Come away with me to experience the world-famous coastline and the scrumptious food that the Monterey Peninsula encompasses.
The coast is famous for the Big Sur state route 1, where you will find and enjoy the unspoiled coastal vistas at Point Lobos State Nature Preserve. Located a few miles south of Carmel on state highway route 1, this jewel of nature includes a variety of hiking trails and picnic sites suitable for a full day of enjoyment. If you hike the famous Point Lobos, you will be rewarded with extraordinary hiking trails and scenic views of cliffs overlooking the ocean. The reserve is home to a variety wildlife such as Pelicans nesting in the Cypress trees and soaring high over the ocean waters looking for their fish, colonies of barking sea lions, and the occasional Sea Otter or Whale.
Closer to the civilized hamlet of Carmel by the sea, you will find the 17-mile drive with majestic views of the Monterey Peninsula. The awesome Cypress trees will in particularly take your breath away clinging to cliff faces and dotting the sandy shores.
The village of Carmel by the sea is noted for top notch shopping and fine dining. This quiet village has been home to many of Hollywood’s elite including Bing Crosby, Doris Day and Former Mayor Clint Eastwood. Comfortably distant from city hustle and bustle, it contains all the luxuries that go with any classic travel venue. Another great hike in Carmel-by-theSea, is the scenic path along its gorgeous coastline.
Since food is particularly of interest to many travelers, you will be happy to know that this destination wants for none in that regard. Monterey is known for fresh artichokes, gourmet mushrooms and seafood.
But the one meal that I always have to pursue is the Clam Chowder! The Clam Chowder is a food group unto itself in Monterey and there is a robust competition on Fisherman’s wharf to be crowned the toast of the county. Fisherman’s wharf is located at the seaward entrance to the historic village of Monterey. Once the capital of California, there remain several historic buildings that date back to the days when Monterey was under Spanish rule. The wharf extends into the protected harbor of Monterey, home to fishing fleets and luxury yachts.
The harbor is shared between Monterey’s coastal fleet and the natural wildlife. Sea lions routinely sunbath on the docks (and occasionally on the untended yachts). Otters frolic between the boats in the harbor and may be spotted searching the area near the wharf for food.
For wine lovers, there are over 71 wineries to fill your fancy. This region is known particularly for Chardonnay grapes. Monterey is a great escape and one you will never forget! You will walk away longing to return for its picturesque landscape and gourmet food.
Marcella Poitras enjoyed a long career at Santa Barbara City College in HR and is now spending her time traveling, painting, cooking, and writing. She and her husband live in Southern California