Pacific Coast Highway.
We travelled on the coast road to take in the amazing views. Breath taking. Make sure you allow plenty of time for photo stops as the road is windy and slow. We travelled in February so the traffic wasn't bad but I imagine summer traffic would be slow going. I felt safer that we were the right lane and not the lane on the edge of the cliffs .The road really does hug those cliffs. Just north of San Simeon (I think) we stopped for a large crowd of people that were hovering by the edge of the road. The beach was covered in hundreds of huge creatures - sea elephants. Squirrels were also ferreting around in the bushes. I love the surprises that California gave us.
Our lunch stop was about the half way mark at Ragged Point. This was a clearing on the edge of the cliffs. There was a motel, restaurant, gallery, coffee shop, take out and gas station.
My kids said "It looks just like Twilight" (Yes, I'm a bit of a Twihard).
the buildings were log cabins, were huge pines and it was so green. As the weather was getting cooler, we ate outside and enjoyed the warm sunshine. It was a very attractive area with beautiful vista points for photos. The gallery also had lovely gifts.
As the journey was slow and my husband a bit tense from tackling the turns, we didn't make any other stops. We wanted to make it to Carmel before losing the light. Sunset was about 5.30. Sadly, no Hearst Castle or Napenthe.
Walking the streets of Carmel is like stepping in the pages of a story book. Stepping back in time - quaint houses, crooked paved streets, flowers in window boxes and fairy lights. Facinating!
Our weekend in Carmel coincided with a national golf tournament at nearby Pebble Beach, much to my husband's delight. The town was very busy and golfers and spectators were out celebrating. The golfing fraternity were spending up in the many art galleries, high end boutiques and fine restaurants. We stayed
Hofsas House which was a short and pleasant walk from the town centre. It is an older establishment, 1930's(?) and German architecture. The reception ladies were welcoming and helpful. Our room was large and clean with a fireplace but on the second floor with no elevator. However, this didn't bother me as I was still working off hot chocolate calories and husband carried the suitcases anyway. A complimentary breakfast of coffee, juice, pastries and fruit was provided in the reception sitting room. As I said, this was an older place and very simple which may not appeal to all, but we were warm and comfortable. It was just fine for us.
Dinner was enjoyed at the Village Corner as recommended by the Hofsas Ladies. It was a short walk to town and a delicious Italian style menu. We were impressed by this restaurant.
The next day, Husband caught a bus to watch the golf and get a few tips from Tiger Woods (golf tips only!). This was the hightlight of the trip for him. To be at iconic golf couse with best golfers in the world! I took a cab to the Monterey Aquarium with the kids. Cab was expensive $25 but quicker than the bus. The aquarium was facinating. Different exhibits than Australia and so big. We were there for 5 hrs so I didn't see anything else in Monterey. In the afternoon, the kids and I went to a park only a few street away from Hofsas house. The ladies of hofsas house gave the kids a frisbee and there were swings and a climbing fort. A local invited my kids to play ball with his son. So lovely. It was nice to do something ordinary and we enjoyed chatting with the locals.
Dinner that night was at Em Lee's, pleasant service and the food was OK.
On leaving the next morning, we wanted to have brunch at Mission Ranch (Clint Eastwood's place) but the restaurant wasn't opened. How do they make it look like a painting? So pretty! We also stopped at the Catholic Mission. Facinating history and a beautiful church. It was good to sit quietly in the church, reflect and give thanks for our safe travels.
On the road again....Off to Mariposa.