ahhhh - Monterey. This was the best part of our vacation (we went to SF firt, then Monterey, then on to Yosemite). I loved the Monterey segment. Unfortunately we had overcast cloudy skies each day, but that didn't dampen our spirits. We will just have to plan to come back another time to see blue skies and blue water.
where to begin... We stayed at the Monterey Plaza Hotel and it is a wonderful establishment with top notch accomodations. Would HIGHLY recommend this hotel and would stay again. It is in a wonderful location as well. Our room was SO large (largest of all the hotels we stayed in this trip - we stayed in 5 different ones and this was my favorite by far!).
We ate at El Torito (is that correct spelling?) located between our hotel and Cannary Row. It was WONDERFUL Mexican food. I am from Texas and am VERY picky on Mexican food and my whole family noted this to be one of our favorite places to eat while on vacation. The table-side guacamole was perfect !!! Great food and the service was wonderful as well. We had a window seat and watch the otters play in the kelp beds. :)
We drove the 17-mile drive that evening as the sun was setting. IMO, it wasn't all that great. My husband loved seeing the golf courses (i know, what guy wouldn't, right?) but the only part i found spectacular was the Lone Cypress. Otherwise, I would skip it. Hwy 1 drive is much better.
Next day we drove to Point Lobos. THIS WAS MY FAVORITE PART OF WHOLE TRIP. I loved loved loved this place !!! It was amazingly beautiful. We did the south shore trails and tide pools that morning. It was overcase and foggy, but it was still wonderful. I can't even imagine how amazing it would be in clear sunny weather. We then drove down to Hwy 1 to McWay Falls in Big Sur. We drove back up and back to Point Lobos and did the Cypress Cove trail. It was fabulous. (have I put every adjective available to describe Point Lobos yet -- still not enough words to really appreciate the place!!! -- i think God decided to put an extra measure of His beauty here!) There is something "special" about Point Lobos. Aside from the beauty, which is obvious, it has an air of calm and peacefulness. I loved it (i think I already
said that though, huh?) :)
Drive down Hwy 1 -- okay, to be honest.. IMO it was not quite as amazing as I was hoping for. Maybe it was the fog/overcast weather - maybe??? - but the part just past Bixby Bridge where it goes up to that high vista poitn and you can look back on the bridge would have been enough for me. After that it just didn't do much for me. Big Sur and McWay Falls was nice, but I enjoyed Point Lobos more. But that is just my opinion.. I'm sure others would disagree. (oh and by the way, it isn't a scary drive. I was afraid it would be with it being alongside high cliffs, but it wasn't scary at all in case anybody else was wondering).
Oh, and that a.m. we ate breakfast at Katy's in Carmel. It was good food - lots of it. A little on the expensive side, but worth it.
Next day we went to Montery Bay Aquarium. My 10 y.o. daughter LOVED this. It was her favorite part of the trip. It was fun watching the diver feed the fish in the HUGE tank. He was able to communicate and talk to us while he fed them - even hand fet a shark!!! "WAY COOL" my little girl said! :) Definitely make this a stop in your vacation - lots to see and lots of interaction for the kids.
We walked along Cannary Row and my husband bought me and my 20 y.o. daughter rings at this wonderful little shop (sorry, can't remember name - but it was near Sly McFlys I think). It was a glass ring made from sand. They had many differnt colors to choose from. The people who own the shop were SO nice and we really liked their craftsmanship.
The recreation trail is wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed walking it and seeing the seals, birds, and people :)
We ate at Bubba Gumps and the fish was OUTSTANDING. It was mahi-mahi and the breading was so good. The onion rings for appetizer were great as well. Oh, and the strawberry lemonade was AMAZING!!!! :) I know some would say "Bubba Gumps? You go to Monterey and eat at Bubba Gumps???" But that was our daughter's choice and I have to say it was a good choice for some good fried seafood !!! :)
The last day we got up and walked over to Fisherman's Wharf. MY OH MY - there were seals EVERYWHERE - literally everywhere. One little guy was even walking out of the women's restroom at the boat landing! :) LOL -- TOO CUT!!! My daughter thought it was neat seeing them so close up.
On to Yosemite -- but I'll post that report in their forum. But Monterey was my favorite stop in this trip to California.