Monterey/Carmel Trip Report

Old Oct 27th, 2012, 04:09 PM
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Monterey/Carmel Trip Report

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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Old Oct 27th, 2012, 04:26 PM
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Thanks for reporting back and glad you enjoyed your visit out here.
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Old Oct 27th, 2012, 11:02 PM
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Thanks for your report. I still haven't made it to Elkhorn Slough but it sounds like a great spot!
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 03:30 AM
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Sounds like a similar experience we had in Elkhorn Slough. Loved the aquarium too. We had meant to eat at Flying Fish, but wound up not making it there. I'm kinda glad now that was the one we missed.
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 06:32 AM
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We live in the Bay Area and have yet to make it kayaking on Elkhorn Slough - I'm definitely putting it on my list for next spring!
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 08:34 AM
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Nice report, thanks
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 08:36 AM
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Great report!
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 12:10 PM
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The Slough really was great. As for going in the spring..The company didn't have anything I saw on the website about certain places being closed for "pupping season". The guide said that most of the seals, otters, etc actually go out to the bay to feed and then come back to the Slough to rest--which makes sense. And I assume the moms can't leave the babes for very long so they probably don't give birth in the Slough. But I would check out that aspect before I hauled my kayak down there

If you are not familiar with marine life, then I would totally recommend the guided tour. Some people were kayaking on their own but they didn't know to kayak over near the bank to stay out of the current. Plus I liked the safety factor of a guide. But if you have some knowledge of kayaks and the animals, then have at it--its the same as hiking through the desert here if you're local.

I also enjoyed seeing all the "xeric" plants we use here (Salt Lake City) in gardens there. Some different variations but the same idea. Also seeing plants that we grow as annuals but In CA, they are perennials. And the succulents are really cool-I loved those. The fall colors were very nice.
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