HAPPY PLACES: If you've been to Harmony, California -- and we expect you have, or are currently planning a journey there now -- you probably say one of the following words when describing the experience to a friend: "peaceful," "glass-making," "pottery," "sky," "chickens." Us? We usually lead with the chickens, because there are a few talkative ones wandering about the last time we visited the uber-wee Central Coast town. But Harmony lives up to is beautiful name in all ways, and not just in the wild-chicken realm, and the idea that it is a stop on the Pacific Coast Wine Trail fits its celebratory spirit. Harmony Cellars joined six other regional wineries in forming the trail in the early part of 2013, and as the trail's first official harvest season kicks off, we thought we'd give a spotlight to the not-big-but-oh-so-robust winery grouping. And, yes, we led with the Harmony chickens, but wouldn't you? Have you been to Harmony? Have you met one of the wild chickens? Then you know.
THE PACIFIC COAST WINE TRAIL: There are seven members along the trail, which came together in January 2013. One has a name you might have heard of -- Hearst Ranch Winery -- while three are in Cambria: Black Hand Cellars, Moonstone Cellars, and Twin Coyotes. Stolo Family Winery & Vineyards is a pinch east of Cambria, on Santa Rosa Creek Road, and then there are the two southerly members: The aforementioned, wild-chicken-adjacent Harmony Cellars and Cayucos Cellars, which very, very near Cayucos State Beach (like, very). You can keep an eye on events here -- there's a scarecrow fest party in Cambria in early October where all seven wineries'll be represented -- or you can just visit one or two at a time. And, yeah, there's a clambake in Harmony on Saturday, Aug. 31, which sounds pretty perfect, and a fine jumping-off point for getting to know at least half of the trail. But bet the first harvest season will be a lively one at any of the Pacific Coast Wine Trail spots, whether there are wild chickens roaming about or not.
Seriously, Harmony, those chickens made a big impression, as do you. One of California's smallest towns but one of the biggest in heart, beauty, and natural charms.