With summer in most places winding down where better for a weekend getaway than Monterey. Its late summer autumn weather is often the best of the year. Its warm days and cool nights with spectacular scenery make it the perfect getaway, and unless its a long weekend not very crowded. Take any given weekend and add a day or two to it and have yourselves a great mini vacation.
Heading out on Friday morning;
How to get here is of course determined based on the need to get here fast or enjoy the possible scenic drives. From the North its pretty much 101 South and exit the 156 to Monterey.
From the South there are two main options, Hwy 101 and Hwy 1. Hwy 1 is a spectacular drive but is also an all day adventure in of itself (perhaps another time). This rout is more suited to a stay of more than a few days. With that in mind the exit off of Hwy 101 coming from the South is one of three depending if you wish to taste wine on your way in or not. We would so here is the route we would take. Heading north on Hwy 101 take the Arroyo Seco Rd exit # 301. At the end of the exit go left over the highway and follow the signs to Paraiso Vineyards. They open Friday at 11am. Great spot to relax after your drive and enjoy some nice wines in a nice tasting room. Just up the road is Hahn Winery Tasting room with one of the best views of the valley from their tasting deck. Take a vineyard tour and have a taste. Once done here cruise up the road a bit and stop in Wrath Winery and enjoy some truly premium wines. Your next possible stop is at Luigis in Gonzales. Now you can enjoy a great late lunch at Luigis and then go on into the Monterey Carmel area to your chosen destination. There are lots and lots of choices from the big Hotel Chains and also some local gems, on the beach or in the valleys there are some great spots to stay.
Saturday morning heading out from your hotel base there are a variety of things to do, see and taste all over the area. We have to start somewhere so lets head on out to the rustic Carmel Valley and wander around the Village and grab a bite at the Corkscrew Cafe, Local or Cafe Rustica. Stop in to Joullian Vineyards charming tasting room for a taste of some great local wines and dont forget to go taste some organic wine that will make you a believer at Heller Estate Organic Vineyards. Since your in Cowboy Country stop on by the Cowgirl Winery for a fun tasting in a very country setting or drop in to the East End Row of wineries and enjoy a sampling of Joyce Vineyards or one of their neighbors.
While walking between tastings and lunch check out the art galleries and antique stores scattered around. Finish the day off with dinner at Wills Fargo, a Carmel Valley tradition for over 50 years. If something a little less country is more your style for dinner a stop at Bernardus Lodge for fine dining is on your way out of the Valley. With the high end Marinus Restaurant or a bit more casual Wickets Bistro to choose from this is a great option.
Sunday Morning is time to head into Carmel by the Sea. This is a magical little sea side hamlet that one cannot help but fall in love with. First stop the Carmel Chamber to get a Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea wine tasting passport. This is a Wine Tasting Passport, that for $65 entitles the buyer to one $10 flight at any nine of the fourteen tasting rooms who are part of this experience (a $90 value that never expires).
Now as you wander and enjoy the sights and sounds you can stop from time to time and sample some lovely wines or bubbles at various locations around town. From the original tasting room of Galante Vineyards to the newest at Windy Oaks Estate you wont be disappointed. If you purchase a bottle at any of the passport stops they can set you up with dinner reservations and put a sticker on your bottle to eliminate the corkage fee ($20-25). The list of places to eat and taste in this little town is long and to date we have not found one we would not go back to so explore and get a recommendation from your favorite stop and enjoy. (Tasting Article on Carmel) Don't forget to wander down to Carmel beach for sunset!
Monday morning head out to the coastline and take a walk along the Pacific Grove trails from Lovers Point to Cannery Row. Explore the shops at Cannery Row and have a light lunch at one of the many nice restaurants. To end the Day stop at The Beach House for the early bird dinner starting at 4pm. Get there at 4 and enjoy the outdoor patio with one of the best views in Monterey.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things to do, taste and see in Monterey.The season for a trip to Monterey is here, so get those couple extra days off and have a wonderful trip to Monterey.
WineWalkaboutKiwi & Koala
|Sunset on Carmel Beach|