Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop for Participants from out of town…

Hopefully you will be able to extend your stay and have the time to visit these close by destinations, as each will take your breath away.

Monterey Peninsula

Having been a resident of Carmel for over 50 years, I’m thrilled to share our bit of heaven on earth with you! Please get in touch if you have any questions about the Monterey Peninsula, I haven’t covered here. Please reach me through my website contact page.

Carmel-by-the-Sea – Carmel-by-the-Sea, or Carmel, is one of the same. Situated on the Monterey Peninsula of California, Carmel is known for its scenic splendor and rich artistic history. The city has had several mayors who were poets or actors, including Herbert Heron, founder of the Forest Theater, bohemian writer and actor Perry Newberry, and actor-director Clint Eastwood. – Carmel Chamber,

Best Carmel Tips: No visit to the area is complete without seeing the charming shopping village. There you will find fabulous restaurants, art galleries, tempting shops and our famous velvet white-sanded beach. The Carmel Mission is perfect for history buffs as its founder, Fr. Junipero Serra, is buried here. Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo was his favorite of his 21 missions built in California. 

For nature lovers - Not to be missed - Pt. Lobos State Reserve, where views in every direction are spectacular. 

Favorite Pt. Lobos Trails - all fairly short and level after initial steps: 

1. Whaler’s Cove to North Point Trail – look over cliffs to coves below for harbor seals and pups, sea otters w/pups on their tummies, and many sea types of sea birds. Any barking can attributed to California sea lions. Of the trails I’ve mentioned, this is the longest.

2. North Point Trail – If you do just one trail do this one! Look for grey whales migrating north, and year round resident humpback whales. Humpbacks may breach for you, as they did for us last spring! Orcas (Killer Whales), can be in the area too, and course sea otters.

3. China Cove Trail to Gibson Beach and Bird Rock – China cove looks like paradise. Oh, if only the water was warm! This spring we witnessed a new born harbor seal taking his first swim with mom, there. Evidence of his birth lay on the tiny beach, with turkey vultures consuming it. Yes it was graphic, but it was nature at its best.

Carmel ValleyA lovely drive, great food and wine await you in Carmel Valley. If it’s foggy in town, chances are it’s sunny and warm in “the valley”. The drive to Carmel Valley Village is 13 miles out Carmel Valley Road, about a 15-minute drive from the Highway 1 stoplight. We highly recommend, ROUX, Café Rustica, and the Corkscrew, for lunch or dinner. There are many tasting rooms from local wineries as well. Scattered throughout the village are antique stores, some clothing and the Talbott Tie Outlet. Inside you will find all sorts of silk ties, fine cotton shirts, cashmere and merino wool sweaters, at a fraction of what they sell for in town and elsewhere. There is a Ladies section as well. 

Big Sur – The world's greatest meeting of land and sea, Big Sur spans the Pacific Coast from Carmel to San Simeon along the coastal range of the Santa Lucia Mountains. – Visit Big Sur California,

Best Big Sur Tips: Drive down the coast in the morning over the infamous Bixby Creek Bridge, and stop for brunch at Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn (closes at 12:00 – reopens for dinner). About a mile past Nepenthe, nestled in a redwood grove, you will discover historic Deetjens. The oldest roadhouse on Highway 1, Deetjen’s is our family favorite, and if you have a party of 6 or more you can reserve the family dining table, situated in a room to yourself! They offer fabulous food, a welcoming staff, charming cabins, a lovely meandering garden and a canyon creek that cascades over rocks. After enjoying one of the BEST brunches you’ll ever have, drive a little further south to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Turn into the park, pass the empty kiosk, and after parking your car; follow the short level trail to visit the famous waterfall that falls to the forbidden beach. Be sure to walk to the end as you will see the remnants of the amazing gardens and home that used to rest there. It’s master bedroom looked out to the falls. Heaven on earth!

Pacific Grove –

“You will find Pacific Grove on the very tip of the scenic, tree-shrouded Monterey Peninsula with a rocky coastline and an ambience of charm, grace and beauty.

Founded in the 1870s as a Methodist summer retreat, Pacific Grove still bears the look and feel of yesteryear. The original retreat area remains with homes dating back to the late1800s and early 1900s. The downtown looks more at home at the turn of the last century than it does at the start of the new millennium.” - P.G. Website

Best Pacific Grove Tips: Explore quaint downtown Pacific Grove and have a meal in one of their many wonderful restaurants. Pavel’s Bakeri entices us with many fabulous treats, as their cheese Danish is truly memorable! See if they will warm it up for you! PG Coffee and Juice has delicious coffee. Passionfish, Chiles Mexicali Cafe, and Red House, are fabulous restaurants, and Pacific Thai is perfect for Thai food cravings. Don’t miss the Monarch Butterfly Preserve, as the workshops take place while they are in residence! The Natural History Museum is very popular with the locals, and the friendly staff is well informed. Although it sits on the border of Pacific Grove, it is technically in Monterey, The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a world-class facility, with diverse exhibits about the incredible underwater canyon and habitats that exist just off our coast. Of course many people enjoy Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf as well. If you love calamari, go to Abalonetti’s, there. Although it has grown over the years, it has been on the wharf for over 50 years, and by far has the best squid on the wharf!

Best Pebble Beach Tips: Located just across from Asilomar, be sure to drive south on the 17 Mile Drive, ($10) in Pebble Beach. Southbound keeps you on the waterside of the road. There are many pullouts to enjoy the scenery. Note the famous Spanish Bay Resort, Cypress Point Golf Club and Lodge at Pebble Beach, which rests on the infamous Pebble Beach Golf Links. Follow the signs to Carmel. Turn left onto Ocean Ave. to see the shopping village, turn right for the beach. If you turn right, make a quick left onto Scenic Dr. for a beautiful drive along Carmel Beach


Golf - The Monterey Peninsula is golf is a golf Mecca with many world-class courses including the famous Pebble Beach. 

Birding or Nature Tours – Chuck Bancroft –

“Bancroft started working at Point Lobos State Park in 1981, after a short stint in Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles. He can identify the 350 different plants and 250 birds that make their way through his park, but pressed to name a ranger with a longer tenure in the State Park System, he can only identify one. “Miles Standish has been up in the Santa Cruz Mountains longer than I have been here,” he says with a devilish grin”. – Monterey County Now

Wine Trolley Tasting Tour - 4-5 hour tour in Carmel Valley, and includes lunch at ROUX, one of our favorite Carmel Valley restaurants!

Historic Carmel Walks -
Delight in the special charms of Carmel on a leisurely 2-hour guided walk through secret pathways, hidden courtyards, award-winning gardens, and by enchanting storybook cottages. – Carmel Walks

The Original Monterey Walking ToursOur Historic Monterey walking tours take you on your personal Path of History as we explore the Cradle of California.

***Please feel free to ask me any questions. We are well acquainted with these areas of California, and would be happy to help you. Please use the comment box on our Contact page. We look forward to hearing from you!