In the small town of San Miguel, Ca, you will find Hartley Farms on the Pleasant Valley Wine Trail. A wine trail that is made up of 12 family wineries. Hartley Farms is an organic farm of stone fruit trees, wedding and event venue with several places to stay on the farm. This little oasis is unlike anything else on the Central Coast. A magical place that exudes personality. If you are looking for the “Family expereince” you have to go and have some fun there. Everyone is welcomed with open arms. You are family when you are there, even if you are the crazy aunt in your own family. The hospitality of Barbara, Dan, and the kids is unparrelled. They are fun, and you will have fun while you are there and question why you haven’t been there yet.
What is something you wish people knew about your destination?
Our venue is pretty unique – we offer peace & quiet on a 37-acre organic farm in the middle of the Pleasant Valley Wine Country. Between camp sites, and farm stays, most people find their cozy space. We keep attendance to a minimum so there is plenty of elbow room!
How many weddings are you allowed to do a year?
We limit wedding events to only 10 per year. Weddings are a super special, once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we like to give each couple an entire weekend to relish it.
How many spots do you have left for 2021 and 2022?
2021 is all booked up, but we do have 0 available slots for wedding events in 2022. You can book for 2023, now!
How many people are allowed at your venue?
We can host up to 250 guests for a wedding.
How is your destination unique?
You will not find another venue that was designed just for a wedding & reception in mind. Most venues – weddings are an afterthought. We bought this property with the intent to build a beautiful, well-planned wedding venue. Between hand-paved walkways, waterfalls, an amphitheater under a 250-year old live Oak, and numerous nooks for romantic photos, you can’t find a more unique situation. In fact – it was a big reason we could not get a bank to finance it!
How long and what went into building this venue?
Well, we bought the property in 2005, but there was nothing here – no water, power, house, nothing. We had a lot to learn! A land with no water was not a great start, but to me it was a blank canvas. We drilled a well in 2007, and started planting. In 2008, we brought in power, but the banks still weren’t convinced it was a good investment. We added our orchard trees in 2011. The banks said “why aren’t you doing grapes – I don’t get it”, so still no funds. Dan & I pulled all our retirement accounts, and savings to put a small house on the property, 900 square feet – we HAD to get our land loan rolled over to a home loan! Finally, a small local banker, Cindy Smith with Bank of the Sierra, said “this looks great! we’d love to give you the loan!”. She saved the farm! AND we were able to build our main house. So, it’s been 16 years, but it’s far from being complete. We will continue to improve and grow indefinitely.
What are some things for people to do at your venue? If you were a visitor at your venue, what would you want to do?
That depends on what you want to experience. Many people think of Paso Robles as Wine Country, and it is. But we have so many other non-wine related farms and activities. For wine, I send guests to the Pleasant Valley Wine Trail – a co-op of 12 wineries in our region. All small, mom & pop’s type places where the winemaker is usually pouring behind the counter, and so much love goes in to making the wines, you can’t go wrong with any of them. The restaurants are hands-down, THE BEST around. We have the highest number of restaurants per capita to residents. So they HAVE to be good to stay in business! For non-wine stuff, check out local farms at FarmsteadED.com. Also, the Ravine Water Park is a fantastic attraction Memorial Day through Labor Day – water slides for the kids, cocktails & munchies for the adults. And if you rent a cabana, you can order it all to your lounge chair. Vina Robles Amphitheater, Sensario Light Display, Estrella War Bird Museum, San Miguel Mission are all other great places to visit.
How did Covid impact your business? How did it affect you personally? What did you learn from it? Who and what helped you get through it? What do you want people to change because of this pandemic?
Oh Lordy. It was bad. We will be recovering financially for years because there was no grant or even low-interest loan available for wedding venues with no employees. I learned a lot about people – and not all of it good, sad to say. But it brought me closer to family. If there’s anything I would want people to change, it would be to take a breath, and be a little nicer – maybe a lot nicer. Everyone is struggling.
What can people do at home to help make the world a better place? Recycle, can your own food, and compost. All things people can do in the country as well as a big city.
Book your wedding, special event, or vacation https://www.harleyfarms.com
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