Christmastime, and the lead-up to it, are magical times along the Monterey Peninsula. Just because we don’t get a load of snow next to the Pacific Ocean doesn’t mean that we haven’t the spirit. After all, almost every tree in town is a Christmas tree and everyone puts up decorations on their homes. The most iconic event of the holiday season is “Christmas in the Adobes.” Imagine, celebrating Christmas a hundred or two hundred years ago! In Monterey, our old Adobes are transformed into islands of light and warmth, complete with Christmas trees, crackling log fires and caroling. The Christmas in the Adobes is a walking event that requires a ticket, but most of these same Adobes are open to the public during the week and on the weekends so that you can adapt your own walking trip to your schedule. When visualizing the Monterey Peninsula during the holidays, think “cozy,” and “warm” and “bright.” Come join us for a wonderful seasonal experience and pick up a few gifts for those back at home. Whatever the reason you come to the Monterey Peninsula during the holidays, remember that our rooms offer comfort value for your dollar and booking early is always a way to get a special deal. Check out our website for great value offers: http://www.stayatmonterey.com/special-pkg/monterey-california-packages.aspx
Monterey Bay Aquarium
I’ve had people ask me from time to time “what is the attraction of living on the Monterey Peninsula.” People think that it’s a small, exclusive, expensive area with three petite towns and a gated community (Pebble Beach) that provide limited year-round opportunities for shopping and entertainment. I counter that image by pointing out that I live where there are pristine beaches within easy walking or driving distance from any door. Beautiful scenery abounds wherever I go. Arrays of fresh vegetables are to be had direct from the Salinas Valley by shopping locally at a collection of farmers markets. To satisfy my needs for entertainment there are live performances year around by headliners at the Sunset Center in Carmel, several jazz clubs, two dance venues, and many cinemas. Most people don’t know that the Monterey Peninsula supports its own symphony that can be heard at various events throughout the year. On the Monterey Peninsula, I don’t think we are missing any of the variety and diversity of a major city. What we don’t have is congestion, bad air and gridlock traffic (except in the summertime). I don’t think any of those features of city life are missed by those lucky enough to be residents of the Peninsula. What we do have is one of the best and widest choices of shops found anywhere, from designer and artisan goods to the big-box stores in Sand City. There really isn’t any shortage of things to do on the Peninsula, just going for a walk around town can be a lesson in history or an experience in great food. No, I don’t think large cities have anything over our slower-paced lives and gorgeous surroundings, and I can’t, after nineteen years, imagine living anywhere else.
Contributed by Writer by the Sea
The one great feature of our Monterey Peninsula is accessibility to our seashore. Even on Cannery Row, where the shoreline is densely populated, there is plenty of access to bayside rocks and water. It is no coincidence that the Recreation Trail follows along the shoreline, that’s where the spectacular views are.
Monterey Peninsula shoreline is great for tide pool watching and scuba diving, there are also places where broad, sandy beaches run for miles, perfect for sunbathing and sand castle building. These sandy beaches are made for picnicking and swimming. The Lover’s Point Cove in Pacific Grove has both a hamburger stand and barbeques for that perfect afternoon enjoying the Cove’s sandy beach, while the Del Monte Beach in Monterey is surrounded by several eateries where a substantial box lunch may be purchased. Del Monte Beach also sports kayak rentals, perfect for the adventurous. Travelers interested in capturing their special moments with a camera will be dazzled by ocean sunsets at Asilomar State Beach on the ocean end of the Peninsula in Pacific Grove.
No matter where you choose to go along the Monterey Peninsula shoreline, there are plenty of ways to discover fun and memorable moments. Ask one of our Guest Service Agents for more information and directions to our superb seashore.
Did you wonder why there is an overwhelming interest on the Bay in Monterey? Well, it’s because our spectacular coastline is highly accessible.
People who have been to Monterey seem to naturally gravitate to the Recreation Trail, a walking and cycling path that takes one from Fisherman’s Wharf all the way to Asilomar State Beach, where the bay meets the Pacific Ocean. If you walk, or prefer to rent a bike, you can start on the Recreation Trail by visiting the many shops and restaurants at Fisherman’s Wharf, then stroll or bike for a few blocks along the trail to Cannery Row and more shops and outdoor restaurants.
After Cannery Row, it is about a mile along the untamed coastline to get to Lovers Point Cove and take in the view of the entire bay. A small hamburger stand at the Cove makes for a picnic lunch by the sand. Photo-ops abound along the trail plus many tide pools. From the Wharf to the Cove, sea otters frolic and sometimes whales can be seen, but if going to the Cove is far enough for one day, the free Monterey Trolley stops every 45-minutes at the Cove for the trip back to Cannery Row. At Cannery Row you can take the Trolley and travel back to Old Downtown Monterey. If you don’t want to walk the trail, there are several places along the Recreation Trail that rent bicycles or pedal-surreys for up to four people. Also, there are many places to stop and eat a picnic lunch purchased from one of the fine vendors along the trail. Enjoy our coastline, it’s one of the best features of the Monterey Peninsula and it’s free!
It has been awhile since I’ve checked into the Monterey Bay Aquarium and they have new exhibits galore, and a new shark in the million-gallon tank. The aquarium is known for changing exhibits every few months but it has been a year since I’ve visited the Aquarium and it was refreshing to see what they had done with the exhibits. The Jellies exhibit has been updated and now includes the “Jellies Experience” where you can draw a jellyfish on a computer screen and put it into the virtual ocean, even email a copy to yourself. There is a new shark in the Open Sea aquarium that has been on exhibit since April. The Sandbar shark is over four feet long and weighs in at 43 pounds. There are new otters at the Otter Exhibit and of course they are all cuddly. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is always a trip to visit and if you haven’t been there for a year or more, now is the time to take another visit. The aquarium staff freshens up the exhibits regularly and takes every opportunity to put new critters on display. Make a day start with your complimentary breakfast at the Comfort Inn, visit the Aquarium, have dinner in Cannery Row or on Fisherman’s Wharf, and then end the day at poolside.
There is nothing like getting a free ride, no parking hassles and stress free sightseeing. So, make a day of it, start in Old Downtown Monterey, lunch in Cannery Row and catch the Pacific Grove trolley for a view of the ocean and the bay, taking the FREE Monterey trolley back from the aquarium into Downtown Old Monterey. Spend an innovative day visiting the places the locals visit.
Catch the free trolley-buses between the hours of 10 AM and 6 PM daily. Visitors can enjoy Monterey Peninsula and have a chance to see things that they might miss when driving or don’t know the area. This year, there are two trolley lines running that will take you all over the Peninsula. Park at the downtown parking lot and catch the main trolley line that runs from Downtown Old Monterey to Old Fisherman’s wharf, through Cannery Row and stops at the Monterey Bay Aquarium before returning to Monterey. Second, for those that want to see more of the Pacific Ocean and visit Old Pacific Grove and take a drive along the bay, there is the trolley-bus for Pacific Grove. Both trolley-busses intersect at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, making it convenient to transfer from one bus to the other. Remember, these trolleys are FREE and you can get on and get off the stops at your leisure.
It’s nice to be able to get away from pressures and demands and simply go on a road-trip whenever we can make a little time. Value is the byword today in travel, how do you get the biggest bang for your buck? At the Comfort Inn Monterey by the Sea, there are real cost-saving values. There’s the substantial discount for booking early, a free hot breakfast with waffles, eggs and sausages pastries and much more. a free fitness room if you feel like a workout, free parking and wireless internet, restaurant coupons at the front desk and a free second day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium if you buy tickets at the front desk. The free second day is available only at hotels, not at the Monterey Aquarium. There is enough savings here to satisfy any need for solid value, enough so that you might even think about making another trip later in the year and book it now to lock in the discount!
People seem to think whales migrate South in the winter, but the truth is that whales migrate all year long, different types migrating at different times and, don’t forget, that they have to do a trip back up to the North also, which happens in late spring and summer. So, any time is a good time to go whale watching from Monterey. To celebrate whale and its impact on Old Monterey, every third Saturday in January ( this year Jan 21, 2012), is devoted to the Monterey WhaleFest, a celebration of the whale and its migration. As such, it is also a celebration of Old Monterey, with entertainment, food stalls, art and music all coming together to make for one nice afternoon and evening. For me, this is a nice break from the daily drudgery of winter. Definitely a top 10 things to do in Monterey. Whale watching packages available: http://www.stayatmonterey.com/special-pkg/monterey-whale-watching-pkg.aspx
Ever wonder what it is like at the end of the rainbow? You need look no further…just head down to Monterey via Scenic Highway 1. Noted as one of the most breathtaking drives in the world.[ more... ]