Posts Tagged ‘Family’

A Memory Garden Memory

Monday, July 28th, 2014
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So… it’s not too often that I get personal on our Central Coast Living Blog, but every July I get a little sentimental!  Nine years ago, this month I was walking down an aisle dusted with rose petals at one of the most magical venues in all of Monterey (in my humble opinion)  – the Memory Garden.  I’ll never forget walking through the Portola Hotel & Spa on my way to marry my best friend.  Each step I took through the lobby as the sun was shining through the windows; I was one step closer to becoming Mrs. Thomas.

My husband and I were immediately drawn to the Memory Garden.  The clean white walls of the adobe and enchanted garden were exactly what we had envisioned for our wedding day.  The natural flora and fauna of the garden didn’t really need any extra decorating; it was perfect just as it was.

I remember vividly, as I peeked from the gates before the ceremony, that this was it – my dream wedding, simple, romantic, elegant and quintessential old Monterey. After, we walked hand in hand to Frank Sinatra’s “It Happened in Monterey” (yes I know he’s referring to Monterey, Mexico, but it still worked) and as we gazed back at our family and friends, all was right in the world at that very moment!

Now our walks near and around the garden include our amazing six year old twins, who fondly call it Mommy & Daddy’s Wedding Flower Garden, and every time we take that first step through the gates, my husband and exchange a glance with one another, reflecting on our wedding day.

 

 

 

 

 

August Happenings On & Around the Monterey Bay

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
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No matter what weekend you decide to make Monterey your summer getaway, chances are there’s a festival just waiting for you to enjoy.  With everything from the Scottish and Greek Festivals to the Watsonville Strawberry Festival, there’s no shortage of good food, fun entertainment and great excitement to be had!

Start off with a weekend of sweet strawberry bliss and the annual Watsonville Strawberry Festival on August 2-3, 2014.  A two-day festival in historic downtown Watsonville, this event showcases the strawberry, one of Monterey County’s most famous crops.  Free admission to all and fun for the whole family, the festival features delicious food, premier live entertainment, an exciting carnival and the beloved gooey strawberry contest.

Also on the same weekend is the 47th Annual Scottish Games and Celtic Festival. This event brings the tartan of Scotland and the green of the Emerald Island to Monterey from 9am – 5pm on August 2-3, 2014. Featuring authentic music, dance and athletic events there are activities galore for the whole family. One of the centerpieces of the festival is the pipe band competition where teams of bagpipers and drummers toe the line to see who is best. Throw in Highland and Irish dancers, as well as arts and crafts and you have an experience not to be missed.

Next, let a quick trip down to Monterey’s historic Custom House Plaza transport you to exotic Greece for the annual Greek Festival.  A favorite event for locals and visitors alike, the Monterey Bay Greek festival offers three full days of Greek culture and excitement, set amid the charming backdrop of Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf.  With free admission you can enjoy a weekend full of authentic Greek cuisine, live music and dancing.  Kicking off Monterey’s beautiful Indian Summer, the festivities, spanning from August 30 -September 1, 2014, will have you feeling Greek in no time.

These are just three of the many exciting August activities on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. So whether you are a local or a visitor, you’ll have the opportunity to experience some of the more colorful countries and cuisines of the world, Monterey style.

 

We can’t wait to see you here!

Best Beaches on the Monterey Peninsula

Friday, July 11th, 2014
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It’s common knowledge that the Monterey Bay has one of the most beautiful coastlines on the entire planet. But with all those miles of photo-worthy shore, how can you tell which beach is right for you? Central Coast Living’s team has visited them all and here are a few of our favorites!

Located off of Highway 1, just south of Carmel is Carmel River State Beach.  With a lagoon formed by the Carmel River, this California State Park attracts a large number of migratory birds, making it a great place for birders.  Also providing access to notable kelp forests in the area, the beach is a hotspot for scuba divers and kayakers as well.  Not the best place for swimming due to its strong currents, beautiful Carmel River State Beach is better suited for a day in the sand or cozying up to warm fire for s’mores in the evening.

Just a mile north of Carmel River Beach, within charming Carmel-By-The-Sea, is Carmel Beach. Renowned for good surf, soft sand and excellent dog-walking conditions Carmel Beach is a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike.  Perfect for sandcastle building, it’s no wonder that Carmel Beach annually hosts a beloved sandcastle contest as well as the Sunshine Freestyle Surfabout, one of California’s longest running surf contests.  Even better than the sand under your feet are the evening sunsets painted where the sky meets the sea. Carmel Beach is also an ideal spot for bonfires and evening picnics.

Spanning from Monterey to Seaside, the Monterey State Beach offers a long uninterrupted stretch of sand and surf beginning next to historic Fisherman’s Wharf and ending in Seaside. This popular beach is the perfect place for many outdoor activities, such as surfing, kayaking, swimming, kite flying and even fishing. Look toward the sea and you’ll spot scuba divers emerging from the depths.  Look toward the sky and you’ll find hang gliders soaring over the dunes. Perfect for everyone, Monterey State Beach is a great place for a true California beach experience.

This next beach packs a whole lot of beautiful views and natural diversity into a single mile of coastline.  Providing public access to the Monterey Peninsula’s rocky coastline and dune habitat, Asilomar State Beach is a popular spot for every beach activity from nature walks and surfing to a romantic date night. With a quarter-mile long trail running through the dunes, Asilomar is the perfect place to take in breathtaking views or go for a morning jog.  Explore the little worlds hiding within Asilomar’s many tide pools or set up shop for an evening bonfire.  A fully accessible beach, Asilomar State Park features beach wheelchairs to allow full access to those with limited mobility.  Dog friendly and child-friendly alike, Asilomar is a great family beach.

One of Pacific Grove’s most beloved landmarks, Lovers Point Beach is a favorite for both P.G. natives and visitors alike.  With a safely protected seashore perfect for children, a rec trail wrapping around the iconic coastline, and lovely Lovers Point Park overlooking the rugged Pacific, Lovers Point is the perfect beach destination for families and visitors of all ages.  Enjoy a game of volleyball while overlooking the water, or bring your children to play in the Lovers Point Children’s Pool.  Enjoy a run on the rec trail or take your dog for a walk with a view.  Featuring bike, surrey and kayak rentals during the high season, Lovers Point has been named Best Place for a Wedding for several years running. So if you are looking for the perfect blend of romance and family fun, look no further than Lovers Point Beach and Park.

From small hidden beaches and long stretches of shoreline to rocky points and quiet tide pools, Monterey Peninsula’s cost offers something for everyone. The next time you visit Monterey, discover how many things there are to do at the beach!

The Magic of a Monterey Wedding

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
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Before you know it, the season of tiered cakes, white tulle and lifelong commitment will be upon us—wedding season. If you have arrived at the obvious decision that Monterey Bay is synonymous with wedding planning, then consider Portola Hotel & Spa as your enchanted venue.

Located on the picturesque Monterey Bay, there couldn’t be a more scenic backdrop. Featuring 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, including a spectacular ballroom and lush gardens, Portola Hotel & Spa can serve both intimate ceremonies and lavish Monterey wedding receptions. Everything can be handled under one roof—with creative catering services, up-to-date AV equipment, room accommodations for guests and so much more.

From bridal luncheons to rehearsal dinners to receptions, to the honeymoon, Portola is with you every step of the way. We can arrange spa pampering for the bridal party or the bride. We can assist with a golf outing for the guys. Whatever you picture for your most noteworthy occasion, we’re here to guide you to realizing your vision.

The goal of our dedicated Monterey wedding professionals is to ensure every aspect of your experience at the Portola Hotel & Spa exceeds your expectations. You pick the dress and we’ll take care of the rest at Portola Hotel & Spa.

Learn more about Monterey weddings and events at Portola Hotel & Spa.

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.