Friday, November 30, 2018

Five Common Madonna Inn Questions - Answered!

While there are many questions about the wild and wonderful world of Madonna Inn, these are just a few of the most common ones we hear.
Do you agree with these answers? Let us know in the comments below! 


1. Why is everything pink?

Mr. and Mrs. Madonna co-created the Madonna Inn with fantasy in mind; they wanted guests to feel both comfortable and wowed from the moment they walked through the door. So, pink was chosen as a staple of the property because the two felt it was a fun and uplifting color. Mr. Madonna also thought that Mrs. Madonna looked her most beautiful in shades of pink!

2. Why is every room different?
A vintage version of "Whispering Hills:" Room 187
Mr. Madonna was known by many for his quick wit and sense of humor. When asked why no two rooms looked alike, he artfully replied that if every room was different, he could never make the same mistake twice.

3. Are Mr. and Mrs. Madonna still alive?

Mr. Madonna passed in 2004. Mrs. Madonna, however, is still very much alive and well! She recently turned 90 and loves singing and playing the accordion, spending time with her dog, Flower, and having breakfast or lunch at the Inn daily. Mrs. Madonna is retired now, but is still influential in the seasonal decoration of the restaurants.

4. Is Madonna (the pop star) affiliated with Madonna Inn? 
Although it's easy to see how one would think Madonna Louise Ciccone - The Queen of Pop - has some connection to the pink wonderland that is Madonna Inn, the two are unrelated and have (to our knowledge) never crossed paths.

5.Is the Madonna Inn haunted? 

Probably not. While some guests have reported experiencing a "playful" spirit visiting them while at the Inn, the Madonna family and other long-time employees have never encountered any ghosts, spirits, or other entities in their many years of living and working at the Inn since it's inception.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A Recipe for Gratitude

One of the quickest ways I've found to get into the holiday spirit is to seek warmth: a cozy hug; hot apple cider; deep, rich red hues; and earthy, warming spices. With just one bite of a hot and hearty holiday-inspired meal I begin to feel myself transported to Grandma's house - surrounded by laughter, baked goods, and the people I love. In my eyes, food is not just fuel but also a vehicle to feeling comforted, connected, and grounded.

When I taste-tested our newest appetizer (after snapping some photos, of course) I was surprised to feel that same warmth and comfort from avocado toast - a dish that I wouldn't typically associate with holiday nostalgia. Somewhere within the hearty bread, creamy avocado, spicy sauce, and sweet corn kernels I felt cozy and at home. The recipe below has been sourced from Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger. In the Madonna Inn kitchen, we substitute tomato paste for the fresh Romas, so feel free to get a little creative with your ingredients. 

As we come into this holiday season on the heels of one of the worst natural disasters our state has ever endured, "home" is something I cherish now more than ever. For the thousands of people that have lost the people, possessions, and place that gave them their sense of home, my heart breaks. And for the countless number of volunteers who have left the comforts of their daily routines to offer aid and service, I am deeply moved and inspired. Seeing the strength of so many in the midst of this tragedy reminds me why I am proud to be a Californian.
If you're interested in contributing to the wildfire relief efforts please visit the Red Cross website and select "California Wildfires" from the drop-down menu.

Much like the people that make up our beautiful state, this Romesco sauce is hearty, nurturing, and down-to-earth. And while it would be delectable on just about anything, we think it makes the perfect base for sliced avocados, crumbled Feta cheese, roasted corn, and cilantro. Prepare this sauce in bulk, store, and enjoy on days when you need a little spice, a little warmth, or just a little bit more gratitude.

 Here's to a very gracious holiday - wherever you may be spending it. 

Romesco Sauce

A lightly spicy, tomato-based sauce from the Madonna Inn kitchen, adapted from Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger's book, Cooking with Too Hot Tamales: Recipes & Tips from TV Food's Spiciest Cooking Duo 


  • ¾ cup toasted almonds
  • 2 large thick slices of country bread, cut into ½ inch cubes
  •  ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 pound roma tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  •  ½ teaspoon pepper
  •  ¾ cup olive oil

  • Combine the bread and vinegar in a bowl to soak for about 20 minutes.
  • Place almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.
  • Add vinegar-soaked bread, paprika, salt, and pepper. Pulse until pureed in food processor.
  • While pulsing, slowly add in olive oil until a smooth sauce forms.
  • Serve at room temperature, chilled, or warmed up.
  • Enjoy!

Visit to view our full appetizer list. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

California Goat Yoga

If you've ever wanted to enjoy the mind-body benefits of yoga; pet and play with adorable baby goats; or both, a California Goat Yoga experience is just what the doctor ordered!

Combining the physiological benefits of a gentle yoga class with the contagious joy of cute and curious Nigerian Dwarf goats, California Goat Yoga offers attendees an inclusive and wholesome activity that all ages can enjoy.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Rich

Photo courtesy of Amanda Rich

This past weekend, we welcomed our first round of California Goat Yoga classes in our Madonna Meadows. We were thrilled to see so many locals and guests turn out for the event, and were even happier to see their faces light up at the sight of their adorable furry counterparts as they frolicked, nibbled, and wandered throughout the yoga mats!

Photo courtesy of Amanda Rich
Look to our Facebook and Website pages for future installments of California Goat Yoga at Madonna Inn!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Name our Heifers!

Meet Madonna Inn's latest additions. These beautiful Brown Swiss heifers can be seen grazing and lazing together in our motel field pasture from sun-up till' sundown!

(They can seriously lounge in the same spot for hours on end.) 

Arriving unexpectedly last month, these heifers were a gracious gift from Blake and Case Hirdes and Lizzy Cupples. Blake and Case live and work at their family's dairy in the Turlock, CA area, and have become good friends of our family through years of rodeo competitions and ranching.

After learning of our family's affinity for Brown Swiss cows, Blake, Case, and Liz were determined to surprise us with a pair of our own. At first, they were only going to get us one heifer, but decided on two so that "they would never be lonely."

In trying to come up with a name for these babes (without concensus), we decided to reach out to our followers for some ideas on names.

Leave us your best handles for this dynamic duo in the comments; we will announce our favorite names in two weeks via Facebook!

Happy heifers live at Madonna Inn!

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Bob Jones Experience

As an avid hiker, I often spend so much time on our local mountain trails that I forget about the other lovely walking and biking paths that SLO has to offer, including the Bob Jones Trail of Avila Beach. 

Also known as the "City to the Sea Trail," this 3-mile-long paved path begins just off the 101 freeway on Ontario Road and ends in downtown Avila Beach. Along the way, walkers, runners, bikers, and rollerbladers, alike can enjoy a leisurely stroll past scenic wooded areas, a wandering creek, and the Avila Beach Golf Course - all while a hint of the ocean wafts gently in the breeze.

With the Silver Horse wineries located at the parking lot to the trail, a dog and stroller-friendly walkway, and small park placed midway on the trail, this jaunt is one the whole family can enjoy.

Friday, May 11, 2018

New Life for the Old Fuel Station

As you may have seen on a recent drive by the Madonna Inn, our Tesla charging station is complete! Now, hotel guests and visitors passing through San Luis Obispo can charge their Tesla automobiles at our charging station free of charge.

The completed Tesla installation comprises the first half of our electric vehicle charging station build-out. A separate bank of non-Tesla EV chargers is projected to be finished within the next year - catering to the many patrons who want to refuel their electric vehicles whilst enjoying a slice of cake or a glass of Madonna Inn wine! 

These EV chargers give new life to an area of our property that, while once a bustling Union 76 gas station, has recently not been much more than an auxiliary parking lot. Who would have guessed that the "old" fuel station would come into its own once again in the new millennium?

Monday, March 12, 2018

Feelin' Saucy

After an extended reprieve, our beloved Pick & Shovel Barbecue Sauce is available for purchase once again! 

While our bottled sauce has seen a few different logos throughout the years, our house recipe - created by the late Winnifred, "Winnie" Erwin, one of Madonna Inn's most beloved head chefs - has remained the same for over 50 years.

Look for our bottled Pick & Shovel Barbecue Sauce in our gourmet shop and (coming soon) on our online store. And, of course, make sure to ask your server for a side of this magical stuff the next time you're enjoying some crispy french fries, a hearty Beef Dip sandwich, or succulent fried chicken!  

Friday, February 9, 2018

"I need a writer!"

One of the best parts about enjoying a Madonna Inn cake for a special event is seeing your personal message inscribed beautifully across the top. And, although a skilled cake decorator makes writing in frosting appear effortless, creating these messages (referred to as "writers" in the bakery) takes a lot of skill.

It is actually quite often that the bakery receives requests for writers after our bakery staff has gone home, at which point one is likely to hear "I need a writer!" reverberating through the bakery and kitchen corridors. In such moments it is our hosts and hostesses, wait staff, and even back office staff that are depended on to grab a pastry bag and put their piping skills to the test! Recently, I was able to catch Katie, one of our Copper Cafe hostesses, completing a writer for a special order. As you can see, she was poised and prepared to answer the call.

I have personally gotten to create a last-minute writer and can attest to the difficulty involved in crafting these delicate embellishments. Even as someone who's always been proud of her penmanship, I was quite humbled by my questionable final product. When writing in frosting is harder than it looks, thank goodness for multi-talented staff members with a steady hand and some artistic flair, to boot!