A couple days on the Monterey peninsula

August 15, 2011

The Monterey peninsula, to me, is the most beautiful part of California. Loved living there, but I know it’s not for everyone. This is in fact, what the coast looks like in this part of the state. Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Big Sur–all stunning. A mystical place.

So off we went last month with our friends, fellow dog lovers P&R, to spend a couple nights enjoying the coast.
We met our friends for dinner near the firepit at my longtime Carmel favorite outdoor dining place, The Forge in the Forest. The Forge offers a dog patio, and I’ve brought Riley in the past, but this time, our dogs stayed home in San Jose. I’ve had lunch here with girlfriends scores of times over the years; dinner less frequently. Always good.

As a local living just up the street, I’ve seen Carmel’s underbelly: the early morning deliveries of food and goods, long before tourists poked their heads out to check the weather. Shops getting ready for the onslaught of foot traffic. The dark, deserted late-night side streets, a perfect setting for a book. Its hidden life.
This long recreational trail runs through Pacific Grove and Monterey. Visitors and locals alike enjoy the spectacular view while running, biking or just walking. The scenery sure beats the wall in a gym.
We took a little hike at Point Lobos, which sits just outside Carmel on the way to Big Sur. You saw my photos back then (These aren’t mine.) I used to come here often. Once I ran across a doe and her fawns, sound asleep in a grassy area under trees. There’s a particular cove I love because tiny waves coming in and out move over the pebbled beach in a rushing sound that’s almost a meditation.

The charming Big Sur River Inn restaurant sits on the river and its iconic chairs sit IN the river, where diners are welcome to rest, feet dangling in the cold river, especially on hot days. It’s a favorite lunch spot, and we stopped for something good to eat. We were not disappointed.

Here’s the great thing: Monterey is only about 80 miles away from where I live and Big Sur only 115 miles. Nice day trips; even better short overnights.

If you’re looking for some of the best of California, this is it.

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