Sunday, March 28, 2010

Big Sur Road Trip-Day 3: Monterey

This was by-far my favorite day of the trip. I would have loved to spend more time in Monterey and would highly recommened this as an exciting destination.

Monterey Bay Aquarium: This was our first stop of the day. While it is slightly expensive to visit ($29.95/person), you can save $2 per ticket by printing out this coupon...
This aquarium was literally "swimming with life". It was the most intricate and interesting aquarium I have ever been to. The aquarium is segmented to reflect the different parts of the ocean such as the reef, outer bay, and kelp forest. Each of these segments have giant tanks that you could stare at forever and constantly take in new sights and creatures. The aquarium also offers fascinating exhibits of marine life not housed at many other aquariums, as well as touch pools. From sea otters to baby sea horses, they have it all! They also have a cafe with ocean views and many outdoor look-outs over the ocean. You could easily spend a whole day here.

Cannery Row: Right next to the Aquarium is Cannery Row. Previously a factory street of canneries, it has since been transformed into a street of shops, art galleries, and restaurants. In one art gallery we met both the featured artist and the owner, and soon struck up a conversation. When the artist heard we were on our last spring break he gave us a complimentary wine tasting he had received from a friend for a winery a couple shops over. We were pretty excited and shocked at his kindness! We tasted wines at 2 different wineries. The first was Bargetto Winnery. I particularly enjoyed the Chardonnay, and John and I feel in love with their signature Olallieberry Wine. It was very fruity and hardly even tasted like wine, perfect for out underdeveloped pallets. The second winery was Scheid. This was more up-scale and also had very enjoyable tastes that would appeal to the mature wine connoisseur. We finished our time here with a cookie from the Toll House shop, and had quite an enjoyable experience!

17 Mile Drive: The last stop of our jam-packed day was the 17 Mile Drive at Pebble Beach. It costs $10 to get in with a vehicle, but if you spend $25 or more at one of the restaurants there, the restaurant will deduct the entry fee from your bill. We took advantage of this at Roy's Restaurant at Spanish Bay Inn. The food was delicious and we enjoyed some spectacular ocean and sunset views at a window table. The drive itself provides viewers with 21 different stopping points. Each point offers a different attraction, most of them bordering the coast. Our particular favorites were Point Joe, China Rock, and the Lone Cypress. The drive is definitely worth the 2-3 hours it takes to finish it!

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