A little bit of history

Trip Start May 24, 2011
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18
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Trip End Jul 10, 2011


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Where I stayed

Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our last day in SF was also the foggiest, which helped encourage us to
get out of town and on to our next destination quickly. But obviously
we had to eat at least one more time before leaving, so we met up with
our Wharton friend Rehmann at his favorite brunch spot, Ella's on
Presidio. Word to the wise: order the pancakes.

Our plan for the day was to tackle as much of the Pacific Coast
Highway as we could before sunset. We started by stopping at the
Pigeon Point lighthouse, which is apparently a "gem" of the CA coast
but is sadly in need of repair. It was also pretty cold and gray out,
so we didn't stay long. Our next stop was Santa Cruz and by that
point, the sun came out to reveal an amazing, sunny and perfect
75-degree afternoon. Santa Cruz is a funny contradiction of a town:
we drove through the college part of town filled with thrift shops,
smoke shops, tantric healing centers and kids who look confused about
what decade they're living in. Then, around the corner is the
boardwalk: an old school throwback with a 100-year-old carousel, the
Coasr's oldest wooden roller coaster and volleyball games taking place
up and down the sandy beach. Highlights of the boardwalk were eating
fried artichokes (85% of the nation's artichoke crop is grown nearby,
and these were delicious), riding the aforementioned coaster and one
other ride, and watching the fishermen along the wharf.

After Santa Cruz, we drove towards Monterey only to find a huge fog
settling in that never left before the sun set. Monterey was pretty
disappointing to us: the wharf is full of cheap, touristy looking
seafood restaurants and John Steinbeck's Cannery Row is probably
better read about than visited. The highlight here was definitely
watching (and listening to) the sea lions hanging out under the wharf.

From Monterey we joined up with the 17-mile-drive, a famous roadway
that winds through Pebble Beach and 3-4 other courses. The drive is
private and costa $9.50 per car, but we thought it was well worth it.
Even with a thick fog, the million dollar homes were stunning, the
surf was crashing and the cypress trees were beautiful and wind-blown.
We are trying go figure out what one needs to do in life to be able
to live there.

We finished off a great day with a great dinner at Clint Eastwood's
Mission Ranch in Carnel-by-the-Sea, 15 minutes up the road. Local
grilled artichoke and local berries over top Angel Food cake made us
pretty happy. Finally, to add to the history theme of the day, we
were able to get a reservation at the historic Normandy Inn in Carmel,
a Tudor-style hotel built in 1921 -- and visited many times by Julia's
grandparents decades ago. Nearly a hundred years later, it's still
standing... I hope my granddaughter can visit one day!
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