A Weekend in Monterey

Over New Year’s Eve weekend Ben and I escaped to the Monterey Peninsula. I’ve been to Monterey a few times and have enjoyed all the tourist traps (the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Steinbeck’s House and more). This time, I wanted a relaxing vacation away from noisy tourists.

We found a great hotel (that allows dogs!) in Pacific Grove, a town on the water next to Monterey. After arriving and checking in, we walked to the boardwalk that was filled with joggers, families and people walking dogs.

The scenery was breathtaking.

Later that night we got ready for a special New Year’s Eve dinner at Jack’s Restaurant at the Portola Inn. We rarely get gussied up for a night out, so it was fun to dress up and visit a fancy restaurant. Another motivation for the timing of this trip was to escape New Year’s Eve craziness. Instead of going out and partying with the crowds, we decided to have a nice dinner, relax in the Jacuzzi, and drink some champagne in our hotel room.

In the morning we found a local eatery (Halle’s Diner, great atmosphere but the food was only okay) and ventured to the coast once again. We drove down 17 mile drive until we found a deserted strip of beach to throw the ball for Harrison.

My dog has an obsession with the ocean. As soon as he can see it or smell it, he freaks out. He had a blast running up and down the beach chasing his ball until the ocean waves caught it and swept it away forever. The rest of the day was spent napping and venturing into Monterey for dinner at a local Chinese restaurant.

In the morning, we decided we needed a change of scenery and drove to Carmel. Known for upscale shops and eateries, Carmel is very reminiscent of St. Helena and many other Napa Valley towns. We had an especially noteworthy breakfast at Katie’s Place in downtown Carmel. Not only was the place so packed we had to sit at the bar to eat, but one of our plate’s could have fed a small family.

I got the Santa Fe Benedict with spicy Hollandaise sauce. By far one of the largest meals I’ve ever had, and it was also out-of-this-world good. And now I feel like I need to detox.

We ended the trip on another beautiful white beach, in Carmel.

More than simply relaxing, this trip was cleansing. It was the perfect way to end 2011 and ring in 2012 with a clear mind and refreshed spirit.

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