Here’s The Retro Coolest Place To Stay In California Wine Country

Here’s The Retro Coolest Place To Stay In California Wine Country

This sweet spot at Alta Colina Vineyard and Winery in Paso Robles is a favorite destination for girlfriend getaways, special celebrations and memorable tastings.

The Trailer Pond

It’s not surprising that this collection of vintage trailers looks as if it belongs on a set of a Hollywood movie. The company that restored these beauties is in the business of prepping props like this for film. That organization has since bowed out, selling to the trailers to the Alta Colina owners.

Considered by many as the original recreational vehicles, this class of tiny homes on wheels were all the rage in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, marketed as the perfect vehicle for a family getaway. If you were will to squish in, these rolling roofs could sleep up to six.

These days, as the whole van life culture has fueled a new generation of enthusiasts, it’s not unusual to see DIY redux of some classics. (There are also RV companies dedicated to creating retro-looking rigs like the Shasta Airflyte.)

The five vintage trailers artfully arranged around a pond among the organic hillside vineyards on gorgeous Alta Colina are set up for maximum comfort. Each unit has its own personality and backstory, the latter told in a cheat sheet left on the dining table.


The Shasta, for instance, was built in 1959 and still has its original icebox. The 1958 Kenskill Deluxe has a large fridge with a retro vibe and a comfy memory foam mattress on the double bed. (All units have doubles, tucked into the rear of the rig.)

Yes, it’s tight. Or, you could also consider the snug space cozy.

I’m used to living in a 23-foot motorhome, so this setup felt positively roomy. And because my grandparents owned a 1958 Aloha when I was a kid, it also hit that deeply nostalgic pleasure point for me.

Though it’s billed as glamping, this exceptional experience leans a little bit more toward the camping spectrum. After all, the bathroom’s a short walk away from your digs and there’s only an outdoor shower. But what a glorious way to wake up, the birds singing a happy song from nearby oak trees, sun streaming into the very private setup.

Summit Vineyard Tasting

Alta Colina founder Bob Tillman arrived in Paso when this now red-hot wine country was still a bit under the radar. A retired engineer, Tillman took a science-driven approach to planting the hillside vineyards more than 16 years ago.

The region gets very warm during the growing season, but those high temps of summer are tempered by the cool marine air that flows in late in the afternoon. Through trial and error, Tillman and his crew have worked to perfect the drip irrigation system, watering deeply early on and then letting the vines stress as the season progresses.

Those efforts and considerable care pay off in the lineup of Rhone-style wines that are gobbled up as soon as they’re released, mostly by fiercely loyal wine club members.

Alta Colina fans know to book a tasting on the Summit Vineyard deck, which enjoys a sweeping view of the surrounding region. That mountainous landscape is dotted with all sorts of oak trees — more than 130 varieties in the area, Bob points out.

The lineup poured might include a standout Grenache blanc, barrel fermented in neutral French oak and the spectacular house red blend called GSM. As in Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah. The hands-down fave down for many who stay at The Trailer Pond? The rosé.

The ultimate outdoor dining

While I’m a huge fan of the tri-tip steak scene in Paso, after settling in at The Trailer Pond, I didn’t want to leave this magical setting. OK, left just long enough to pop into town and pick up some camarones for the grill and fajita fixings at the flat-out awesome La Reyna Market.

After a long, gray winter in the Pacific Northwest, it was such a gift to parachute into this full-on spring scene. There’s nothing quite like the joy of cooking the first meal of the season on the grill.

We ate as the sun set, turning the sky amber and triggering the swallows to start their graceful dance over the pond, searching for their dinner. That evening, we had the place to ourselves and we spent time sitting around the outdoor fire pit, watching the stars appear as the sky darkened. I didn’t want this experience to end. I will definitely be back.

Booking details

There’s a two-night minimum stay at The Trailer Pond, with rates starting at $275. Group rentals start at $3,000 for two nights up to 10 guests. Various add-on options include on-site yoga classes, massages, private mixology classes, movie nights and more. There’s also a list of food options available from a brunch picnic box and farm-to-table feasts to advice on where to order take-out or delivery.

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Published at Sat, 01 May 2021 13:00:00 +0000

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