Posts Tagged ‘Monterey Bay Aquarium’

Celebrate Father’s Day with Brews & Views

Monday, June 10th, 2013
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Peter B’s Brewer, Kevin Clark and his son L.J.

Mark those calendars! Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 16th and there is no shortage of activities to fill a day with Dad on the Monterey Peninsula!

Get away from the ordinary and bring Dad to stay at the Portola to recharge his batteries.  Explore the rich historical setting of Old Monterey and spend some quality time with Dad. Rent a bike or head out on foot to the Coastal Recreation Trail, just right outside our door and experience many of Monterey’s world-famous attractions like Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Hungry? The culinary team at Jacks Restaurant & Lounge will be hard at work in the kitchen providing you and Dad with the finest local cuisine from Central Coast farmers, fisherman, ranchers and dairymen. Or, head to Peter B’s Brewpub for delicious locally brewed craft beer, 15 high-definition TV’s, a pool table and a unique pub-style menu that Dad will surely love.

For the ultimate pre-Father’s Day gift, attend the Monterey Beer Festival on Saturday, June 15th between 12:30pm and 5:00pm with entertainment and beer galore. Fill your day and your belly with tastings from over 80 Central Coast breweries and local food vendors serving up Thai noodles, Korean and Southern BBQ, Cajun specialties, old-fashioned Bratwurst and more. Live bands include the Chicano All Stars, Powerage and Jack Nielsen’s Triple Threat, just to name a few. General Tickets are $45 and other ticket packages including V.I.P. are available. For more information visit www.montereybeerfestival.com.

So if you’re in the mood to celebrate this Father’s Day and make it one to remember,  than we’ve got it all, right here at the Portola!

 

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, “The Serengeti of the Sea”

Monday, June 3rd, 2013
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For locals and visitors alike, the Monterey Bay offers something for everyone. Whether a source of income for local fishermen, recreation for kayakers and scuba divers, a muse for artists or an educational opportunity for students and scientists waters surrounding the Monterey Peninsula are near and dear us all. But who helps to monitor and protect this iconic part of the Central Coast?

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) is 276 miles of coastline and 6094 square miles of ocean stretching from Marin in the north to Cambria in the south. The Sanctuary was established in 1992 by the Federal Government for the purpose of protection, education, public use and research. The area includes one of the United States’ largest kelp forests, one of North America’s underwater canyons which is part of the closest deep ocean to shore ecosystems in the continental U.S. This rich and diverse area which features 33 species of Marine Mammals, 94 species of sea birds and 345 species of fish and countless invertebrates and plants has earned the MBNMS the moniker, “Serengeti of the Sea”.

Visitors to the Sanctuary can experience its beauty in a variety of ways. Organized kayaking, boating, diving and camping are all available to the general public, as are wildlife tours and whale watching. A great way to experience the wonders of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is through a series of virtual tours and live web cams. The Monterey Bay Aquarium features a live cam from within its kelp forest exhibit as well as one from its observation deck. Educational opportunities also abound as classes, tours and exhibitions are featured year round through a variety of local, regional and national agencies and organizations.

So experience one of the most important ocean areas in the world as you visit the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. It’s “fin-tastic”

Summer Festivals in Monterey

Friday, May 10th, 2013
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As many know, the Monterey Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places on earth. From the rugged coastline of Big Sur and the serene inlets of Moss Landing’s Elkhorn Slough to the winding trails of Carmel Valley and the Fort Ord National Monument, there is something for everyone. While those attractions are available throughout the year, some of the Peninsula’s most popular attractions only come around every 365 days.

Monterey and the surrounding area have long been synonymous with music and art of many kinds and nothing exemplifies that better than the summer festivals that make Monterey their home. The granddaddy is the Monterey Jazz Festival September 20-23, 2013. The longest continuously running jazz festival in the world, the MJF has continued to hold its September dates since 1958 and has features some of the biggest names in Jazz and popular music. Not to be outdone is the Carmel Bach Festival which is celebrating its 76th year with 15 days of performances, talks and educational events July 13-27, 2013.

 

Monterey stamped itself on the counterculture scene with the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, which was the blueprint for future musical spectacles like Woodstock and Lollapalooza and continues the tradition today, although with a slightly mellower vibe. The California Roots Music & Arts festival gets the summer started right, Memorial Day Weekend May 24-26, 2013. The good times continue August 9-11, 2013 with the Monterey Bay Reggaefest. In its 18th year, the festival is one of the largest in Northern California and features over 20 performers.

The ear has been satisfied, but how about the mouth? The food festival season kicks off with Cooking for Solutions at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The three day event, May 17-19, 2013, focuses on sustainability and environmental stewardship in the food and beverage industry.  Also that weekend is the 54th annual Castroville Artichoke Festival. Celebrate California’s newly crowned State Vegetable and soak in a bit of history as the Festival counts a young Marilyn Monroe as one of their first “Artichoke Queens.” Memorial Day weekend features the Great Monterey Clam Chowder & Calamari Festival as two of the peninsula’s favorite seafood dishes collide at Custom House Plaza behind the Portola Hotel & Spa. If you are a wine lover, the area also plays host to the Monterey Wine Festival, June 7-8, 2013 and the Winemaker’s Celebration on August 10, 2013.  Both showcase the best of Monterey County’s vast winemaking region which was recently named one of the “Top 10 Wine Travel Destinations” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Ear; check. Mouth; check, but what about your eyes? Monterey also hosts a number of summertime art festivals and while music and food are certainly considered art, these are the traditional forms are highlighted at events like the Carmel Art Festival May 16-19, 2013. With its origins as a bohemian artist colony, Carmel-By-The-Sea plays host as the 20th annual event that showcases visual arts, sculpture, a judged plein air painting competition and much more. Three weeks later, the Valley gets into the act with the Carmel Valley Art & Wine Festival June 8, 2013. Carmel Valley Village comes alive as over 60 artists and art galleries display their works. Sand City, Monterey County’s hotbed of alternative art and vision hosts the Sand City West End Celebration August 23-25, 2013. Known for its independent and irreverent artistic atmosphere, the West End Celebration features and open air artist’s fair throughout the streets and the public is invited into the many studios and creative spaces that call Sand City home.

So if the dog days of summer are getting you down or you need to break for the coast to beat the heat, cruise into Monterey County and enjoy the eclectically rich summer festival scene. There truly is something for everyone!

American Craft Beer Week 2013

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
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In the United States, beer has long been synonymous with sports. Whether it is enjoying a couple of cold ones at the ballpark, tailgating with friends and thousands of others at a college or NFL football game or simply kicking back at home, sports equal beer. While dominated by the mass produced mega-brewers for years, Craft Brews and Breweries are quickly becoming a favorite for the sports-crazed American populace. Good times at the game do not have to mean a bad tasting beer.

If a professional football junkie’s nirvana is Superbowl week, then American Craft Beer Week is the equal for the casual and hardcore fans of the Craft Beer movement. May 13-19, 2013, America embraces Craft Beer in all its glory and locally, Peter B’s Brewpub, recently voted as Monterey County’s Best Brewpub and Best Beer is offering a full lineup of awesome events.

Brewmaster Kevin Clark is leading the festivities and the week kicks off in style on Monday the 13th with the release of the highly anticipated Alvarado Street Raspberry Wheat. Tuesday features a Mug Club Mixer from 4-6:30pm and complimentary Raspberry Wheat tasters for all Mug Club members. Pubtalk with the Beer Geek holds down its usual Wednesday place at the pub, but this week is extra special as Host Chris Nelson will feature a special American Craft Beer Week show and giving away two sets of Monterey Beer Garden Tickets (must be present to win). Want more? Peter B’s will also be offering Growler specials and its always popular Firkin Wednesday small batch tastings.

 

The week continues on Thursday the 16th with a 6pm Brewers Dinner featuring guest brewery Bison Brewing and special guest, The Beer Wench! (Reservations are highly recommended – (831) 647-4805) And if that was not enough, Peter B’s celebrates American Craft Beer Week at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Cooking for Solutions Event on Friday the 17th from 7:15-10:30pm.

Each day, Peter B’s Brewpub will also offer Brewery tours from 4-5:30pm and daily Special Guest Brews featuring $3 pints. With so many great events, it might be hard to choose just one, so why don’t you choose them all. If you love beer, this is the week for you. Cheers!

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!