Ever wonder where great novels come from? Think community. Monterey and its surrounding environs, especially Big Sur, are well known as a highly literary, audacious community of productive writers. Not just novelists reside here, but poets and columnists too. The Monterey Peninsula’s history is well populated with writers as well. Ever wonder where Robert Lewis Stevenson got his idea for Treasure Island? It was the time he spent sitting and writing at Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove. Of course, there is John Steinbeck (“Cannery Row”), probably the most well-known writer this area has produced. Visit the John Steinbeck Center in Salinas to learn about his history and have dinner at the house he was born in, now a museum and restaurant. Touring through Carmel and its wealth of restaurants, there are many writers’ hangouts to be found, such as the Hogs Breath Inn, a classic example of a place where writers used to congregate. Next time you plan a getaway, make a little time to pursue the environs of writers and don’t forget to book a room at our hotel early, the weather is warming up and walking tours are a must, or take a driving tour of Hunter Thompson’s (“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”) Big Sur.
The Steinbeck House: http://www.steinbeckhouse.com/
National Steinbeck Center: http://www.steinbeck.org/
More about Historic Monterey: http://www.historicmonterey.org/literature.html
March brings thoughts of pots of gold, green beer and how lucky the Irish might be. After doing a little research, I discovered that the phrase “Luck of the Irish” is actually a misnomer. Throughout their history, the Irish have had spectacularly bad luck, in terms of famine, wars and misunderstandings between Catholics and Protestants. Some trace the origin of the phrase to the US where, during the exploration for gold in the West, there were a high number of Irish people who got lucky, and found their “pot o’ gold” in the gold fields of California, or were equally prosperous in silver mining.
Luck of the Irish does owe its origin to the U.S.A. When they arrived, they were very disliked, treated badly, despised and hated. When the Irish had any kind of success, most Americans at the time didn’t believe that the Irish were capable of such successes, so they called it luck. Hence the term “Luck of the Irish.” Once a year, we can consider ourselves lucky too, lucky to not get pinched, lucky to have green beer and lucky that there are a multitude of Irish and British bars in Monterey in Monterey where we can celebrate this day with the Irish.
Favorite Local Pubs include, Crown and Anchor (ps love the British version of Chicken Curry!), Britannia Arms, London Bridge Pub (Decent Fish and Chips too).
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
Spooky happenings flourish for adults and children alike on Halloween on the Monterey Peninsula. Like Sleepy Hollow on the East Coast, the seaside town of Monterey has been around for over 240 years and it is said that the old adobes and Victorian-era houses are haunted with many old spirits, maybe a pirate or two. On Halloween, to get in the mood before going to my usual party, I like to get out and take the Ghost Trolley of Old Monterey, a trolley tour around some of the creepiest houses, adobes, cemeteries and the first church in California, all on the Monterey Peninsula that will make you shiver with delight. I like to do it every year because the tour changes from time to time and for the special tour held on Halloween Night they pull out all the stops. I always bring a friend to share the fun and coming in costume is encouraged. It’s a great way to start the Halloween night right before attending that blowout costume party on Alvarado Street in Downtown Old Monterey.
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
Monterey Wine Country is “home” to approximately 85 vintners and growers. Monterey County’s lifestyle and wines are defined by the cooling influence of the ocean and especially of Monterey Bay and its deep marine canyon, whose immensity and depth have earned it the nickname, “The Blue Grand Canyon.” The canyon’s vast weather effect on the viticultural districts (appellations) of Monterey is manifested through fog, wind, lack of rain through the growing season, and moderate temperatures.
There are two wine-growing regions to visit; one inland in the Salinas Valley, the other is along the Carmel Valley Road closer to the ocean. Many of the Monterey County wineries have tasting rooms open to the public. http://www.stayatmonterey.com/monterey-california-wineries.aspx. These tasting rooms provide a relaxed atmosphere where guests receive knowledgeable, personal attention while tasting wines and learning about the winery. Several wineries also offer tours of their facilities where one can learn about the winemaking process. For those interested in an afternoon road-trip, take a tour of the Carmel Valley and its many wineries and tasting rooms.
A special favorite is Chateau Julien, where there is a tasting room nestled in acres of working grape vines. Wine tours available at www.toursmonterey.com
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!