What a joy to have this experience. I have read about, heard from people, and seen in movies the magnificent views of the pacific coast highway (PCH), also known as highway 1. Until you experience this for yourself, you cannot imagine the beauty it holds. The drive from Los Angeles to Monterey should have taken about 6.5 hours. It took us 8.5. We stopped countless times, pulling off the road to just stop and soak in every ounce we could possibly get.
|our first glimpse of the PCH, and pulling off the road to embrace it!|
We drove miles and miles on the sides of winding and twisting cliffs. There were times when the windows were down and the music was blaring... The car temperature would read 85 degrees, and five minutes later we would be freezing and notice the temp dropped to 65. There were moments when it was a bit scary, and silence was all we heard. It was truly an experience like no other.
|2 different stopping points on our drive for a view of the Monterey Peninsula|
When we reached Monterey County, Big Sur would be our first real stop. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park holds a wonder of the world - McWay Falls. This is a waterfall that pours into an untouched ocean; the only viewings are from a trail, which makes it so much more astonishing. We snapped a few pictures, marveled in its beauty, and then headed on for more.
Crossing over the Bixby Bridge was another profound moment in Big Sur, considering once you were across the bridge, you began up the side of a cliff that seemed to never end!
|Bixby Bridge - taken from the car.|
We had reservations at a bed and breakfast in the Pacific Grove district of Monterey, but you reach Carmel by the Sea before getting to Monterey, and Carmel was top on my to-do list. So we stopped there first for a quick bite before checking in our room. It was after lunch that I had my first glimpse of the Tuck Box... More to come on that later! (i will post another blog completely on Carmel by the Sea - for it is well deserving of it's own...)
When we arrived at our amazing bed and breakfast, we were openly welcomed and invited to join the guests for wine and cheese hour... and of course we did! We mingled and got dinner suggestions, then made our way to our room. Another surprise - a third floor bedroom with a balcony holding a view of the ocean. I was more than delighted! When booking our room, we decided against staying directly on the coast. The thing about Monterey that we didn't know- it's like a well-built theater... Everyone is on an incline, a bit higher than the one before you... Therefore, everyone has a glimpse of the ocean! Fantastic! We rested for a quick minute, got ready and headed to downtown Monterey to see what she offered.
Here is where I will inform you of my husbands love for John Steinbeck. It's actually more than love. He and his writings have been like a guru for David, so being in Monterey County, home of Steinbeck, made my man like a giddy little schoolboy!
Entering Monterey’s famous Cannery Row...
|Cannery Row, Monterey, California|
It's just as it is written. A beautiful coastal town boasting shops and restaurants, each begging for you to sample what they have to offer. I nearly filled up on samplings of clam chowder before we got to our restaurant! It was almost an insult if you didn't try what they had, and I love clam chowder... So I wasn't turning anyone down! We had dinner on the pier overlooking the ocean, shared in the joy that we were experiencing, then set sail to see what more we could discover.
We walked through the little town shops, went to the beach for a view of the setting sun, then decided to end the evening with a drink. We ended back to Carmel, a short 5-10 minute drive, and landed at Hog’s Breath Inn, owned by Clint Eastwood. I will tell you that the Hog’s Breath Pale Ale is the BEST choice you can make! Delish! This place was built so amazing, as is everything in Carmel by the Sea, but this place was centered around nature. Natural cut wood tables, trees growing from the floors in the middle of the outdoor dining area, just a very natural ambience; simply beautiful.
|I made a friend :)|
|Clint Eastwood's Restaurant|
It had been a fabulous day, and also a fantastic place to end! Back to our room and we were asleep before we could say goodnight.
Exhaustion had begun to take its toll.
Day one of northern California had been one to never forget.