Monday, June 23, 2008

A Hop, Skip and a Jump Down to the Monterey Peninsula

By: Kevin L. Nichols

Bay Area natives often take for granted the secular views, peacefulness, and serenity of our surrounding cities. One city that is definitely underutilized on the "must see" vacation destinations list is our very own Monterey County.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Monterey Peninsula and had a splendid time. I stayed at the majestic and one of the most well known corner stones in the region, the Monterey Plaza Hotel. This is an elegant hotel literally on the shore of Monterey Bay. I could hear the sea crashing beneath my room as if I could get my feet wet from my patio.

The Monterey Plaza Hotel has the perfect setting and ambiance for a wedding or formal dinner party. The Plaza is currently under renovation and will be even better in the next few months. It is a "must stay," at least for one night while visiting Monterey.

Although Monterey is known for its secular tourist attractions, such as Cannery Row, the pier, and whale watching, it also has wineries and the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. The aquarium is one of the most sophisticated marine facilities in the world with live feedings, tide pools, and rare educational exhibits. This is the perfect excursion for families. My family was delighted by the new Otter Exhibit and the awesome feedings of tuna, mahi mahi, and the Great White Shark that was on display but has now been released.

It is quite difficult to observe the larger fish devouring tinier shrimp, calamari, etc., so we decided to walk to Bubba Gump's Shrimp Restaurant for our own "feeding." Bubba Gump's is the perfect place for a family meal. The atmosphere is fast pace and noisy enough to drown out any children still revved up by the aquarium, but mellow enough to place your order and get your food in a reasonable time period. The menu is child friendly, with options for shrimp, chicken, or macaroni with vegetables and beverage included. It is affordable and an ideal "pit stop" to recharge before going back to the aquarium, going shopping at the mall, or the premium outlets nearby.

The final "must see" location on this trip was the exquisite Chart House Restaurant. This is an upscale, establishment which hovers over the bank of the bay. It has gorgeous views and a romantic aurora about it. The Chart House has an impeccable menu of the finest seafood and steaks in the region as well as delicious "adult beverages" and deserts. You would not be disappointed if you made this your final stop on your way back to the Bay Area.

Before taking for granted the luxuries of the Bay Area, I always encourage our residents to venture out an hour to an 1 1/2 away to get a different perspective of the beauty of California. You do not have to spend thousands of dollars to take your family to another state or country when you can fill up your SUV one time and experience the bliss of Monterey.

Kevin L. Nichols is an author, President and CEO of KLN Publishing. LLC located in San Francisco, California. For more information, please visit http://klnpublishingllc.blogspot.com/.

Copyright © 2008 KLN Publishing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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