As we drive up the coast to Monterey, we are instantly reminded of the incredible beauty that surrounds us. The sweet smell of the salt from the ocean breeze hits you like a wave as you roll down your windows and start the journey up CA 1. The brilliant orange of the poppies and the array of color from the wildflowers mixed with the deep greens do nothing short of take your breath away. Our first of several Summer Roads trips have begun.
My husband on his laptop in the passenger seat takes one last call before we are completely out of cellular range, the kiddos in the back are having a deep conversation trying to determine how long it will take before we arrive at the hotel after I let them know they do not need to ask me again until the clock reads 7 p.m. (mom tip). Memories in the making, that is what these moments are all about and what better place to experience them than the majestic Central Coast.
Our north bound tour on the Pacific Coast Highway, embraces the Elephant Seals in San Simeon, several photo ops along the Rocky Coast of Big Sur, a breathtaking view of the California Sea Otter State Game Refuge, the graceful architecture and magnificent setting of the Bixby Creek Bridge and an absolutely brilliant sunset as we head into the seaside Village of Carmel-By-The-Sea where we decided to dine at Billy Quon’s Sur at the Barnyard* before heading to our hotel in Monterey.
While in Monterey our mornings include peaceful walks downtown when the streets are quiet, and the cool air is filled with a unique mixture of sea and floral fragrances. We enjoy a cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast at the bustling Old Monterey Café* followed by a stroll down to the Harbor to enjoy the boats. As we pass the charming shops and businesses that align the streets and the Historic Portola Hotel, we are greeted by a few friendly street vendors selling precious jewels and trinkets. After handful of hellos and a few offers to take others photos we stop and pay attention to the moment. Soak it in and remember these times are precious.
See Monterey’s tag line is “Grab Life by the Moments” these are our family’s lifelong memories in the making. What we choose to fill our days with are important and we decide on the itinerary together. Our list includes visits to Monterey Bay Aquarium, walks along Cannery Row, shopping at some of our local favorite spots, coffee and treats on Fisherman’s Wharf, a lovely excursion to Pebble Beach to take in the 17-Mile Drive and experience building rock sculptures on the beach, an enjoyable few hours at Dennis the Menace Park, late night swims at the hotel and of course lots of delicious food and drinks along the way.
Road trips, vacations and even quick day outings are so imperative to our health and wellbeing. We need this time to rejuvenate and reconnect. Have a plan but don’t be too rigid, try and go with the flow. This truly is easier for others than myself at times. I am more comfortable with a checklist it helps me stay on track, feel productive and not flounder, especially with kiddos, it allows me to accept “wiggle room” and “down time” even if it is scheduled.
As our trip concludes we start the adventure south down Highway 1, a perfect way to end the leisurely life that we have lived for the past several days. The boys doze off with the curves and turns of the road, and my husband and I reflect on the time away and start to plan our next voyage. We believe in a life well loved and we know that it is hard work most days, but as we savor these sweet moments, and continue to create the opportunity for extraordinary experiences that is what will be remembered and what better place to do that than the Central Coast.