Monterey and Hearst Castle

This weekend my husband and I went on a mini vacation to Monterey and Hearst Castle.  We’ve visited Monterey a few years ago and came back frustrated by the expensive… well, everything.  Food was expensive, drinks were expensive, all the stores had pricey products, and we were budget travelers.  This time around we were better prepared for the prices even though we figured out that the food prices were more than we’d spend at Disneyland!

We stayed at the Clarion on Munras in Monterey because it had an indoor heated pool, claimed to be close to Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row, and had a breakfast buffet every morning.  The door to our room had to be forced open and closed.  The shower head wasn’t attached to the pipe properly, and the bathroom fan was smaller than the hole cut for it in the ceiling.  The front desk staff were nice, the bed was decently comfortable, the water pressure was good and the temperature didn’t fluctuate.  It was an odd experience.  We also learned that “close” is a relative term.  I was looking for walking distance but they meant close as in a short drive.  Oh well, you live and you learn.

Fisherman's Wharf

Me at Fisherman's Wharf

We visited Fisherman’s Wharf our first night there.  It seemed pretty desolate, though.  Very few people were there – and it was a Friday night!  We wandered around to scope out some restaurants for dinner.  We weren’t hungry yet, so we thought we’d go back to the hotel and swim for a bit before coming back and trying out some promising locations.  Unfortunately we got lost on our return trip to Fisherman’s Wharf and ended up at Cannery Row.  There were a lot more people there, but it was still pretty quiet.  DH and I stood on the moonlit beach and watched the waves for a bit before heading back to our hotel to sleep.

Scenic View

On Saturday we drove out to Hearst Castle.  DH was such a trooper!  He drove down those winding roads with a patience I wouldn’t have possessed.  I can handle traffic any day of the week, but winding roads scare the heck out of me!  We stopped at a few places along the way to watch the coast, stretch our legs and get a break from the road.  The scenery was breathtaking!

Elephant Seals Sunning

Just before we hit Hearst Castle we stopped and saw the elephant seals.  I’d heard a lot about them and wanted to check them out.  They were a lot more active than I’d expected.  There were lots of babies.  The adults were bickering and posturing too.  It was fun to watch.

Roman Plunge at the Castle

Then we visited Hearst Castle and went on the “Experience Tour.”  It was interesting to hear about Hearst and his life, and to see all his stuff.  The decor was way to intricate and opulent for my tastes, but it there were a lot of pretty objects to admire.  I liked the pools the best out of the entire tour, and I’d love to come back and do the garden tour some time.  By the time we finished the tour I was “done” though.  I just wanted to be back at our hotel relaxing.  I remember a time when I would have kept going until I dropped, but now I hit a point and I can’t go on.  Does this mean I’m getting old?  Or am I just more in tune with my brain/body/emotions than I was when I was younger?  Either way we headed back to Monterey.

DH was kind enough to drive us back to our hotel too.  I’m so glad he did – I would’ve been a wreck by the time we got back if I’d been driving.  Along the way we discovered a mall so after a break back at the hotel we wandered around their mall for a bit.  When we finally got hungry, we had dinner at PF Chang’s and then went back to our hotel for more relaxation.

This morning was a sad morning – the end of our vacation.  To prolong it just a bit longer, we visited the Gilroy Outlet mall because I’d never been there before, and then went to Valley Faire Mall to use our Cheesecake Factory gift card.  Now we’re finally home, enjoying the quiet and reflecting on the time away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.

  • July 2020
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