Posts Tagged ‘Monterey Bay’

Come One & Come All to the Fourth Annual Whalefest

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014
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If you are like me, you love the ocean. Whether it’s walking along the beach, visiting an aquarium or experiencing some nautically inspired art, the ocean and specifically the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary give each and every one of us so much to be thankful for. That’s why I’m calling all marine-life enthusiasts, from near and far to swim on over to Monterey’s Historic Fisherman’s Wharf for the Fourth Annual Whalefest. This free, family-friendly event takes place this weekend, January 25-26, 2014 from 10am to 5pm.

The event is a celebration of the whale, its environment and the many organizations that protect the Monterey Bay. Not only does Whalefest offer music, lectures, exhibits and films, but there are live art demonstrations and a 60 foot model gray whale that attendees can explore. And since it is migration season, now is the time to observe these beautiful creatures. So, if an up close view of these huge mammals is more your speed, whale watching trips are available throughout the day as are tours on a 29 foot Coast Guard Transportable Response Boat.

Old Fisherman’s Wharf is a site rich in Monterey’s iconic history and this event will be buzzing with vibrant sights and exciting exhibits in every nook and cranny. There’s a world of deep-sea adventure to be had right here in Monterey. Whalefest promises to be a weekend of inspiring, educational and empowering exploration of the majestic Monterey Bay. With the mission of protecting the beautiful Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Whalefest is a weekend of fun, for a cause.  Don’t miss out on a moment of the excitement.

Visit www.montereywharf.com for additional info plus a schedule of performers and events.  Don’t miss out on this “whale” of a good time!

Looking to book a whale-themed getaway – check out the Portola Hotel & Spa’s Whale Watching package, it includes two tickets for a whale watching tour, plus 15% off the regular nightly rate.

Ice Skating by the Bay – Monterey on Ice!

Friday, November 22nd, 2013
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Temperatures are dropping and the snow is falling???

It’s time to lace up those skates and let the winter adventures abound! Well maybe this is true for the folks up in the mountains, but here at sea level, we marvel at a different scene, that of the rugged Monterey Peninsula coastline.  In Monterey we don’t wait for winter to show up, we make the winter wonderland ourselves.

Ice Skating by the Bay brings on the chill, setting up shop at the Custom House Plaza, providing the perfect holiday outing for the whole family.  Set among historic adobes and Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Ice Skating by the Bay is here to help you celebrate the holidays amid a picturesque backdrop like no other.  Whether ice skating is your cup of cocoa, or you just enjoy spectating, Ice Skating by the Bay is set in the perfect location to view the breathtaking ocean, excited passers-by, and jubilant skaters, all the while sipping on your favorite warm beverage.

Found just outside of the Portola’s doors, Ice Skating by the Bay is the perfect outing for guests at the hotel.  Right outside the front door lies a world of wintery excitement and fun to be had.  That’s why Portola is offering a winter package fit for the ice skater within.  This holiday season enjoy Portola Hotel’s Winter Ice Skating Package. This ultimate getaway package includes a one night stay plus ice skating for two.  I guarantee that the time will virtually glide by when you spend it at the Portola, so grab your scarf and grab your gloves; this is a nippy adventure that you won’t want to miss!

November 22nd  through January, 5th, Ice Skating by the Bay is open Monday through Saturday from 11am-10pm, and Sunday from 12pm-8pm, you can learn more online at www.iceskatingbythebay.com, and visit the Portola’s website to learn more about this fantastic Winter Ice Skating Package.

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!

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.