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Jul 17, 2013 07:06 PM

Near Paso Robles: Hearst Castle Hacienda Hunting Lodge Overnight - (Hunter-Liggett Military Reservation)

Planning an overnight stay at the former Heast Castle huning lodge - the Hacienda that allows civilian stays on the Hunter-Liggett military reservation near the remote but exquisite San Antonio del Padua mission, off Highway 101 north of Paso Robles.

Here is the game plan I am developing since there is little food service on the military base, but rooms do have some cooking capacity:

1. LUNCH: Stop for a main meal mid-day in Paso Robles at the Artisan

2. DINNER: Pick up our favorite Mo's Philty Phil ribs dinner combo in Pismo Beach for the cooler, and have it for dinner that evening at the Hacienda - cold ribs outdoors, yummy picnic style.

3. Hacienda offers a small continental breakfast in the morning.

4. LATE BREAKFAST: Need a suggestion for late breakfast somewhere between the Hacienda and Santa Barbara (home) - or nothing wrong with the Eggs Benedicts at the Madonna Inn.

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  1. Will you be going through Cambria? Last month we were there for a week and enjoyed ourselves at Creekside Gardens Cafe, 2114 Main St.m Cambriaā€ˇ CA on a Friday.

    DH enjoyed his Eggs Benedict, the rest of us had lunch fare. Afterwards, we browsed The Garden Shed Complex of nursery and shops couple doors south on Main St.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Stephanie Wong

      Good question - we will most likely be taking 101 back - have done that back road down to the coast from this area and it is a pretty stunning back country drive, but will keep your suggestion in mind because it may be just too pretty not to take again. Thanks.

    2. If you are leaving on a Sunday, NOVO in SLO has a nice brunch. Good food and you can't beat the setting over looking the creek.

      4 Replies
      1. re: mike0989

        We are doing a Fri/Sat trip which does cut out the Sunday brunch options. Thanks, but we will keep this in mind for another trip to the SLO area.

        1. re: glbtrtr

          Luna Red serves brunch on Saturdays. I'd like to hear about your stay when you get back.

          1. re: PattyC

            Thanks for the tip for Luna Red in SLO - found the menu for brunch:

            1. re: PattyC

              I've had diner there and enjoyed it. Should be a good option for a brunch. They are run by the Owners of NOVO and Robin's in Cambria.

        2. Trip report - great success and thanks for the tips.

          Hacienda Lodge at Hunter Liggett army base - Jolon road, north of Paso Robles - the old Wm Randoph Hearst country lodge now on the Hunter Liggett military reservation: many of the rooms have a microwave, small refrigerator and coffee maker in a separate dining area so cooking ,warming and storing food you bring in is an option.

          No formal evening dining is routinely available, although there are occasional dinner events on the base if you check their MWR (Morale-Welfare-Recreation) calendar - well priced at $15 for a buffet type set up.

          But mainly, you will be on your own for dinner unless you visit the Liggett Lanes bowling ally snack bar which is a short walk down the hill from the Lodge for what looked like credible pizza which you can have custom made with a variety of fresh ingredients, or have their "gourmet" hot dogs with chili or sauerkraut. They also had some standard sandwiches too - ham cheese, etc. Fountain drinks and bottled beer. Caveat: closed Monday/Tues

          There was a full bar in the Hacienda Lodge itself which was the old grand fireplace gathering room in its heydays, but they did not serve any food - opens at 5:30pm. Not very lively and a pale shadow of what this room was probably like when Hearst entertained his illustrious guests who rode in from his "castle"

          We picked up our slab of Mo's BBQ ribs in Pismo Beach on our way up and had our dinner cold at an outdoor picnic table looking out over the sweeping view in front of the opulent Hacienda structure and its cascading lawns.

          Packing your own picnic dinner or picking up something in Paso Robles or even a bucket of Kentucky Fried could work too if you want anything of substance for dinner during your stay here. The lawns are lovely but they lack nice outdoor seating or sufficient view tables. There are rows of utilitarian picnic tables outside the Hacienda bar but they are next to the driveway and a tall hedge. This should be improved because there are plenty of more spectacular outdoor picnic spots on this property.

          There are free movies on the base at 7pm, so plan your dinner hour around that because there is nothing much to do for entertainment out there if you want some evening activity. There is a DVD machine outside at the Base Exchange and TV DVD unit in the room if you want to bring your own.

          We started our overnight trip with a stop at The Artisan Cafe for lunch in Paso Robles thanks to a Chowhound tip here and enjoyed it greatly. Knowing we had those ribs from MO's waiting for us for dinner at the Lodge, we had only a few light things for lunch but could not pass up the desserts- a very worthy contender in Paso and will enjoy return visits here.

          I had their house pate and small green salad and DH had the crispy shrimp flat-bread. I had their s'more dessert and DH had the butterscotch pudding - both very successful.

          The Hacienda is about one hour away from Paso and you pass Lockwood which claims it has wine tasting, but we did not stop. The Mission San Antonio del Padua is just down the road from the Hunter Liggett base entrance and occasionally they have food events so check their calendar too, if you want to fit in some sort of dining out in this remote chunk of wild countryside.

          The Hacienda Lodge serves a basic continental style breakfast from 6:30-9 at the Lodge dining room. There was a massive industrial kitchen, so at times they were well equiped to serve an "army" for sure. But today we just got various commercial breads, muffins, bagels dry cereal, yogurt, butter, cream cheese, orange juice, coffee (good brewed) and hard boiled eggs. Enough to start the day. Packets of instant oatmeal too.

          Then after a lazy morning start soaking in the views at the Hacienda, we were on to the Chowtip brunch at Luna Red in SLO - DH picked the winner - the chorizo eggs benedict done on a very tasty corn muffin type base and an excellent hollandaise. My bean/rice fried eggs on corn tortillas was less successful but still fairly tasty, but not the savory punch DH got with the eggs benedict choice. Wonderful recommendation - lovely to eat outdoors with very pleasant service.

          A side trip to pick up apples at Gopher Glen in See Canyon down the road - Mollie's Delicious - sweet and crisp - short season offerings starting in early August initiates the See Canyon apple season.

          So as an overnight central coast get away that is unusual in its setting as well as dining challenges this is a recommend package easily booked online at the Hunter Liggett website -Try to schedule your visit around one of their special dinner event nights if you can, and save all the extra meal planning.

          3 Replies
          1. re: glbtrtr

            One of these days or years I am going to do a road trip to see all of the California Missions in one fell swoop...plenty of great restaurants near most of them, but San Antonia del Padua is an exception, so I appreciate the tips and just saved the post to come back to! Thanks!

            1. re: susancinsf

              I wonder if the San Antonio mission could start offering picnic suppers by reservation/catering sort of thing for Hacienda visitors. Wouldn't that be a spectacular combination?

            2. re: glbtrtr

              Thanks for the report and info on the lodge.