Archive for the ‘Family Fun’ Category

California Rodeo Salinas

Friday, July 20th, 2012
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Photography Richard Field Levine ©

Since 1910, the California Rodeo held annually in Salinas, California has grown from a small Wild West Show with some bucking bronco riding to a full-fledged week-long celebration of the history of the Salinas Valley.  Complete with a full slate of officially sanctioned professional rodeo events, the event features concerts, carnival games and enough down-home cowboy fun to fill a 10 gallon hat!

The rodeo or “Big Week” as it was coined in 1911 kicks-off on Friday July 13th and runs through Sunday, July 22nd. On Friday the 13th, the carnival will open at 4pm with games for kids of all ages and on Saturday the 14th Kiddie Kapers and the annual Colmo del Rodeo Parade in Downtown Salinas rev up the fun even more.

Photography Richard Field Levine ©

The professional rodeo cowboys start their competition on Wednesday the 18th with the preliminary rounds of their specialty. The early rounds continue on Thursday and Friday evenings featuring the Tough Enough to Wear Pink event on the 19th and the Fight Hunger event on the 20th.

On Saturday and Sunday the action switches to the daytime with the semi-final and final rounds of competition. Saturday is Salute to the Military Day and the fun continues into the evening with the week’s biggest performance, when Country Music legend Alan Jackson and friends take the stage at 6:30pm.

Sunday is the Crown Royal Day of Champions featuring the finals of the professional events including: Bull Riding, Tie Down Roping, Bareback Riding, Team Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding and Steer Wrestling. Tickets are available at the box office or online at

So if you want to learn about the rich history of Salinas and take in some of the best live action around, go big at Big Week and the California Rodeo – Salinas!


Portola Pirates Program

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
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For today’s traveler, there is such a wide variety of lodging options that at times, it might seem overwhelming. There are resorts of all shapes and sizes, hotels that are located around a certain attraction and those specialized options that cater to a specific type of guest. It’s not often though, that a destination hotel will go out of its way to provide a specialized program for families while still keeping a mainstream aesthetic. The Portola Hotel & Spa has done just that with the introduction of its completely unique Portola Pirates Program. Family-friendly fun begins immediately upon check-in as each child between the ages of 3 and 12 is greeted with a treasure chest full of activities and toys. With Monterey’s rich maritime history as the backdrop, kids and parents will be able to learn and interact while viewing the hotel’s collection of antique model ships displayed throughout the hotel and experience the historic memorabilia and photography from days gone by! The Portola’s two award winning restaurants, Jacks and Peter B’s Brewpub, also get in on the action offering a customized kids menu featuring meals like the Portola Pirate Pizza and Black Beard’s Pasta. The staff at Portola is keen on keeping the fun fresh so participants have a new voyage with each visit.

 This seaworthy program is offered year round and is not only for guests of the hotel. The fine folks at Portola invite local residents, educators and groups to join in the fun for birthday parties, special events and field trips. Each return visit to the Portola Hotel & Spa young crewmembers will earn additional benefits and surprises when they continue take part in our Portola Pirates Program!

So raise the anchor and set sail for fun with the Portola Pirates Program!

4th of July in Monterey

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
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Nothing says American like the Fourth of July. Whether you are joining a hundred thousand people at Boston Pops with cannons and a gigantic fireworks display over the Charles River or a family BBQ with a few sparklers, celebrating America’s independence is quintessentially… American!

The Monterey Peninsula is no different with a myriad of great events. Pacific Grove, known as America’s Last Hometown is presenting an old fashioned community BBQ at kid-friendly, Caledonia Park. The celebration, Wednesday, July 4th from 11am to 3pm will feature renowned San Francisco jam band Moonalice, a delicious BBQ, games, bounce houses and free goodies for the kids. In the tradition of the National Archives there will also be a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is also ringing in Independence Day in style with a Fourth of July celebration on Wednesday July 4th from 12pm to 4pm. Held in Devendorf Park, the event features a concert, food and games.

Of course, the Fourth would not be complete without a patriotic parade bringing spirit and patriotism to the streets of downtown Monterey. The parade steps off at 10am and winds down Alvarado Street and turns up Del Monte Avenue past the Portola Hotel & Spa before turning onto Calle Principal. This year, a parachute team made up of former Navy SEALS begins the festivities with a jump onto the route and after the parade; attendees are invited to come by the City’s annual lawn party at Colton Hall from 11am to 4pm. The fun continues on into the evening with a special light and laser show at Jack’s Ballpark at 8pm with a special concert by the Monterey Bay Symphony.

As the Fourth of July’s go, this year is jam packed with something for everyone; just like our country!

Father’s Day Contest!

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
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One of the great traditions we celebrate is Father’s Day. Almost everyone has a favorite story about their dad, but the fanfare was always reserved for Mother’s Day. Mom gets to indulge. Dad gets to rest. While good in theory, why can’t Dad enjoy some of the finer things? A trip to the spa might be out of the question, but how about something a little more…“Dad-like”. The Portola Hotel & Spa is looking to change that with their Father’s Day Giveaway Contest.

Now through June 17th, you have the chance to give Dad a little love. Simply come down to Peter B’s Brewpub located behind the Portola and sign-up for your chance to win Dad a night at the award winning Portola Hotel & Spa and dinner for four at Peter B’s Brewpub. There are plenty of other prizes including Growler’s of Peter B’s craft beer, T-shirts and more! The winners will be announced on June 18th with more details on Peter B’s Brewpub’s Facebook page. Do yourself and Dad a favor and get him something great for Father’s Day.

Now there are some people who might not win, but don’t fear, Central Coast living has the Top 10 cool things to do on the Peninsula for Father’s Day:

  • Hike Garland Ranch. It’s free and it’s a fantastic way to spend time with Dad.
  • Golf at Pebble Beach: There is a special rate on father’s day and trust me, dad will get off the couch
  • Skydiving in Marina. Dad will like that you see him as young.
  • Fishing on Monterey Bay. Quintessential Dad!
  • Catch a Game at Peter B’s Brewpub. All of the action and none of the traffic.
  • Lunch on the couch and the U.S. Open. The final round of our national championship and a great sandwich from one of      the area’s incredible delis.
  • Sailing on Monterey Bay. There are a number of charter’s available and again, who doesn’t love the ocean.
  • Golf. ‘Nuff said.
  • Catch a Classic Car Show or a race at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. You might have to wait a couple of weeks, but      summer brings a bevy of auto events of all shapes and sizes.
  • Rent a Kayak or Paddle Board. Who doesn’t love the ocean?


Mother’s Day in Monterey

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
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Mother’s Day is just around the corner and how can we thank the woman who has given us everything. From taking care of skinned knees and fevers to school lunches and a hug when we needed it, Mom has always been there for us and now it’s time to give her an extra special thanks.

Are you searching for the perfect Monterey Peninsula-themed gift for the special ladies in your life this Mother’s Day?  The Portola Hotel & Spa has shared some unique suggestions that are sure to put a smile on the face of any Mom!

  • Pick a boutique fresh, organic flowers at Earthbound Farms in Carmel Valley
  • Create a basket of fresh preserves, sweets, honey and more at Happy Girl Kitchen in Pacific Grove
  • Take mom out for an adventure on the by renting a sea kayak or stand-up paddle board at Adventures by the Sea
  • Treat mom to a frozen yogurt gift certificate from our neighbors at Pinkberry
  • Book a tee-off at one of the world-famous public golf courses throughout the Monterey Bay
  • Not many Moms’ would turn down a spa day! So give a gift certificate for well deserved pampering at our Spa on the Plaza
  • Take a picture along the scenic coastline of the Monterey Bay and frame it as a keepsake
  • Give Mom the day off- create a booklet of coupons good for household chores, babysitting and cooking
  • Mom will love tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and a chance to see the Magical World of Jellies exhibit
  • Give the gift of a vacation with a gift certificate to the Portola Hotel & Spa