Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Winter Fun, Monterey Style

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
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For much of the country, winter fun means bundling up and heading out into the snow.  Whether it’s skiing in Utah, snowshoeing in Wisconsin or ice skating in New York, there is no shortage of traditional wintertime activities across the country. On the Monterey Peninsula, however, the mild temperature means a long trip before reaching the snow. Although, that does not mean visitors and locals on the Central Coast don’t enjoy the outdoors, they just do it Monterey style.

Wintertime brings the annual migration of the Grey Whale as they head south from the Pacific Northwest to the warmer waters of Baja California and their yearly birthing grounds. Whales can be seen from one of the many whale watching boats that depart from Fisherman’s Wharf. If you didn’t bring your sea legs with you, don’t worry. You can still spot these majestic beauties from one of the many turnouts along Highway 1. Their season runs from December through April so there is plenty of time to enjoy one of nature’s true spectacles.

Book the Portola Hotel & Spa Whale Watching Package Now!

You can also experience the wonders of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary up close and personal on a kayak or paddle board. Adventures by the Sea is a great option for rentals and conducts tours of the coastline with a skilled guide. From your sea-level seat, you’ll experience sea otters, sea lions and a multitude of birds. Bring your waterproof camera for the selfie of a lifetime.

Another outdoor option is enjoying one of the many county, regional or state parks in the area. From the inland beauty of Garland Ranch Regional Park to the seaside sanctuary that is Point Lobos, everyone from young to old can enjoy an easy walk to an invigorating hike in addition to everything else these parks have to offer. Many of the parks offer rangers or docents that can add to your experience and allow for pets and picnics in designated areas.

Sometimes the simplest thing just might be the best. Grab your friends, your partner or just a good book and a blanket and head down to a nearby beach and take in the Pacific sunset. Asilomar and Carmel State Beaches offer long stretches of white sand and plenty of room for your four legged friends.

Relax and set the rays of the day’s last light embrace you with warmth, Monterey style.

 

Getting Healthy, Monterey Bay Style

Friday, January 2nd, 2015
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With 2015 here, there’s no better time than the present to begin devising a plan on how to be more healthy and active in the New Year.  No matter your fitness level, the Monterey Bay is jam packed with activities, indoor and out, that can release those endorphins and get your heart rate jumping.

Take a look at 15 activities that can help you can get a jump on making 2015 your best year yet!

  1. Sign up for a 5K or 10K that benefits a local charity AND takes you around the scenic Monterey Bay coastline – visit www.Active.com for a list of upcoming races, including the Together With Love Run/Walk benefitting the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center on Sunday, February 8,2015
  2. Rent bikes from Adventures by the Sea and explore the Coastal Recreation Trail, 17 Mile Drive and the rest of the endlessly beautiful Monterey Peninsula!
  3. Re-energize in the hot and cold pools, eucalyptus steam room or roomy sauna at Refuge in Carmel Valley
  4. Sculpt your body from head to toe at Carmel Barre in Carmel with classes available throughout the day
  5. Hike the four+ mile Soberanes Canyon Trail loop across from Garrapata State Park along scenic Highway 1 towards Big Sur for a great cardio workout and reward yourself with some of the best views around
  6. The Fort Ord National Monument is home to awesome trails ideal for mountain biking and hiking, only certain areas are open to the public, but can be accessed via the Bureau of Land Management
  7. If you are looking for a little adventure, here’s something that will definitely get your heart pumping – Zip Lining in Felton, (about a 45 minute drive from Monterey) in the middle of the Santa Cruz Mountains, visit Mount Hermon Adventures for pricing and online reservations
  8. Tennis anyone?  Reserve a court or book a lesson through the Monterey Tennis Center, just a few blocks from the Portola
  9. History buffs will enjoy walking along the Path of History, marked throughout Downtown Monterey with walking tour maps available
  10. How about some family fun? Skip, run and play at Dennis the Menace Park, also located in downtown Monterey, slides, swings and mazes await kids of all ages.
  11. Run and take in the fresh sea air, along the many white sands beaches throughout, Carmel by the Sea, Pacific Grove and Monterey
  12. Contact the local experts at Central Coast Fly Fishing in Carmel Valley and help them guide you to find the best spots for fly fishing around the county, or head down to Fisherman’s Wharf to book a charter with one of the many deep sea fishing vessels, such as Chris’ Fishing Trips
  13. Hang 10! Book a private or group lesson with Carmel Surf Lessons or Monterey Bay Surf Lessons wetsuit and board rentals available as well through both companies
  14. Visit the Concierge Desk at the Portola Hotel and a friendly staff member will help you book 9 or 18 holes at one of the awarding winning golf courses throughout the Monterey Peninsula and beyond
  15. Get up close and personal with sea otters and sea lions aboard a kayak or stand up paddle board, available to rent via Adventures by the Sea; stand up paddle board yoga classes are also available, for those with good balance

Last Minute Holiday Gifts

Friday, December 19th, 2014
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Have you made your list and checked it twice?  I don’t know about you, but even though my list is made and I’ve checked it a million times over, it seems there is always someone I’m forgetting, or that “one last thing” that I still need to buy!

Sooo…with just a week to go, I’m getting it done, all in one shot – you guessed it, at the Portola Hotel & Spa!

Check out these cool items I was able to purchase, perfect for everyone left on my list!

  1. Peter B’s Brewpub Ugly (yet amazingly awesome) Holiday Sweater
  2. Spa Treatment Gift Certificates to Spa on the Plaza
  3. Festive Candy & Sweet Treats (perfect for stocking stuffers) at Candyland
  4. Guided Kayaking Tour Gift Certificates & Cool Outdoors Gear from Adventures by the Sea
  5. During Next Visit to the Portola, Surprise the Family with Monterey Bay Aquarium Tickets (you can purchase via our Concierge’s Desk)
  6. Unique Gifts and Monterey County Wines from Wines from the Heart
  7. Natural Health & Beauty Products at Spa on the Plaza
  8. A Phone Case with Bottle Opener or Cool Trucker Hat at Peter B’s Brewpub
  9. Monterey-Themed Souvenirs for All Ages from Monterey Swag
  10. The Gift of Travel & Dining – A Portola Hotel & Spa Gift Card; Good for Overnight Stays and Dining at Peter B’s Brewpub & Jacks Restaurant & Lounge

Happy shopping and don’t forget to take a break to re-energize (you must maintain your shopping strength) – perhaps lunch (and a glass of champagne) at Jacks. Ready, set, SHOP!

Winter-time Wonderland at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Saturday, December 6th, 2014
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In case you hadn’t noticed, winter has arrived. Yes, for most of the country, Winter means weather, but in California and specifically on the Monterey Peninsula, Winter is more about the holidays and wondering why scarves and gloves look cool, but are actually uncomfortable in 65 degree weather. Most importantly, however, winter and the holiday season mean family. Whether you are entertaining guests from out of town or spending time with your own, there are many options around the Monterey Bay, but none excite the group as much as the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Beyond the world-wide reputation and overall greatness, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is offering several recently new and exciting exhibits and that are sure to awaken the wonder in everyone. Tentacles, the Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes debuted to much fanfare a few short months ago and has been enchanting guests ever since. Featuring giant rooftop tentacles and multiple tanks filled with 9 types of cephalopods, the exhibit will immerse you into a whole new world of these ever-changing sea creatures.

One of the other recent exhibits is the Jellies Experience. Gain a whole new appreciation of this beautiful mysterious and sometimes dangerous ocean dweller. Eight different types are featured and their graceful water-ballet amidst black-lit rooms is something to truly behold. Their simplicity and complexity are on display all at once in an almost surreal experience.

The Aquarium’s favorites are of course on hand with Penguins, Sea Otters, the Kelp Forrest, the Splash Zone and daily feedings and classes available for everyone’s enjoyment. Most recently, viral videos of rescued sea otters have made the rounds on YouTube and Twitter, but now you can see these cuddly kits in person!

If your guests are from out of town, the Portola Hotel & Spa offers a very special Monterey Bay Aquarium Family Getaway for $199 (now through January 31, 2015). Guests will receive accommodations in a nautically inspired guest room, a warm homemade chocolate chip cookie, 25% Off* on Food & Beverage for Dinner in Jacks Restaurant and two adult tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium which are good for two consecutive days. Book Now!

This winter, if the parkas and scarves have not made it out of the closet, but you are looking for a great experience for the family, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They’ll thank you for the best present of all, quality family time!

 

Book now and stay December 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015.  Terms and conditions apply.  Based on availability. Not applicable to groups. Blackout dates apply.
*Not valid during holidays.

Celebrate All Season Long at the Portola!

Monday, November 24th, 2014
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Nothing beats the holiday season, especially California Coast. Although, the only white Christmas you may experience are white sand beaches, the cheer of the season is everywhere, especially in Monterey at the Portola Hotel & Spa.

If celebrating the holidays at home is a family tradition, then what do you do to work off Mom’s turkey, Grandpa’s eggnog or the hors d’oeuvres from the holiday party at work? Why, ice skating in Monterey of course! With views of the Pacific Ocean, Ice Skating by the Bay returns to bring the feeling of the season to the historic Custom House Plaza November 22, 2014 -January 4, 2015. The rink is open Monday through Saturday from 11am to 10pm and on Sundays from 12pm to 8pm. Tickets can be purchased at the rink but if you are visiting family or friends, the Portola offers a package that includes tickets! Book Now!

If the knees can’t take a session on the ice, the Portola offers a range of packages perfect for getting rid of those holiday blues. Take the family on an artistic adventure on New Year’s Eve with Portola’s First Night Package. First Night offers a family friendly lineup of dancing, music, singing, artistic creation and excitement. Book Now!

If a leisurely morning is more your speed, then check out the Winter Breakfast for Two package. Bottomless Mimosas will start your day off right while the European-style buffet will give your taste buds the gift they have been missing. Book Now!

And finally, no list of holiday themed packages in Monterey County would be complete without some of the region’s award-winning varietals! The Winter Harvest Package allows you and a guest to experience a bottle of the County’s finest wine along with a guide to Monterey Wine Country, a logoed wine bag and corkscrew. You can take the wine up to your room, with you on a picnic or enjoy it at home while toasting the memories or a wonderful experience. Book Now!

Each one of these packages includes a one night in a nautically inspired guest room, a warm homemade chocolate chip cookie on arrival and use of the 24-hour fitness center and heated pool, Jacuzzi and poolside cabanas.

A crispness may be in the air, but in Monterey the weather is always fair, so get out of the cold and come to the coast this holiday season!