Sunday, April 2, 2017

48 Hours in Monterey, CA

I recently got to spend 48 Hours in Monterey, CA where you can predict there is a lot of tourist attractions but here is a few insights to help you be more of a "local" per se.

First off, there is Starbucks and Peet's Coffee houses but you should go to Carmel Valley Coffee 

Local coffee

This is where the locals go and this small business has unique experience awaiting you with real food not from a commissary but local people making the sandwiches and muffins. 

Their strong coffee could be a substitute for jet fuel. Their sandwiches and other treats give you that homemade feeling. I enjoyed a great cup of coffee and breakfast sandwich. 

Next up, yes you can go see the SeaLife here ...and that means everything from sea otters to Humpback Whales. 

everyone in the water
During the Season ( Feb - May ) Whales can be seen just know that it costs $50 per person or more on the weekends. Check for midweek deals if you are coming otherwise a party of four is $200. There are small boats and large cruise boats with glass bottoms. Also check with your hotel for whale packages too.

Now you know I like wine but, I can't drink all the wine in Monterey and that is a huge bummer for me. Fortunately, Cannery Row will help you discover some great wines without the fear of driving 

Taste of Monterey

For $15 You can try 5 great wines from local vineyards and wineries at Taste of Monterey There is also a restaurant here too but with so many places to eat and see you may want to save some room. You really come here for the view out to Monterey Bay and on a clear day you can see Hawaii ( not so but it looks like it ). 

Carmel Ridge Winery

The other spots for you to visit are Carmel Ridge Winery where you will find one of the wine dogs there in addition to great wines they have amazing nibbles that can help satisfy the tummy till the lunch rush passes and you can enjoy your meals. 

Bargetto Winery 

An actual Santa Cruz Winery Bargetto has a tasting room here and so does the new Blue Fox Cellars which hails from Mendocino County both of these will help you explore more than just Monterey Wines. Again check with your hotel if they have specials for wine tasting or tours. 

Now between a sightseeing and wine tasting on Cannery Row you pretty much have spent a day but how you got there is a little different story. 

small boat out 

I recommend starting in Downtown Monterey or off Fremont Blvd. unless your hotel is in Monterey proper take advantage of the walkway between the Wharf and Cannery Row. You can hop on the JAZZ bus that will take you to and fro but, I found the walk refreshing after whale watching ( took about 3 hours ). 

If you do not want to do a Whale Watching Boat Tour take a tour of the Presidio and Monterey  These are great tours of fabulous locals included more than one historical relevant location. The tours are about $10 and you feel like you are stepping into the past. The State Park staff shares lots of information and is a lot of fun. 
For the artist get surreal with Dali17 

There are classes and great tours here which really makes you open up your brain more than you thought. You would be surprised at how you can relate to such a unique artist. 

I recommend trying to get one day of tours done and yes you can go to the Aquarium which has some unique displays but, if you only have 48 hours you would be missing out on some amazing history too. 

I basically spent about $100 taking tours with my first tour at 10:30 with the State Park then Whale Watching at 12:30 I got back by 4pm to do a short tour of Dali 17 which is a treat 

Then I headed over to Cannery Row on my 2nd Day and enjoyed wine tasting where I literally lost track of time which if you are trying to relax is a good thing.
Grab a boat 


There is a lot of opportunity to take a boat out on the water but there is there is something to be said for staying on land. 

My recommendation for hotels is as follows because you should be spending time out and about not in a hotel room flipping channels. 
Motel 6 on Fremont Street its a favorite of mine since its a family owned one and I have stayed here three times so far. Its central enough to get from and to Downtown plus the fairgrounds are right next door so the Jazz Festival ( FYI RESERVE YOUR ROOM AND TICKETS NOW ITS THE 60th YEAR
If you want to stay downtown check in with The Monterey Hotel  its got great packages and is right downtown from the Wharf. While a bit pricier its nice to be downtown. 
If you rather golf or spend time in your room than the Hyatt Regency  will be your one stop shop with everything so you don't have to leave your room or worry about a packages as this hotel even has bike rentals!!

Now most of my meals were little bites but there is a Trader Joes and a mall in Monterey too so my big meals were pretty special 
On Cannery Row Louie Linguini's is reasonable and fun. Plus you got views of everything. Prices are reasonable and you will laugh at some of the outrageous photo bombs 
The special dinner requires Chart House which will hurt your pocket book more than taking Grandma on the Whale watching tour but its worth it if you want it to be and usually the staff is very accommodating. 
Now from the outside The Market is deceiving I really thought it was some greasy spoon but it was so much better than that and way more addicting. 
My Breakfast if not coffee was at Grandma's Kitchen and its better than Dennys and less expensive than Black Bear Diner. 

Now there is more to Monterey as its surrounded by Sand City, Seaside, and Carmel but I am going to save that for another post. 
I saved a ton of money using the MST ( Monterey Salinas Transit ) system that runs really late on weekends (1am) I also found some really affordable deals on the Wharf mid week specials too. Its something the locals know. 

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