Let’s be honest: it isn’t hard to spend three perfect days in pastoral San Luis Obispo. Named North America’s “happiest city,” this Central Coast California college town is a pleasing mix of farm-to-fork bistros, galleries, and boutique shopping, not to mention wine tasting. It is into this comfortable, captivating ambiance that international performer and conductor Scott Yoo and the musicians of FESTIVAL MOZAIC will bring their international-caliber artistry for three days in March for our “WinterMezzo” weekend. The music alone is worth the trip, but to make the most of this spectacular weekend, we’ve curated an itinerary of experiences in San Luis Obispo that are sure to engage you, body and soul. Conveniently located just three hours from the Bay Area and just three hours from downtown Los Angeles, this small town offers a truly sophisticated yet laid-back feel, and is absolutely worth the scenic drive to get here.
Friday, March 1
Check into the cozy Apple Farm Inn and grab a cup of their house-milled hot cider before heading over to the ornate Masonic Lodge for the first event of the weekend, a “Notable Encounter Insight” at 6 o’clock. Sit back with a complimentary glass of wine from one of the Festival’s favorite wineries and enjoy a discussion with Music Director Scott Yoo and the author of the national bestseller, Beethoven’s Hair, Russell Martin, paired with musical examples from Festival musicians.
Afterward, meander through San Luis Obispo’s charming downtown toward Luna Red Restaurant, where you’ll enjoy a dinner of exotic-inspired small plates and specialties crafted from fresh, local, sustainably-grown ingredients. Follow it all up with a tour of the city’s art spaces during the monthly Art After Dark program, wherein galleries, studios and local businesses keep their doors open until 9 PM.
Saturday, March 2
Wake up with a brisk walk on any one of San Luis Obispo’s famed hiking trails like Felsman Loop or Cerro San Luis, followed by fresh coffee and beignets at local favorite eatery, Big Sky Café. Head back to the Apple Farm Inn for showers or a luxurious soak in the hot tub before making your way downtown for shopping. Pick up your new favorite pair of Italian boots at Romp! or handcrafted home goods at Habitat – or simply enjoy a walk along the creek, capped off with a visit to the city’s pulsating historical heart, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.
For lunch, head to Sal’s Paradise Bakery, Sandwiches and Foccaceria for incredible specialty sandwiches with names like “The Ex-Girlfriend,” “The Cardiologist,” and “The Uncle Andre.”
Spend the afternoon wine tasting and enjoying SLO’s pastoral Edna Valley, where some of Festival Mozaic’s favorite wineries like Kynsi and Clairborne & Churchill pour award-winning wines you’ll want to bring home with you.
To complete this very full day, enjoy a Notable Encounter Dinner at the home of Festival patrons Sharon and Dennis Schneider in Varian Ranch. Join fellow music-lovers, Scott Yoo, and Festival musicians as they explore the mystery, intrigue and power of Beethoven’s music alongside a sumptuous dinner paired with wine.
Sunday, March 3
Wake late with coffee and the newspaper in bed, then make your way downtown to Novo Restaurant for their celebrated Sunday brunch. Indulge in a historical tour of downtown San Luis Obispo with the History Center of SLO County’s wonderful walking tour apps (available for free at iTunes), with themes like “Historic Downtown,” “The Railroad District,” and “The Darker Side of San Luis Obispo.”
At 3 PM, make your way to the Wintermezzo final event, a full concert featuring three dazzling Beethoven works performed by Scott Yoo and Festival Mozaic musicians at the United Methodist Church.
- Beethoven – Serenade in D, op. 25
- Beethoven – Cello Sonata in A, op. 69
- Beethoven – String Quartet in E-flat, op. 127
After the concert, pack your bags and return home refreshed, fulfilled and inspired by a weekend of small-town hospitality and fantastic music!