Archive for the ‘Family Fun’ Category

Fun Fall Activities for the Kids

Monday, October 20th, 2014
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Although California’s warm weather continues, there is the unmistakable feeling of Fall in the air. While we don’t have the same explosion of color that the trees in New England have, our incredible growing climate allows the Monterey Peninsula to have Halloween themed farms and events aplenty this time of year. The kids and especially their parents will be especially thrilled to have so many options within such a short distance.

For a good old fashioned Halloween experience, check out Swank Farms in Hollister or Borchard Farms in Salinas. Swank Farms offers an over the top bevy of Halloween activities including a fantastic corn maze that becomes a haunted event at night and a more relaxed pumpkin patch. It also offers an interactive Kiddy Corral as well as a Pumpkin Catapult and Corn Ear Cannon, bouncy elements and a fully stocked snack shack and store. Check the website for the most current schedule of events and tickets and be prepared to be haunted!

Borchard Farms, home of the giant pumpkins also offers a family friendly corn maze, a spooky ghost town, a haunted barn and a petting zoo for kids of all ages. The ghost town is perfect for the little ones as it is 10 and under only and includes pumpkin bounce houses, a haystack maze, a leap the pumpkins game and plenty of Halloween photo op areas.  The haunted barn is a bit scarier and is great for your older ghosts and goblins.  Both Swank and Borchard Farms are also great for picking up pumpkins and decorations for your home or office.

A more relaxed family experience can be found at Earthbound Farms in Carmel Valley. The organic farm offers a wide range of regular and specialty pumpkins amongst a tranquil setting. The farm includes an expansive selection of other organic fruit and vegetables, as well as premade food and other offerings made on site including ice cream, soft serve and other kitchen goodies. The farm stands also include a cut your own herd garden and a walking labyrinth and an interactive kid’s garden with touchable foliage.

If you’ve already got your fill of farm, you can enjoy the thrill of a pirate’s treasure hunt at the Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey. The Portola Hotel’s Pirates Program is a great way to engage your little buccaneer while at the hotel and emerge them into a world of high-seas adventure. Guests of the hotel from 3-12 years old can participate for free and will receive a Portola Pirate Bag and a self-guided treasure map so you can hunt for buried treasure.

Or, you can visit Downtown Pacific Grove on October 25th, 2014 for a free family friendly trick or treating event. Between 10am-4pm costumed kids and a responsible adult are invited to take to the streets of Pacific Grove and enjoy candy and toys given out at participating businesses while being entertained by musicians throughout downtown.

There is no shortage of Halloween events throughout the Monterey Peninsula. On your October visit, don’t have a fright, have fun and enjoy the spooktacular times today!

Nautically Inspired Crafts & Decor

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
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As a true coastal gal, there is nothing I love more than a good nautical theme.  The crispness of navy blue and white accented by hints of gold have forever been a favorite color combination of mine. It was a match made in heaven when the team at the Portola Hotel asked me to contribute to their blog as editor – as their seaside sanctuary is known from far and wide not only for its fabulous accommodations, but amazing décor and their panache for finding the perfect nautical accents is second to none!

When I approached the design team at the Portola for some tips on incorporating a nautical theme into my home, here were a few fun ideas they shared:

-Make it personal – use life preservers, sea shells, vintage clocks/compasses or old flags and personalize them with a name, date or location, welcoming guests to your space

-Explore antique shops and flea markets for vintage model ships that can be displayed as statement pieces for all to enjoy

-Oversized rope is your friend; wrap lamps, vases or table bases and quickly transform something ordinary into the perfect nautical accent

-Find nautical hardware for drawers and doors swapping out old, boring pulls and knobs with nautical whimsy

-And don’t forget, you can never have enough navy and white – especially stripes, thick and thin

So no matter where you live, it’s easy to bring in a nautical theme.  AND if you’re like me, the search for DIY projects is never-ending!  My friend, Holly at 504main.com created a fun and simple way to bring a nautical flair to your home with her Nautical Knot Vases.

 

 

Father’s Day Gift Ideas – Monterey Style

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
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Surrounded by the beauty of nature ready to be explored, adventures waiting to be had and tasty meals at your fingertips, there’s no reason to look any further than the Monterey Bay for the perfect Father’s Day celebration.  Treat your father right this Father’s Day and give him the day of appreciation that he truly deserves!

Pick up the tab and take Dad out for a Father’s Day meal!  Celebrate at Peter B’s Brewpub at the Portola Hotel & Spa where Dad can catch his favorite sporting event including the World Cup, play a game or two of pool or just soak up the Monterey sunshine out on the patio. Gift him a souvenir Growler or Growlette and let him fill it with one of Peter B’s original craft brews – top it off with tickets to the Fourth Annual Monterey Beer Garden and you’ll be golden for the entire year!

Peter B’s Growler and Growlette

There’s no better way to show your dad you love him than to spend some quality time together in a place that you will never forget.  If golf is more up Dad’s alley book the Golfer’s Paradise Package at the Portola and spoil him with a weekend of world class golf and time to kick back and relax Monterey Bay style.

Golf with Dad at one of 18 world class championship golf courses

Perhaps Dad is a waterman; explore the Bay by kayak or stand-up paddle board  - with rentals available just steps from the Portola at Adventures by the Sea, it’s as easy as 1-2-3.  Get in an evening hike and catch the sunset at majestic Point Lobos State Reserve or hit the Coastal Recreation Trail for a run or casual walk.

Whatever you do this Father’s Day, there’s one sure way to make it special, show your dad the love by celebrating in one of the most charming and unique places on the planet.

Kids on the Peninsula

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014
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When most people think of the Monterey Peninsula they think of beautiful golf courses, million dollar homes and some of the world’s most famous events. Others think of miles of pristine coastline, romantic walks along the water and shopping and dining. But as a mom of two, the Monterey Peninsula is one of the best family-friendly travel destinations around!  With as many family friendly activities as there are par fours, Mom, Dad and the little ones can have the time of their lives. Oh, and if the “little ones” are actually teenagers…there is plenty for them to do as well.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium on historic Cannery Row is one of the world’s premiere displays of aquatic marvels. The Splash Zone is entirely devoted to kids of all ages and the Aquarium as a whole, can keep the family interested for hours, but what about the next day?

How about Dennis the Menace Park located by Lake El Estero in Monterey? Hank Ketchum, the legendary creator of the cartoon icon Dennis the Menace made Carmel his home and this park brings the same smile to all who visit. Free and open seven days a week, (click here for more information) the park is perfect for families and offers a multitude of play structures, tunnels, bridges and a maze. Looking for something indoors in downtown Monterey? Try the Monterey County Youth Museum (MY Museum), a hands-on interactive children’s museum, perfect for the busiest of toddlers and young kids.

If you are traveling with kids that are a bit older, check out the paddle boats available for rent on Lake El Estero directly behind the park. It’s a great time and you can get up close and personal with the ducks, Canadian Geese and swans that make the lake their home (don’t forget the breadcrumbs!). Or, for a more radical departure, make a visit to the free skate park also adjacent to Dennis the Menace. With exciting elements to challenge the skills of skateboarders and in-line skaters, this park was created with input from community skaters resulting in a fantastic design overlooking the lake.

All of these activities are within walking distance of the Portola Hotel & Spa making a trip to the complex that much more appealing. With green grass, picnic benches and the beach just across the street, why not order a delicious lunch to go from Peter B’s Brewpub and enjoy a wonderful day of family fun!

Family Fun – Monterey Style

Monday, March 3rd, 2014
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Explore the Monterey Bay Aquarium

A treasure trove of outdoor adventure, Monterey is the perfect location for a family vacation.  With unparalleled beauty at every turn, the Monterey Peninsula and beyond promises endless opportunities for fresh-air fun and adventure for the whole family!  Whether you’re a land or sea body, the Monterey Bay area has something for everybody.

Develop your sea legs and take off on an ocean safari with Princess Monterey Whale Watching. Offering year-round whale watching trips, you can take in the majestic view from the midst of the bay while making some fluked friends along the way!  Maybe getting wet isn’t quite your style; get your under-the-sea fix at the Monterey Bay Aquarium instead.  Located on historic Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium promises to inspire wonder and learning through its innovative exhibits and unparalleled variety of aquatic wild life.  With more than 35,000 creatures, and representing over 550 species in nearly 200 exhibits, the Monterey Bay Aquarium promises a full day of fun for the whole family.  By the end of your excursion you’ll have just about sprouted fins of your own!

Home to some of the world’s most majestic ocean views indeed, the Monterey Peninsula is more than just a marine-lover’s mecca.  With Adventures by the Sea you can explore local sites by land or by sea.  Just pic your mode of transportation, bicycle, kayak, or guided tour and experience all that the Peninsula has to offer.  Looking to head to the hills, a hiker’s paradise awaits.  Check out legendary Point Lobos for unmatched views and a chance to run into some pretty feisty wildlife or explore Garland Ranch Regional Park in Carmel Valley.

For the animal lover within, visit Vision Quest Ranch & the Monterey Zoo. Set on a 51-acre ranch and centrally located off the Monterey-Salinas Highway, the Monterey Zoo (formerly Wild Things) is home to over 100 wild, exotic, and domestic birds and animals.  Take a family trip around the world without having to drive a mile, and learn all that there is to know about these majestic creatures.

So, for your next family trip, look no further than the Monterey Peninsula.  With a little something for everyone, there’s no better place to make family memories that will last a lifetime.