Sunday, February 9, 2014

on the road, part 2: what to do in the monterey bay, ca

the monterey bay is my happy place. i've been lucky to be coming here every year (sometimes even making it out twice a year!). between seeing family, friends, and enjoying the sights and food, there is so much to do, see, drink, eat, and even indulge in a little shopping.  here are a few of my favorite things (in no particular order) to do. until you next visit, there is always the monterey bay aquarium otter webcam.

1. visiting the monterey bay aquarium
ok, cue a duh on this one.  it's world famous and for a reason.  the displays are sensational, delicate, magical.  the jellyfish, the otters, the penguins - i can't get enough. tip: get here for opening as it gets really busy. have you seen the pbs documentary saving otter 501, about the otter foster family? you gotta watch it!

2. indulging in drinks at the cypress inn
i love this hotel. it's doris day's place and it's got the decor to go along with it. posters from her films decorate the place and there's an all around jolly atmosphere that's part time warp, part contemporary. there's a restaurant, a bar, an outdoor terrace & a living room - complete with a cozy fireplace. i happened to be there for happy hour on a friday and from 7 - 8pm there's a fantastic russian piano player and a jazz singer.  not to be missed!

the cypress inn is also dog friendly, so you might meet some canine chums during "yappy hour." image via carmel boutique hotels/ the cypress inn

3. eating scones at the tuck box
the tuck box is old school carmel twee at it's best. it's storybook cute and super yummy and their scones really are the best.
is this the tuck box today, or the tuck box in the 1970s? hmmm... image via here

4. grabbing coffees (or kombucha on tap!) at happy girl kitchen co
happy girl kitchen was a new discovery for me on my recent visit.  they opened a year or so ago (i think) and not only do they make delicious coffees but they have a huge kitchen in the back where they make pickles, chutneys and jams. happy girl is totally my vibe! other favorite coffee spots include parker lusseau in monterey and the cafe at il fornaio in carmel
image via here

5. going for a walk on carmel beach
other favorite walking destination is point lobos. 

6. vintage shopping 
you can score some great vintage and retro pieces in california. my go to places to shop is the cannery row antique mall (it's huuuuge and there's an amazing selection) & reincarnations (it's tinyyyy and well - there's an amazing selection). over the years i've scored some great costume jewelry, jackets, shift dresses & this time i found a delightful hawaiian shirt.

image via my instagram

7. day trip to big sur
big sur is a fantastic day trip.  the drive is just beautiful.  dip your toes at the river inn (they have adirondack chairs in the water) or nibble on croissants at the big sur bakery, soak in the view at nepenthe & pop into the henry miller library.

image via my instagram

8. going for morning runs on the pacific grove trail
almost every morning i've managed to jog along the pacific coast trail.  i go from the monterey bay aquarium up to assilomar state park and spanish bay which 2.5/3 miles long (so a 5-6 mile run total).  it's an amazing run and you could go for a longer distance if you wanted to (the trail goes up through the 17 mile drive and pebble beach) - just maybe arrange for someone to pick you up on the other end!!

9. eating at the farmer's market
i love visiting farmers markets. it's incredible to see the range of what is grown locally and it's a great way to get a feel for the area. we went to the farmers market in downtown monterey and stocked up on lots of salad fixings for meals at home and to have some tasty, healthy snacks. there are also some fab stalls selling flowers, tasty dips, wraps, juices and more. plus there are street perfomers including musicians and a clown which makes for a fun vibe.  it's every tuesday, visit their website for more info.

my next trip to dos: 

1. explore to santa cruz. my cousin's tell me there are some great vintage stores to be found there too.
2. visit some vineyards (like gallante & carmel road). i'm loving the wines out of monterey lately, and am curious to get to know them personally!
3. rent kayaks to go otter/ seal spotting
4. ...or how about watch for whales?
5. drink margaritas at moss landing (cause it sounds so kitsch!! and if you know me at all, you know i love, love, love a good margarita)

view part one of my cali trip here

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