Friday, September 13, 2013

A Day in Monterey with Any Way the Wind Blows

Today I'm happy to welcome Sarah from Any Way the Wind Blows! She is sharing her itinerary for a fabulous day in the coastal California town of Monterey, so if a trip to the west coast is in your future, be sure to read on after the jump for great activities and eats.
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Hey guys! I'm Sarah, and I blog over at Any Way the Wind Blows.

Sarah from Any Way the Wind Blows, guest blogger for Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

The hubs and I recently moved from Central Florida to Central California. We live in a quaint, tiny town untouched by time that happens to be less than an hour from the beautiful and charming Monterey Bay. 

Monterey Canning Company on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

When my mom came to visit, a friend of hers—a former resident of Monterey—sent her a day plan for how to explore Monterey like a local.

So we did.

And it was AWESOME.

There's so much to see and SO many restaurants in Monterey, it was nice to have it narrowed down so we didn't feel like we had to eat somewhere like Bubba Gump's to feel like we did something.

And, yes, most of this will relate to food because, let's face it, food is awesome.

Finding great restaurants with great food is more awesome.

So here's me helping you explore the awesomeness and deliciousness of Monterey.

You're welcome.

First Awakenings breakfast spot in Monterey on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

Start your day off with breakfast at First Awakenings. It's this delightful little spot hidden inside a shopping mall, but it IS there, and it's worth the small search. 

If you can, sit outside by the fire pit. LOVELY.

And delicious food. Just great. We recommend the Eggs Benedict Florentine with spinach, but, honestly, everything looked amazing. The pancakes were huge with all kinds of different toppings, and everything tasted fresh and delicious. It's hard to go wrong with anything here.

The hubs, on the other hand, was kinda enchanted by the bacon.

There's just something about men and bacon . . .

After your venture into breakfast food fabulousness, take a short walk down the street to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Jellyfish at Monterey Bay Aquarium on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

All right, so yes, this sounds a little touristy, but it is SO worth it. Locals and tourists alike love this place.

Why? Because it's awesome.  No other explanation needed, but I'm going to give you some, anyways.

The exhibits are not only educational but lovely.  The purpose of the aquarium is to educate and conserve, and it does just that. It's fascinating. Really. I don't know that I can fully describe how much fun we had exploring this place.

Sharks at Monterey Bay Aquarium on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

The exhibits are also incredibly kid friendly—lots of tactile activities and little touch pools to get up close and personal with starfish, sea cucumbers, decorator crabs, and more. 

They even bring in wildlife to rehabilitate and study. The ever popular sea otters are all rescued otters who help, off scene, with other rescued otters. Recently, the aquarium even featured a rare Mantis Shrimp and a juvenile Great White Shark!

Plus, there's a BEAUTIFUL view of the bay.

You'll see harbor seals lounging on the rocks and, if you're lucky, whales or sea otters! The aquarium has several telescopes on its balcony, and we were able to find some wild otters wrapped up in kelp enjoying their afternoon. So cool!

Monterey Bay view on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

For lunch, you should check out Turtle Bay Taqueria just two miles down the road.

 Turtle Bay Taqueria in Monterey on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

Not only is the staff friendly, but the food really is incredible. If the phrase "Mexican Seafood" sounds weird, ignore the phrase, move on, and enjoy something fabulous.

I would have taken pictures of the fish tacos and calamari, but, um . . . they were gone. Like that.

Seriously, the calamari is the BEST I've ever had.

Still, you'd better save room for dessert!

Next you're heading just around the corner to Paris Bakery Cafe.

Trust me. You want this. ;]

Paris Bakery Cafe in Monterey on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life
Yummy desserts at Paris Bakery Cafe in Monterey on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

Seriously. LOOK at those pastries. Could they look any more perfect? Or taste more perfect?

The answer: NO. This, my friends, is baked perfection. Watch out.

And there's coffee. Who needs Starbucks when you have THIS? So good.

Once you've decided you just can't eat any more, take a break.

Walk off some of those excess (but totally worth it) calories and explore the Pacific Coast at Lovers Point.

Lovers Point in Monterey on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

It's called Lovers Point because who couldn't fall in love here?

Ok, so I totally just made that up, but I have a point.

If you don't believe, I could totally have asked the twitterpated teenagers embracing on the cliff about it . . . "I feel like I can fly Jack" and all that jazz.

If it's pretty enough to make me quote romantic, sea-related films, it's gorgeous. Trust me. The pictures don't even BEGIN to do it justice.

Lovers Point in Monterey on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

I really wish I had a wetsuit or a swimsuit to really be IN the ocean. Next time we go, Chris and I have decided we're renting a kayak.  It's a beautiful, beautiful spot.

I feel like I'm using that word a lot—beautiful—but I don't know that there's a better way to say it
. . . Stunning? Yes, I suppose that would do . . . Breathtaking? Hm, yes, that too . . .

At the end of the day, when you think your stomach just MIGHT have room for dinner, you need to investigate Monterey's Fish House. This is one of those little places you would never notice unless you had heard of it beforehand. Just a little, unimposing building with the BEST SEAFOOD EVER. Do yourself a favor: take the plunge and enjoy. It's all good.

So, that's my little tour of Monterey. I hope you enjoyed it and have some ideas for your next trip!

Thanks so much, Megan, for letting me visit for the day! You're awesome!

Have a great day, guys!

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No, thank YOU, Sarah! How have I not heard of the Turtle Taqueria?! I love turtles and tacos, and I live less than two hours from Monterey. This is shameful. I'm definitely putting it on my itinerary for next time—thanks for the tip! Travel tips are always better from the locals, aren't they? And be sure to follow Sarah on Bloglovin' and check her out on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.

What are some hidden treasures from your town?

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