Enjoy the Art and Culture on the Monterey Peninsula

There is so much to do and see in Monterey—the Aquarium, the 17-Mile Drive, Point Lobos, Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row, and the list goes on.  Behind all of the main attractions, though, is a rich history and cultural heritage that the average tourist often overlooks.  This week, we’ll spotlight the many repertory, community, and youth theatres in the area.  In neighboring Carmel, you’ll find two theatres: The Forest Theater, and Pacific Repertory Theatre. In Pacific Grove, you will find The Performing Arts Center of Pacific Grove.  Right on Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf is the New Wharf Theatre.

The Forest Theatre in Carmel has been thrilling audiences since 1910, and it is the oldest outdoor theatre west of the Mississippi River!  They have live theatre performances and live movie screenings in the summer.  Take a cushion, take dinner, and enjoy theatre in the great outdoors in front of a fire pit!

The Pacific Repertory Theatre is also located in the heart of Carmel, and is one of the best professional theatres on the Monterey Peninsula!  It has an intimate 300 seat auditorium and you’re sure to love the performances they put on!

The Performing Arts Center of Pacific Grove was originally built in 1923. Over the years this “art deco” facility has hosted many world renowned artists including Ella Fitzgerald. The Performing Arts Center continues to host performances of the highest caliber and is poised to become one of the true “must plays” in California.

The New Wharf Theatre on Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf is community theatre at its finest—you’ll enjoy exuberant and fun-filled performances from Monterey locals.

The Old Monterey Inn is centrally located and will be a relaxing romantic home base from which to explore all that the Monterey Peninsula has to offer.

Arts in Monterey

Performing Arts Center Of Pacific Grove

Arts in Carmel, CA

The Forest Theater in Carmel.

Monterey, CA bed and breakfasts

Your home base: Old Monterey Inn garden patio.

 

Big Sur Half Marathon on the Monterey Peninsula

The Big Sur Marathon, held every April, is internationally renowned as one of the most beautiful marathon runs.  Less known but equally beautiful is the Big Sur Half Marathon held every November, and scheduled for November 17th this coming fall.

Its name, the Big Sur Half Marathon, is a bit misleading.  The half runs along the striking Monterey coastline, not the Big Sur coast.  Taking advantage of the spectacular Coastal Bay Bike Path, the Big Sur Half Marathon runs through historic Cannery Row, in front of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Lover’s Point, the Pacific Grove coastline, the Point Pinos Lighthouse, Asilomar State Beach, and the Spanish Bay coastline.  The Big Sur Half Marathon is a stunning and unique way to experience the natural beauty of the Monterey Peninsula and work up to the Big Sur Marathon in April.

Monterey Half Marathon

Katy Havlick, co-owner of the Old Monterey Inn is an avid runner—just last December, she completed her ninth marathon, and two years ago, she ran the Big Sur Marathon (check out the article in the September Runner’s World Magazine featuring her and the Old Monterey Inn!)!  As you might expect, the Big Sur Half Marathon is an event that is near and dear to her heart.  In fact, we can imagine nothing more wonderful that being part of the team that prepares you for your big race, and then pampers you afterwards!  Choose one of our rooms with a Jacuzzi tub, and enjoy a relaxing soak before and after race day—the tubs are big enough for two, so if you are traveling with (or maybe running alongside) your favorite travel companion, you can both enjoy the romance and relaxation.  Our gardens are enchanting, serene, and private and are sure to give you the pause you need during this busy and exciting weekend.

Monterey CA Spa ServicesWe even have an on-site spa where you can enjoy Swedish and deep tissue massages.  Because we are passionate outdoor exercisers, and are proud of all that the Old Monterey Inn has to offer, the Big Sur Half Marathon and the casual elegance of our Monterey bed and breakfast are a perfect match.  We are so excited to cheer you on, pamper you, and help you create a memorable Big Sur Half Marathon experience.

Photos of the Half Marathon

Old Monterey Inn - Half Marathon

 

Enjoy “Evenings by the Bay” at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Our world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium is always thinking of different events to offer our visitors to the Monterey Peninsula in order for them to enjoy the wonders of our fabulous ocean habitat in cool and exciting ways! “Evenings by the Bay”, offered every Saturday and Sunday night from 6:00 to 8:00 pm through September 1st is a great way to do just that! Included in the price of your regular priced admission ticket will be live music from Monterey Jazz Festival musicians, complimentary wine tasting by Estancia Winery, beer and wine for purchase, and special menus of appetizers and desserts.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Horse Exhibit

The exhibits at the Monterey Bay Aquarium are always worth the price of admission! This is the perfect chance to enjoy the aquarium after the crowds have gone for the day, all while sipping a glass of wine, enjoying appetizers, and listening to accomplished musicians perform! Check out all of the sea creatures in their natural habitat, some you can view for the last time! One of our guest favorite exhibits is closing September 2nd, so this could be your last chance to see the beautiful Sea Horse exhibit!

Our Monterey bed and breakfast always has VIP tickets for the aquarium available, and we are happy to help you plan for and enjoy these special weekend events!

Evenings by the Bay Monterey Bay Aquarium Band

By Lawrence Havlick

The Monterey Peninsula and Big Sur Hiking

Let’s talk Big Sur hiking! The Monterey Peninsula is a spectacular meeting of soaring mountain ranges and sparkling ocean, and provides the backdrop for many beautiful national parks along the coast.  You may have heard of all of the commonly travelled parks: Pfeiffer State Park, Point Lobos, and Point Pinos.  We’re sharing a few little known hiking secrets with you: Veteran’s Park in the heart of downtown Monterey for a quick hike with mountain and ocean views, and Garrapata State Park for a 5-mile loop just before you get into the heart of Big Sur.

Veteran’s Park is located right in Monterey, though a few feet into the foot path; you’ll think you’re miles outside of the city.  The Veteran’s Park path is an offshoot off of Jefferson Street—look for a cement staircase going down into the woods just opposite of the American Legion.  An easy hike, you’ll meander through the woods until you get to a camping ground.  Continue past the camping ground and you’ll be greeted by a long wooden staircase.  Make it to the top and soon you’ll be rewarded by views of towering cypress trees and the Monterey Bay in the background.  It’s breathtaking! Plan an hour and a half—perfect for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon hike when your time is short.

Garrapata Park is a five-mile loop just before you get into the picturesque Big Sur landscape.  For the first thirty minutes or so, you’ll walk along a trail surrounded by succulents, cacti, and prickly pear (if you’re brave enough to get and eat the fruit, let us know!).  Just as you start to break a sweat, you’ll enter a stunning redwood forest.  Redwoods grow straight and tall and provide a lush, rich forest whose ecosystem is radically different from the drier climate you just experienced.  Thirty minutes later, you’ll leave the redwood forest, and begin the summit to the peak—this part of the hike can get hot, so bring lots of water!  Once you reach the top, the loop curves back around, and you’re hiking along a mountain ridge with a view of the Pacific Ocean that meets the horizon in a light, misty blue.  Plan three to five hours for this trip (driving time included) and bring water and snacks!

These two hikes—a longer and shorter option—are sure to quench your thirst to spend time in the natural beauty that abounds on the Monterey Peninsula.  Consider this: at 9:00 am you will enjoy a two-course, gourmet breakfast at the Old Monterey Inn, you prepare for a mid-day hike, packing a lunch and taking water with you.  You drive south, headed into the picturesque Big Sur landscape and pull off to the left side of the road and hike into Garrapata Park.  Around 3:00 you return to the Inn for a massage in our on-site spa.  Next, enjoy a glass of wine in our parlor during our complimentary wine and hors d’ oeurves.  You’ve made reservations at a local restaurant, and after a delicious dinner, you come back to the Inn, stroll through our romantic gardens, return to your room for a soak in the Jacuzzi tub, and fall into bed—exhausted and happy.

Whatever your excursion may include, we look forward to welcoming you to the Old Monterey Inn and the beautiful Monterey Peninsula.

Hiking Big Sur

Farmers Markets are bountiful in the Monterey Peninsula

The Monterey Peninsula is world-renowned for its animal and plant diversity and its rich cultural heritage.  Equally wonderful but less well-known is the abundance of fresh, local, and often organic food that abounds along California’s Central Coast.  If you’re like us and you’re excited about food, Monterey is the place for you. 

On Monday, from 3-7, neighboring Pacific Grove has a California Certified Farmer’s Market at the corner of Central and Grand Ave.  Stroll along and sample fresh, locally sourced food.

On Tuesday from 9-1 at the Barnyard Shopping Village in neighboring Carmel there is yet another opportunity to enjoy all the richness that the Central Coast has to offer: 25 farmers and vendor have a variety of produce, grass-fed meat, seafood, organic eggs, flowers, local honey (which is good for combatting Central Coast allergies), and potted flowering plants.  Another opportunity for a dazzling mid-morning stroll through picturesque Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Once you’ve walked around Carmel’s farmer’s market, chances are you’ll be ready for a nap before setting out once again.  Return to your garden oasis room at the Old Monterey Inn for a nap, a soak in a Jacuzzi tub, and sip of wine at out complimentary Wine and Hors d’oeuvres. 

Later on that same Tuesday, downtown Monterey closes its main street to cars, and opens it up to pedestrians and vendors for the Monterey Farmer and Artisan Market! From the Old Monterey Inn to the Monterey farmers market is only a five minute walk.  Enjoy flowers, music, color-chancing mugs, sweaters, fresh (delicious) pasta, produce and more!  An hour or so will give you plenty of time to sample most everything, make a few purchases, and find your way to a local restaurant like Montrio or Restaurant 1833.  A wonderful, relaxed evening indeed!

Believe it or not, there are even more farmers markets within 10 minutes of the Old Monterey Inn—On Friday from 10-2, the Monterey Peninsula College hosts over fifty farmers and vendors (most of whom are certified organic/and or sustainable).  The market boasts a selection of grass-fed meat and poultry, fish, oysters, cheeses, olive oil, fresh (delicious!) pasta and homemade sauces, organic juices, artisan bread and baked goods, organic honey, mushrooms, eggs, flowers, seedlings, herbs, vegetables, and nuts.  You’ll wish you could conjure a wheelbarrow out of thin air to carry everything you want to buy!

And last, but certainly not least, on Sunday morning from 8-12, the Del Monte farmers Market welcomes visitors with an equally stunning selection of produce, artisan baked goods, and flowers.  After enjoying a decadent breakfast at the Old Monterey Inn, the Del Monte Farmers market would be a perfect stroll.

If the farmers markets are any indication, there is food and flavor aplenty on the Monterey peninsula, and we are excited to share our bounty with you!

Farmers Market in Monterey

Monterey Tide Pools

Recently, as I was running on the scenic recreation trail along the Monterey Bay over near Pacific Grove, I noticed how many people are meandering along the coast discovering our fabulous Monterey tide pools! Much of the rocky coastline along Monterey Bay is ideal for viewing all kinds of the oceans spectacular spineless creatures! Some of the tide pools near Pacific Grove and Asilomar State Beach are world renowned for tide pooling! As a matter of fact, just a few miles from our Monterey Bed and Breakfast is Point Pinos, known as “The Great Tide Pool”, which happens to be one of the richest tide pool habitats in the world!

tide pools in monterey ca

For those unfamiliar with this fascinating and educational past time, it is the activity of climbing around the rocky shore in the intertidal zone (the parts that are underwater during high tide) and discovering the sea life left behind in the small rock pools and crevices when high tide recedes. You will be amazed how many fish, crustaceans and mollusks thrive in this environment. It is a great (and free!) way to enjoy the ocean and the beautiful coastline! Photographers love the opportunity to capture the images of the vibrantly colored sea life in such a naturally beautiful setting.

A few rules of thumb for your tide pooling adventure:

  • Wear sturdy shoes with good traction for climbing around the wet and slippery rocks. Bare feet are certainly not recommended!
  • Clothing will, of course, depend on the weather, but dressing in layers is suggested. Shorts are a good idea so your cuffs won’t get wet. Try to wear clothing that will dry quickly (you might get a splash or two!)
  • Sun protection is important, sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect from the glare off of the water (not many shade trees in the tide pooling area!)
  • No other equipment is really necessary, though cameras are a great idea, and some dry towels at the car might be nice!

Our Monterey Bay and its coastlines are part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary which provides protection for the delicate (and not so delicate) creatures in the sea. While tide pooling is a fantastic way to enjoy these coastlines, please remember to walk carefully (we don’t know who’s under our feet!), touch gently with wet hands if you are so inclined, and please don’t pick up the animals. Also, taking the animals is not permitted, and never turn your back on the waves or ocean!

With the fantastic weather we get on the Monterey Peninsula this time of year, it’s the perfect time to enjoy the beautiful Pacific Ocean’s wildlife. Give us a call, our staff will get you all set up for a great day of tide pooling, picnic basket and all!

 

Monterey Peninsula :: California’s Unique Coastline

The Monterey Peninsula is one of the most uniquely beautiful coastlines in the world.  As characteristic as Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, Monterey’s coastline boasts plants like the Bermuda buttercup, mariposa lily, California aster, climbing morning glory, coast paintbrush, California poppy, and a variety of grass species.  These plants are framed by the stunning backdrop of Monterey’s blue, teal, navy, and clear waves that crash along the rocky shore in ever-changing patterns.  The water draws many people to Monterey and it never disappoints.

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This area is perfect for adventure: enjoy an hour drive along the world famous 17-mile drive and prepare to have your breath taken away—it is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful drives in the world.  Pack a lunch, put the top down on a rented Mustang, and buzz up and down the stunning 17-mile drive.  You’ll be done just in time to swing by our inn in Monterey for our daily wine and hors d’oeuvres.

Perhaps just watching the waves crash against the characteristically rocky shoreline just isn’t close enough for you. If that’s the case, you have chosen the right California vacation spot! Adventure awaits and requires only a little bit of planning (and we can help you with the planning!). Within one mile of the Inn, you can embark on a whale watching expedition. Recent sightings include Gray Whales, Risso Dolphins, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, and Humpback Whales. Get up close and persona l to some of nature’s most spectacular mammals and then return to the Inn to soak in your very own Jacuzzi tub!

The Monterey Peninsula also offers sailing, surfing, kayaking (check out our kayak package at picturesque Elkhorn Slough!), and scuba diving.  If you scuba dive, you’re in for a real treat. The Monterey Canyon is an underwater canyon that lies a mile below the surface of the water and is close in size to the Grand Canyon.  Discover it for yourself, and you’ll be among a select few who have shared that adventure.  We are happy to help get the details all planned out for you.

Also characteristic of the Monterey coastline are the immense kelp beds.  Whether you’re scuba diving, sailing, walking along the beach or boogie boarding, you’re sure to encounter kelp that is native to California’s Central Coast.  Did you know that kelp contains high concentrations of iodine, iron, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other vitamins and amino acids?!  Soon, kelp will be touted as a super-food alongside kale and Swiss chard!  If wild kelp is too much for you, though, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s kelp forest.  It is 28 feet deep and is full of crabs, octopus, urchins, rockfish, sardines, sharks, and (of course) kelp!  One way or another, kelp will be a part of your adventure into the coastline of the Monterey Peninsula.  Don’t worry, though, it’s not part of our gourmet breakfasts!

Once you’ve enjoyed all that the Monterey Peninsula has to offer, you might be hoping for a romantic spot to watch the sun set over the turquoise blue waves.  The coastline touts many benches for just such an evening, and at the Old Monterey Inn, we’ve taken it a step further.  We can set up a private beach bonfire for you on Carmel beach!  You’ll walk up to a crackling fire, a bouquet of a dozen red roses, an assortment of artisan meats and cheeses, freshly baked cookies, a bottle of sparkling water on ice, and a fleece blanket.  As the sun sets over Carmel beach, the lull of the waves will at once relax and invigorate you.  A bonfire on Carmel beach promises to be a spectacularly romantic evening.

We look forward to welcoming you to our Monterey bed and breakfast, our unique coastline, and our hearts as you embark on the adventure of a lifetime!

Monterey Bay Aquarium Special Events

Monterey Bay Aquarium Shark EventFor the first three months of this year, the Monterey Bay Aquarium will be having a series of special events that will benefit its member card holders and fascinating exhibits for all. Last month, the Aquarium held members’ night (Gray Whale edition). It is a special extension of the Aquarium’s hours held exclusively for dedicated members of the world famousMonterey attraction. They are having another this month on the last Saturday and Sunday of February, but this one is for sharks! In addition they have a new behind-the-scenes tour of the Jellies. They show you the life cycle of these mysterious floating wisps and they even show you where they get the ones that are behind the glass! Some of our guests have stayed with us solely to attend these events and we are happy to accommodate them!

If you have already visited the aquarium and want a closer look at theMontereyBaywe also offer kayaking packages to our guests that allow a more natural visit to the kelp beds or theElkhornslough’s sea otter reserve. Just let us know when you want to paddle away and we will take of the rest! For a more relaxing experience, try our Sunset beach bonfire package and you can observe the ocean from a safer distance as the twilight sun vanishes into its own oceanic reflection.

It always seems like there is not enough time when you are here in Monterey. So why not go all out and visit our Monterey bed and breakfast and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The sheer number of adventure options can be overwhelming. Here at our award-winning bed and breakfast we can help you narrow it down. Our knowledgeable innkeepers are adept at planning day trips, local excursions, and meals that will fit your style of holiday. If you are coming to Monterey Peninsula and need help with an itinerary, call us at the Old Monterey Inn, we will be glad to help!

AT&T Golf Tournament at Pebble Beach

Tradition and elegance are some of the trademarks of the Old Monterey Inn, so it’s only natural that we are excitedly anticipating this year’s annual AT&T Golf Tournament at Pebble Beach! Originally known as the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am Golf Championship, Pebble Beach has been host to this renowned event since 1947! Every year, as winter grips most of our nation, the sporting spotlight focuses on the small slice of paradise known as the Monterey Peninsula, and the Pebble Beach Golf Courses. The name alone is enough to make the golf fan’s heart skip a beat!

From February 4th through the February 10th, 2013 the AT&T National Pro-Am golf events will take place at three of Pebble Beach’s pristine golf courses: Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore Course, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, and the unequaled Pebble Beach Golf Links. This week long celebration of golfing tradition originally offered a mix of participants roughly summed up by four parts professional golfers to one part sports celebrities and show biz stars. Now the field is comprised of 156 pros, and 156 amateurs. Being a charity event, the atmosphere is very upbeat, fun and social, with anecdotes and stories dating back to 1937 (see more event history and fun stories on the website at attpbgolf.com )! Noteworthy events during the festivities are Tuesday’s Chevron Charity Shoot-Out, where the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers battle it out head to head, and Wednesday’s 3M Celebrity Challenge with twelve of the most famous celebrities playing for charity prize money. Tickets are available on the Pebble Beach website!

Here in our Monterey bed and breakfast, we can do you one better!  We are in a perfectly convenient area, located within walking distance to two shuttle stops for the golf tournament.  Consider staying at our award winning 4-diamond Monterey Bed and Breakfast.  We offer a serene and relaxing environment to offset the bustle of the tournament days.  In addition, we also serve a two-course gourmet breakfast in the morning to give you that boost of energy you need to enjoy this prestigious golf event.  Enjoy!

 AT&T Golf Tournament at Pebble Beach 2013

New Years in Monterey and Enjoy a Getaway at our Monterey B&B

New Years in MontereyHappy Holidays everyone! There is always a lot happening on the Monterey peninsula, and this winter is no exception! This season in Monterey brings a myriad of events. The yuletide joy of the winter holidays is fading, but that brings us to the final holiday of this year and the first of next: New Years in Monterey! We have a delightfully active cultural community, and it shows with the fantastic variety of events scheduled for the New Year’s holiday.

This particular blog entry is about our grand event called “First Night Monterey.”  Monterey’s 20th annual New Year’s Eve celebration of the arts is a variety event with different clubs and community groups each contributing towards one common goal: celebrating beginnings and ends, uniqueness, and commonalities. The festivities include 9 hours of entertainment starting at 3:00 pm for the kids, 5:30 pm for the twilight parade, and 11:00 pm for the Grand Finale and Countdown!

This year will feature three core cultural representations: Art, Dance, and Music. Local art galleries participate and show some of the finer pieces of visual art. There will be music that ranges from country music to jazz to slam poetry. And of course, there will be dancing!! The festival offers folklore dance to traditional cultural homages to pop. So if you feel the urge to bust a move on the last night of 2012, you will have every opportunity. There are two Grand Finales, both indoor starting at 11:00 pm. You can go online to buy a First Night Monterey button for entrance in advance or to find out more details of this big Monterey event.

The best part of all of this is that our Monterey Bed and Breakfast is just a short walk from the festivity areas. The children’s events take place at Colton Hall, which is the next block down on our street! If you would like to join Monterey’s First Night, consider our award winning bed and breakfast for your lodging. A joyful new year’s event combined with a warm and cozy place to stay is a first class experience.

We would love to have you join us at our Monterey B&B to ring in the New Years in Monterey, but no matter where you choose to celebrate, we wish you your best New Years ever!