Posts Tagged ‘Monterey Bay Aquarium’

Green Meetings at the Portola Hotel & Spa

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
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Many organizations have taken the first step toward a greener workplace – switching out the traditional cases of break room plastic water bottles for a reusable one, offering rewards for those who carpool to work and many other initiatives.  The pressure for companies to be aware of their carbon footprint is only continuing to grow, which is why the Portola Hotel & Spa created its Monterey Green Meetings program.

The Monterey Green Meeting program at the Portola Hotel is designed to work closely with professional meeting and event planners, as well as private parties, to provide all the tools needed to ensure a successful event that will have a minimal impact on the environment.

Many event and conference facilities offer green options when it comes to menu and décor, but what makes the Portola a stand-out, is that they take it one step further, offering a truly unique event experience that is green from the ground up.  One of the most environmentally friendly places to stay on the Central Coast, the Portola Hotel is a U.S. Green Building Council’s Silver LEED®- EB certified hotel property.

 

The Portola Hotel’s LEED certification is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to providing a sustainable and eco-friendly conference experience. The Monterey Green Meetings team works closely with meeting and event planners to offer a delicious food and beverage selection from sustainably grown, organic and locally sourced ingredients. That includes fresh seafood from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch® Program. Planners also have the option of selecting earth-friendly plastic and paper goods, or for a zero waste option, China, glassware and silverware can replace the use of to-go cups and other waste. All events “wrap-up” with the composting of all post-consumer items.

 

Many people don’t realize that technology and green conferencing go hand in hand. For guests that are unable to attend in person, the Portola Hotel is fully equipped with the latest in video conferencing technology. And for groups looking for innovative and green-themed team-building activities, the Monterey Green Meetings team can create fun and eco-friendly itineraries for guests and event/conference participants.

 

Green is good, and Monterey’s Portola Hotel is as good at it gets!

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, “The Serengeti of the Sea”

Monday, June 3rd, 2013
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For locals and visitors alike, the Monterey Bay offers something for everyone. Whether a source of income for local fishermen, recreation for kayakers and scuba divers, a muse for artists or an educational opportunity for students and scientists waters surrounding the Monterey Peninsula are near and dear us all. But who helps to monitor and protect this iconic part of the Central Coast?

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) is 276 miles of coastline and 6094 square miles of ocean stretching from Marin in the north to Cambria in the south. The Sanctuary was established in 1992 by the Federal Government for the purpose of protection, education, public use and research. The area includes one of the United States’ largest kelp forests, one of North America’s underwater canyons which is part of the closest deep ocean to shore ecosystems in the continental U.S. This rich and diverse area which features 33 species of Marine Mammals, 94 species of sea birds and 345 species of fish and countless invertebrates and plants has earned the MBNMS the moniker, “Serengeti of the Sea”.

Visitors to the Sanctuary can experience its beauty in a variety of ways. Organized kayaking, boating, diving and camping are all available to the general public, as are wildlife tours and whale watching. A great way to experience the wonders of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is through a series of virtual tours and live web cams. The Monterey Bay Aquarium features a live cam from within its kelp forest exhibit as well as one from its observation deck. Educational opportunities also abound as classes, tours and exhibitions are featured year round through a variety of local, regional and national agencies and organizations.

So experience one of the most important ocean areas in the world as you visit the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. It’s “fin-tastic”

Summer Festivals in Monterey

Friday, May 10th, 2013
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As many know, the Monterey Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places on earth. From the rugged coastline of Big Sur and the serene inlets of Moss Landing’s Elkhorn Slough to the winding trails of Carmel Valley and the Fort Ord National Monument, there is something for everyone. While those attractions are available throughout the year, some of the Peninsula’s most popular attractions only come around every 365 days.

Monterey and the surrounding area have long been synonymous with music and art of many kinds and nothing exemplifies that better than the summer festivals that make Monterey their home. The granddaddy is the Monterey Jazz Festival September 20-23, 2013. The longest continuously running jazz festival in the world, the MJF has continued to hold its September dates since 1958 and has features some of the biggest names in Jazz and popular music. Not to be outdone is the Carmel Bach Festival which is celebrating its 76th year with 15 days of performances, talks and educational events July 13-27, 2013.

 

Monterey stamped itself on the counterculture scene with the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, which was the blueprint for future musical spectacles like Woodstock and Lollapalooza and continues the tradition today, although with a slightly mellower vibe. The California Roots Music & Arts festival gets the summer started right, Memorial Day Weekend May 24-26, 2013. The good times continue August 9-11, 2013 with the Monterey Bay Reggaefest. In its 18th year, the festival is one of the largest in Northern California and features over 20 performers.

The ear has been satisfied, but how about the mouth? The food festival season kicks off with Cooking for Solutions at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The three day event, May 17-19, 2013, focuses on sustainability and environmental stewardship in the food and beverage industry.  Also that weekend is the 54th annual Castroville Artichoke Festival. Celebrate California’s newly crowned State Vegetable and soak in a bit of history as the Festival counts a young Marilyn Monroe as one of their first “Artichoke Queens.” Memorial Day weekend features the Great Monterey Clam Chowder & Calamari Festival as two of the peninsula’s favorite seafood dishes collide at Custom House Plaza behind the Portola Hotel & Spa. If you are a wine lover, the area also plays host to the Monterey Wine Festival, June 7-8, 2013 and the Winemaker’s Celebration on August 10, 2013.  Both showcase the best of Monterey County’s vast winemaking region which was recently named one of the “Top 10 Wine Travel Destinations” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Ear; check. Mouth; check, but what about your eyes? Monterey also hosts a number of summertime art festivals and while music and food are certainly considered art, these are the traditional forms are highlighted at events like the Carmel Art Festival May 16-19, 2013. With its origins as a bohemian artist colony, Carmel-By-The-Sea plays host as the 20th annual event that showcases visual arts, sculpture, a judged plein air painting competition and much more. Three weeks later, the Valley gets into the act with the Carmel Valley Art & Wine Festival June 8, 2013. Carmel Valley Village comes alive as over 60 artists and art galleries display their works. Sand City, Monterey County’s hotbed of alternative art and vision hosts the Sand City West End Celebration August 23-25, 2013. Known for its independent and irreverent artistic atmosphere, the West End Celebration features and open air artist’s fair throughout the streets and the public is invited into the many studios and creative spaces that call Sand City home.

So if the dog days of summer are getting you down or you need to break for the coast to beat the heat, cruise into Monterey County and enjoy the eclectically rich summer festival scene. There truly is something for everyone!

American Craft Beer Week 2013

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
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In the United States, beer has long been synonymous with sports. Whether it is enjoying a couple of cold ones at the ballpark, tailgating with friends and thousands of others at a college or NFL football game or simply kicking back at home, sports equal beer. While dominated by the mass produced mega-brewers for years, Craft Brews and Breweries are quickly becoming a favorite for the sports-crazed American populace. Good times at the game do not have to mean a bad tasting beer.

If a professional football junkie’s nirvana is Superbowl week, then American Craft Beer Week is the equal for the casual and hardcore fans of the Craft Beer movement. May 13-19, 2013, America embraces Craft Beer in all its glory and locally, Peter B’s Brewpub, recently voted as Monterey County’s Best Brewpub and Best Beer is offering a full lineup of awesome events.

Brewmaster Kevin Clark is leading the festivities and the week kicks off in style on Monday the 13th with the release of the highly anticipated Alvarado Street Raspberry Wheat. Tuesday features a Mug Club Mixer from 4-6:30pm and complimentary Raspberry Wheat tasters for all Mug Club members. Pubtalk with the Beer Geek holds down its usual Wednesday place at the pub, but this week is extra special as Host Chris Nelson will feature a special American Craft Beer Week show and giving away two sets of Monterey Beer Garden Tickets (must be present to win). Want more? Peter B’s will also be offering Growler specials and its always popular Firkin Wednesday small batch tastings.

 

The week continues on Thursday the 16th with a 6pm Brewers Dinner featuring guest brewery Bison Brewing and special guest, The Beer Wench! (Reservations are highly recommended – (831) 647-4805) And if that was not enough, Peter B’s celebrates American Craft Beer Week at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Cooking for Solutions Event on Friday the 17th from 7:15-10:30pm.

Each day, Peter B’s Brewpub will also offer Brewery tours from 4-5:30pm and daily Special Guest Brews featuring $3 pints. With so many great events, it might be hard to choose just one, so why don’t you choose them all. If you love beer, this is the week for you. Cheers!

Sea Otters

Thursday, March 21st, 2013
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Of all the wonderful and exciting things to experience on the Monterey Peninsula, perhaps one of the most cherished and beloved is the Sea Otter. Standing (well, laying, really) only three and a half feet long and weighing in at about 75 pounds, the Sea Otter is the Monterey Peninsula’s furry mascot, welcome wagon and tourist attraction all rolled into one.

A part of the weasel family and owner of the densest coat of fur in the animal kingdom, the Sea Otter makes it home in the fish rich kelp forests of the Northern Pacific Coasts. A veracious eater, the Sea Otter is widely recognized for their use of tools, using rocks to break open shellfish and crustaceans. Although still an endangered species, the Sea Otter population has rebounded since the early 1900’s making it an important success story for marine and ocean conservation.

One of the greatest joys of visiting the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is the many ways to observe our furry fish eating friend. There is of course the Monterey Bay Aquarium where you can not only observe, but learn about this important member of our ecosystem (re-opening their Otter Exhibit March 23!). For the more adventurous, Adventures By The Sea offers kayak and stand up paddle board rentals for individuals and  groups which bring you close enough to see the Otters in their natural habitat without disturbing them. You don’t have to go out of your way, however, to catch a glimpse of the Sea Otter. Simply stroll along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, just outside the Portola Hotel & Spa and with a pair of binoculars or even a sharp pair of eyes, chances are you’ll see an otter or two playing or dining in the kelp beds just off shore. It’s truly an amazing experience and one ALL visitors to the Monterey Peninsula should not miss.