Monday, January 10, 2011

Beautiful Monterey

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Hello, dear friends!

Since Friday was the last day of the girls’ Christmas vacation (we live in an area where a lot of people have family in Mexico and need more time for visiting during the holidays!), we thought we should take advantage of that and enjoy one of our favorite nearby places…

…so come along with me for a lovely day in beautiful Monterey!

We’ll start in the quaint little town of Pacific Grove.  We went to see the amazing Monarch butterflies…but they didn’t want to be seen that day. 

(Image found on internet, since they didn’t wish to cooperate with me!)

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Every winter/early spring, they return to Pacific Grove,  and are beautiful to see. 

DSC00365_edited-1 (trying to spy them huddled in the trees…)

But this day was far too cold and windy…they were snuggled up together in the trees in this butterfly grove sanctuary

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Pacific Grove is famous for it’s beautiful houses, exclusive golf courses, and of course…the ocean…

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Even though we were freezing, Annie and I just had to get out for a little walk on the sand. 

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Sarah didn’t think it would be smart to walk down the steep stairs and on the wet sand with her recovering sprained ankle, so she and her Daddy stayed up by the car…

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Just gorgeous…all this…just 30 minutes from our house…

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The tide was coming in fast…had to bring Annie back in from her cavorting on the rocks…

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Now into Monterey and to some of our favorite spots…

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Ghiradelli’s, of course!

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I’ve not been inside “California’s First Theater”, but I see it all the time…love how tiny and old it is…

Did you know that Monterey was the first capitol of California?

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   Much was centered here in Customs Plaza, just off Fisherman’s Wharf…here’s a few of my favorite spots in and around the old history-filled plaza…

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…my favorite old fountain…I want one just like this in our courtyard…someday!

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The door into this large courtyard is usually closed tightly.  I took advantage of the fact that it was WIDE open this day…no one in sight…like a sleeping, secret garden, just for me…

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Just look at this beautifully ancient and twisted tree…wonder what stories it could tell…

Some of the markers embedded in the sidewalks around the plaza…

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…I love this beautiful tile’s reminder of the Spanish influence here…

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And one of our family’s favorite things to do together in Monterey…bocce ball.

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(Can you tell that Annie was quite done with my photo-taking at this point?!)

Years ago, we came upon these bocce ball lanes just off the plaza, surrounded by beautiful lawns and tall, wind-twisted trees…we watched as the old Italian men gathered and played…

Soon, we had our own set of balls, and started coming here often…just part of our family days spent in Monterey…

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Now for my favorite part! 

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Old Fisherman’s Wharf…you can just smell the freshly baked sourdough bread and amazing clam chowder floating on the breeze…

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The sun was setting…pink and beautiful…

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…a few boats still out on the water…sea lions could be heard barking to each other on the rocks around the wharf…

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…a small peek at the shops and restaurants on the wharf…

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I love this candy shop—it’s been here forever.  Something so charming and carnival-like about the bright pink facade…and just take a peek at what’s happening through those windows…

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So fun to watch them making fudge, pecan rolls, peanut brittle…

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…and to watch the old taffy machine still twirling and pulling the delicious salt-water taffy…

Gourmet Salt-Water Taffy

(this image found on internet)

My Dad can never resist stopping in here and buying a bag!

And THE best place we’ve found for clam chowder…

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Old Fisherman’s Grotto!  All along the wharf, the restaurants have outdoor stands near their entrances, manned by an employee who beckons you as you pass by with a free sample of their own house chowder…they’re all delicious, mind you, but the chowder at Old Fisherman’s Grotto is far better, in our opinion!

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This isn’t a very good photo of our sourdough bread bowls full of chowder…it was dark by now, and the flash was too bright…and I was much too cold and hungry to keep trying!

Now at the end of our day, we sat here…

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…cold, but very happy…finishing up our delicious clam chowder and looking out at the lights on the water…

A very good day.

See you soon with something new…

Julie