Posts Tagged ‘Monterey Peninsula’

Monterey Auto Week & Concours d’Elegance – A Tradition for over 60 Years

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
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 Photo Courtesy of RM Auction

 

What began as a small social event in the 1950’s, paired with a road race through Pebble Beach, the Concours d’Elegance has evolved into what is known as “Automotive Week” taking place at various venues throughout the entire Monterey Peninsula. Beginning August 13th, a jammed packed schedule of social events, auctions, shows and more will commence.

Downtown Monterey is a central hub for all the week’s action.  With cars lined up for blocks, guests from all over the globe gather to show off their prized collections and participate in one of the week’s most popular events, the RM Auction right here at the Portola Hotel & Spa.

Famous for the Lone Cypress, breathtaking views and 17-Mile Drive, every year on the third Sunday in August, Pebble Beach plays host to the Concours d’Elegance.  On August 18th, the 18th Fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links will be transformed, showcasing prized collector automobiles. Connoisseurs, collectors, enthusiasts, celebrities and more will gather to take part in what has grown to become one of the top-ranking collector car shows in the world.

Popular events throughout the week include (for a complete list of the week’s happenings visit See Monterey):

  • Concours On The Avenue, Carmel by the Sea – 8/13
  • Little Car Show in Downtown Pacific Grove – 8/14
  • McCall’s Motorworks Revival at the Monterey Jet Center – 8/14
  • Concorso Italiano, Laguna Seca Golf Ranch – 8/16
  • Legends of the Autobahn, Rancho Canada Golf Course – 8/16
  • The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering at Quail Lodge, Carmel Valley – 8/16
  • Pacific Grove Concours Auto Rally, Downtown Pacific Grove – 8/16
  • RM Auctions at the Portola Hotel & Spa – 8/16 & 8/17
  • Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – 8/16 through 8/16
  • Concours d’LeMons, Laguna Grande Park, Seaside – 8/17
  • Concours d’Elegance – 8/18

 

Hailed by some as the World Series or Super Bowl of the automobile universe, the week’s events, unique cars and magical scenery, makes Auto Week, one not to be missed!

State Parks in Our Own Backyard

Monday, August 12th, 2013
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The Monterey Peninsula is known worldwide for its magical scenery, both by land and sea, and in order to ensure this beauty remains for our children and our children’s children, many of these most gorgeous sights are protected by the California State Parks system. The Monterey Peninsula offers California State Parks and Reserves that will delight both land lovers and beach goers alike. Keeping friends and family of all ages entertained in these parks is easy, as there are endless activities to choose from including hiking, kayaking, walking paths, surfing, horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking, diving, birding, tide pooling and more!

Take a look at some of my favorites in the local area easily accessible from the Portola Hotel & Spa!

Monterey State Historic Park

Located just steps away from the Portola is the Monterey State Historic Park, which boasts a collection of significant historical houses and buildings that can be found throughout Old Monterey. Visitors can discover Monterey’s unique history by taking a stroll on the “Monterey Walking Path of History,” a two-mile path that is marked by yellow-tiled markers – Robert Louis Stevenson walked the same trail in 1879. The historical park stands to preserve places and objects that are of historical significance including 12 buildings and several residences. Visitors should be sure to check out the spot where the Spanish explorers first landed in Monterey in 1602; Custom House, which is the oldest building in California and one of the nation’s last remaining whalebone sidewalks. Many of the historic adobes can only be viewed with a State Park Guide so be sure and stop by the Pacific House Museum to get tickets.

Asilomar State Beach

Located about 10-15 minutes from the Portola in Pacific Grove, is Asilomar State Beach offering gorgeous white sand beaches and tide pools galore! Friends, families and their dogs are always welcome to come explore this one-mile strip of white sandy beach and its rocky coves. Visitors can pack a picnic, go surfing, explore the tide pools and take a stroll on the short boardwalk loop that winds through the natural dune preserve. The State Beach is free of charge and vehicle parking and a bicycle lane are adjacent to the state beach on Sunset Drive.

Point Lobos State Reserve

About 25 minutes from the Portola heading south on Highway 1 toward Big Sur, is the Point Lobos State Reserve, which represents some of the greatest coastal beauty that Monterey County has to offer. With teal waters, white sand beaches, cypress trees and an abundance of wildlife including sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, birds and even whales, Point Lobos should not be missed. There are a number of hiking trails that are easily accessible from the parking lot with the majority of them being perfect for beginners. Visitors should be sure to check out Whalers Cove, which offers spectacular views that often include whales. Humpback whales migrate through the area from April until December and Gray whales can be seen during their migration mid-December until mid-April. Another great spot within the park to view wildlife or simply take in the calm atmosphere is China Beach, a secluded beach that harbor seals and sea otters also use as a quiet refuge. Trail maps are available at the entrance kiosk and there is also signage located throughout the park.

Andrew Molera State Park

For spectacular views and an overall great outdoor experience, head south on infamous Highway 1 to Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur. The journey will begin long before entering the park as Highway 1 is packed full of breathtaking scenery that includes dramatic coastal cliffs, giant redwood trees and the famous Bixby Creek Bridge. Andrew Molera State Park is located right off Highway 1 and is a great place to go on a long walk and experience the dramatic scenery of Big Sur. There are great swimming beaches at this park and for those who want to stay off their feet; horseback riding is available from commercial stables nearby. Be sure to pack layers as it can be windy at Andrew Molera State Park and also pay attention to signs that point out dangers such as jagged cliffs and poison oak.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Just 20 minutes south of Andrew Molera State Park is the home of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. This is another State Park that is not to be missed as it offers extensive views of the powerful Big Sur coastline, ginormous redwood trees and an abundance of wildlife. The famous McWay Falls is not to be missed and is probably the most spectacular feature at the park. An easy five to 10 minute walk from Highway 1, McWay Falls is an 80-foot waterfall that drops right onto a white sand beach and then straight into the Pacific Ocean. There is scuba diving available at the Underwater Area of the park, but special permitting is required. In December and January, Gray Whales can be seen from Overlook trail migrating southward to their breeding and calving grounds off the Baja California coast. Springtime is also a great time to visit, as it is lush with wildflowers and the smell of sage. Be sure to bring layers no matter the time of year.

From divers to hikers, whale watchers to bikers and history buffs to kayakers, there is a State Park for everyone’s taste right here in our own backyard. The Concierge at Portola is always happy to help plan the perfect day trip so grab family, friends and a camera and get out there and enjoy the Central Coast at its finest!

Green Meetings at the Portola Hotel & Spa

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
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Many organizations have taken the first step toward a greener workplace – switching out the traditional cases of break room plastic water bottles for a reusable one, offering rewards for those who carpool to work and many other initiatives.  The pressure for companies to be aware of their carbon footprint is only continuing to grow, which is why the Portola Hotel & Spa created its Monterey Green Meetings program.

The Monterey Green Meeting program at the Portola Hotel is designed to work closely with professional meeting and event planners, as well as private parties, to provide all the tools needed to ensure a successful event that will have a minimal impact on the environment.

Many event and conference facilities offer green options when it comes to menu and décor, but what makes the Portola a stand-out, is that they take it one step further, offering a truly unique event experience that is green from the ground up.  One of the most environmentally friendly places to stay on the Central Coast, the Portola Hotel is a U.S. Green Building Council’s Silver LEED®- EB certified hotel property.

 

The Portola Hotel’s LEED certification is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to providing a sustainable and eco-friendly conference experience. The Monterey Green Meetings team works closely with meeting and event planners to offer a delicious food and beverage selection from sustainably grown, organic and locally sourced ingredients. That includes fresh seafood from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch® Program. Planners also have the option of selecting earth-friendly plastic and paper goods, or for a zero waste option, China, glassware and silverware can replace the use of to-go cups and other waste. All events “wrap-up” with the composting of all post-consumer items.

 

Many people don’t realize that technology and green conferencing go hand in hand. For guests that are unable to attend in person, the Portola Hotel is fully equipped with the latest in video conferencing technology. And for groups looking for innovative and green-themed team-building activities, the Monterey Green Meetings team can create fun and eco-friendly itineraries for guests and event/conference participants.

 

Green is good, and Monterey’s Portola Hotel is as good at it gets!

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Season Preview

Thursday, April 25th, 2013
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At the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, nothing gets the heart pumping faster than witnessing auto racing’s elite hurtle around the track at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. Once again, Spring brings the kings of the hairpin turn to the Monterey Peninsula for a full slate of American Le Mans, MotoGP, Historic Motorsports and Superbike racing.

The season kicks off with the American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patron May 9-11, 2013. This is the 15th year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the world’s premiere sports car racing championship and as a global leader in Green Racing, The American Le Mans Series pushes the drivers and their crews to the limit of human endurance. The weekend offers speed and excitement that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Not to be outdone by their four wheeled friends, supped up cycles descend on the Peninsula during the Red Bull U.S Grand Prix, July 19-21, 2013. In its ninth year at Mazda Raceway and featuring the MotoGP World Championship and a full slate of American Motorcycle Association (AMA) races, this weekend is one of the sport’s most popular events and draws huge crowds to watch 18 separate races over the three days.

Part of the Monterey Peninsula’s Classic Car Week, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, August 16-18, 2013 offers a glimpse into the past as authentic, race proven; period autos compete in class to determine bragging rights. This year, the featured marque is the American classic Chevrolet Corvette celebrating its 60th anniversary.

The season continues with the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival powered by MAZDA. The September 7-8, 2013 event features the Grand Am-Rolex Sports Car Series as well as the Daytona Prototype class and Grand Touring (GT) competition with some of the most exciting, in close racing this side of NASCAR. This weekend is a true treat for the whole family (You too ladies) as race weekend includes autograph and meet and greet sessions with the drivers that have in the past included Grey’s Anatomy star McDreamy himself, Patrick Dempsey and other stars of film and television.

The bikes return in the final event on the schedule as the SBK-Eni FIM Superbike World Championship makes it’s only U.S. appearance September 27-29, 2013. Two high speed races are featured over the weekend as teams’ race high-performance bikes from manufacturers like Kawasaki, BMW, Suzuki, Ducati and Honda.

With so many great motor sports events, why not enjoy them even more by booking your stay at the Portola Hotel & Spa. Nautically inspired guestrooms only steps from the Monterey Bay coupled with a location just a short drive from the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway makes the perfect complement to any of these action fueled weekends.

How to Pack For A Monterey Vacation

Thursday, April 18th, 2013
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Visiting the Monterey Peninsula is one of the country’s great vacations. Whether you are on a weekender from the Bay Area, a mid-week business trip from the East Coast or are traveling internationally and spending a couple of weeks, the wide ranging beauty and landscape of the area make each day a unique adventure. It also, however, makes packing for the Monterey Peninsula somewhat of a challenge.

American author Mark Twain once wrote, “The coldest winter I ever experienced, was the summer I spent in San Francisco.” San Francisco’s location usually means a foggy day on their peninsula and warm sunny one slightly inland and the Monterey Peninsula is no different. In Pebble Beach it could be foggy and windy while in Monterey the conditions could be and sunny and mild. Meanwhile, as you move into Carmel Valley, you could experience clear skies and temperatures in the 80’s!

With so many microclimates within a few miles of each other, what’s a visitor to do? Layers are the key, but more than layers, are multi-functional pieces that can keep you warm on an early morning walk along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, dining al fresco at Jacks Restaurant & Lounge or Peter B’s Brewpub at the Portola Hotel & Spa, but then can easily fit in a backpack as you explore the Monterey Bay Aquarium. A light wind & water resistant jacket is a must, as are a couple of sweater options. Shorts and comfortable pants are also important as visitors often will spend time walking and sightseeing. A good pair of trail sneakers/shoes will be a savior for your feet whether you are hiking at Garland Ranch in Carmel Valley or strolling through Pacific Grove’s historic downtown. Don’t forget to bring a swimsuit. While the water can be chilly, the beaches of the Monterey Peninsula are fantastic and there are many spa options that offer Jacuzzis, saunas and more. Finally, don’t forget to bring something nice to wear. With a fantastic array of nationally recognized restaurants, art galleries and cultural events you’ll want to have the option of dressing up to enjoy your experience.

The Monterey Peninsula has something for everyone and with the some thoughtful packing, visitors can enjoy it all with ease!