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Trip Report Monterey/Carmel Trip Report

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Thanks to many posters here, my husband and I just got back from 3 great days in Carmel! Here is my trip report for future reference:

Lodging:
We stayed at Los Lobos Lodge in Carmel (corner of Ocean and Monte Verde). We got a king suite--DH is a night owl and likes to stay up watching TV while I go to sleep earlier, so it works better if we have a separate TV area The room was very nice with an ocean view. It did get stuffy when we would come back in the afternoon--but they had a fan in the room and that was great. Plus you could open the sliding glass door and sit out on the balcony. Very nice.

Dining:
We ate dinner at the places. below. We got breakfast/coffee at the Carmel Coffee Roasters which was across the street from our hotel. We got light lunches at the Aquarium, a deli in Carmel, and a yummy catering/deli place in Marina called "Thyme" something.
Flying Fish Grill: it was ok. DH had abalone and said it was great. I expected more zingy flavors. I got the almond crusted fish and it was sort of bland.
Passionfish: Excellent!!!
Montrio Bistro: Also excellent
Grill on Ocean--in Carmel. It was pretty good.
We thought it was interesting that in most places there wasn't much wine selection by the glass. We like trying different glasses throughout dinner. Also, the desserts were sort of standard and boring--creme brullee, choc cake, etc.

Activities:
Day 1: Toured the Carmel Mission and then hiked at Point Lobos. We tide pooled at Point Lobos and that was fascinating. Also looking at the seals was fun.

Day 2: Monterey Bay Aquarium. Seriously, we spent 5 hours there. That included time outside to view the otters and talk to researchers and go through the gift shop and lunch. But still--we are true museum nerds :-) Then we walked over to TAste of Monterey. We tired the reserve tasting and then got a glass to sit with and watch the bay. The view was very nice. The store is very underwhelming. I thought it would have olive oils and all sorts of different CA foods. Nope, just wine.

Day 3: In the morning, we kayaked the Elkhorn Slough with Monterey Kayaks. Absolutely AWESOME!!!! Got very close to otters, seals popped up to check us out, went right by a dock with lots of sea lions, saw so many water birds it was out of this world. That was just great. And I loved the quiet of the kayak. The bay was really windy, the slough was nice and quiet. That was a great experience. Then we drove down to Big Sur and hiked in Pfieffer State Park--we did the Buzzards loop trail which wasn't long but was steep. Got great views of the ocean and the hills. It was 5 pm by the time we got to the car so we headed back up to Carmel.

Day 4: The morning we left, we drove 17 mile drive. Definitely worth it. Fun to see all the sites. Took us about an hour.

All in all, it was very nice relaxing vacation. I liked staying in Carmel because it is very quiet. But the sidewalks roll up at 6 pm at the end of October. And it is very, very "twee". But I really enjoyed the walkability of it and the quiet.

Unfortunately, there was bad weather in San Fran on our flight out so we got delayed and then United dropped our flight from SF to Monterey. (it was actually several hundred dollars cheaper to fly into Montery and rent a car there--go figure). They gave us an alternative that included a 6 hour layover in LA. No thanks. So we ended up flying in and out of SF and renting a car from there anyway. Oddly enough, the GPS they rented us was not very helpful. We did better with the maps app on my iphone.

Next year, I am thinking of maybe going to Santa Barbara--and staying for longer :-)

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