Thursday, August 22, 2013

Carmel Weekend Getaway--Monterey Bay Aquarium and 17 Mile Drive

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This past week Colby and I reached our 5th wedding anniversary.  Neither of us can believe it has gone by so quickly.  To celebrate, we headed to Carmel for the weekend.  Now, neither of us 5 years ago would have imagined toting a little one along with us on our romantic getaway, but seeing as he is still nursing, he got a free ticket to come. He was a good little tag-a-long.

We stayed at (what we will call) a bed and breakfast.  Reality is, hotels were super expensive, and with our student budget we weren't sure it was worth it.  I had casually mentioned I thought a B&B could be fun.  Putting all this together, Colby went out on a limb and found a fabulous place for us on AirBnB for a steal of a deal.  We stayed just off Hwy 1 in Carmel at a family home and had a good size room and bathroom all to ourselves.  Considering we would literally just be there to sleep and shower, it was more than ideal!  (photos from airbnb)

We started the trip off Friday night and traveled to Carmel.  Knowing we'd be leaving after work, I made turkey pitas for the road.  We got into carmel around 8, visited with the owner a bit, bathed Hudson and put him to bed.  We then sat out on the patio and solidified our plans.  The view from the patio looked into carmel valley, and with the fog coming in, it was so pretty.

We got up early on Saturday as we had a list of things to do.  We started with breakfast at First Awakening where we got pancakes.  As we looked at breakfast places on Yelp, most of them were eggs/potatoes places, and we determined we are sweet breakfast people. :)  We split a partial order of Blueberry Pancakes, and it was plenty!  We had been warned prior to going that we could easily split a plate, and when we went to order, our waitress said we could easily fill up on 2 pancakes, rather than the 3 that come on a plate. She was so right.  These pancakes were larger than my face! And, they were delicious. Iris, the home owner, had suggested First Awakening as it was right by the Monterey Bay Aquarium--the next stop on our list. It was perfectly located and had validated parking for 3 hours, so we didn't even have to pay parking for the aquarium.

We had contemplated even going to the aquarium because we don't LOVE aquariums and only wanted to spend a hour or so there.  At a price of $35 a person, we weren't sure it would happen.  But, Colby's mentor at work offered up his season passes, so we went for 2 hours.  It was perfect.  We enjoyed the site and felt like we saw everything we wanted in 2 hours.  I really enjoyed the large open tank with tuna, hammerheads and sea turtle.  Standing on the back balconies overlooking the bay and Monterey was pretty neat as well.  I think Colby was most fascinated by the Jellies, and I must admit they were pretty cool.

It was past naptime, and Hudson was so over the aquarium.  It was a perfect time for us to do the 17-mile drive and let him nap.  But, since we were so close to Dennis the Menace Park, we swung over there to let him play.  He went on a slide with Dad, loved the swings, and enjoyed having freedom to crawl! He was not happy when we picked him up to head out.

We headed to the 17 mile drive and spent 2-3 hours there.  Who knew it would take so long to go 17 miles.  There were about 20 "points of interest" on the map they gave, and we stopped at several of them to enjoy.  The scenery was beautiful.  The beginning was in the hills winding through homes, and the second portion was along the coast and golf courses.  We loved seeing the homes and even moreso seeing the coastline.  Some favorites were bird rock, which was full of barking seals.  One stop was a little cove with yellow wild flower at top and a beautiful rocky/sand cove below. There was Cyprus hill and a lookout to the Lonely Cyprus.  We drove through Pebble Beach Golf Course which was filled to the max with people attending the car show.  Colby was tempted to stop in to the show, but opted out so we could head into Carmel later.

See next posts for downtown carmel and big sur.

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