Monday, February 11, 2013

Westlake Village Getaway

Jyoti and I took little getaway this weekend up to the L.A. area.  Jo found a good Travel Zoo deal for the Westlake Village Inn.
We headed up Saturday morning and avoided any traffic.  In Santa Monica, we stopped at a Starbucks for a pit stop and then visited our favorite wine store from our L.A. days, The Wine House.
Our next stop was a hike at Paramount Ranch.  This park was featured in an episode of California’s Gold and looked like a neat area.  In the parking, we noticed the huge number of ground squirrels; Sophie would love this place!  The first thing on the hike was the western town.  A movie set, the town was pretty impressive especially since it is open to anyone who wants to walk through it.  We then continued on our loop hike and ended up doing about 3 miles.
We next drove a short distance to the Reagan Ranch.  One of Ronald Reagan’s former properties, it serves as a trailhead to the MASH set.  We only did a mile here since the weather started to get windy and cold.
After leaving the ranch, we drove west along Mulholland Highway.  We passed some very nice mountain communities and passed the legendary Rock Store biker café.  Just past the café, we stopped at a hairpin turn to check out the views.  There were also some photographers there taking pictures of the bikers and cars making the curve.  We took the highway all the way down to the beach.  From there, we turned right and headed along the coast.  Rather than get back on the freeway, we chose to take back roads to return to Westlake Village.  However, these back roads had the city on one side and the park on the other; not very scenic, but better than the 101 freeway.
We got back just in time to check in to our room which was very large, with a high ceiling, a comfy couch next to a even comfier bed.  There was a gas fireplace but it was more decorative than functional.
Part of the TZ deal, we got a free wine tasting at their new wine bar, Stonehaus.  The flight featured five of their private label wines, wines that we greatly enjoyed.  We got a couple of others off their modest list including a local Los Angeles County Chardonnay, its grapes grown in Malibu, a wine that turned out surprisingly good.  They also had a great cheese plate and graciously left off the crackers to appease our grain-free palates.  We then headed over to the hotel restaurant, mediterraneo.  I ordered a fabulous roasted chicken and Jyoti go the tuna.  We overdid it and ordered two desserts.  It was nice to have a long, lazy evening without having to worry about getting back to something.
The next morning, we ate again at mediterraneo.  I had the yogurt and granola while Jyoti had the oatmeal.  I normally don’t eat breakfast but the yogurt was quite good.  After breakfast we headed on back to Encinitas.  Traffic was very light and we only needed a single Starbucks stop.
I highly recommend the Westlake Village Inn.  They have a golf course, banquet facilities, great restaurants and a friendly staff.  Being located so close to the mountains, you can get some great hikes in as well.  I would love to visit the mountains again in the near future for more hikes.

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