Thursday, November 20, 2008

Anniversary Trip to Pacific Grove/Monterey

You will see the pictures first then have to scroll down to read my post of our trip. I wanted my pictures at the end. Oh well!! Next to the Lodge where we stayed is a cemetery. In the evening the coastal deer come out to feed. Here's the buck walking towards where the does were feeding. He wasn't very big. As we were leaving he came up pretty close to where we were parked.

Here's few of the does feeding. They do not seem to be bothered by people being close by watching them.

Sunday afternoon we parked along Ocean View Drive and watched the waves. Probably because of the rainy weather, the waves were pretty high. I miss so much being close to the water. I am always quite content when we do take a trip to this area and I can just sit and watch the water.

We were told by a docent at the Aquarium that this bird has been with the Aquarium since it opened, some 20 years ago. It has some arthritis in it's one leg so limps quite a bit.

The penguins being fed. They are so fun to watch. The water spots on the glass are from them splashing in the water.

One of the many huge fish in the Kelp Forest. I took lots of pictures at the Aquarium, unfortunately, very few actually came out good.

We visited the Butterfly Grove on Saturday. It's just around the corner from the Lodge where we stayed. Those dark spots on the leaves are the butterflies clinging to the leaves, hundreds and hundreds of them. At first it looked like dead leaves until they fluttered their wings.

The dark spots on the rocks are hundreds of black birds. This was a block or two from the Lodge along Ocean View Drive.

The dark spots in the water are otters floating along, some on the kelp. We missed seeing the otters being fed at the Aquarium.

On Friday, October 31st we left Sacramento bright and early for a trip to Pacific Grove/Monterey to celebrate our 28th anniversary, which was Saturday November 1st. We stayed at the Lighthouse Lodge & Suites. My husband's bike club stays here when they go over to Pacific Grove for their annual bike ride every year in October. We were there about 3 years ago on the club's ride. And in fact, the weekend before the club was there for their ride. Anyway, the room we had this time was not the greatest. It was pretty small, the king size bed took up most of the space. We were there from Friday until Monday the 3rd and each day we had to go to the office to ask for hand towels and/or washcloths.

We stopped in Castroville at The Giant Artichoke Restaurant for breakfast. Years ago when I lived in Salinas, this was a little vegetable stand. They served deep fried artichokes, which they still do, and I use to drive from Salinas to Castroville during lunch to get these fried artichokes for everybody in the office. It was driving on country roads, I could make it up there and back in 45 minutes. There would still be time to eat them when I got back to the office.

The Lodge offers a full breakfast for the guests of the Lodge and Suites each morning. The Suites are across the street from the Lodge. There's scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, sausage or bacon, danish, bread for toast, dry cereal, oatmeal one morning and assorted fruits, fruit juices and milk. Lots of hot coffee too. We ate breakfast there 2 of the mornings. Of course, it was before the election and the TV was on CNN. My husband can't stand CNN so we hurriedly ate so we didn't have to listen to what was being said. In the evenings they also offer a BBQ for the guests. I think when the weather is bad they do something else for dinner. It's usually hamburgers, hotdogs, potato or macaroni salad and something for dessert. We ate there Friday night.

On Saturday we visited the Monarch Butterfly Grove which is not too far from the Lodge. It was hard at first to see them, they were the dark spots clinging to the leaves of the eucalyptus trees, then drove through the town of Carmel and down to the Courtyard, an outside shopping mall off of Highway 1 on Carmel Valley Road. We did a little shopping there then drove up Carmel Valley Road to the village. I have a friend who use to work for San Saba Wineries and the last I knew their tasting room was up in the village. Well, we couldn't find it so we drove back down to Highway 1 and stopped at The Barnyard. It's another shopping place across from The Courtyard. Got a piece of some delicious chocolate at a shop there.

We looked through some of the brochures we had of the Monterey area and found out where the tasting room was for the San Saba Winery so decided to drive down there. It's in Soledad which is south of Salinas. It was a beautiful drive, had some rain along the way. We found the tasting room and then sadly found out that my friend no longer worked for San Saba. We were told where we could find her.

It was back to the Lodge for a little bit then went to the Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey for dinner at our favorite restaurant on the wharf, Rappa's. It's at the very end of the wharf. We go there everytime we are in Monterey. The fish is always so fresh and we try to get a window table so we can watch what's going on with the boats. We noticed this time that the seals weren't climbing all over the boats as they have in the past. Our waiter told us its because there is hardly any fish in the wharf area so the seals don't come. We did hear some barking but couldn't see where they were.

As we left, it started to sprinkle a little. We had had rain off and on since we got there on Friday. Thankfully, we had our umbrella with us. We also noticed that there were hardly any people on the wharf. It could have been because of the weather and/or the economy.

On Sunday we went to the Aquarium and spent a couple of hours there. We could have stayed longer, however the parking space my husband found was only for 2 hours. Our tickets were also good for 2 days and we thought about going back down on Monday before we left town. After we left the Aquarium we decided to drive back to Carmel Village and see if we could find Janie which we did. She manages the tasting room for Cima Collina Winery. It was so good to see her.

Back in the mid 70's I lived in Salinas for about 10 months. It's a long story as to how I got there, however Janie and I worked for Salinas Valley Radio which offered radio/phone service to the growers in the fields surrounding the Salinas area. We became very close friends. We were both single moms and so spent a lot of time together outside of work. Her son is 5 years older than my daughter and at one time, lived in Sacramento. In 2005 when we went over to Pacific Grove for my husband's bike club ride, I looked up Janie and we met for breakfast. A couple of years ago my Christmas card that I sent her came back and I thought she had finally left the Salinas area. Anyway, I'm glad to have hooked up with her again. Hopefully, we will do better with keeping in touch.

Sunday night we had dinner at a Korean restaurant in Monterey that we went to back in 2005. There was just another couple there besides us. We spent some time visiting with the owner and her husband. The food is really good. I can't think of the name of the restaurant, it's on Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey before you get to David Street which you take to get to Pacific Grove Lighthouse Avenue. Try it if you are ever in the area and like Korean food.

We left the Lodge on Monday morning to head back to Sacramento. I didn't want to eat at the Lodge again so we stopped at Toastie's on Lighthouse Avenue in Pacific Grove. I wanted to go to the Red House but it's not open for breakfast during the week. Anyway I had been to Toastie's with Janie and knew the food was good. I had blueberry pancakes which were yummy, could only eat one and a half of them. My husband had a fried potato scramble and he couldn't finish his either. It was lots of food. It was a very busy place too.

On the way home we stopped in San Juan Bautista at the San Juan Bakery to get some of their delicious bread. Got a loaf of their Portuguese Sweet Bread, Coconut White Chocolate Bread, Portuguese Orange Bread and some Peanut Butter cookies. The sweet bread is absolutely yummy. My husband made french toast with it one morning. The Coconut White Chocolate Bread was out of this world good. It's their newest bread. Very rich!! The Portuguese Orange Bread was ok, nothing to shout about. The bakery has been there in town for many years!!! Leaving there we drove back to Highway 101 then took 152 over to I5 and stopped at Casa de Fruita for a few minutes. There's a new highway going through there now so there's an off ramp for the place. It use to sit right on the highway. Lots of stuff going on there but hardly any people. We were home by 2:30 that afternoon.

It was a great trip celebrating our anniversary and spending time together without any distractions.


Elizabeth said...

You and Dad always take such cool trips! I wrote a paper for my science class earlier this year that included the butterfly grove. I am thinking that I will have to take the girls one day.

Betty Townsend said...

I was a little disappointed in the "grove", there's not a lot there. The butterflies were only on the eucalyptus trees. We did see a few flying around. It was really hard to see them at first, then we saw some flutter their wings. They were in thick clusters hanging from the leaves of the trees. The girls would probably enjoy it.