Trip Report Pacific Grove/Monterey, CA

Old Feb 18th, 2008, 08:47 AM
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Trip Report Pacific Grove/Monterey, CA

Last minute Teacher's Getaway (four women)--focus on good food, wine, walks on the beach. Stayed at Deer Haven Inn & Suites, located behind Asilomar. Minor glitch checking in as they were painting some rooms--quick switch of rooms, drop the luggage, and we're off. We walked through Asilomar for a re-charge walk on the beach. This is such a lovely stretch of beach; the fresh air and sunshine warmed our souls. Back to the Inn, into the car, down to Cannery Row. We're not shoppers--but as it was our "magic" hour (3pm--"School's Out!")--let's have some wine. First stop was Bargetto. Nice wines, friendly staff. They held onto the case we bought for a later pick up. Walked out to Taste of Monterey--a beautiful upstairs room with glass windows looking out to the ocean. Tasting some very nice wines from smaller wineries, we spotted otters and dolphins, who danced in the waves. (Loved the Foghorn Pinot). Quick drive out to the Lighthouse, back to the Inn for a game of dominoes, then ready for dinner. Because it was a holiday weekend, we reserved our dinners on OpenTable.com and purposely chose restaurants in Pacific Grove to limit driving. Melange was our choice Friday, and it was very nice. Small plates, nice wines, quiet and intimate atmosphere.
Continental breakfast at the Inn was just enough, muffins, bagels, yogurt, juice and coffee--just enough. Intended to hit the wineries, but realized none of them opened until 11am. So, another walk on the beach, then "off to the grapes!". We headed out Carmel Valley Road and made Bernardus our first stop--excellent wines (two cases purchased). Got the call from the two husbands who had just arrived in the area. We met up at Heller Estate Winery--very nice wines--very dry reds. Beautiful picnic grounds surrounded by sculptures. Leisurely lunch, back to the Inn for a nap. One more walk on the beach, then into the car to get to Inn at Spanish Bay for the sunset ritual. We couldn't get a table by the firepits, but did get a front row table for the bagpiper. Pricey drinks, but well worth the ritual--gorgeous sunset. Quick warm up by the fireplace in our room at Deer Haven, then off to dinner at Fandango. What a great place! Lots of interesting small rooms, warmth, charm and delicious food. Seared scallops over fettucine with a light cream sauce. Excellent paella; other choices were petrale sole and salmon (all excellent) drank two bottles of the Bernardus Chardonnay. One embarrassing moment--we saw that the menu mentioned a 15% charge for parties of six or more--we never saw the entire bill as we just threw down three credit cards. The maitre d' chased us down to let us know a tip had NOT been included. We settled up generously as our waiter had been excellent and given great suggestions. More dominoes, then bed. Sunday morning was our last day as we'd decided to save the holiday to enjoy at home. After breakfast, we split into two cars--one on a direct route home, the other (mine) decided to drive up Hwy 1 and keep our options open. We pulled over at Ano Nuevo opting to just hike rather that take the Naturalist's tour (would have taken two more hours). Did the entire loop and saw a male elephant seal in the surf at the Cove. Very cool. **Does anyone know anything about that huge house on an island???** Back in the car, lunch stop at Half Moon Bay. Two of us wanted fish and chips and decided we'd stop at the first Union Jack we saw. Right there, coming into town, we spotted "Cameron's Pub"--funky place, excellent food (fish and chips were terrific as were the burgers). Nice break, back in the car and back home in the East Bay by the mid-point of the Daytona 500. Everybody had a great time--very relaxing, tasty food, yummy wines--a great weekend of renewal. Actually feel like we can make it until Spring Break. Cheers!
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Old Feb 18th, 2008, 01:32 PM
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What a fun report! Gave me some great ideas for my next time down there. Where are you from?

The elephant seal guided tour is excellent, but you made the right choice. It is very LONG. I took my parents once - and my dad and my husband whined all the way.
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Old Feb 18th, 2008, 03:10 PM
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We teach and live around the Walnut Creek area. Easy weekend get-away for us--plan on doing it again.
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Old Feb 18th, 2008, 04:35 PM
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TrvlMaven- delightful report!!! I felt like I was along for the ride! (I wish!)

I have a $300 travel voucher on AA I have to use before August. You got me thinkin' California now! I haven't been in ages and maybe spring would be a good time to enjoy all those wineries!

Thanks!!!

Paula
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Old Feb 18th, 2008, 05:24 PM
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Nice report TrvlMaven. I live in San Jose and never tire of visiting the PG and Monterey. FYI, my DH and I grew up in the Walnut Creek/ Danville area.
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 04:34 AM
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Loved your trip report! We're going to be out there in July and I was wondering if any of the wineries you visited would be ok to go to with two well behaved teenage daughters in tow?

Are kids even allowed in the tasting rooms?

Are any of the wineries you went to situated in a place where hubby and I could enjoy a tasting while teenagers walked around and looked at shops etc on their own?
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 07:50 AM
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Mwessel,
The Taste of Monterey is located at Cannery Row--that would be ideal as there are tons of shops right there. Easy to "let them loose" and set a designated time to rendevous. Heller Estates, that is WAY out on Carmel Valley Road had a few stores nearby, but not of great interest to teens. Wineries don't usually allow anyone under 21 (have even seen them make someone take their baby outside. Bernardus and Heller tasting rooms are pretty small. Teens could wait outside in the picnic grounds at Heller--but not sure that would be entertaining.
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 09:43 AM
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I'm not positive, so take this for what it's worth. I think the house you asked about was part of a lighthouse on the island. Where the keeper lived. The light long since gone.

Sounda like a wonderful weekend. We too live in the Bay Area and haven't been to Ano Nuevo for a long time. Maybe it's time for another visit.
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Old Feb 20th, 2008, 05:11 AM
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TrvlMaven
Just the kind of info I was hoping to get. Thanks so much. I think hubby and I will hang at Taste of Monterey and let the girls go exploring the Cannery on their own.
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Old Feb 20th, 2008, 06:53 AM
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Mwessel,
There are two tastings at Taste of Monterey--$5 for "regular taste" and $10 for the "reserve"--you might consider one of each to make the most of what they offer. They will take of $5 on your purchase. Be sure the teens visit the "Del Sol" store, where everything changes color in the sun (they will especially like the nail polish). Enjoy!
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Old Feb 20th, 2008, 06:56 AM
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Giovanna,
That's some house for a lighthouse keeper--it is huge. When we first moved north, we used to head out to Half Moon Bay, then down to "Redondo Beach Road" for an ocean fix (we're originally from Redondo Beach in the south state).
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