Outdoor Activities

From water sports such as kayaking and scuba diving to family bike trails and mountain biking opportunities to world renowned golf courses, the Monterey coast is an outdoor lover’s playground.

What’s New at Monterey Aquarium

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.

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Summer Activities and Getaway Ideas!

Feeling Blue or Jazzy? Take your pick, Blues Festival in June or jazz Festival in September at Monterey Fairgrounds, Monterey CA.

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Music Festivals in Monterey

I always know summer is approaching as Monterey attracts the best Music events starting with the Monterey Rock N’ Rod Festival in May followed by Blues Festival in May. Monterey Rock N’ Rod Festival is more than a mere collaboration of classic rock ‘n roll and cherry cars. The 6th presentation of this festival is a premiere local event benefitting hundreds of car enthusiasts’ and local rock groups by giving them a venue to show off their art and compete for awards of artistic recognition. Each auto is an artwork lovingly crafted by its owner, while the musical accompaniment underscores the 50’s and 60’s character of the exhibition. The Monterey Rock N’ Rod festival is hosted at the Monterey Fairgrounds May 18-20th, where there is plenty of room for cars to mingle with local classic rock groups, together in one place for you to enjoy. This three-day event hosts plenty of food stalls, art and clothing booths, memorabilia stands and the like. Spend a day browsing the display of cherry cars while listening to classic rock music combined to create a perfectly retro holiday experience.
Also look out for the Spirit West Music festival and Jazz festival this summer!

President Obama designates a second National Monument – Fort Ord Soldiers National Monument Monterey, CA

Today, President Obama designated Fort Ord Military Base (along Monterey Bay) as a national monument. This is the second national monument designation created under his presidency. Now known as Fort Ord Soldiers National Monument, sits on 15,000 acres. It is a rare coastal California Wilderness that will protect Central Coast Maritime chaparral ecosystem, a habitat unique to California. Mountain lions, deer, eagles and the protected California black legless lizard all make their homes at Fort Ord. The first national monument is the site of Fort Monroe in Virginia where Dutch traders first brought enslaved Africans in 1619.

Events and Festivals in Monterey

When travelling to the Monterey Peninsula, think about the “theme” of your getaway. Are you a foodie, into music, athletic or interested in family fun? Foodies will enjoy the elegance, wine parings and foods of the Pebble Beach Food and Wine festival taking place in Pebble Beach from the 12th to the 15th of April. There’s still time to get tickets to one of the Peninsula’s premiere local events. Looking for family fun? Take a step back in time and visit the Good Old Days in Pacific Grove on April 14th and 15th. Two days of fun for the entire family includes food stalls, art booths and face painting. There’s even a hayride for the whole family. If you are into athletic competitions, the Sea Otter Classic is the premiere bicycling event of the season happening April 19th to the 22nd at Laguna Seca Raceway (www.mazdaraceway.com). Rather be involved in your sport? Register or attend the Big Sur International Marathon (www.bsim.org) on April 29th. Craving a retro musical experience? Taj Mahal is giving a concert at Carmel’s Sunset Center (www.sunsetcenter.org/) on April 12th. No matter what your “theme,” there’s always something going on at the Monterey Peninsula.
JScott

Monterey Vacation on a Budget

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!

Runners Paradise in Central Coast: Marathons, 5K Runs, Mud Runs

There is something deliciously decadent and sinful about rolling around in the mud. To this day, I still can’t resist stomping on the occasional rain puddle and getting dirty for the fun of it is no different. One can indulge in muddy urges and not be ridiculed for it at the same time by joining the Big Sur Mud Run. The Big Sur Mud Run is a chance to be adultly serious with child-like overtones of playing with abandon in wet, sticky, mud while doing it for fun (to assuage any feelings of guilt). Presented by the Big Sur International Marathon, this 5-mile course set on the CSUMB campus on Old Fort Ord is fraught with obstacles and, of course, mud pits. It’s a great event for a group of friends to spend a different kind of Saturday morning. March 24th, 2112. Registration fills up early. Sign up soon if interested http://www.bigsurmudrun.org/

Tiger Woods returns to AT&T Pebble Beach Pro – Am

Tiger Woods returns to AT&T Pebble Beach national Pro-Am which is scheduled for Feb 6-12. Tigers’s last appearance at AT&T was in 2002. Going to be a fun week at Pebble. Besides the professional golfers, the highlights are to see the turnout of the stars in the Celebrity Shootout, typically movie and industry notables, who are donators to the AT&T charities programs, paired with one of the professional golfers. My favorite is Bill Murray, a hoot on the golf course not forgetting Ray Romano, and George Lopez. So really you don’t even have to be an avid golfer to attend this fun event.

The AT&T was originally known as the Bing Crosby National Pro-Amateur, or just the Crosby Clambake. In 1937, Bing Crosby hosted the first National Pro-Am Golf Championship at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, California, the event’s location prior to World War II. After the war, the event resumed play in 1947 on golf courses in Pebble Beach, where it has been played ever since. Book early and save up to 20% on hotel accommodations – www.stayatmonterey.com

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

California Redwoods – Coast Drive

Hyperion is the name of the tallest redwood tree located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, measuring a staggering 378 feet. Ever wonder why redwoods are so special? The coast redwood, or California redwood grows only in northern California and the southwestern most part of Oregon. Groves of coast redwoods dot the landscape from Big Sur California to the Oregon border, from the coast to as far as fifty miles inland. These trees depend on the moisture in the sea air and dense coastal fogs to thrive and reproduce. A victim of heavy logging, the number and acerage of these trees has shrunk dramatically since the 1800’s. These trees are a wonder to see, their diameter can be as large as 26 feet and they live 1200 to 1800 years. They are also the tallest trees in the world reaching up to 378 feet high. A few groves of these redwoods can be seen in Big Sur, just south of Monterey and they are definitly worth a day-trip.

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