Searching for something really great to do on New Year’s Eve? You might want to consider Monterey’s First Night Celebration. It starts at 3 p.m. on December 31 and goes to midnight. There are 25 venues, most indoors, with a theme of Imagine Create Participate. This is the 18th year that Monterey has offered a celebration where art, music, lights sounds and community unite to create a new year. There will be long-time favorite entertainers like the Black Irish Band, I Cantori, Grumbling Ginger and the resolution sculpture – a life size board game – the Game of Life. First Night transforms the streetscapes, parks, buildings, theatres, churches, and concert halls throughout Historic Monterey into a fun and unique celebration site. Check out www.firstnightmonterey.org for the schedule of performers. I know I’ll be there watching the Twilight Procession at 5:30 and taking advantage of all the entertainment and other venues that can be had for only $25 (now that’s a deal!). And I’ll be ringing in the New Year at the Grande Finale!
The 60th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, locally known as ‘car week’, will soon be upon us. An event that is so popular folks book their lodging as much as a year in advance. First conducted in 1950, the Concours d’Elegance is often said to be the world’s premier celebration of the automobile. The Concours d’Elegance is quite literally an automotive contest of elegance. And, as Ansel Adams said, “From a strictly personal point of view, my definition of an elegant car would be ‘the kind of car I would like to be buried in’”.
One of the truly fun events is at the Laguna Seca Raceway, the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion (formerly known as the Monterey Historics) is a celebration of motorsports history that reunites authentic race cars with a world-class track. You’ll see pre-war Bugattis, Alfa Romeos, and Talbot-Lagos to the more powerful Ferraris, Corvettes, Cobras and Porsches.
This year, for the first time, there will be a Pre-Reunion, a relaxed weekend for the competitors to prepare for their races. The drivers get valuable tract time to shake down their historic cars, test tires, and have fun with their fellow competitors. Fans who want to come to the Pre-Reunion and avoid the hubbub of ‘car week’ can participate in this event on August 7 & 8 for a ticket price of $50 per day. Tickets will only be available for purchase at the gate and include parking. It’s a chance to see those wonderful old cars up close and personal without fighting crowds.
Cherries Jubilee on September 8-12, 2010 – Dubbed the biggest oldies party of the year, the 18th Cherry’s Jubilee is a motorsport festival that takes place in many areas of the Monterey Peninsula as well as at the Laguna Seca Raceway. There’s dancing, eating, wine to be enjoyed but most of all there are those wonderful cars (classics, special interest, muscle cars, something for everyone!).
Our romantic bed and breakfast, the Old Monterey Inn, is perfectly located for all these events. While you’re at it, scroll down and read our earlier blog on experiencing car racing with Skip Barber’s Racing School. If you’ve a need for speed, that is the place to test yourself!
I admit it, I’m a wino. There is just no getting around the fact that I love my wine. I truly appreciate wine and, yes, on occasion I’ve been known to overdo just a bit. Monterey County has some excellent wineries and while you are visiting the Monterey Peninsula, why not take a wine tour. It can be a case of so many wineries and not enough days, so I’m going to talk about just a few but please go to www.montereywines.org to see the complete list. The following can be visited by driving yourselves, taking the Wine Trolley or we can arrange for a Luxury Limo so you can imbibe to your heart’s content!
Staying close to home, Carmel Valley offers some very good examples of Monterey County Wines. We are lucky enough to serve Chateau Julien wines during our Wine Hour here at the Inn. They have a beautiful winery with lovely gardens. I especially like their Rosato which is a lovely Rose’ made with Sangiovese grapes. They make a limited amount and don’t normally offer it at their tasting so be bold and ask to taste it. Scrumptious served at lunch or a brunch! It’s also one of the few wineries close by that offers a tour (Mon thru Friday 10:30 & 2:30—Sat & Sun 12:30 & 2:30).
Another really good winery can be found in Carmel Valley Village, Parsonage Village Winery. Each one of their wines is remarkable and don’t miss out on their spiced pecans, irresistible!
If you are interested in staying organic, try Heller Estate Winery. They are very knowledgeable about the art of organic viticulture! Ask to try their Toby’s Port, yum.
If you favor Pinot Noirs, which like our climate here since it’s nice and cool, go to Talbott or Boekenoogen (great name). And Merlots are pretty darn good at Georis Winery; as is their restaurant The Corkscrew. Georis Winery and the Corkscrew restaurant are owned by the folks that own Casanova’s Restaurant in Carmel (another one of my very favorite romantic spots).
Below I’ve listed the 2010 Wine Events & Festivals, we hope you’ll find something irresistible and come to stay at the Old Monterey Inn bed and breakfast. Until then, I toast you all!
2010 EVENTS & FESTIVALS
EVENT ORGANIZATION DATE EMAIL PHONE WEBSITE
The Wine Collector’s Package Michaud Vineyard: Chalone Appellation, Monterey, L’Auberge Carmel and Aubergine Restaurant Call to make reservations firstname.lastname@example.org
Come Join Us Every Friday afternoon for a Wine & Cheese Pairing Taste Morgan Every Friday at our Carmel Tasting Room 3pm – 5pm 831.626.3700
Come Join Us Every Sunday and taste wines from Morgan Winery’s Library Taste Morgan Every Sunday at our Carmel Tasting Room 2pm – 5pm 831.626.3700
Vintage Affair Chateau Julien Wine Estate
Sunday, April 18th
11am - 4 pm
The Barrel Room opens for a full day of specialty wine tasting, large format bottles, vertical tastings and much more. 831.624.2600
WINE 101 Scheid Vineyards
May 7, 2010
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Do you love wine but don’t have time to become a Certified Sommelier? Have we got a class for you! Wine 101. $50 per person / Vin’s club $40 per person email@example.com 831.455.9990
MONTEREY WINE AUCTION & GALA
Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association
Auction proceeds benefit the MCVGF Scholarship Foundation for the children in our community and Ag Researc. (501[c](3) non-profit charity)
Saturday, May 8, 2010
call 831.375.9400 for details 831.375.9400
Winemaker’s New Release Party Chateau Julien Wine Estate
Saturday, May 15, 2010
The Estate’s “Vintner’s Collection”
5pm – 7pm 831.624.2600
Santa Lucia Highlands Fling
The Wine Artisans of the Santa Lucia Highlands
May 15, 2010
2pm – 5pm
$85 per person
tickets on line at www.santaluciahighlands.com
The Annual E.A.R.S. Fundraiser
May 15, 2010
831.455.1901 ext. 3
Sycamore Cellars GRAND OPENING
“Grand Opening of the Sycamore Cellars Tasting Room”
May 29, 2010
Wine & Cigar Dinner
Chateau Julien Wine Estate
Friday, June 18, 2010
Reception: 6:30pm, Dinner 7:30pm
ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT at
Bayonet/Blackhorse Golf Course
Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association (MCVGA) Golf Tournament
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Your chance to play golf with a winemaker! 831.375.9400
WINEMAKERS’ CELEBRATION Winemakes’ Celebration at the Custom House Plaza Saturday, August 7, 2010 831.375.9400
Harvest Dinner Chateau Julien Wine Estate
Friday, September 24, 2010
Grape Crush: 7pm, Dinner: 8pm 831.624.2600
GREAT WINE ESCAPE WEEKEND
Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association
Various locations throughout Carmel, Carmel Valley, Monterey and Salinas Friday through Sunday November 12 – 15, 2010 831.375.9400
Holiday Spectacular Chateau Julien Wine Estate
December 5, 2010 ~ 2:30pm – 5:30pm
The Choral Project, founded by Artistic Director Daniel Hughes in 1996, has developed an international reputation for performing high-level choral literature and bridging the gap between text and music, singer and spectator. Come and hear the 48-voice ensemble in the Chai – Spectacular! 831.624.2600
In anticipation of Valentine’s Day which is right around the corner, I thought I would share with everyone my romantic love story. When I was 17 and at one of those notorious high-school-friend parties, I met the love of my life. He was 19 and oh so tall and handsome! We spent many wonderful years together during which the Draft for Vietnam loomed darkly. Finally, Teddy, decided to enlist in the Navy to try to avoid Vietnam. Off he went to Basic Training and then was stationed on an aircraft carrier for 2 ½ years. He was just about to come home on his first long leave (30 days) after 3 years when his leave was cancelled and he had three days to report to Vallejo, California, for Special Forces training to be on a River Patrol Boat in Vietnam. Of course, we were shattered. I was able to spend time with him during his training but always the dark shadow of Vietnam loomed. We were engaged to be married and so afraid of what the next year would bring. As it turned out, Teddy survived the long, frightening year in Vietnam but our relationship did not. Due to family and other outside influences, we didn’t get married. I have to tell you, though, that I loved him all my life. I thought of him every day over the last 40 years and when I was at my darkest, I would sit down and write him a letter pouring my heart out (of course, I never mailed the letters). We both married others and lived our lives as best we could. Two years ago, after I had been divorced for several years and I knew that Teddy was also divorced, I sent him a birthday card. It took a while but he finally contacted me. At first, we just talked for hours on the telephone and made plans to get together. As time went by we realized just how much we really did belong together but here I was in California and Teddy was in Florida. Hence the 5, 6, 7 hour daily phone calls for four long months. So, we started to plan a trip driving from Florida to California. It would take 2 ½ weeks and we would go through Alabama, Louisanna, Texas, New Mexico & Colorado. I can tell you that it was magical. By the end of the trip we knew that we should have never been apart and that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together! Today, Teddy and I are partners at the Old Monterey Inn and we both glow with happiness. On November 2, 2009, we had dinner at Fandango to celebrate what would have been our 40th wedding anniversary. We can testify that storybook romances do happen and people can feel an overwhelming love and connection. Romance is definitely always in the air at the Old Monterey Inn!
Sometimes you just want to be outside and one with nature. I can testify to the serenity and an abundance of wildlife you’ll find. Whether you go early in the morning, at sunset or by moonlight, whether you kayak or hike, Elkhorn (pronounced slew) is an outdoor adventure. You can watch sea otters, sea lions, seals, brown pelicans, American avocets, cormorants, egrets, terns, falcons and more in this tidal slough and estuary on the Monterey Bay. The Elkhorn Slough harbors the largest tract of tidal salt marsh in California outside of the San Francisco Bay and provides a habitat for hundreds of species of plants and animals, including more than 340 species of birds (go to www.elkhornslough.org/birdlistTOC.htm for a complete list of birds) and is one of the premier birdwatching sites in the Western United States. Elkhorn Slough is a great place to kayak for the beginner or the experienced. It will give you the opportunity to get a closer look at harbor seals while they’re napping along the mudflats and the sea otters while they float and play right along side your kayak. You can rent kayaks from www.montereybaykayaks.com or www.kayakconnection.com. Both companies have an extensive list of tours guided by naturalists. Just another one of Nature’s extravaganzas offered by the Monterey area!0
What man doesn’t love automobiles! When they watch the Grand Prix car races or the Daytona 500 they dream of that experience of speed. Now you can make his dream come true. John ‘Skip’ Barber, a Formula One race car driver, started the “Skip Barber School of High Performance Racing’ in 1976. One of those schools is located in romantic Monterey at the Laguna Seca Speedway. Your man can spend his day learning how to be a race car driver while you luxuriate at the Old Monterey Inn with some of the best Monterey spa treatments. Then you’ll come together for an evening of romance at one of the top restaurants in Monterey. Maybe you’d like to combine experiences the next day and do some Monterey Bay kayaking and see the harbor seals and sea otters up close. I’m thinking a Gift Certificate for the racing school combined with a Gift Certificate for lodging at the Old Monterey Inn would just about top any father, husband or son’s list for the ideal gift. Give us a call and we’ll help you make his dreams come true.
In other messages, I’ve talked about some of the wonderful things that can be done on and around the Monterey Peninsula. Now I’d like to emphasize how much it means to me that each guest staying at the Old Monterey Inn have the best possible holiday. Recently, we tailored one of our Luxury Getaway Packages to meet the honeymoon requirements of a couple coming from New York. Instead of the Limousine Wine Tour, we substituted a 2-hour Guided Bicycle Tour, 2-hour Kayak Tour of Stillwater Cove, and a 2-hour Guided Morning Rounds Tour behind the scenes at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. There are so many wonderful things that can be done in and around this area using the Old Monterey Inn as a base. We can plan a romantic Bonfire on the Beach for those special memories that last a lifetime; arrange for Whale Watching in the Monterey Bay; or a breathtaking Helicopter Tour of this magnificent coastline. Maybe you are planning on proposing–what could be more romantic than having a bonfire on the beach and your feelings expressed in a romantic note in a bottle for her to cherish forever. Maybe you’d like to treat your wonderful husband to some real r & r with a couples massage in our Spa followed by a romantic dinner. Or something more exciting like Race Car Driving School at Laguna Seca. Take advantage of our knowledge of the area and we’ll make sure that you fill every minute with fun and excitement!
4th Annual Big Sur Mud Run
March 28, 2009
“Down and dirty” is the theme for this fun sport with a twist. It’s a five-mile event sponsored by the U.S. Army Garrison-Presidio of Monterey and California State University Monterey Bay. It’s said to be a challenging but fun course patterned after the Camp Pendleton mud run with hills, water, obstacles (including five-foot walls), drill sergeants barking orders on the way, and the requisite mud pits. It begins (at 9 a.m.) and ends at Freeman Stadium on the CSUMB campus. You can compete as an individual or put together a five-person team. I can’t imagine anything more fun than five friends competing in the mud. Finishers get a really neat T-shirt and medallion. Showers at the end of the race so remember to bring towels and a change of clothes. Go to www.bigsurmudrun.org for more information and to register.
Who can resist those lumbering, loud monstrosities on the beach. This is the time of the year you really want to try to stop by the two Northern California locations, Ano Nuevo State Reserve (north of Monterey) or Piedras Blancas (about 5 miles north of Hearst Castle), and see the Elephant Seals (named for their large size and the long pendulous noses on the males). The breeding season is in December, when the first males arrive. From fourteen to sixteen feet long, 2 ½ tons, the huge bulls have violent battles to establish dominance. In late December thru mid February, females arrive and form “harems” and then give birth 3-6 days later. Much smaller than the males, 10-12 feet and 1,200 to 2,000 pounds, females normally give birth to one pup that she will nurse for 25-28 days.
It’s fascinating to watch these creatures. The ‘alpha’ males fighting off the young males for dominance in the group. Moms and babies laying in the sun. This past year, one of the large males decided to go ‘walk about’ and crossed the Coast Highway from the Piedras Blancas area. Being so big, they still move very fast, and the Rangers couldn’t chase him back. So, he spent a few days seeing what was greener on the other side of the hill and then he moseyed back.
Visit www.video.nationalgeographic.com/video/sealcam/ for a live Seal Cam.
Here’s a schedule of their typical year:
ELEPHANT SEAL ANNUAL SCHEDULE:
Female elephant seals continue to arrive on the shoreline. Peak of births usually are the last half of the month.
Elephant seal births continue. The peak of mating is around Valentine’s Day. More females leave.
Last adult elephant seals leave.
Female and juvenile elephant seals return to molt.
May Female and juvenile elephant seals molt.
Sub-adult male elephant seal return to molt.
Sub-adult and adult males molt.
Last adult elephant seals molt.
Young-of-the-year and juvenile elephant seals haul out to rest.
Young-of-the-year and juvenile elephant seals haul out to rest.
Subadult elephant seal males haul out. Mature males begin arriving at the end of the month.
Elephant seal bulls continue to return. Females arrive. The first birth is usually mid-month.
For those of you, like me, who love the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I have a new treat to tell you about. On Thursday and Sunday mornings from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. you can participate in ‘Morning Rounds’. This tour is limited to 12 people and is regularly sold out, so advance reservations are a must. A trained naturalist will give you a behind the scenes tour like you’ve never had. You’ll participate in a private sea otter feeding and training session, go to the Aquarium kitchen and prepare food for the animals and see how they get their morning meals. You’ll prepare fish pills for the penguins and help the aquarists prepare the touch-pool for visitors. Yes, a hands-on experience. You should even prepare to get a bit wet and maybe a bit fishy but what an experience! It is a bit expensive ($65 per person plus the additional cost of an Aquarium entrance ticket, $45 for members) but you’ll see the exhibits from a perspective that’s usually only available to staff and volunteers. You’ll learn how they care for more than 30,000 living animals and plants in 200 galleries and exhibits. Well worth the expense!