Monterey Staycation Series: What to See and Do
No trip to Monterey is complete without a visit to the world-renown Monterey Bay Aquarium. This must-see aquarium specializes in showcasing local sea life and boosts more than 550 different animals and plants. With a wide array of exhibits to choose from, our hands down favorite is the Seahorse exhibit (be sure to check out the leafy seahorse.) In addition to exhibits, feedings of the various tanks are scheduled throughout the day and offer guest first hand interactions with the animals. During the summer months, we recommend going between 2PM and 6PM to avoid large crowds.
Step outside the Aquarium and you’ll find yourself on historic Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck. This waterfront street in the New Monterey section of Monterey used to house a number of non-defunct sardine canning factories. Today, Cannery Row is a popular tourist attraction featuring a selection of local restaurants, convenient shops and exciting night-life.
Got wine on your mind? Look no further than A Taste of Monterey, located on Cannery Row. Boasting more than 70 regional wineries, A Taste of Monterey is a great place to sample all that Monterey wines have to offer. If you want a cozier tasting experience, stop by the McIntyre Vineyards tasting room, located inside the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa. Their “McIntyre Premier Tasting” flight features 8 premier wines for only $20. Our favorite from the flight was the 2010 Estate Chardonnay Block K-1 Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands ($38). According to Anthony Dias Blue, this vibrant and exquisite wine is silky and smooth with lovely fruit, sweet oak and tangy acidity.
Over at Carmel, spend some time strolling down their main drag, Ocean Ave, and allow yourself to be charmed by their many stone-paved alleyways and curlicue-roofed shops.
Indulge your sweet tooth at the Hansel-and-Gretel-esque Cottage of Sweets, which offers a dizzying selection of fudge, locally made chocolates, British sweets, gummies and more than 50 different types of licorices from all over the world.
Next, follow your nose to Artisanal Perfumery Ajne, where husband and wife team Rex Rombach and Jane Hendler have stocked an extensive selection of natural fragrances, lotions, oils and ambient scents made from more than 350 sustainably harvested flower and plant ingredients. Every product at Ajne is made without any synthetic ingredients; they are paraben-free, phthalate-free, petro-free, harsh sulfate-free, entirely vegan and never tested on animals. More than that, Anje also offers private blending appointments that allow you to customize a scent to your unique chemistry...we like to think of it as Eau-de-You!