Posts Tagged ‘Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail’

Sea Otters

Thursday, March 21st, 2013
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Of all the wonderful and exciting things to experience on the Monterey Peninsula, perhaps one of the most cherished and beloved is the Sea Otter. Standing (well, laying, really) only three and a half feet long and weighing in at about 75 pounds, the Sea Otter is the Monterey Peninsula’s furry mascot, welcome wagon and tourist attraction all rolled into one.

A part of the weasel family and owner of the densest coat of fur in the animal kingdom, the Sea Otter makes it home in the fish rich kelp forests of the Northern Pacific Coasts. A veracious eater, the Sea Otter is widely recognized for their use of tools, using rocks to break open shellfish and crustaceans. Although still an endangered species, the Sea Otter population has rebounded since the early 1900’s making it an important success story for marine and ocean conservation.

One of the greatest joys of visiting the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is the many ways to observe our furry fish eating friend. There is of course the Monterey Bay Aquarium where you can not only observe, but learn about this important member of our ecosystem (re-opening their Otter Exhibit March 23!). For the more adventurous, Adventures By The Sea offers kayak and stand up paddle board rentals for individuals and  groups which bring you close enough to see the Otters in their natural habitat without disturbing them. You don’t have to go out of your way, however, to catch a glimpse of the Sea Otter. Simply stroll along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, just outside the Portola Hotel & Spa and with a pair of binoculars or even a sharp pair of eyes, chances are you’ll see an otter or two playing or dining in the kelp beds just off shore. It’s truly an amazing experience and one ALL visitors to the Monterey Peninsula should not miss.

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!

Start the New Year Off Right

Friday, December 21st, 2012
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With the “holidaze” upon us and 2013 right around the corner, people are starting to think about what they’d like to do better in the New Year. For some it’s taking up a new hobby or checking something off their bucket list. For others it might be taking a class or perhaps volunteering. But for almost everyone, getting in shape is resolution number one. Many people start off with a great plan, but heading indoors to the gym can become repetitive. Healthy living cannot be understated, but how can you keep yourself interested day in and day out?

We’ve put together a list of the top 10 outdoor activities (in no particular order) which you can do to keep yourself in shape; your mind engaged and increase your appreciation for the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. Some of these activities are low impact and some are higher, but each and every one is available right now and well within your budget.

10. Park It: The California State Parks, Monterey County Parks and Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District all have beautiful and easily accessible offerings just a few minutes away. From the sandy stretch of Asilomar State Beach and the gentle terrain of Toro Park to the secluded serenity of Frog Pond and the incredible vistas of Garland Regional Park, a healthy and invigorating experience await you on the walk or hike of your choice.

9. On Your Right: The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail offers 29 miles of paved perfection winding its way along the coast from Castroville in the north to Pacific Grove and parts of Pebble Beach to the south. The trail is well maintained and is used by bikers, joggers, walkers, and surreys. The trail offers a number of vistas and points of interest along the way. Bike big and tackle the whole trail or take your time and cruise a portion. Either way some of the best views of the Monterey Peninsula are right there in front of you.

8. Fore!: What’s better than spending some quality time with your family or friends? Everyone knows the Monterey Peninsula has some of the world’s best golf, but you don’t have to be Jack Nicklaus to get outside and chase that little white ball. There are a number of public and municipal courses that offer beginning, group and kids lessons and that are easy on the eyes and on the wallet. Pacific Grove Golf Links, Monterey Pines and Ranch Canada are great for those who are new or returning to the game. Laguna Seca Golf Ranch offers a fantastic practice facility and even world famous Pebble Beach boasts Peter Hay a 9-hole pitch and putt right next to its bigger brother.

7. A League of Their Own: The cities on the Monterey Peninsula offer robust Parks and Recreation programs. While each one is slightly different, most of the programs contain organized leagues for a variety of team and individual sports. Whether softball, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, volleyball or even bowling, the opportunities to participate in the competition and camaraderie of a league and gain some valuable exercise are priceless. The signup and seasonal information are readily available on the website of your individual city.

6. Doggone Fun: Fido is bored and so are you. Why not take him out for a little quality time and exercise. Anywhere will do and the Monterey Peninsula has a host of pooch-friendly parks, trails and even shopping centers to satisfy event the laziest of “man’s best friends” Carmel is famous for its canine hospitality and Monterey, Pacific Grove, Seaside, Del Rey Oaks and Marina all have dedicated dog parks. If you and your dog are a bit more adventurous, check out some of the great trails available through the Monterey Regional Parks. Some even allow of leash walking, which I am sure Fido will appreciate!

5. Drop and Give Me 20: The main focus of this information us getting in shape in the outdoors and while the traditional gym membership does not fit that our model, (not to say it is bad) there is a great opportunity to get the benefits of a trainer/class environment that gives you all the benefits of Mother Nature. Spa On the Plaza offers a bi-weekly outdoor fitness class called Fitness for Body and Soul, taught by former world class athlete and Exercise Physiologist, Janel Willette. Fitness for Body and Soul is an innovative out door fitness class that integrates a full cardiovascular, strength and flexibility workout with the beauty and natural terrain of the Monterey Bay.

4. More Water Please: It is the Monterey BAY right? So, what list of outdoor fitness options would be complete without mentioning some of our favorite water sports? Yes the water might be a little chilly, but that’s what wetsuits are for and there are a number of places to pick up a suit and the water toy of your choice right on the water. Adventures by the Sea offers a complete selection of kayaks, paddle boards and instructors if needed. You can take a class or head out with a partner and get what many fitness experts call one of the best cardio vascular workouts there is. Plus, there is a very good chance you will run into some of Monterey Bay’s beloved sea creatures.

3. Paddle Away: Equally as rewarding, but somewhat less strenuous are the paddle boats on Lake El Estero in Monterey. You won’t have to brave the ocean, just some curious Canadian Geese, swans and ducks looking for a snack. The boats are perfect for families and while the kid’s oohh and ahhh at the waterfowl; you can say that you got a good solid workout paddling them around the expansive lake.

2. Go Team: Even if you don’t have kids, volunteering as a coach for a YMCA or Rec league team gets you thinking about your health as the kids run by you. Not only can impart some of your knowledge on the younger generation, but you just might learn a thing or two from them as well. You don’t have to be an expert at the pick and roll or the corner kick, just be there and the kids will love it!

“But what if I am just visiting the area? Then take in a local high school or college game. Studies say that you can burn 250-350 calories watching a live sporting event. The Monterey Peninsula offers a high level of prep and intercollegiate athletics with the California State University, Monterey Bay Otters and the Monterey Peninsula College Lobos leading the way. Let local and get loud.

1.  Walk this Way: Lace up your shoes and open the door. A low to moderate impact workout, walking is the easiest way to get in shape and enjoy the beauty of the Monterey Peninsula. You’ll feel like a new person just by reintroducing yourself to the world around you!