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5 Nearby Towns For a Quick Getaway On Memorial Day

(credit: Thinkstock)

These five ideas for destinations could boost your happiness on this three-day weekend that kicks summer. Don't let Memorial Day Weekend catch you by surprise. Happy places are all around us.

Paso Robles
SummerWood Winery & Inn
2175 Arbor Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 227-1111

Stop at the Hearst Castle on the way to Paso, perhaps timing it for one of their sublime sunsets. Paso Robles is where newlyweds Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio spent their honeymoon night in 1954, en route to Los Angeles. While the Clifton Motel is gone, you can up the ante with a stay at SummerWood Inn, where every guest is treated like a star. This is a destination hotel, both for its ambience and food. Chef Kelly Wangard, champion of Food Network's "Cutthroat Kitchen" in 2014, is a renaissance woman. She renovated the nine-guest room premises, she cooks a hearty breakfast served at the communal farm table, sets up a wine hour with appetizers and leaves out dessert and wine for guests returning to the inn after dinner in food-centric Paso Robles.

Pismo Beach
The Cliffs Resort
2757 Shell Beach Road
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
(805) 773-5000 

Check in at the Cliffs Resort and check out fabulous wineries, breweries and barbecue nearby. Have some seaside feel-good moments including a clambake at Pismo Beach or kayaking in and out of the dinosaur caves. Go horseback riding on the sunny trails at historic Madonna Inn. This might be the most unique looking hotel you've ever seen  and is sure to bring a smile.

Half Moon Bay
The Ritz-Carlton
1 Miramontes Point Road
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
(650) 712-7000

Less than 30 miles from San Francisco, the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay has an unbeatable five-star wine, dine and golf combination that's so much quicker to get to than Pebble Beach. The property's location on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean sets up a golfer's dream of fairways with knockout views on both the Old Course and the Ocean Course. Fireplaces and ocean front fire pits, flights at the ENO tasting room, excellent wine cellars and fresh seafood at Navio, tennis courts and spa are all part of an indulgent stay with next to no travel time. They're dog-friendly as well.

Inn at Park Winters
27850 County Road 26
Winters, CA 95694
(530) 669-3692

Near Lake Berryessa , the town of Winters is 60 miles from San Francisco. Make your first stop in its charming restored downtown at the Main Street Visitors Center, where they'll point you to super friendly, family-run wine tasting rooms within a few blocks. Cloth Carousel is a sweet quilt-making shop below the historic Palm Playhouse. Embrace a simple country stay at the impossibly pretty Inn at Park Winters. Browse the Briggs Art Gallery and iron works farm, visit the historical train trestle bridge over Putah Creek, go fishing or cycling and try the wood-fired pizza at Putah Creek Café. You'll find no fast food, but there are a surprising number of fantastic restaurants for a town of under 7,000 people.

Wine & Roses
2505 W. Turner Road
Lodi, CA 95242
(209) 334-6988

Start at the Visitor Center at this wine-loving city, where you will be greeted by an Instagram-worthy wine barrel sculpture. The luxury Wine & Roses hotel, spa and Towne House Restaurant next door couldn't be lovelier.

Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she's writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today, eHow, and on



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