Posts Tagged ‘Monterey State Historic Park’

Getting Healthy, Monterey Bay Style

Friday, January 2nd, 2015
Facebook Twitter Email Pinterest

With 2015 here, there’s no better time than the present to begin devising a plan on how to be more healthy and active in the New Year.  No matter your fitness level, the Monterey Bay is jam packed with activities, indoor and out, that can release those endorphins and get your heart rate jumping.

Take a look at 15 activities that can help you can get a jump on making 2015 your best year yet!

  1. Sign up for a 5K or 10K that benefits a local charity AND takes you around the scenic Monterey Bay coastline – visit www.Active.com for a list of upcoming races, including the Together With Love Run/Walk benefitting the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center on Sunday, February 8,2015
  2. Rent bikes from Adventures by the Sea and explore the Coastal Recreation Trail, 17 Mile Drive and the rest of the endlessly beautiful Monterey Peninsula!
  3. Re-energize in the hot and cold pools, eucalyptus steam room or roomy sauna at Refuge in Carmel Valley
  4. Sculpt your body from head to toe at Carmel Barre in Carmel with classes available throughout the day
  5. Hike the four+ mile Soberanes Canyon Trail loop across from Garrapata State Park along scenic Highway 1 towards Big Sur for a great cardio workout and reward yourself with some of the best views around
  6. The Fort Ord National Monument is home to awesome trails ideal for mountain biking and hiking, only certain areas are open to the public, but can be accessed via the Bureau of Land Management
  7. If you are looking for a little adventure, here’s something that will definitely get your heart pumping – Zip Lining in Felton, (about a 45 minute drive from Monterey) in the middle of the Santa Cruz Mountains, visit Mount Hermon Adventures for pricing and online reservations
  8. Tennis anyone?  Reserve a court or book a lesson through the Monterey Tennis Center, just a few blocks from the Portola
  9. History buffs will enjoy walking along the Path of History, marked throughout Downtown Monterey with walking tour maps available
  10. How about some family fun? Skip, run and play at Dennis the Menace Park, also located in downtown Monterey, slides, swings and mazes await kids of all ages.
  11. Run and take in the fresh sea air, along the many white sands beaches throughout, Carmel by the Sea, Pacific Grove and Monterey
  12. Contact the local experts at Central Coast Fly Fishing in Carmel Valley and help them guide you to find the best spots for fly fishing around the county, or head down to Fisherman’s Wharf to book a charter with one of the many deep sea fishing vessels, such as Chris’ Fishing Trips
  13. Hang 10! Book a private or group lesson with Carmel Surf Lessons or Monterey Bay Surf Lessons wetsuit and board rentals available as well through both companies
  14. Visit the Concierge Desk at the Portola Hotel and a friendly staff member will help you book 9 or 18 holes at one of the awarding winning golf courses throughout the Monterey Peninsula and beyond
  15. Get up close and personal with sea otters and sea lions aboard a kayak or stand up paddle board, available to rent via Adventures by the Sea; stand up paddle board yoga classes are also available, for those with good balance

State Parks in Our Own Backyard

Monday, August 12th, 2013
Facebook Twitter Email Pinterest

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!

Memories Are Made of This

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Facebook Twitter Email Pinterest

With its breathtaking shores and beautiful foothills, the Monterey Peninsula has long been known as one of the country’s foremost places for a destination wedding. Thousands of couples, their families and friends flock to Monterey and beyond to celebrate their nuptials and enjoy the wide-ranging choices in location, world class food and other activities. Everyone knows Pebble Beach of course,  and if you are Sean Parker, the founder of Napster and Facebook’s first president you can pretty much build your own venue in Big Sur. (Yes, he is actually doing that to the tune of $10 million!) A special perk, however, for those who make the Peninsula home is the “insider” knowledge about some of the most beautiful locations that fly way under the radar.

 

One of those hidden gems is the Memory Garden located at 20 Custom House Plaza in Monterey. The garden, located just outside the Portola Hotel & Spa, was designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead Jr. in 1927 and is enclosed by eight foot adobe walls which gives this venue a peaceful and private tranquility. The Garden is managed by the California State Parks and counts the Monterey State Historic Park office and the historic Pacific House Museum as part of the property. Featuring a 15-foot diameter fountain, a beautiful historic flower garden and a 5×16 foot barbeque, the garden has Southern Magnolia trees throughout the grounds that offer peaceful shade and lend to the park-like quality of the venue. The grounds also include a small dressing room and bathroom, but with its proximity to the Portola Hotel, wedding guests will often make their way directly from the hotel. The natural beauty of the garden juxtaposed with the historic adobe of California’s first state capital create a photographer’s dream and a location that can serve as wedding or reception location, or both!

The staff at the Portola Hotel can provide you with information on group rates for you and your guests and the folks at the State Parks can offer additional information on the Memory Garden itself. So if you are looking for something more intimate than Pebble Beach and don’t quite have the coin to build your own venue in Big Sur, consider the Memory Garden on Monterey’s Custom House Plaza. As the song goes, Memories are made of this!