Archive for the ‘Action & Adventure’ Category

Start the New Year Off Right

Friday, December 21st, 2012
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With the “holidaze” upon us and 2013 right around the corner, people are starting to think about what they’d like to do better in the New Year. For some it’s taking up a new hobby or checking something off their bucket list. For others it might be taking a class or perhaps volunteering. But for almost everyone, getting in shape is resolution number one. Many people start off with a great plan, but heading indoors to the gym can become repetitive. Healthy living cannot be understated, but how can you keep yourself interested day in and day out?

We’ve put together a list of the top 10 outdoor activities (in no particular order) which you can do to keep yourself in shape; your mind engaged and increase your appreciation for the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. Some of these activities are low impact and some are higher, but each and every one is available right now and well within your budget.

10. Park It: The California State Parks, Monterey County Parks and Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District all have beautiful and easily accessible offerings just a few minutes away. From the sandy stretch of Asilomar State Beach and the gentle terrain of Toro Park to the secluded serenity of Frog Pond and the incredible vistas of Garland Regional Park, a healthy and invigorating experience await you on the walk or hike of your choice.

9. On Your Right: The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail offers 29 miles of paved perfection winding its way along the coast from Castroville in the north to Pacific Grove and parts of Pebble Beach to the south. The trail is well maintained and is used by bikers, joggers, walkers, and surreys. The trail offers a number of vistas and points of interest along the way. Bike big and tackle the whole trail or take your time and cruise a portion. Either way some of the best views of the Monterey Peninsula are right there in front of you.

8. Fore!: What’s better than spending some quality time with your family or friends? Everyone knows the Monterey Peninsula has some of the world’s best golf, but you don’t have to be Jack Nicklaus to get outside and chase that little white ball. There are a number of public and municipal courses that offer beginning, group and kids lessons and that are easy on the eyes and on the wallet. Pacific Grove Golf Links, Monterey Pines and Ranch Canada are great for those who are new or returning to the game. Laguna Seca Golf Ranch offers a fantastic practice facility and even world famous Pebble Beach boasts Peter Hay a 9-hole pitch and putt right next to its bigger brother.

7. A League of Their Own: The cities on the Monterey Peninsula offer robust Parks and Recreation programs. While each one is slightly different, most of the programs contain organized leagues for a variety of team and individual sports. Whether softball, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, volleyball or even bowling, the opportunities to participate in the competition and camaraderie of a league and gain some valuable exercise are priceless. The signup and seasonal information are readily available on the website of your individual city.

6. Doggone Fun: Fido is bored and so are you. Why not take him out for a little quality time and exercise. Anywhere will do and the Monterey Peninsula has a host of pooch-friendly parks, trails and even shopping centers to satisfy event the laziest of “man’s best friends” Carmel is famous for its canine hospitality and Monterey, Pacific Grove, Seaside, Del Rey Oaks and Marina all have dedicated dog parks. If you and your dog are a bit more adventurous, check out some of the great trails available through the Monterey Regional Parks. Some even allow of leash walking, which I am sure Fido will appreciate!

5. Drop and Give Me 20: The main focus of this information us getting in shape in the outdoors and while the traditional gym membership does not fit that our model, (not to say it is bad) there is a great opportunity to get the benefits of a trainer/class environment that gives you all the benefits of Mother Nature. Spa On the Plaza offers a bi-weekly outdoor fitness class called Fitness for Body and Soul, taught by former world class athlete and Exercise Physiologist, Janel Willette. Fitness for Body and Soul is an innovative out door fitness class that integrates a full cardiovascular, strength and flexibility workout with the beauty and natural terrain of the Monterey Bay.

4. More Water Please: It is the Monterey BAY right? So, what list of outdoor fitness options would be complete without mentioning some of our favorite water sports? Yes the water might be a little chilly, but that’s what wetsuits are for and there are a number of places to pick up a suit and the water toy of your choice right on the water. Adventures by the Sea offers a complete selection of kayaks, paddle boards and instructors if needed. You can take a class or head out with a partner and get what many fitness experts call one of the best cardio vascular workouts there is. Plus, there is a very good chance you will run into some of Monterey Bay’s beloved sea creatures.

3. Paddle Away: Equally as rewarding, but somewhat less strenuous are the paddle boats on Lake El Estero in Monterey. You won’t have to brave the ocean, just some curious Canadian Geese, swans and ducks looking for a snack. The boats are perfect for families and while the kid’s oohh and ahhh at the waterfowl; you can say that you got a good solid workout paddling them around the expansive lake.

2. Go Team: Even if you don’t have kids, volunteering as a coach for a YMCA or Rec league team gets you thinking about your health as the kids run by you. Not only can impart some of your knowledge on the younger generation, but you just might learn a thing or two from them as well. You don’t have to be an expert at the pick and roll or the corner kick, just be there and the kids will love it!

“But what if I am just visiting the area? Then take in a local high school or college game. Studies say that you can burn 250-350 calories watching a live sporting event. The Monterey Peninsula offers a high level of prep and intercollegiate athletics with the California State University, Monterey Bay Otters and the Monterey Peninsula College Lobos leading the way. Let local and get loud.

1.  Walk this Way: Lace up your shoes and open the door. A low to moderate impact workout, walking is the easiest way to get in shape and enjoy the beauty of the Monterey Peninsula. You’ll feel like a new person just by reintroducing yourself to the world around you!

Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix

Monday, July 23rd, 2012
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Photo Courtesy Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca ©

Although the Monterey Peninsula is home to some of the country’s most widely known auto events including the Concourse d’ Elegance and the American Le Mans, fans of the four wheels take a back seat to the supped-up cycles that descend on the Peninsula during the Red Bull U.S Grand Prix, July 27-29, 2012. Featuring the MotoGP World Championship and a Full Slate of American Motorcycle Association (AMA) races, this weekend is one of the sport’s most popular and draws huge crowds to watch and be watched.

The weekend kicks off on Friday, June 27th with the opening of the Strider Cup Adventure and Kid’s Fun Zones. Biking, bounce houses, soccer and more are available for kids of all ages throughout the weekend and give a little reprieve to the full slate of AMA qualifying races and live music events scheduled throughout the day. Saturday brings more live entertainment, fan friendly activities and the second round of qualifying races.

In addition to festivities out at the track, Peter B’s Brewpub behind the Portola Hotel & Spa will be hosting their very own Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix Kick-Off Party!  The event will begin Thursday, July 26th at 4pm, featuring Happy Hour ALL night long! From a raffle, to Patron specials, an appearance by the Patron Promo Girls and Peter B’s very own Legend of Laguna Cask, this free event is the perfect activity for racing enthusiasts looking to start the weekend off right!

Sunday is 10 hours of superbike heaven with no less than four championship races including the RACE FIM E-Power & TTX, RACE AMA Pro Daytona Sportbike the RACE AMA Pro National Guard Superbike and the MotoGP World Championship.

While the official schedule of events can be found on the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca website, there are plenty of unofficial events all over the Peninsula. Most of the bars and restaurants welcome the fans with specials and promotions and the professional riders pop up all over town at charity and fundraising events. Cannery Row and Downtown Monterey serve as the de facto gathering spots for the fans and their bikes on display.

It’s a RPM filled weekend not to be missed and sure to quench the thirst of any Superbike or AMA fan.

Nature Valley First Tee Open

Monday, July 2nd, 2012
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As everyone knows, the Monterey Peninsula is home to some of the best golf courses in the world hosting the most prestigious of tournaments including the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and U.S. Open. While the U.S. Open is one of the most brutal and exacting tests in the game and the AT&T is the PGA tour’s annual celebrity fun fest, one of the most compelling and socially relevant professional events in the country is also played on the Peninsula.

The Nature Valley First Tee Open is a Champions Tour event, July 5 – 8, 2012, like any other, but what makes this tournament special is the 81 junior golfers aged 15-18 that make up the field. Alongside 162 amateur players, the juniors partner with their Champions Tour Pro in a team competition that concludes on the final day at the Pebble Beach Golf Links.

What’s unique is that the junior players are all members of the national First Tee Program. This program, founded by the World Golf Federation, allows young people to learn and develop life-enhancing skills and values through golf and character education. The participants come from all walks of life, but most are kids that otherwise might not have been exposed to the game of golf. Through a series of local qualifiers, the junior players earn their way to the First Tee Open, but don’t let their age fool you, these kids have game.

If you love the game of golf, or simply good competition, some of the most recognizable professionals will be playing. Since it is a Champion’s Tour Event, the competitors will be much more accessible and the tournament is a great opportunity to introduce your kids to the game; especially since anyone under 18 is FREE! So check out one of the most interesting and inviting Champion’s Tour stops there is – you and the kids will have a ball!

Monterey Movie Tours

Friday, May 25th, 2012
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The Monterey Peninsula is beauty personified. From the hills in Carmel Valley to the Lone Cypress Tree in Pebble Beach visitors and locals alike marvel at dramatically different settings located throughout the area. A group with a different take on the stunning visuals is Hollywood location scouts. For years, the Peninsula has been the backdrop for a wide variety of feature length movies, documentaries and commercials. See if you can remember the local flavor highlighted in these famous films? How about Play Misty For Me, Clint Eastwood’s homage Carmel and Jazz or the slobbering antics of the four footed star of Tom Hank’s buddy film, Turner & Hooch? Maybe you remember the whales in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home or the sandy embrace of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity? One of the easiest ways to experience the best of the best in locations and movie trivia is through Monterey Movie Tours. The tour takes you throughout the Monterey Peninsula in an air conditioned high seat backed luxury tour bus complete with audio narration and visuals on the overhead screens. Stops include three along the famous 17-Mile Drive and the tour is approximately three hours. The tour begins in downtown Monterey and is just a short walk from the Portola Hotel & Spa. If you are looking for a great addition to an already fun filled visit to the Monterey Peninsula, take a tour through this beautiful area with the magic of the movies as your guide!

 

HER Helmet Thursdays

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
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In a world where multi-tasking is not just a word, but a way of life, what if you could do something good for your body, your wallet and the environment all at once? You can do just that, and more, by participating in HER Helmet Thursdays. HER Helmet Thursdays is a wonderful program that offers discounts to bicyclists, every Thursday, at participating businesses throughout Monterey County.

H-E-R, stands for H: Hotels/other lodging, E: Entertainment venues and Educational attractions and R: Restaurants/other food and beverage service – including related places like wineries. One of the great aspects of the program is that there is no coupon, punch card or special code needed to get the discount, just show your helmet as evidence that you biked to the business. To obtain the discount at lodging establishments, you’ll need to bring your own bike or rent a bicycle anywhere in the county.

The program started in 2009, helps to promote Monterey County as a bike-friendly destination in addition to offering an eco-friendly and healthy alternative to driving. Known as one of the top biking destinations in the state of California, Monterey County offers great scenic, trail and road biking and now everyone, from the casual to competitive rider can get a little something back from these participating businesses.

As Monterey’s first and only LEED®-EB certified hotel, the Portola Hotel & Spa has fully embraced the program and its merits. With your helmet, you’ll receive a 10% discount at the newly renovated Peter B’s Brewpub, located right behind the hotel (excluding alcohol) and 10% off your room rate at the Portola Hotel (please contact hotel for details).

A trip to the Monterey Peninsula offers so many things to do. Why not take in the site and experience the beauty of the area while going something good for the environment and yourself? Multi-tasking has never been so much fun!

Next week participate in the 18th Annual Bike Week, May 7th -13th, 2012.