Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Kids on the Peninsula

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014
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When most people think of the Monterey Peninsula they think of beautiful golf courses, million dollar homes and some of the world’s most famous events. Others think of miles of pristine coastline, romantic walks along the water and shopping and dining. But as a mom of two, the Monterey Peninsula is one of the best family-friendly travel destinations around!  With as many family friendly activities as there are par fours, Mom, Dad and the little ones can have the time of their lives. Oh, and if the “little ones” are actually teenagers…there is plenty for them to do as well.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium on historic Cannery Row is one of the world’s premiere displays of aquatic marvels. The Splash Zone is entirely devoted to kids of all ages and the Aquarium as a whole, can keep the family interested for hours, but what about the next day?

How about Dennis the Menace Park located by Lake El Estero in Monterey? Hank Ketchum, the legendary creator of the cartoon icon Dennis the Menace made Carmel his home and this park brings the same smile to all who visit. Free and open seven days a week, (click here for more information) the park is perfect for families and offers a multitude of play structures, tunnels, bridges and a maze. Looking for something indoors in downtown Monterey? Try the Monterey County Youth Museum (MY Museum), a hands-on interactive children’s museum, perfect for the busiest of toddlers and young kids.

If you are traveling with kids that are a bit older, check out the paddle boats available for rent on Lake El Estero directly behind the park. It’s a great time and you can get up close and personal with the ducks, Canadian Geese and swans that make the lake their home (don’t forget the breadcrumbs!). Or, for a more radical departure, make a visit to the free skate park also adjacent to Dennis the Menace. With exciting elements to challenge the skills of skateboarders and in-line skaters, this park was created with input from community skaters resulting in a fantastic design overlooking the lake.

All of these activities are within walking distance of the Portola Hotel & Spa making a trip to the complex that much more appealing. With green grass, picnic benches and the beach just across the street, why not order a delicious lunch to go from Peter B’s Brewpub and enjoy a wonderful day of family fun!

Unforgettable Beach Picnics on the Monterey Peninsula

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
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For many people summertime means lazy days in the sun, kicking back with good friends and good food!  In my opinion, there is no better way to celebrate this tradition then heading to the beach for an old fashioned picnic.  The Portola Hotel & Spa has some fun tips to create you perfect beach picnic!

 

Step One – choosing the right beach. The Monterey Peninsula is filled with amazing beaches and each one comes with unique scenery and features. Here are some favorites along with what makes each location so special.

Del Monte State Beach – Just a short walk from Portola is the Del Monte State Beach, which spans from the Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf to Seaside. The long stretch of beach allows picnic goers to find their own intimate spot in the sand or a grab a picnic table and watch the crowds go by on Monterey’s bike trail. Dogs are welcome on this beach and the water is perfect for boogie boarding and surfing. Great for activities for all ages, it is ideal for flying kites, playing catch or a game of volleyball with courts located right off the beach. For picnickers that are planning to stick around after sunset, be sure to bring ingredients for S’mores along with firewood, since beach fires are permitted.

Lovers Point – The teal waters, protected swimming coves and tide pools galore make Lovers Point the perfect spot for picnics! Make camp on the sandy beach or in the park just above the beach at the picnic tables. A protective cove makes this beach a little warmer than the others and once lunch is fully digested, wade into the Bay or take a dip in the Lovers Point Children’s Pool open daily from noon to 4:30pm.  Kayak and paddle board rentals are also available at the beach from Adventures by the Sea.

Asilomar State Beach – Just south from Monterey in Pacific Grove are the white sands of Asilomar State Beach. Asilomar is Spanish for “refuge by the sea,” and it lives up to this name. Picnickers and their dogs too, can spend all day walking the boardwalks surrounding the beach and the sand dunes, exploring tide pools and watching the surfers catch big waves, as a State designated beach, beach fires are also permitted.

Carmel Beach – Bright blue waves, white sand and dogs galore await you at Carmel Beach. The long stretch of beach with views of golfers on the Pebble Beach golf course, quaint Carmel homes and the luscious scenery of Point Lobos will keep picnickers entertained for hours. The world-renowned beach attracts people from all over the world to picnic by day, take in the beautiful sunset and set up bonfires by night.

 

Step Two – food and beverage. The Monterey Peninsula is jammed packed with great restaurants and cafés that serve food to go. We have picked a few that will delight the taste buds with a little local flavor!

Jacks Restaurant & Lounge – Located inside the Portola Hotel & Spa, Jacks is one of the Peninsula’s most popular spots for lunch and is available for take-out.  As a member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch® Program, Jacks is committed to using healthy, sustainable and locally sourced ingredients.  Jacks lunch menu features a Mediterranean Vegetable Sandwich, Whole Wheat Chicken Wrap and a Classic Club Sandwich, just right to pack in your picnic basket. For something a little lighter, try their Warm Chicken & Cashew Salad or a Crispy Dungeness Crab Cake Salad, pair these with the perfect wine and you’ll be all set!

Happy Girl Kitchen – Two blocks form the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Happy Girl Kitchen is a café and cannery that specializes in house-made baked goods. Delicious organic breakfast and lunch options include sandwiches, soups and delicious cheese and cracker plates. This spot also specializing in preserves so be sure to grab one of the jams, pickles or a jar of local honey.

Troia’s Market – Located just a few blocks up the hill from Portola, Troia’s Market is a great place to stop to pick up traditional quality deli sandwiches, a selection of sides such as potatoes salad and other homemade options such as mac and cheese, salads and lasagna. There is a vast assortment of snacks to grab and a nice beverage selection for those of age.

Whole Foods Market – Located right off the freeway at the Munras exit, Whole Foods is a great option for picnickers on their way to Asilomar or Carmel Beach. Offering a full service deli, sushi bar and big selection of ready food to go, Whole Foods is a great place to stop to ensure that everyone in the picnic party will be able to enjoy their favorite food on the beach.

Wine – What is a great beach day without a bottle of wine? Just steps from Portola are two great places to pick up world famous local Monterey County wines. Stop in Wine From the Heart or Terranova Fine Wines to taste a few before purchasing your new favorite bottle and heading to the beach.

It’s hard to go wrong on the Monterey Peninsula when selecting a location along with food and beverage for a picnic. Don’t forget sunscreen, towels, a blanket, chairs, sand toys and a football or volleyball!

When it comes down to it, finding the time to relax and be around loved ones is precious, so get out there and have day on the Peninsula that everyone will remember!

Staycations are the Best!

Friday, May 16th, 2014
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Calling all exhausted parents, worn out families, and couples in need of a romantic rendezvous in the 831; this post is for you!

Just because there’s no time for an actual vacation doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve a break.  Monterey’s Portola Hotel and Spa is here to provide the perfect solution!  Why not skip the hassle of booking flights and hotel rooms out of the area, and take a staycation instead.  You don’t have to leave the country to get out of the house.  All you need to achieve the relaxing staycation you so well deserve is a small bag and a quick drive to downtown Monterey.

Reserve a luxurious room and enjoy all of the lavish amenities that Portola has to offer.  Spend your days in rejuvenation at Spa on the Plaza.  Drop in for a facial or a heavenly massage, after, take a relaxing steam or kick back in the sauna. Perhaps taking a dip in the pool is more your style, cozy up in one of the private cabanas on the pool deck and read that book you’ve been meaning to finish for the past few months! After, stop by the concierge desk and play tourist for a day.  Explore the town you live in through a fresh set of eyes and try out new attractions you’ve been too busy to investigate.

You don’t have to go far to experience the bliss of being pampered.  Take a the day off from cooking and experience the Portola’s very own Jacks Restaurant & Lounge or Monterey’s first craft brewery, Peter B’s Brewpub.   After dinner, spend your evening on a moonlight walk along Old Fisherman’s Wharf or stroll nearby beaches and listen to the peaceful sounds of the tide going in and out.

You may not have time to be a full-blown jetsetter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in a local weekend getaway.  Make the Portola Hotel and Spa your next staycation destination.

Happy travels!

The 29th Presentation of the Big Sur Marathon – This Weekend!

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
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Running across Bixby Bridge

A marathon with a view!  Runners from around the globe are gearing up for the Monterey Peninsula’s annual Big Sur Marathon this weekend.  Going strong since 1986, the Big Sur Marathon attracts the likes of approximately 9,000 event finishers, and promises 26.2 miles of the most beautiful coastline in the world.  One of the most challenging competitions for runners set before one of the most breathtaking backdrops in the world, it’s no wonder that The Ultimate Guide to Marathons named it the “Best Marathon in North America.”

Comprised of several events, the Big Sur Marathon includes an International Marathon spanning 26.2 miles along the Pacific coastline and through majestic redwoods, as well as a 21-Miler, a 10.6-Miler, 9-Miler and 5K taking place on race day and a JUST RUN! 3K, the day before on Saturday, April 26th along the Coastal Recreation Trail in Pacific Grove.  For shorter distances there still may be spaces available, visit www.bsim.org for the most up-to-date info.

Providing a beyond inspiring landscape for runners to exert through the difficult patches and camaraderie to make the run an unforgettable experience, the Big Sur Marathon is a Monterey Bay fixture that promises a good time for all who participate.  With events for people of every age and ability, the Big Sur Marathon attracts competitive runners and bonding families alike and sells out earlier and earlier each year, so be sure to register today!

 

Running along Highway 1

Come be part of something bigger than you – start that training for 2015, trust me – having walked the race in 1998 – it’s an experience I will never forget!  Run, jog, or even walk alongside nature and your fellow man.  A great way to connect with friends and family, there’s nothing better than accomplishing something together to build bonds that last, or if you’re a lone wolf, there’s no better goal to set for yourself than an actual finish line.  By the end, I promise you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment unique to crossing a finish line you’ve worked hard to reach.

Who’s ready to lace up those running shoes and train for next year???

 

Easter Eggs, Brunch & Bunnies, Oh My!

Thursday, April 17th, 2014
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Hop on over to the Monterey Peninsula for an Easter weekend you won’t ever forget.  With enchanting activities for the whole family, the Easter bunny is sure to make an appearance, and won’t even be the most exciting part of your visit.

Serving gourmet options for the adults boasting refined palates and yummy kid-friendly options for your little ones, Jacks Restaurant at the Portola Hotel & Spa has something to tickle any taste bud and is perfect for the whole family this Easter Sunday. Enjoy classic Easter Brunch favorites including, made-to-order omelets, traditional eggs benedict, cinnamon swirl French toast, assorted cheeses, gourmet salads, Mimosas and more!  A meal to satisfy the savviest of Easter Bunnies – just sit back and let Jacks do all the work.  All that’s left for you to do is bask in the love of family, enjoy the bliss of the season, and explore the sights and activities all around town!

Scattered about the Monterey Bay you will find activities for young and old, all celebrating Easter with egg hunts, prizes, and good cheer.  Stop by the Monterey County Youth Museum (MY Museum) on Saturday, April 19thth and have a visit with the one and only Easter Bunny from 1pm-2:30pm. The kiddos can decorate eggs, get their face painted and play at one of the coolest places on the Peninsula!

 

For the big kids, that is the 21 and over crowd, come to the Portola’s own Peter B’s Brewpub for some special Easter fun of your own on Thursday, April 17th from 5pm – 7pm.  The 101.7 The Beach EGGSTRAVAGANGA is a free event to all those carrying a 21+ ID, you can sign up the day of the event to participate in the festivities for a chance to win great prizes.  Anything and everything from gift cards, CDs, and concert tickets lie hidden in brightly collared little Easter eggs, just waiting for you to enjoy!  Stop by Peter B’s Brewpub’s Facebook page to peruse pictures from last year and the latest and greatest on this year’s event!

We promise that spending your Easter weekend in Monterey is sure to put an extra spring in your step and is bound to have you hopping back again soon!