Archive for the ‘Action & Adventure’ Category

Monterey Bay Insider Hiking Tips

Friday, March 27th, 2015
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With breathtaking views around every corner and some of the world’s best coastal and forested hiking trails, I turned to the team at the Portola Hotel & Spa to get their insider tips on how best to explore the Monterey Bay by foot!  Whether hiking, strolling or heading out for a trail run, you’re in for a real adventure!

Doris Lopez out on the Monterey Coastal Recreational Trail – Just Steps from the Portola Hotel & Spa

“Whatever it is whether I am running or hiking the beautiful scenery that surrounds us and the fabulous air that we breathe in this area, it’s my Zen.”

-Doris Lopez, Catering & Convention Services Manager

 

The Portola’s very own, Jair Sanchez (in fluorescent yellow) Competing in the Big Sur Half Marathon

In November 2014

 

“The Big Sur Half Marathon is one of my favorite race courses. Even when not racing, this course is both a challenge, and features views of the coast. The Portola Hotel & Spa is the proud sponsor of our very own Jair Sanchez, a local running icon!”

-Toni Bau, Director of Finance

 

 

Chelsea Robinson’s View from the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail

 

“There is no excuse for me to not get out and walk or bike on the Coastal Recreation Trail! The views are amazing, no matter where you are on the coast of the Monterey Peninsula. I love that it’s MY view!”

- Chelsea Robinson, Group Rooms Coordinator

 

 

Breathtaking View of Garrapata by Olivia Yang

“I recently went hiking at Garrapata in Big Sur. Garrapata is truly a hidden gem in this area and I would recommend the hike to anyone looking to explore the area.”

-Olivia Yang, Income Audit Intern

 

Amazing Wildlife Around Every Corner

 

“This amazing butterfly, literally stopped me in my tracks one morning as I was running down General Jim Moore Drive on Fort Ord! With countless trails for running, hiking and mountain biking, Fort Ord is a hidden Monterey Bay gem.”

-Toni Bau, Director of Finance

 

View from the Top of Soberanes Trail, Along Highway One, Towards Big Sur.

“One of my favorite places to hit the trail is Soberanes Canyon, also known as the Garrapata Loop.  Why?  Because it is a relatively short hike, with incredible ocean views, and gives you the most incredible workout.  Even if you think you are in shape, your legs are guaranteed to burn.  If you’re like me, it takes three days to re-coop.  Great place to train for triathletes or weekend warriors (like me)!”

-Janine Chicourrat, General Manager

 

Lisa & her Twins, Taking an Early Evening Hike at Point Lobos,

Just Before Sunset, Perfect for the Entire Family

“Sometimes, there’s just nothing better than a sunset hike! I love taking our kiddos out to Point Lobos, helping to instill the value of taking a moment to appreciate and respect nature.”

-Lisa Thomas, Central Coast Living Editor

 

 Inspired to get out and hit the trails?  Here are a few local resources to help plan your adventure!

Winter Fun, Monterey Style

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
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For much of the country, winter fun means bundling up and heading out into the snow.  Whether it’s skiing in Utah, snowshoeing in Wisconsin or ice skating in New York, there is no shortage of traditional wintertime activities across the country. On the Monterey Peninsula, however, the mild temperature means a long trip before reaching the snow. Although, that does not mean visitors and locals on the Central Coast don’t enjoy the outdoors, they just do it Monterey style.

Wintertime brings the annual migration of the Grey Whale as they head south from the Pacific Northwest to the warmer waters of Baja California and their yearly birthing grounds. Whales can be seen from one of the many whale watching boats that depart from Fisherman’s Wharf. If you didn’t bring your sea legs with you, don’t worry. You can still spot these majestic beauties from one of the many turnouts along Highway 1. Their season runs from December through April so there is plenty of time to enjoy one of nature’s true spectacles.

Book the Portola Hotel & Spa Whale Watching Package Now!

You can also experience the wonders of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary up close and personal on a kayak or paddle board. Adventures by the Sea is a great option for rentals and conducts tours of the coastline with a skilled guide. From your sea-level seat, you’ll experience sea otters, sea lions and a multitude of birds. Bring your waterproof camera for the selfie of a lifetime.

Another outdoor option is enjoying one of the many county, regional or state parks in the area. From the inland beauty of Garland Ranch Regional Park to the seaside sanctuary that is Point Lobos, everyone from young to old can enjoy an easy walk to an invigorating hike in addition to everything else these parks have to offer. Many of the parks offer rangers or docents that can add to your experience and allow for pets and picnics in designated areas.

Sometimes the simplest thing just might be the best. Grab your friends, your partner or just a good book and a blanket and head down to a nearby beach and take in the Pacific sunset. Asilomar and Carmel State Beaches offer long stretches of white sand and plenty of room for your four legged friends.

Relax and set the rays of the day’s last light embrace you with warmth, Monterey style.

 

Getting Healthy, Monterey Bay Style

Friday, January 2nd, 2015
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With 2015 here, there’s no better time than the present to begin devising a plan on how to be more healthy and active in the New Year.  No matter your fitness level, the Monterey Bay is jam packed with activities, indoor and out, that can release those endorphins and get your heart rate jumping.

Take a look at 15 activities that can help you can get a jump on making 2015 your best year yet!

  1. Sign up for a 5K or 10K that benefits a local charity AND takes you around the scenic Monterey Bay coastline – visit www.Active.com for a list of upcoming races, including the Together With Love Run/Walk benefitting the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center on Sunday, February 8,2015
  2. Rent bikes from Adventures by the Sea and explore the Coastal Recreation Trail, 17 Mile Drive and the rest of the endlessly beautiful Monterey Peninsula!
  3. Re-energize in the hot and cold pools, eucalyptus steam room or roomy sauna at Refuge in Carmel Valley
  4. Sculpt your body from head to toe at Carmel Barre in Carmel with classes available throughout the day
  5. Hike the four+ mile Soberanes Canyon Trail loop across from Garrapata State Park along scenic Highway 1 towards Big Sur for a great cardio workout and reward yourself with some of the best views around
  6. The Fort Ord National Monument is home to awesome trails ideal for mountain biking and hiking, only certain areas are open to the public, but can be accessed via the Bureau of Land Management
  7. If you are looking for a little adventure, here’s something that will definitely get your heart pumping – Zip Lining in Felton, (about a 45 minute drive from Monterey) in the middle of the Santa Cruz Mountains, visit Mount Hermon Adventures for pricing and online reservations
  8. Tennis anyone?  Reserve a court or book a lesson through the Monterey Tennis Center, just a few blocks from the Portola
  9. History buffs will enjoy walking along the Path of History, marked throughout Downtown Monterey with walking tour maps available
  10. How about some family fun? Skip, run and play at Dennis the Menace Park, also located in downtown Monterey, slides, swings and mazes await kids of all ages.
  11. Run and take in the fresh sea air, along the many white sands beaches throughout, Carmel by the Sea, Pacific Grove and Monterey
  12. Contact the local experts at Central Coast Fly Fishing in Carmel Valley and help them guide you to find the best spots for fly fishing around the county, or head down to Fisherman’s Wharf to book a charter with one of the many deep sea fishing vessels, such as Chris’ Fishing Trips
  13. Hang 10! Book a private or group lesson with Carmel Surf Lessons or Monterey Bay Surf Lessons wetsuit and board rentals available as well through both companies
  14. Visit the Concierge Desk at the Portola Hotel and a friendly staff member will help you book 9 or 18 holes at one of the awarding winning golf courses throughout the Monterey Peninsula and beyond
  15. Get up close and personal with sea otters and sea lions aboard a kayak or stand up paddle board, available to rent via Adventures by the Sea; stand up paddle board yoga classes are also available, for those with good balance

SCCA National Championships

Monday, October 6th, 2014
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Photo Courtesy of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

While much of the nation’s automotive focus is pointed to the Monterey Peninsula during Car week in August, in recent years the hardcore racing fan’s appetite has been satisfied with a bevy of races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The world famous track has played host to the internationally renowned Red Bull Grand Prix, the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix and from October 10-12, 2014 the raceway will host the Sports Car Club of America’s National Championships.

Although billed as an amateur event, these competitors are far from Sunday drivers. The top drivers from each of the SCCA’s 115 national regions are invited with drivers slotted in 27 different car classes. Throughout the week, drivers will get plenty of practice time on Mazda Raceway’s famous twists and turns before qualifying begins. Friday through Sunday the drivers and their teams rev up the fun with three days of competition.

Some of the more popular classes include Production, which allows for performance modifications to an existing design, Formula which are single seat, open-wheel race cars and Sedan which include American muscle cars like the Camaro, Mustang or GTO. Unique to this type of competition is the vast number of different cars all racing against comparable models. Universal, however, is the skill and passion that every driver shows and the dedication to the performance of their cars.

The races will be broadcast live and on demand at www.speedcasttv.com, but if you’d rather get up close and personal to the action, Advanced General Admission tickets are available for $25 per day or $60 for a three day pass. Children under 12 are free with a paying adult and parking is also free with preferred parking only $25.

So if you’re in the mood for some high performance speed from a driver that might just live around the corner, check out the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Drivers, start your engines!

The 29th Presentation of the Big Sur Marathon – This Weekend!

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
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Running across Bixby Bridge

A marathon with a view!  Runners from around the globe are gearing up for the Monterey Peninsula’s annual Big Sur Marathon this weekend.  Going strong since 1986, the Big Sur Marathon attracts the likes of approximately 9,000 event finishers, and promises 26.2 miles of the most beautiful coastline in the world.  One of the most challenging competitions for runners set before one of the most breathtaking backdrops in the world, it’s no wonder that The Ultimate Guide to Marathons named it the “Best Marathon in North America.”

Comprised of several events, the Big Sur Marathon includes an International Marathon spanning 26.2 miles along the Pacific coastline and through majestic redwoods, as well as a 21-Miler, a 10.6-Miler, 9-Miler and 5K taking place on race day and a JUST RUN! 3K, the day before on Saturday, April 26th along the Coastal Recreation Trail in Pacific Grove.  For shorter distances there still may be spaces available, visit www.bsim.org for the most up-to-date info.

Providing a beyond inspiring landscape for runners to exert through the difficult patches and camaraderie to make the run an unforgettable experience, the Big Sur Marathon is a Monterey Bay fixture that promises a good time for all who participate.  With events for people of every age and ability, the Big Sur Marathon attracts competitive runners and bonding families alike and sells out earlier and earlier each year, so be sure to register today!

 

Running along Highway 1

Come be part of something bigger than you – start that training for 2015, trust me – having walked the race in 1998 – it’s an experience I will never forget!  Run, jog, or even walk alongside nature and your fellow man.  A great way to connect with friends and family, there’s nothing better than accomplishing something together to build bonds that last, or if you’re a lone wolf, there’s no better goal to set for yourself than an actual finish line.  By the end, I promise you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment unique to crossing a finish line you’ve worked hard to reach.

Who’s ready to lace up those running shoes and train for next year???