Our plan is to spend December and January exploring the California coast. Yes, we have lived in California for well over 30 years, and yes, we have been up and down the coast dozens of times. However the majority of our time on the coast can be characterized as long weekends wrapped around weddings, Bat Mitzvahs, basketball tournaments, or business trips; the “coast” part being an extra special bonus. Now it will be our primary focus.
First stop…two weeks in Pacific Grove.
We discovered Pacific Grove a couple of years ago while I was surveying the Monterey area for a possible office location. Robin came along to keep me company and we stopped in Pacific Grove for breakfast. We thought, “Wow, what a cute little town. This would be a great place to live.” ……Or at least visit for a couple of weeks.
The town is nicely sandwiched between it’s more popular neighbors Monterey and Carmel, on the very western tip of the Monterey Peninsula. Along the coast is Ocean View Blvd (which becomes Sunset Drive on the south side of the peninsula). Although only a few miles long, this part of the shoreline contains an amazing array of rocky outcroppings, parks, and tide pools teaming with all matter of marine life. As you move up the hill away from the coast, you pass though a seaside neighborhood of historic homes until you reach Lighthouse Avenue with its many shops, restaurants, and B&B’s. We are staying on the top floor of a 100-year-old Victorian on the corner of Lighthouse and Fountain Avenues. The bottom floor is Aliotti’s Victorian Corner Restaurant. Perfect.
So what does one do on the first day after settling into such an idyllic location? One goes to the nearby Del Monte shopping mall! In all fairness it was pouring rain all day and the mall is located next to the local movie theatre. Bought some clothes, some gift cards, had lunch at PF Chang’s and caught the matinée of Mockingjay, Part 1.
Wednesday was another rainy day so it was spent reading and working with a couple quick walks around the neighborhood.
Thursday we had a nice break in the weather so we walked from Lovers Point (Pacific Grove) to Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row (Monterey) along the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail.
We capped off Thursday night with the Pacific Grove Christmas parade, which just happened to start on Lighthouse Ave next to our apartment. I think we had the best seats in the house! Please welcome the Pacific Grove High School marching band.
Friday we woke to beautiful sunshine, so we took advantage and went for a workout run/walk along Ocean View Blvd south to Asilomar State Beach. This part of Pacific Grove ends at Spanish Bay Golf Course and the 17 mile drive in Carmel. Perhaps the most scenic workout we’ve ever had!
We returned to our place just ahead of the next storm, so we got cleaned up and headed back to the mall where we finished our shopping and saw another great movie, The Theory of Everything.
Lovers Point Park juts into Monterey Bay just a few blocks from our place. We decided to spend Saturday on one of the benches reading, gazing, and grazing. Turned out to be a good day for all of the above as we witnessed two weddings (imagine that … weddings at Lovers Point), a hysterical group of tourists posing for pictures, and all while taking in the majestic views on a gorgeous day.
Saturday night was spent watching the Warriors……I’m sorry, the 17-2 Warriors, beat the Chicago Bulls, as well as many great college football games. It was a good day!
We woke this morning to the muffled sound of many people enjoying Sunday brunch at the restaurant below. Being good neighbors, we decided to join them.
It turns out the owners, Dominic and Mary (who we are renting from) are huge 49er fans. All employees were totally decked out in 49er gear. Of course we had to mention our Raider loyalty (after receiving our food) to Dominic, who took pity on us. After all, with the 49er’s playing the Raiders today…..I’m sorry, the 1-10 Raiders, he and his staff felt pretty optimistic.
Guess we’ll have to go back for breakfast tomorrow and talk about the 2-10 Raiders!
Our day ended with a drive out toward Asilomar State Beach to witness why Ocean View Blvd becomes Sunset Drive……..