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!
California offers some of the world’s finest wine tasting and the scenic wineries around Monterey are no exception.[ more... ]