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Me again :-) Yosemite/San Simeon/Big Sur itinerary help, please!

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Me again :-) Yosemite/San Simeon/Big Sur itinerary help, please!

Old Sep 19th, 2006, 06:34 AM
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Me again :-) Yosemite/San Simeon/Big Sur itinerary help, please!

Hello

Based on your excellent responses to my earlier questions, we've changed our plans and on 11th October will now drive from Monterey to SFO rather than from Yosemite to SFO.

As a result, please can anyone give further advice on the last leg of our imminent trip ?

Thanks in advance !
Susie

Sat 7th and Sun 8th October
Stay at Yosemite West condos (already booked).

Monday 9th October
10am - from Yosemite West, take the 41 via Fresno and then the 46 via Paso Robles to San Simeon - is this approx 5 hours' if we stop 45 mins for lunch ? Also, is there anywhere worth stopping en route ?
4pm - arrive San Simeon.
Night in hotel in San Simeon - everywhere within our budget in Big Sur is now fully booked (oops!) so San Simeon seems like a good stopover place. Any thoughts ?

Tuesday 10th October
9.30am - drive straight to the Big Sur area (we're not interested in Hearst Castle) and then continue up to Carmel, stopping along the way and doing the 17 mile drive.
Around 4pm - arrive Monterey (we've decided to miss the aquarium!).
Night in hotel in Monterey.

Wednesday 11th
9am - 10am - take the Highway 1 to Santa Cruz.
Look round Santa Cruz and have lunch.
1.30pm - 3pm - drive Santa Cruz to SFO on 85 and 280 - will this be enough time, bearing in mind afternoon traffic ?
3pm - Return car at airport.
3.30pm - check in for 6.25pm flight to Honolulu
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Old Sep 19th, 2006, 09:05 AM
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Cambria has a bit more to do as an overnight stop than San Simeon (restaurants, window shopping).

But either will do.

I prefer Pacific Grove over Monterey, if you can get something in your budget. Especially if you are not going to the Aquarium. Has more of a residential feel and the walking path around Asilomar State Beach is great.

I think it will take more like 2 hours to reach the airport, another 30 to 45 to check in and arrive at the gate.
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Old Sep 19th, 2006, 09:37 AM
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San Simeon is fine for an overnight - I certainly wouldn't go further north that day, even if you could find lodging in Big Sur in your budget. The drive from Yosemite will be long and the Big Sur coast should be driven when you are fresh. There isn't a whole lot to San Simeon, but it is fine for an overnight. If you want a little more of a town, you might consider Cambria instead. It is about 30 minutes south of San Simeon.

On your drive through Big Sur, there are plenty of good places to stop. Sand Dollar beach is one of my favorites. Limekiln state park has some good, short trails - one to a nice waterfall and another to some old kilns - both along picturesque creeks through second-growth redwoods. Point Lobos is spectacular - definitely recommend a stop there.

For your drive from Santa Cruz to SFO, 1.5 hours should be plenty. This will be a weekday afternoon in the fall, so no traffic from SC to San Jose. Then heading up to the airport, you shouldn't hit much traffic either because you will be going through before the afternoon commute really starts.
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Old Sep 19th, 2006, 12:42 PM
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Have you seen Hearst Castle before? It's a cafeteria style type tourist stop but unless you've already seen it, it's a fun stop and a nice tour. It's an amazing place.

I would recommend nepenthe for lunch in Big Sur if the weather is nice. The service is slooooow and they are usually rude, but it's such a nice spot you won't mind.

Julia Phiffer is a nice little detour and good photo op. Watch out for those waves along the coast and mind the signs. Don't be climbing on the rocks, the waves can come out of nowhere all along the Big Sur/Monterey Coast.


Good advice about Pacific Grove. There is a wonderful walking path along the ocean from lover's point to Cannery Row. The seals should be barking that time of year and you are sure to see some otters. October often has the best weather of the entire year. But bring layers. It can go from hot to cold to hot in 20 minutes.

If you like light houses you can tour the one at point sur - but it's a long tour, several hours and lots of walking and used to only be on weekends. That may have changed as they were expanding into a visitor center and don't know it that's happened.
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Old Sep 19th, 2006, 12:43 PM
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light houses
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Old Sep 19th, 2006, 04:28 PM
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If someone is from a country with a surplus of castles, I would not take the time out of a rather rushed itinerary to see Hearst Castle. Just My Opinion.
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Old Sep 19th, 2006, 04:40 PM
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San Simeon to Monterey is probably 3 hours at best.
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Old Sep 20th, 2006, 03:57 AM
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Don't miss Point Lobos! Stop and have lunch in Capitola instead of Santa Cruz. Capitola is a cute little beach village with character and some fun beachfront bars and restaurants.

-Bill
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Old Sep 20th, 2006, 08:57 AM
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Thanks for the ever - helpful replies ! As a result, we're going to look into staying at Creekside Inn in Cambria on the 9th (and maybe go to Black Cat bistro or Robins for dinner) and m/hotels in Pacific Grove.

No further questions for the moment

Susie
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Old Sep 21st, 2006, 02:55 PM
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Hi,

I just booked a room at Moonstone Landing for the end of October. It was a little over my budget at just 125 a night with ocean view and fireplace. However, there is this phenomenal nature hotel place about 2 hours north of Cambria, not sure if that even works for you but you have to see their site. It's amazing.

costanoa.com

This hotel is NOT really a hotel. There is a lodge and cabins, but the really really cool thing are the tent bungalows. They are like tents with four posts and electricty, heated matresses, nice amenities. They have some for 115 a night which includes a natural organic breakfast for two. The advantage is each little tent is separate and far from others so it's really like being out in nature. One disadvantage, though for one night doable, is the shared showers and bath, though the showers are private. Just a thought.

Oh, and did you see this site yet? It's great for stuff to do along the Big Sur drive: http://www.byways.org/plan/itinerary..._byway_id=2301
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Old Sep 21st, 2006, 09:14 PM
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All good advice so far. I agree that Santa Cruz probably isn't worth your time....Capitola is cute. There is nothing to see in Santa Cruz except the yacht harbor...and you can have lunch there at Aldo's if you decide you must.

You can stay at Asilomar - rather spare rooms, but clean and in a wonderful location. The beaches are delightful.

Have fun!
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Old Sep 22nd, 2006, 07:46 AM
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Just a clarification about Costanoa - it is north of Santa Cruz near the town of Pescadero, much more than 2 hours north of Cambria.

There is another place along the Big Sur coast called Treebones Resort - this place has yurts.

I have heard good things about both, although I haven't stayed in either. I just wanted to post to avoid any confusion with anyone who may be interested in Costanoa.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2006, 07:48 AM
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Darn it - hit post too soon.

Anyway, I disagree that Santa Cruz is not worth a person's time. It depends on what a person is looking for. There is a lot more to Santa Cruz than the yacht harbor.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2006, 10:44 AM
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I guess that I'm just jumping on the bandwagon here, but like several other posters I would highly recommend the Monterey aquarium over a half-day visit to Santa Cruz. You won't regret it. Ditto for skipping Hearst Castle - yes, I know your castles are older and more authentic. But don't think of it as a castle, think of it as the private home of one of the world's most powerful and influential people. The park now offers an IMAX video with the basic tour that shows countless movie stars, royalty, and politicians visiting the place. It's unlike anything you've ever seen.

My final piece of advice is to hold out for Paso Robles as a rest stop for your drive from Yosemite to the coast. There are several good restaurants (check out www.chowhound.com for recommendations) and plenty of good up-and-coming wineries if you like big jammy juicy California-style rhones. Hug and Garretson wineries are both convenient to the freeway in industrial buildings, while Tablas Creek, Linne Calodo, L'Aventure, and countless others have more scenic wineries a little further afield.
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Old Sep 24th, 2006, 02:25 PM
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Hello again

Thanks once more for the recommendations.

We've now booked Sea Otter Inn near Moonstone beach in Cambria for Monday 9 October (and reserved a table for dinner at the Black Cat bistro that evening) and have booked Butterfly Grove Inn in Pacific Grove for Tuesday 10 October.

We're planning to have lunch in Paso Robles on 9th (will have a look on chowhound) and at Gayles Bakery in Capitola on 11th. We're also considering Tillie Gorts for dinner in Pacific Grove on 10th as we're not big on steaks and like to have some veggie fare from time to time!

Thanks for the info on Hearst Castle - we looked into it but have decided to spend more time seeing the natural scenery and parks since we're pretty pressed for time

Bye for now.
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Old Sep 24th, 2006, 02:39 PM
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I have a suggestion for lunch in Paso Robles-- Panolivo. It is a French Mediterranean bistro with excellent sandwiches and yummy French onion soup. They also have delicious pastries.
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Old Sep 24th, 2006, 02:44 PM
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Sounds like a perfect plan. We were in Monterey/Pacific Grove yesterday. The weather was warm and wonderful. We rode our bikes from Lover's Point Park to the Fisherman's Wharf. The trails are really great there with gorgeous coastal scenery.

I agree about the Aquarium, it's amazing and a great way to spend some time in the area. We went to the antique doll auction at the Plaza which was fun. Lunch was at Isabella's on the Wharf and dinner at the Duck Club @ the Plaza was great after wine tasting across the street. 5 tastes for $5 which we shared and loved the Chardonnay there.

Black Cat Bistro in Cambria is an excellent choice. I have a review with photos of our meal there last May on the Tripadvisor Forum. Have a great trip. ***kim***
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Old Sep 24th, 2006, 05:03 PM
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I would chose Point Lobos over the Aquarium. Sea otters are always around and will come closer if you call them like a cat! Best done at low tide so you can look in the tide pools.
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