Sunday, December 29, 2013

Weekend trip to Carmel by the Sea and Big Sur

Every long weekend I spend in the Bay Area makes me appreciate it even more. The state is a treasure trove for a travel enthusiast and after all these years, it has never failed to amaze us! We went on a camping trip  to Big Sur during Thanksgiving. We camped at  the Fernwood campgrounds. It was not the best time for camping as it was freezing but it was really pretty and we had an awesome time.

Big Sur is one of the most dramatic landscapes in the US. There are coastlines with jagged rock formations, and crashing surf along rocky coves. We drove along Highway 1 and stopped at all the vista points. Garrapata State Park is a 4 mile area from Garrapata Creek Bridge to Gate 1 (it is near Pt. Lobos). Bixby bridge is one of the main vista points along the way where you get beautiful unobstructed ocean views. Hurricane Pt- a mandatory stop for me, is further south of Bixby bridge. It is at an elevation and has great views of both north and south of Hwy 1. Another stop that we make every single time is at Nepenthe - it is a restaurant along Highway 1 with great views.

There are some places were you can park and walk down to the ocean. Some of these have beach access while others have great views. Either ways, it makes for good small hikes along beautiful scenic trails- all in a day's play :)

All along Big Sur the color of the water is beautiful - you can see various shades of blue, green and also almost translucent water. The vegetation and wonderful rock formations catch your eye. This place never ceases to amaze me!

With every Vista stop we "Oohed" and ""Aahed" and shot photo after photo.

This is a part of a short half-hour hike we took. We walked down the slopes to sea level where the water was the most beautiful shade of aquamarine. The aquatic vegetation is supposed to be awesome - evident by the lush plants and seaweed all over the area.

On our way back, we stopped at Carmel by the Sea in Monterey county. It is a very pretty town by the sea. I loved walking along the boutiques and cafes that line the street leading to the water. There are some beautiful bed & breakfasts and wine tasting rooms. The city organizes various art and film festivals. 

A little trivia - The funniest thing I have read about Carmel is that  they have an unusual law that prohibits wearing high-heel shoes without a permit ;).

The beach is beautiful. They allow dogs at the beach and it was fun watching them play in the water. Most B&Bs are pet friendly too.

Restaurant suggestions- 

Nepenthe is our favorite stop to grab some grub while visiting Big Sur. There is both indoor and outdoor seating. Cafe Kevah is in the same location and offers breakfast, coffee and snacks. Both of these have great views.

Another good restaurant in the Monterey area is Montrio Bistro.  The food is amazing and the ambience is great. 

Seafood lovers can't miss the Old fisherman's Grotto. Start with the amazing clam chowder, coconut prawns, crab cakes and fried calamari. If you like your entree on the sweet side try the macadamia nut crusted halibut or the crab ravioli which was awesome. Else try the pesto parmesan salmon or the veggie pasta. 

For coffee breaks, try the Carmel Bakery in Carmel or the Paris bakery cafe in Monterey. Paris bakery had some of the best custard filled brioches and almond croissants.

Happy New Year everyone! Have a great holiday:)

 - Dee

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