Posts Tagged ‘Central Coast’

Monterey Bay Marine Life

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015
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With temperatures rising from the winter’s chilly embrace, the sun shining just a little bit brighter and a flowers bloom beginning to show its colors like a painter’s palate, it does not take a weatherman or a groundhog to let us know that spring has arrived. Spring has always meant rebirth across the earth and nothing says spring like newborn baby animals. Sure bunnies, chicks, ducks and lambs have cornered the spring time market, but in Monterey, CA those loveable animals take a backseat to the region’s wet and wonderful marine life.

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is famous the world over for its beauty and the diversity of its aquatic life. Spring is possibly the best time to view Mother Nature’s finest work as all manner of species great and small bring new family members into the world. The biggest, or course are our friends the Grey Whale. Currently, the entire Grey Whale population is migrating north to their summer home in the Bering Sea from their winter breeding grounds in Baja, California. Adults and juvenile whales make the long trip swimming at a leisurely two to five miles an hour breaching (coming up for air and spouting water) every few minutes. This majestic voyage is a great opportunity to view them up close and personal with several whale watching tours offered daily. The Princess Whale Watching is a great option and provides several tour options.

Another wonderful place to observe newly born or hatched marine life is on the water directly. Renting a kayak or stand-up paddle board allows you to explore at your own pace and under your own power. Many of our feathered friends can be found along the Monterey Bay shoreline on rocks and on the beaches. You’ll be amazed by the abundance of species that call the Central Coast home. If you need a great place to start, check out the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. Called a living field guide, their docents and staff can direct you where and what to look for. Adventures by the Sea, located in Pacific Grove and Monterey has got your transportation covered with single and double kayaks and stand-up paddle boards for rent. They also offer guided tours which is a great way to experience the beauty and splendor of the bay.

If you left your sea legs at home or plan on a more stable viewing opportunity, there is no better place to see the miracle of birth than at the beach directly adjacent to Pacific Grove’s Hopkins Marine Laboratory. Located at the bottom of 1st Street and across from the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, this Harbor Seal Rookery is a fantastic location to watch mothers and their pups begin life’s great journey. From birth to weaning and the pup’s first swim, it all happens on the beach through early summer. The seals and their habitat are federally protected, so onlookers may not enter the area and must respect the animal’s environment. However, Mother Nature’s greatness is truly on display for everyone to enjoy at this intimate and beautiful location.

So if you want to enjoy some great weather, fun activities and the animal kingdom, make a trip to the Monterey Peninsula where spring has officially arrived!

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!

Top 10 Reasons to Meet In Monterey

Friday, March 6th, 2015
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Monterey is many things to many people. For the locals, it’s home and a wonderful place to live. For visitors, it offers something for everyone. You can take a solo hike through the trails at Garrapata State Park, explore the many museums with the family, enjoy a romantic dinner with your loved one or tee it up with your favorite foursome. Many people, however, visit the Monterey Peninsula for business. The area is a top destination for meetings because of the varied event spaces, unique activities and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

Here are our Top 10 Reasons to Meet in Monterey (in no particular order)

  1. The Portola Hotel & Spa – What’s better than comfortable rooms, award-winning restaurants and a central location to all the sights and sounds of Monterey. A great home away from home to help you get your work done.
  2. The Monterey Bay – Location, location, location; the old saying goes and the Monterey Peninsula has that covered. It’s called the greatest meeting of land and sea for a reason!
  3. Event Technology – The Portola Hotel offers state of the art internet, video, lighting and sound for events of all sizes.
  4. The Monterey Regional Airport – Located within 15 minutes of Monterey, Carmel, Pebble Beach and Salinas, the airport offers multiple flights from the major airlines, as well as an entire section for private and corporate jets.
  5. Green Meeting – It’s a popular request in meeting and event planning and at the Portola Hotel it’s included in everything offered. From the composting of organic waste and earth-friendly plastic and paper goods to an emphasis on environmental awareness during team building and zero waste meetings and events, that’s why the Portola is a LEED®-EB Certified property.
  6. Unique Venues – While indoor meetings are still the norm, more and more planners are looking for new and out of the box locations. Monterey offers several historic outdoor venues including the Custom House Plaza and The Memory Garden, as well as Cali-style beach parties and nautically inspired, private on-site venues.
  7. The beauty of the location is without question, but so is the location! Monterey is centrally located between popular destinations Carmel, Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove and it is only a short drive to Carmel Valley or Big Sur. The Portola Hotel is right in the middle of it all as it is within walking distance to the Monterey Aquarium, Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row and Downtown Monterey. Perfect for event attendees to get out and see the sights without the hassle of elaborate transportation.
  8. Meeting Space – The Portola offers 22,126 square feet of flexibility with nine rooms ranging from large ballrooms to executive board rooms. Additionally, the Portola is directly adjacent to the spacious Monterey Conference Center which boasts an additional 30,000 square feet of event space.
  9. Let’s Eat – Gone are the days of tired and bland conference food. Award winning Executive Chef Jason Giles heads the Portola’s culinary team that has been wowing meeting planners and their guests for years. Featuring locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients, attendees are certain to be impressed by their meals. Additionally, on-site restaurant Peter B’s Brewpub offers house-made craft beer that has been winning medals and tasting competitions since 2012. Brewmaster Kevin Clark works in concert with Giles to create the perfect pairing creating a memorable highlight to conference attendee’s visits.
  10. Something for Everyone – From large conferences to small board retreats and from event accommodations to the perfect wedding, the Portola Hotel & Spa and the Monterey Peninsula really do offer it all. As a one stop shop for any meeting planner, why not make it easy and Meet in Monterey!

Portola’s Green LEEDers – Keeping It Green

Monday, February 23rd, 2015
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Earth Day, Park Clean Up

Recycling, sustainable living and “going green” are a way of life, especially in California. From water conservation and waste management to locally sourced seafood and agriculture, individuals and businesses have embraced helping to create a healthier and safer planet.

Nowhere is that more evident than at the Portola Hotel & Spa, where not only is the business a leader in green practices, but so are the employees. As Central California’s first U.S. Environmental Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Certified Silver LEED®- EB hotel, the Portola has always lead from the front, but recognizing the need for their employees to have a channel with which to bring their own green ideas to management, the Portola Green LEEDers program was started in January of 2011.

The Green LEEDers program is a venue where Portola team member, help to continue and maintain the Green Initiatives put in place, but it also allows for the introduction of new concepts. A perfect example of this was the introduction of separate waste bin for trash, recyclables and food waste in the staff lunch room. Additionally, the hotel adopted Monterey’s Del Monte beach in 2012 and the Green LEEDers organize four beach cleanups a year through, local environmental non-profit, Save our Shores. This process is expanded with each new hire as the LEEDers attend all new employee orientations to provide educational information on the hotel’s LEED® certification and what it means to be a green property.

Del Monte Beach Cleanup

With interactive programs that engage the hotel and its employees in green practices and in turn engage the employees and the public with additional sustainable projects, the Portola Hotel & Spa and its restaurants Jacks Restaurants & Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub have established themselves as true leaders in going green.

Being green and environmentally conscience, is truly a way of life at the Portola, from the inside, out!

Inside the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
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There is something about winter on the Monterey Peninsula. Typically, the weather becomes a bit warmer and sunnier, the excitement of the New Year turns to keeping up with resolutions and preparations for the PGA Tour’s annual celebrity showcase, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am are running full bore. As the fleets of volunteer and player courtesy cars arrive and the tournament’s stands, buildings and tents are built in anticipation of one of the year’s most entertaining tournaments, let’s take a closer look at one of the things that make this event so unique!

Since the 1930’s, the Crosby Clambake, now the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, has blended the worlds of sports and entertainment with golf in a way that has delighted fans around the world and raised over 100 million dollars for charity since the tournament started. While much of the East Coast and Mid-West are covered in snow and ice, each February, TV sets around the country explode with the vibrant green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, the clear blue of the Monterey Bay and the mellow tone of CBS’ Jim Nantz as he describes the world class golf and celebrity hijinks. As with anything popular, the public has asked for more and the tournament’s hosts, the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, responded with a fantastic line-up of events leading up to the event’s official start on Thursday.

One of the newer and for Bay Area golf and sports fans, the most exciting additions, has been the Chevron Shoot-Out held this year on February 10, 2014 at 1:30pm at the Pebble Beach Golf Links.  Two storied sports franchises tee it up in team competition with current and former San Francisco 49ers and San Francisco Giants going head to head over 5 holes. The teams are competing for bragging rights but more importantly, for $100,000 that is then donated to the Giants Community Fund, The 49ers Foundation and other local charities.

Confirmed participants in the Shoot-Out include SF 49er greats Steve Young and Harris Barton and current SF Giants Buster Posey, Matt Cain and Bruce Bochy with others yet to be named.  This part of the “AT&T Week” is always fun and it’s a great opportunity to get up close to your favorite 49er or Giant.

Yes, the regular tournament is the big show and will once again be highlighted by comedian Bill Murray, actors Don Cheadle and Chris O’Donnell and NFL stars Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, but Tuesday’s Chevron Shoot-Out offers a laid back and approachable venue to watch some of the best athletes in the world play golf like you and me. FORE! (Seriously)