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Old 07-11-2008, 08:19 PM   #1
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Monterey Trip Report- July 2008

Monterey, California Trip report July 7-9th 2008

Hi everyone! I thought I would put this together for those of you planning to add on a trip to Monterey to your Disneyland trip, or for those of you just making a trip there like we did.

On our first day we arrived and had lunch at a restaurant called International Cuisine aka “Chili Great Chili”. Weird name, but we had good food and they have something for everyone from pizza for your kids to clam chowder to hamburgers, salads etc. We walked in all of the little shops in Pacific Grove (I love this town, I prefer staying here to Monterey), then we walked down to Lover’s Point and Lover’s Beach which is a must see for all travelers. It is just beautiful and it is such a great spot to watch seals and sea otters swim around. I highly recommend bringing a pair of binoculars to Monterey as you can see so much in the water and you will wish you had them. The houses along the beach are also quite a sight!

Here is a picture from Lover’s Point...unfortunately we were there right during the Big Sur fires, so this is not just fog, but it is mixed with smoke too! But it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be-

We checked into The Centrella Hotel Bed and Breakfast in Pacific Grove (the town that borders Monterey). We booked on their website and got the best rate we could find of $139 per night (not including taxes). We had the smallest room with just one queen bed, but it was just my husband and I -- they have many other larger rooms and several private cottages as well. Here are some pictures of the hotel and our room-

The hotel was excellent and the ladies at the front desk were very helpful and nice. They were able to answer questions about everything we wanted to see, they gave restaurant advice and were able to make dinner reservations for us when we needed them.

After checking in we explored the B&B’s garden- so pretty!!!

In the late afternoon we decided to explore the rest of the shops in Pacific Grove all the way till we reached Monterey (the walk is just under a mile- so it is very close).

Once we hit Monterey we walked along Cannery row which is fun too see, but it is very touristy and the restaurants are overpriced and the shops are a little tacky...but if you have never been there you have to walk along here at least once!

We tried to walk to a Mexican restaurant in town that we heard about, but we were getting hungry and we stopped at the El Torito at the end of Cannery Row. Usually I would not recommend an El Torito since it is just a chain mexican restaurant, but it sits right on the bay with an amazing view! I recommend getting there early and asking to wait for a window table. We sat at a huge window and watched several sea otters eat their dinner at the same time! My husband and I laughed because it was one of the best views we have ever had at a restaurant and it was just at El Torito.

After dinner we both got treats- there is a Nestle Toll House dessert cafe and a Ghiradelli chocolate and ice cream shop on Cannery row. Yum!

On our second day we got up early to head to the aquarium. The breakfast at our B&B was wonderful. They have toast, and other pastries or coffee cake and cereal out and you can have as much as you want. Then they also have a menu with about 4-5 items per day and you can order one thing off the menu. They had items such as quiche, yogurt parfait, or waffles etc. They also had juice and all day at the hotel they have a station with coffee, hot chocolate and a wide variety of teas. They even have to go cups so that you can bring your hot drinks with you as you head out for the day.

The walk to the aquarium is a little under a mile and you can walk on a path just above the beach that is just beautiful! You can also rent bikes throughout the day if you just want to ride around. At the end of this walk, right near the aquarium is the Hopkins Stanford Research Institute, and the seals LOVE to lay on the beach here. It is just covered and it is fun to watch them snooze and goof around in the water.

The seals on the beach-

Here are some pictures we took of the amazing jelly fish exhibits at the aquarium!

The aquarium of course is wonderful. I recommend trying to get your tickets in advance if you can so that you don’t have to wait in line. Most hotels sell them at their front desk. And if you can, visit the aquarium on a weekday (especially in the summer time). We were there on a Tuesday and it was still quite crowded...I can’t imagine a summer time Saturday! (we have gone in the spring before, not near spring break, and it was not very crowded though). You will need one full day at the aquarium especially if you have kids.

After the aquarium, we went went to the area called historic/Old Monterey. We stumbled upon the Farmers Market that apparently takes place on Tuesday nights from 3-8pm. It was the best Farmer’s Market we had ever seen. I highly recommend going with an empty stomach and making this your dinner. There was amazing food being cooked on the spot -- everything from handmade tortillas, Lebanese food, Greek food, BBQ- everything you can think of and more. We got a little pouch of churros- 4 churros for $3. They were made fresh and hot and it would be fun for your kids to watch. Lots of amazing fruits and vegetables and unique gifts items were available too. Our camera battery died...so only a few photos

From there we walked to Old Fisherman’s Warf- A MUST SEE. The Marina here is just beautiful and you can walk all the way to the end of the pier and go up the the deck of the restaurant at the end of the pier and you have a great view, and we saw more otters and seals swimming around. It is also nice to walk a little of the “Path of History.” Any map you get in town at the visitors center will show you where this goes. You can walk along and see little gardens and old historic buildings that are quite pretty (but this would probably bore kids to death, fun for us though).

That night we had dinner in Pacific Grove at Fandango- So YUMMY! This was our splurge meal of the trip as it is a nice restaurant with entrees ranging from $17 to $30. I had the French onion soup, salmon and lemon raspberry cheesecake- all wonderful. My husband also loved the tomato salad, short ribs and chocolate mousse. The service was great and it is a cute little restaurant just a block up from Lighthouse Drive on 17th st. in Pacific Grove.

On our last day we did the 17 Mile Dr. The cost is $9.25 per car...so make sure you havetime to take your time and stop a lot to enjoy the views. I would recommend it because the beaches and views along the coast side of the drive are very beautiful, so I think you should do it once, but we probably wouldn’t do it again. If you go I highly recommend bringing your own lunch/drinks (there are many delis in Pacific Grove or Carmel depending on where you start) and picking a nice beach to enjoy your lunch and the view. The little cafes at the golf resorts are a rip off, and you won’t have other options unless you bring in your own food.

Here are some of the spots along the drive-

Pebble Beach Golf Course is also along the drive- anyone can walk into the lobby and see the amazing view, but other than that there is not much to see- unless you are really into golf of course. Here are some pics-

That was the end of our trip, I hope this helps some of you plan your getaway! Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. We have been there several times and might be able to give other advice. Enjoy your adventure!

"Being green is not a trend. It is, perhaps, the most important challenge of our time." -John Fahey-
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Old 07-17-2008, 07:48 AM   #2
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Excellent report! I really appreciate it, as we will be in Monterey in October for a wedding, and I've never been there before. I'll definitely take a lot of your advice!

Terrific pics too!

Shannon & her boys

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Old 07-18-2008, 01:52 PM   #3
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Oh October will be beautiful I am sure- have a wonderful time!
"Being green is not a trend. It is, perhaps, the most important challenge of our time." -John Fahey-
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Old 09-06-2008, 06:32 AM   #4
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Beautiful so different then LA area. I wanna go.
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:14 AM   #5
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Thanks for the report ! It makes me excited to be there in 2 weeks!
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Old 06-23-2009, 03:17 PM   #6
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Thanks for sharing, looking forward to doing the "17 mile" drive next year, something I've wanted to do for a long time.
How long did you take to do the drive? Did you make lots of stops along the way to take photos?
We're planning on leaving SF around 9 am after a 3 night stay, then our next stop for 2 nights is Pismo Beach, so we've got quite a drive that day. Any advice would be much appreciated as it's our first trip to CA.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:26 PM   #7
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We spent probably about 2 1/2 hours on the 17 mile drive. We stopped to watch the seals, and eat lunch (I highly recommend stopping at a deli or something to bring your own food to eat along the beach, there aren't any good places to stop once you are on the drive and it is expensive). We would have loved to be able to set up a blanket on the beach and eat. But we stopped at each "number" stop along the way to take pictures and enjoy the view. If you are only passing through this way on your way down to Pismo Beach there are LOTS of yummy lunch spots in Pacific Grove (near where you sill start the drive) and Carmel (where you will end the drive) is beautiful too, there are lots of cute shops in Carmel and a beautiful beach too.

Have a great time! SF and the coast along highway 1 are beautiful
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:12 AM   #8
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Thank you so much for your report! We're going to be there at the end of July, and I like your idea about bringing food and having a picnic along the beach.

We might do that.
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