This past week we made our annual trek to Pacific Grove, CA with Bryce’s family. In recent years his parents invite the family there to celebrate a belated Christmas, making it easier to get everyone together without sacrificing other holiday plans. They’ve been renting a cottage near the Asilomar beach for years now, and its always such a relaxing and fun time together. His dad’s motto is “Do what you want!” There are no schedules, no strict plans, no reservations. Everyone is welcome to spend their time however they please. So we take naps, go for drives, walk to the beach and eat seafood by our own free will, and come back together for dinner cooked at the cottage in the evening. We all take turns (each couple is responsible for one night of cooking) surprising each other with our dish of choice, and drinking plenty of red wine. This year we made these BBQ oysters (they were such a hit last year after my grandparents introduced them to me) and pizza with Trader Joe’s pizza dough.
A trip to the Carmel beach is always on the menu. It’s a big off-leash beach, usually with calm waves. I always find it relaxing to walk along and look out at the sea. It’s just as impressive when you turn your back to the water though. As Bryce’s family gazes up at Pebble Beach, I love to stare at the million dollar homes along the coast. I’m still working on my get rich scheme to I can call one mine someday…
A perk of traveling with children (in this case Bryce’s niece) is actually doing the things you always talk about doing. This time, it was the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which we’ve been talking about visiting for years and I finally visited for the first time! The sea life inside was beautiful – the rays, tiger shark, hammerhead shark, schools of sardines, octupus, and especially these sweet otters!
One morning as Bryce was out golfing with his family, I was taking Duchess out for a walk by the Asilomar beach. The waves were wild, which meant we stayed up on the trail, but the light was so beautiful. I finished our walk quickly, took her back to the cottage, grabbed my camera, and sprinted back out to catch the last of the mid-morning light. Being winter, the sun was still low enough to cast some pretty dramatic shadows, and I was able to catch the rough sea and huge rocks before the fog moved in from the peninsula. This was one of the best parts of the week, alone with my camera on the trail by the sea.
It was so fun to see how much the light changed in the matter of about 45 minutes. I love how dramatic the beach looks as the clouds roll in.
Later that evening, with more cloud cover, we took a low tide walk along the beach with the whole family and all of the dogs, which was so nice. Bryce’s niece loved playing in the sand, and Duchess got to partake in her favorite activity: digging holes.
Wild & Pine Mini Travel Guide to Pacific Grove
Where to stay | Andril Fireplace Cottages. (Pacific Grove) Pet-friendly and walking distance from the Asilomar Beach. This is the only spot I’ve stayed, but I’ve heard some of the other hotels nearby are nice too.
Where to eat | Fandango. (Pacific Grove) The best for a little fancier meal, but no need to dress up here. Charming interior, good food, kind staff. Sea Harvest. (Carmel-by-the-Sea)Fish market and restaurant all in one. Patisserie Bechler (Pacific Grove) for delicious French baked goodies.
What to do & see | For beaches, don’t miss Asilomar and Carmel. Head into Monterey for the aquarium and walk out on the wharf. Take a drive through the Carmel Valley or down Big Sur.
Sometimes it rains in paradise…our favorite thing to do is work on thrift store puzzles and drink wine by the fireplace…
I’ll be sharing photos from our afternoon in Big Sur next week! I’m already counting down the days til next year’s trip to the California coast…