Central California Itinerary help, please?

Old Jan 11th, 2005, 04:13 PM
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Central California Itinerary help, please?

Hi fellow Fodorites, I finally talked my DH into an 8 day trip flying April 5-13 nonstop Jetblue into Long Branch from FLL. We have been to San Diego, LA, San FRan, Napa and Yosemite and Tahoe. Would like to finally do north of LA to Monterey? Is this doable in 8 days. Would love to do a day of wineries, San Simeon, some hiking. Are there any redwoods along the way? We don't need the beach experience, cause we live in FLL, but would LOVE a truly unique CA experience. I love that state so much. Could you help please?
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Old Jan 11th, 2005, 09:02 PM
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Judyrem, Do you mean you are flying into Long Beach from Florida? There are tons of posts on this subject so you may want to be a bit more specific about your specific interests. I would suggest that you fly into Santa Barbara and enjoy a luxurious time here.. rather than doing the LA drive each way. Plus, if this rain keeps up, we might have fallen into the Pacific!
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Old Jan 11th, 2005, 10:00 PM
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Oh, boy, you are about to discover my favorite part of California, the mid-coast! North of LA, my first stop would be Santa Barbara on Hwy 101, to visit one of the Missions, very historical and very Californian. A short side trip is Solvang,a Dutch town, somewhat touristy, but novel. Next, San Luis Obispo, a central coast college town, is at the junction of Hwy 1 and 101; they have a wonderful farmer's market on Thursday afternoons/eves. Another unique to California place is Morro Bay. Morro Bay is in direct contrast with Hearst Castle (which I'll talk about next)Morro Bay is kind of a hippie hold over place with a very cool rock to gaze at and explore the base of, and a funky little public aquarium where you can buy distinctly California type souveniers and feed some California Sea Lions from two feet away. And next up the coast, don't miss Hearst Castle, (San Simeon) there's nothing else like it in the entire world. The night tour (incredible)is best saved for a return visit, so get in on the general tour. It includes more of the castle. You're already on the most scenic highway in california, the Pacific Coast Hwy.,so your redwoods are in Big Sur. Carmel/Monterey is next. Cannery Row, the Steinbeck haunt, is now touristy but fun. The Monterey Bay Aquarium currently has the only living captive Great White Shark in the world, caught off our coast. (She is doing very well, and will be returned to her waters at the first sign of distress). Also in Monterey is the world reknowned Pepple Beach Golf Course and scenic drive.
Santa Cruz has the Boardwalk, lots of food, and the oldest wood rollercoaster on the west coast. If you need more Redwoods, next there's Big Basin, a little north of Monterey.
Now you're close to San Francisco, and just two hours from Sacramento, which is where I live because it's relatively inexpensive and close to everything.
I hope you have a great trip, and thank you for loving California!
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 06:21 AM
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Moneygirl, jetblue has a DIRECT flight from FLL that is priced just right for us....very inexpensive for a NON-STOP( a major priority for us)...so yes, it is LOng Branch. K9nurse, thanks for the great info....so far I want to spend the first three days in Santa Barbara...then where? A place that is near San Simeon for a day trip? I do so love my redwoods....I give them a big hug when I see them;-). I have to get my CA guide book unpacked, but we just moved and I have no idea where it is....so I am winging here. I would MOVE to CA, but DH thinks the taxes are too high....I have to do some research on that! I am off to find my guidebook now...thanks again!
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 07:15 AM
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Judyrem,

that sounds like a great trip.
I think eight days may be sufficient, although one could easily spend more time.
k9nurse gave you some good suggestions already.
I may be able to fill in a bit on Santa Barbara and its nearby wine country as I just visited there this past October.
The Santa Ynez Valley is a short drive of about an hour inland of Santa Barbara. It is a lovely destination for a leisurely day with a few stops for tastings at the wineries.
I particularly enjoyed Los Olivos with its relaxed downtown and a couple of tasting rooms.
I have posted a trip report here on Fodors, which I would refer you to fopr further info on wineries, restaurants and driving times. You can find it by clicking this URL:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...searchText=hsv

Should you need further info, do post!
Happy planning
hsv
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 07:22 AM
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Have not found my guidebook yet, but have been doing some research here. Should 2 days in Santa Barbara be enough? Monterey looks gorgeous and I want to do it justice...what to do. what to do?!
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 07:26 AM
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With eight days being available in total, I think 2 days for Santa Barbara are just fine. Allow one day for the wine country (and a visit to Solvang, if you feel inclined to enjoy a kitschy and sort of "disney-esque" version of a small Danish town, not Dutch, as a previous poster said.). The other day can be spent strolling through Santa Barbara or enjoying the beach or...
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 03:21 PM
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Judy, you will definitely enjoy the JetBlue experience flying into Long BEACH (my hometown). Santa Barbara is, yes, a beach town, but it's truly beautiful, and those Santa Ynez wineries are a treat. Solvang absolutely leaves me cold (except for the Danish sweet treats), so don't plan on more than an hour or two there.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 06:36 PM
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Stop in Salinas for the National Steinbeck Center and breakfast at Awakenings Restaurant. If you like to shop, stop at the four block outlet mall in Gilroy.
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Old Jan 13th, 2005, 07:05 AM
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hsv, loved your trip report ! Thanks for the info on the wineries, we are true fans of the grape;-). I think I will do 2 days in SB and 4 days in Monterey,,,then 2 days close to San Simeon...could you all recommend a town or hotel for Herast Castle? Can not wait to go!
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Old Jan 13th, 2005, 09:39 AM
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Yes to Santa Barbara! We enjoyed excellent fine dining meals at Olie e Limone and the Wine Cask. Both were wonderful. Also, go to Stearn's Wharf and try the lobster bisque at the SB Shellfish Co. Very yummy!

If you to go Los Olivos, we enjoyed the Gainey tasting room, also the small boutique winery Arthur Earl. Wonderful Syrah there.

You might want to stay in Cambria, The Cypress Cove Inn is very nice. Try to get an oceanview king room, you are literally just a few steps from the ocean there and the property is very quaint. Have a wonderful time! ***kim***
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Old Jan 13th, 2005, 05:38 PM
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Hi Kimamom, took your advice for Cambria and will be staying at the Cypress Grove Inn for 2 nights on the way back from Monterey. Will be staying 2 nights at the Hotel Virginia aka Holiday Inn Express. Four nights in Monterey at the Best Western Monterey Inn.... they all have good reviews on tripadvisor and I like the personal review you gave....my itinerary,,,SB to Monterey, Monterey down through Big Sur to Cambria....how is that? ;-)
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Old Jan 14th, 2005, 09:23 AM
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Hi, you'll love the Cypress Cove Inn! The outside looks like Snow White's cottage, very quaint and cozy!

Are you staying at the BW Beach Resort or a different BW property in Monterey? We've stayed at the Beach Resort many times, love being right on the beach there! ***kim***
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Old Jan 14th, 2005, 10:53 AM
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No Kimaom, we are staying at the BW Monterey Inn on Abrego st,,,it was 4th on tripadvisor. Plus it is within walking distance of places and it is moderately priced for Monterey. As I said before I live very close to the beach here FLL, and I am looking for the "town" feeling .
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Old Jan 14th, 2005, 12:17 PM
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Judyrem,

thanks for the compliment (hope the different segments helped a little and saved you from having to go through the irrelevant parts!).
Have a great weekend!
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Old Jan 14th, 2005, 02:21 PM
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rjw, so sorry about Long BEACH ;-)....was thinking of Long Branch NJ....not EVEN the same LOL . When we head back to Long BEACH, we will have a few hours to look around the town(we have a late flight out) hsv, your report was VERY informative IMO. Tahnks again dear Fodorites for your time and great info. Judy
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Old Jan 14th, 2005, 03:45 PM
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Judy, there isn't a lot to see in good ol' Long Beach, to be honest, but since I think the JetBlue flight to FLL is a redeye, you should have time to take a spin up in the coastal LA area (Venice, Santa Monica, your call), grab an early-ish dinner on the way to LB, then zip to LGB for your flight. If you instead want to get to LB in the early afternoon and check out our Aquarium of the Pacific, that's a fun diversion, then you could get dinner up in that area of Downtown (lots of choices).
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Old Jan 14th, 2005, 03:48 PM
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I make those suggestions with this advice: I love my hometown, but it's going to look downright grubby compared to the Central Coast, so prepare to be underwhelmed. It's an industrial town still struggling after the collapse of the aerospace industry-- it just happens to be on the ocean. Lots to do for citizens, not a lot of touristic interest. Some awesome restaurants, however....
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Old Jan 14th, 2005, 03:53 PM
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rjw, I agree with you on Solvang. I did enjoy the Hans Christian Andersen museum, tho. I have two degrees in Early Childhood Ed with an emphasis on Children's Lit, so I this small, but informative little museum.

The shopping is also fun, my ex-SIL is from Denmark, so it gave me a bit of a taste for her culture. I wanted to braid my hair and put on wooden shoes there! ***kim***
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 02:15 PM
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Kimamom, I have picked out 3 places that could work and are reasonably priced...Carmel River inn(Carmel) Best Western Carmel Mission Inn or the Best Western Monterey Inn,,,what do you think? I have been looking at Carmel too, because it seems to have a bit more recommend restaurants.
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