Posts Tagged ‘kids’

The “Best Weekend in Monterey”

Monday, December 24th, 2012
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With the holiday season and winter finally here the special events and happenings in Monterey are as plentiful as relatives and leftovers. Choosing what to do and where to go can be overwhelming, so your friends here at Central Coast Living have put together, in our humble opinion, an itinerary for what we would like to think of as the “Best Weekend in Monterey” during the holidays.

The weekend starts off on Friday afternoon with a relaxing walk along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. Unwind and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary as you walk or bike along the coast. From Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, it’s just over two miles of paved and rolled trail with views of Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Hopkins Marine Station and the stately Victorian-era homes lining the way Lovers Point Park of Pacific Grove.

After working up an appetite, return to Fisherman’s Wharf and explore the shops and restaurants while sampling some of California’s freshest seafood.  Evening activities can include theatric or musical entertainment at one of Monterey’s many venues or depending on the weekend of your visit, holiday-themed activities including various tree lightings, historic tours of seasonally decorated buildings and special cultural and wine events.

Saturday brings a day full of activities and none greater than the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Whether a couple or a family, you are sure to be amazed by the variety of exhibits and hands-on educational opportunities. There are so many interesting areas that you might want to take two days to fully explore the Aquarium, but if one day is all you have time for, be sure to check out their newest exhibit, The Jellies Experience. You’ll learn what makes the jellyfish one of the most intriguing animals on land or sea. With the Aquarium behind you, stroll along historic Cannery Row and immerse yourself in the world of John Steinbeck while shopping and taking in the sites.

There is no better way to enjoy a trip to Monterey during the holidays than with a visit to Ice Skating on the Bay. Located directly behind the Portola Hotel & Spa on the Custom House Plaza, the seasonal ice skating rink is open from 11am – 10pm Monday through Saturday and from 12pm to 8pm on Sunday’s. After reliving childhood memories or creating new ones with your kids, head over to the Portola Hotel & Spa for your choice of dinner options. Jacks Restaurant offers an upscale dining experience featuring locally sourced, sustainable ingredients throughout the menu and an impressive wine list, all created under the expert culinary eye of Executive Chef Jason Giles. If you are in the mood for something more laid back, then relax in Peter B’s Brewpub. As Monterey’s only craft brewery features a delicious pub fare with a wide variety of beer brewed directly on site. Brewmaster Kevin Clark’s award winning seasonal brews pair perfectly with the menu and with 15 HDTV’s you are sure to find the game of your choice.

While Sunday may be the day of your departure you can still experience much more in Monterey. Walk historic Alvarado Street just steps from the Portola and treat yourself to pastries and coffee at one of the many café’s and then immerse yourself in the history of Old Monterey along the self-guided Path of History. You’ll encounter a variety of historic buildings and landmarks detailing Monterey as the first capitol city of California. With so much more to offer, the Monterey Peninsula must be experienced in more than just a weekend. Check back with us throughout the year as we give you tips and ideas on how to experience the seasons and the scenery of Monterey and beyond!

First Night Monterey

Friday, December 7th, 2012
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New Year’s Eve always brings a sense of hope and optimism about the year ahead. Figuring out what to do, that makes everyone in the family happy can be a bit of a challenge. First Night Monterey solves that problem in one fell swoop. The event offers something for the young and the young at heart and takes place throughout historic downtown Monterey. Now in its 20th year, First Night Monterey is a community celebration of the arts that kicks off at 3pm on December 31, 2012. Over 25 performance sites, most of which are indoors, feature a wide variety of music, interactive art, dance and fun. The alcohol-free event focuses on family fun with kid friendly activities and themed events. The event kicks off with the Opening Ceremony on the lawn of Colton Hall and Pacific Street. Kid’s Night Out begins at 3:30pm with interactive art activities, face painting, artists, puppet theatre, folk music and magic. Then the Twilight Procession progresses down Alvarado Street at 5:30pm. Musical performances range from Reggae to Classical and Jazz to Hip Hop. Performances also include dance, art and written and spoken word. The Grand Finale starts at 11:15pm and rings in the New Year at midnight.

The Portola Hotel & Spa offers a fun First Night Package that includes two adult First Night “All Access Buttons”, a nautically inspired guest room, warm homemade cookie upon arrival and is one of the best spots on the Peninsula, especially on New Year’s Eve! With its location on Custom House Plaza, the Portola Hotel is the perfect venue to explore the sights, sounds and good times of First Night Monterey.

Ring in the New Year with the Portola Hotel & Spa!

Fall Fun

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
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Fall means leaves change colors and kids go back to school,

But it also means witches, ghosts, goblins and ghouls

 

Bats and broomsticks and things that go bump in the night,

It’s costumes and candy and fun and a fright

 

But Halloween is more than scary things,

It’s friends and family and doorbells to ring

 

Trick or Treat is heard on that special day

Here’s some Halloween themed events throughout the Bay

 

The staff at the Portola Hotel & Spa loves Halloween – check out our staff’s favorite picks for a spook-tacular time during your October visit.

Kids on the Peninsula

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
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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 some do not realize the amount of kid-friendly activities available.  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 and 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 come. Free and open seven days a week, the park is perfect for families and offers a multitude of play structures, tunnels, bridges and a maze. The cornerstone of the park is an actual Steam Engine that can be climbed and played upon, if you’re looking for something indoors, try the interactive, hands-on Monterey County (MY) Museum.

If you are traveling with kids a little 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. Between glow-in-the-dark mini golf on Cannery Row, hiking at Point Lobos to kayaking on the Bay, an activity for every member of the family awaits!

Most all of these activities are within walking distance of the Portola Hotel & Spa making a trip to the Peninsula one of ease and most importantly fun! 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!

 

Top 10 Picnic Spots

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
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It’s summertime, and with all the vacations, camps, games and other activities, we sometimes forget that this time of the year is supposed to be relaxing.  Even mealtime seems hurried as we try to fit one last thing into the longer summer days. So why not downshift and spend a little quality time with the family (and don’t forget to bring the dog) while taking in the beautiful scenery of the Monterey Peninsula? Food, family and fun are always a recipe for relaxation so here is our unofficial Top 10 (in random order) picnic spots on the Peninsula and a little beyond.

1. The nearest park or open-space or enchanted garden. Keep it simple and enjoy each other’s company, explore the Custom House Plaza and nearby Memory Garden/Pacific House or Old Whaling Station Garden.

2. Lovers Point Beach: What’s better than a lush park right next to a beach, with a view of Monterey Bay?

3. Dennis the Menace Park: Picnic tables and grills behind the park overlook Lake El Estero and a skate park. Perfect for kids of all ages (dogs not allowed in the park gates).

4. Marina State Beach: Miles of beach are perfect for flying kites and the occasional hang glider make for great entertainment; make sure to bring a windbreaker, as that’s why this is the best place for kite flying!

5. Colton Hall: Revel in the beauty downtown Monterey and sit among shady trees, beautiful architecture and a lush lawn.

6. Garland Ranch: Work up an appetite with a hike before sitting down to drink in the beauty of Carmel Valley.

7. 17-mile Drive: Beach, forest, golf or all of the above are offered along this famous stretch of road. The views aren’t half bad either!

8. Asilomar State Beach: Catch one of the area’s great sunset spots and white sand beaches, build a small bonfire, go tide-pooling and a walk amongst the dunes.

9. Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail: By bike, foot or surrey rental you can take-in the views and stop at any of the numerous benches and open spaces along the route for a meal.

10. Pfeiffer Beach State Park: This State Park offers it all and is a wonderful way to explore nature with your family and enjoy the majestic views and tranquility of Big Sur.

If you are looking for the perfect culinary compliment to this family fun, why not stop off at Peter B’s Brewpub or Jacks Restaurant at the Portola Hotel & Spa and pick up a delicious lunch for your group. With choices galore, your family and your taste buds will thank you!