Winding up Highway 1, also known as Pacific Coast Highway, and discovering interesting places with deep history and diversity is one of my favorite things to do. It’s a natural wonderland.
If you haven’t taken a drive up Highway 1 on the California Central Coast, you are in for a huge treat. The scenery is magnificent. Around each corner is a new discovery. Montana De Oro is a unique beach setting with an array of colors that look surreal. Cattle roam the stunning green hills dotted with oak trees, the crystal blue ocean sparkles, and deer feed in the distance. Every mile of the drive is a gift for the soul.
Harmony was a struggling small town with a Creamery in the 19th Century with little more than a couple dairies that endured many challenges and financial difficulties. Harmony was a struggling small town with a Creamery in the 19th Century with little more than a couple dairies that endured many challenges and financial difficulties. Hearst Castle is 17 miles to the North and William Randolph Hearst often stopped by Harmony on his way home to pick up his supplies.
In 2014, Alan Vander Horst and his family purchased Harmony, and the town is currently under historic preservation and revitalization efforts. Today, this one-block town, population 18, offers fine wine and incredible glasswork art, created right in front of your eyes.
Harmony Glassworks at 2180 Old Creamery Road is a delight to explore.
Owners, Eric and Victoria Dandurand have created a one of a kind studio, art gallery, and glass-blowing instruction facility. Glass blowing is an art that has been passed down since the time of the Egyptians.
Master glassblower Eric Dandurand, represents over two dozen artists including Jiri Pacinik from the Czech Republic. If you like sculpture, Charles Walters from Lompoc is in the studio two days per week crafting gorgeous paperweights.
Charles’ work is also a favorite at the Santa Barbara Street Fair on Sundays. The gallery is a feast for the eyes. You’ll see everything from blown-glass chandeliers, paperweights, and jewelry, to glass blown animals like large-sized polar bears, horses and beautiful doors.
A short walk up the road is the prominently situated Harmony Cellars.
Sitting gracefully upon the hilltop, at 3255 Harmony Valley Rd., features a magnificent views overlooking the quaint little town. Harmony Cellars is a working winery, with a tasting room and gift shop, owned by Kim and Chuck Mulligan. They produce approximately 7500 cases per year and have a stately barn on the property for aging and storing their fine wines. The 2013 Chardonnay is 100% Oak aged Chardonnay with a perfect balance of tropical fruit, buttery oak, and citrus with hints of vanilla. My favorite was the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. Featuring dark cherry notes with a smooth finish, it was delectable! It’s no wonder that it received Best of Show status in 2012 in Florida.
During the final taste, I learned that if the grapes aren’t from Portugal, the proper name is Fortified Wine. If you’re a fan, Harmony Cellars’ “Treble” is truly the grand finale of the tasting. Made with Sarah grapes, it is perfectly paired with nuts or chocolate. After views like this and savoring a delicious glass of Port or Fortified wine, who needs dessert?