The first week of February in Monterey, CA was wonderful. I attended the California Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns' annual InnSpire Conference. As always, it was very informative, an excellent format for networking with B&Bs and a lot of fun.
f you are ever in Monterey, I highly recommend staying at the Jabberwock Inn, http://www.jabberwockinn.com/. As the name suggests, you will find references to Alice in Wonderland throughout the inn, but not in an over-the-top way. The inn is beautiful, comfortable and inviting. The innkeepers, John and Dawn, will make you feel like a long lost friend. The breakfasts are absolutely delicious. After breakfast or anytime during the day, you can go out in the gardens and play bocce ball on the recently installed court. Watch out for John...he has the home court advantage and can place the balls anywhere with amazing accuracy.
I made my first (but definitely not my last) visit to the Monterey Aquarium. If you have never been there, make it a "must see" when you visit Monterey. What a beautiful and inspiring place to spend your day. Plan at least 3 hours if you want to see everything at your leisure. I was mesmerized by the Jellyfish exhibits and who would have thought that a school of sardines would appear as a shimmering silver ribbon undulating through the sea. There is even a worm who, unfortunately, is called the Fat Innkeeper Worm! He is definitely not attractive and any shrimp that checks into his B&B should skip breakfast because instead of being served breakfast, the shrimp is breakfast!
There are many fine restaurants in Monterey. A group of us dined at the Old Fisherman's Grotto on Fisherman's Wharf. I had giant scallops that were served with a light coconut sauce that was truly delectable. There were 6 of us and we all agreed that the food and service were outstanding. Not only did they bring free appetizers to our table, each lady was given a rose at the end of the evening!
Just a few minutes away from the aquarium is a town called Pacific Grove where the Monarch Grove Sanctuary is located in a secluded grove of eucalyptus trees that is a winter migration place for Monarch Butterflies. You will find the monarchs there during the 5-month period beginning in October each year. The best viewing is between November and February. I was lucky to be there at the right time of year to see them. Can you imagine watching thousands of butterflies flying around? What a beautiful sight!
Also in Pacific Grove there is a wonderful shop called Back Porch Quilts. If you love fabrics and quilts, stop in and browse around. They frequently have a quilt show on exhibit in the classroom. You will find the staff friendly and knowledgeable.
I would have loved to spend more time in Monterey and visit Carmel as well, but I didn't have time. The weather was beautiful up until the day I left. Unfortunately, it rained making my trip down Hwy. 1 a bit soggy, so I didn't stop as much along the way was I would have liked. I always love the drive down the coast and even in the rain there are many breathtaking views.
Next assignment is in Idyllwild, CA. Can't wait!