Away

Performing Arts Center SLO | Harold Miossi Hall
Events for May

3rd

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4th

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5th

No Events
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6th

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7th

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8th

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10th

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11th

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12th

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13th

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14th

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15th

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16th

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17th

Events for May

18th

2:00 pm

Newsies Jr.

The Clark Center for the Performing Arts
7:00 pm

Newsies Jr.

The Clark Center for the Performing Arts
Events for May

19th

No Events
Events for May

20th

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21st

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22nd

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23rd

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24th

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25th

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26th

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27th

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28th

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29th

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30th

Events for May

31st

Events for June

1st

NEXT MONTH

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!

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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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