Monday, January 10, 2011

Beautiful Monterey


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!)


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


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


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


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…


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



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


Now into Monterey and to some of our favorite spots…


Ghiradelli’s, of course!


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?


   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…


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


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…


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…


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


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


(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…


Now for my favorite part! 


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


The sun was setting…pink and beautiful…


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


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


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…


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


…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…


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!


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…


…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…



  1. WOW..what a great day, I would love to go there. This country is so amazing, so beautiful in every area...I want to see it all ;D

  2. Hi Julie, oooh what a fun trip, I wish I was there... years ago, my daddy was stationed at the Presidio of Monterey and we spent a number of summers there... I love everything about it, the glass bottom boats, Pacific Grove, the 17 mile drive... how lucky you are to live so close by!... I would be there every single day!... love that your family has such great times together... xoxo Julie Marie

  3. Looks like you had a really lovely day with your family. too bad the butter flies were not out. There is a place in niagara falls that is an indoor butterfly sancturary, though I've never been there, I do think it would be fun to go!
    have a sweet and creative week!

  4. This sounds like a very fun trip! The candy shop looks too cute!!

    Have a good week,
    Laura and Michele

  5. I can tell from your post that your family always has fun in Monterey and I know I would, too! The restaurant that you had the chowder at sounds like my kind of place and all of the shops look wonderful. I wouldn't mind a walk on the beach right now either! So glad you had a great day, Julie!

    Oh, and you have a beautiful family!


  6. I have only been to Monterey once, but it was a wonderful time. I have so been wanting to go back, now I feel like I have. I can't wait to go again in person. Love your blog and your family stories.

  7. Looks like a good time!! Time spent with family is always good!! :-) LOVE all your photos...beautiful!! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Love Monterey! My mom worked there many years ago in a tomato canning plant! She and her cousin left SLO and their families for a summer to earn money for college. That was back in 1939 or so. Things have changed a lot since then. Makes me homesick for California. Mimi

  9. Julie- You take us to the most wonderful places! I have never been to Monterey but I would love to go. Clam chowder and fresh bread baking sounds delightful!:) Lori

    I created some new matryoshka necklaces this weekend.:) Did you get my letter? I sent you some pictures....

  10. Looks and sounds like a wonderful time! If I am ever that way, I will have to visit Monterey!

  11. Julie,
    Monterey is such an interesting town. We stopped there for lunch, (wish I could remember where?) on our way from San Fran down to Santa Monica. Great town!

  12. Thanks for a wonderful tour. My favorite pictures were that beautiful fountain and the pink candy shop. I know you were cold there but we just shoveled out from 6 inches of snow and they are predicting 8-12 inches more for Wednesday, so Monterey looks good to me.

  13. Julie, what wonderful pictures! And your day outting sounded like a huge success. What a gift to your children. My parents did quite a bit of that with us when we were growing up. My husband worked nearly seven days a week, so it was hard for us, but there always seemed to be plenty to do on weekends anyway. Nice to create such fun memories... with great photos!
    Ladybug Creek

  14. A sweet day of simple pleasures. Doesn't get any better than that. :) Best wishes, Tammy

  15. That is so lovely, Julie. You are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place. When we were first married, we lived in San Francisco. What a wonderful time that was. We call it our two-year honeymoon! I remember going down to Monterey and seeing the beautiful ocean. It's amazing how it varies al down that coast!

    We are on our way to Palo Alto on Tuesday but found we will not need to be there long so we are headed to Mesa for some time in the sun. Jud's treatment will be at the end of the month. We will be back at least three times this year, though. i will keep you in touch.

    Big hugs,

  16. Dear Julie, What a wonderful adventure you all shared in Monterey! The photos tell the story and it they are filled with fun, laughter, and love!
    Thanks for sharing! Hope your week is awesome!

  17. Oh I love this today...thank you for sharing...I adore the blue lighthouse and the pink building ....such a beautiful image!

    Happy Monday to you my sweet friend. xoxox

  18. My cousin lives in Salinas,
    but haven't been back to
    the area in about four years.
    We are trying to organize one
    of our next family reunions in
    Monterey, as there seems to be
    something for just about everyone.
    Looks like another wonderful day!
    Happy Monday, Julie!
    xx Suzanne

  19. Monterey looks beautiful! Thanks for sharing all your family fun!

  20. Haven't been in 40 years, but i used to love Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur so much..thanks for the trip back~!

  21. So glad I came across your blog. It's lovely. I really enjoyed all the pictures you posted.
    Have a nice day,

    Janet Bernasconi
    Janet's Creative Pillows

  22. Sweet shot of a vey lovely day these are!
    How are your gorgeous girls doing back in school?
    Have a happy happy Monday, sweet Julie xxxx

  23. thank you so much for this wonderful tour.
    i have always been fascinated by the monarch butterfly and have very much enjoyed your lovely photographs of this beautiful and interesting are.
    many thanks also for your sweet comment on my blog, i was delighted to see you there and hope you will stop by again for tea soon.
    am now follow-de-following you too :o)

    wishing you a wondeful week xxx


  24. oops! sorry for the typo there i meant to say interesting'area'

  25. Dear Julie, This post makes me nearly weep with long for my mother. It was her favorite place on earth, and it where I was born. Her earliest paintings are of the twisted trees and ocean views. No one could paint the ocean like she could, and I just know it was from living in this magical place. Her lifelong friend still owns a shop on Fisherman's Warf, and I will have to ask my brother which it is. I can't wait to share your thoughts and sights with him. Truly, a beautiful post! Elizabeth

  26. What a lovely day! Thank you for sharing all the great shots...I love that part of the country. I need to go back and visit soon!



  27. The CA coast is so breathtaking! Thank you for sharing your trip to Monterey, Julie! What a shame that the butterflies didn't cooperate. I'm always fascinated by the beauty of those little creatures.
    Have a lovely week!

  28. Julie, thank you for sharing your special day with us! Have a wonderful week! Twyla

  29. Looks like a wonderful family day! Is west coast clam chowder better than east coast clam chowder? ;o)

  30. What a fun day! I feel as if I just shared it with you. We don't have anything quite as quaint here, and clam chowder is so much better in just the right surroundings. I may have to take a drive up coast to get some! Your pictures made me think of New England.

  31. I love those shots of the ocean! Your girl's are lovely.. like their mother I am sure. :)

  32. Julie, what an amazing day you had with your family, and how kind of you to take the time to show us all the pictures and share it with us too!! I enjoyed each and every one. Family times are the best times. I send lots of love and hugs your way. You have such a lovely family. ((((hugs)))) xxoo

  33. Even though it was cold it still looked like a really special day.
    I hope things are going better for you my friend! life is hard sometimes!
    hugs Lynn

  34. WOW how fortunate you are to live in or nearby such beautiful countryside! Looks like you & the family had a wonderful time! Such a beautiful family ... making beautiful memories!!

    Here in Ohio ... more snow on the way! I'll send you some ... if you promise to send me some sunshine and the sound of the ocean! LOL

    Thanks for always sharing such wonderful photos and stories! It's nice to see someone who really enjoys LIFE ... present & past! Bless you my friend!!