We began our visit to Pacific Grove and Monterey by driving from home in Santa Rosa to our airbnb in Pacific Grove. It took us about four and a half hours, including brief stops at a McDonald's and a 7/11, and much longer slow down when the 3 lane highway had two lanes blocked for a while. There was a lot of traffic, including many trucks, backed up and going very slowly, sometimes stopped.
We arrived at our airbnb and were pleased with the two bedroom, fully furnished home.
After unloading/unpacking the car, we walked around town, stopped at a grocery store and brought the food back to the house. Then we walked to the shore, in particular to Lovers Point, a pile of rocks right next to the beach.
There were many seagulls and squirrels in the area, no doubt used to tourists like us, in that we threw out a small bit of food. This video shows two very talkative sea gulls and a squirrel who rushed for the food bits.
We walked down to the small beach, then headed back to the airbnb, stopping at the Beach House Restaurant to get fish and chips to go. As we waited for the order, we looked around at the restaurant and decided we would definitely come back another time and eat dinner. Some of the tables right next to windows had very pretty views overlooking the bay. We got our order, walked back to the airbnb with the fish and chips. Back at the house we ate the fish and chips and watched the news.
We walked along Lighthouse Avenue to the Butterfly Sanctuary where we saw butterflies hanging on the leaves and branches of one tree in particular.
We drove to a neighborhood near the Aquarium, where we could park, then walked to the Aquarium, paid $45 each (we are seniors!), and spent about an hour and half looking at so many ocean creatures in huge tanks. It was wonderful. Bob's favorite, most memorable, were all the jelly fish.
After visiting the Aquarium, we walked back to the car, drove to Safeway and got groceries, then drove back to our airbnb and napped. After our naps, we walked to The Beach House Restaurant at Lovers Point for dinner, making sure to get there close to 4:30 when it opened, so we got seats on the porch next to a window overlooking Half Moon Bay. Had salmon for dinner. The salmon was great, ranking close to that we had gotten once in Alaska (see end of Alaska Day 4).
After dinner we walked back home and watched the news on TV.
Today was art gallery day. We drove to Carmel and walked the streets visiting maybe 15 art galleries. Bob much enjoyed looking at wonderful photos of oceans by Aaron Chang. We visited the Carmel Art Association which had works by about 60 artists and which Shirley felt was her favorite gallery.
We also took the opportunity to go down to the beach and walk along it. Very nice. And if you looked in the right direction, the water was just sparkling. We walked back along the road above the beach, admiring homes along the way.
We drove home and to Whole Foods grocery store where we got dinners.
We drove along the Pacific Grove Sea-side Drive, stopping to walk along the sand dunes. Lots of birds to see, including pelicans in flight. And a seagull checking out a sea otter, probably hoping the sea otter would provide some food left-overs.
We then continued driving and stopped at the Asilomar Conference Center, which provided us with a chance to walk along the Dune Board Walk. The Conference Center is huge.
Continuing on our way we then did the famous 17-mile Drive, stopping several times: Pebble Beach, Bird Rock and more. So many birds and such a lovely drive.
We had a late lunch at the Monterey Visitors Center and then visited the Monterey Museum of Art which had several interesting exhibits, especially bird nests.
Then drove to Fisherman's Wharf (doing our usual free, off-street parking walking down to Fisherman's Wharf. So many vendors and shops, so many views (particularly when we walked up stairs to an open air porch circling a building that looked out over the bay) , so very busy with lots of people. Quite fun.
Afterwards we drove back to our airbnb for the night, looking forward to our Big Sur Drive tomorrow.
We drove south, choosing to start on Highway 68 (a much easier drive), then to Highway 1, going some 30 miles along Hwy 1 to Big Sur. Along the way were beautiful stops like Bixby Bridge, so many scenic lookouts with ocean vistas that were breathtaking. One stop required us to walk up steps for some distance. At the top were beautiful views of the coast and ocean for so many miles.
When we finally reached Big Sur area we ate snacks at the Market At The Big Sur River Inn, which was in fact just above the river. We walked down to the river, saw large chairs sitting in the river, so of course we each stepped over stones to sit in one of them.
Back up near the road again there was an "Ice Cream Bus", which was a bus from long ago that had been converted into a small shop where Bob got an ice cream cone (Bob wanted vanilla ice cream, but they were out so he had to settle for lemon sorbet - life is tough).
After finishing the cone, Bob drives us back to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. So, so wonderful, here are highlights
|The Rock Cat
Returned to the car, we then drove along Highway 68 back to Pacific Grove, making a stop at Safeway. In the evening we packed to leave tomorrow - the 5 days went fast!
After checking over and photographing our nice airbnb, we began our drive home to Santa Rosa. For the most part the drive went smoothly with few traffic jams. We made two stops. First at Big Basin Redwoods State Park where we walked 4 miles along the seashore and got to see many sea lions on a beach.
Then later at San Benito Deli on Main Street in Half Moon Bay, where we ate very good sandwiches (and a so, so blackberry pie that was nowhere near as good as the one Shirley's Mom used to make). While eating lunch we were entertained by two guitarists, one of whom wore a Halloween mask, whose music we enjoyed.
Such a wonderful last day on such a wonderful adventure!
Bob Phillips [phillips bob 27 at yahoo dot com - no spaces]
Santa Rosa, CA
February 17, 2023