Fireworks Shows In the Monterey Bay Area.

Where Are They Having Fireworks In The Monterey Area

Okay as many of you know not too many cities are actually having a real live fireworks show this year. You know pyrotechnic. Bombs being shot into the air to explode in all their glory. Basically what we all did as kids on Fourth of July. A lot of things have led to this but mainly the cities got out of it due to cost and drought and fire danger. So where do you go if you actually want to see a real fireworks show in the Monterey Bay Area? 

New Hostel Coming to the Monterey Bay Area

There is A New Hostel Coming To The Monterey Area
Monterey Youth Hostel by Vineyard AdventuresHostelling International is building a new Monterey area hostel. They have all ready had the open house and are just waiting to retrofit a group of previously used military buildings on the former Fort Ord to be used as the the latest Monterey area Hostel. This hostel will be located in a great spot near the 8th and Giggling trailheads which is great for cyclists and also not too far from the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail which is great because you can easily get to Marina, Monterey, Pacific Grove, or Carmel on the Recreation Trail. 

Hostelling International 

Hostelling International currently has 27 youth Hostels located on the California West Coast and the Canadian West Coast so it is possible to basically Hostel hop your way from San Diego California to Whistler in Canada. If you time it right you can start out surfing and finish your trip Snowboarding in Whistler. In a future post I will list all the Hostels and their locations to help make a trip like this possible.
I am very happy to see another youth hostel in the Monterey area because the one in Monterey gets filled up quite often. Youth Hostel is kind of a misnomer in a name because people of all ages are welcome to stay in Youth Hostels around the world.
Monterey Youth Hostel, a photo by Vineyard Adventures on Flickr.


The Monterey Jazz Festival Is Back

The Monterey Jazz Festival is Back
sax2 by Daddy0hThe 2013 Monterey Jazz Festival is the 56th Annual Monterey Jazz festival. So needless to say the folks at the Monterey Jazz Festival have been doing this for awhile and know how to put on a good show. The Jazz Festival dates are Sept 20 - 22 2013. The Jazz Festival will feature over 500 artists performing on 8 stages nonstop for 3 nights and 2 days. These aren't just any old jazz musicians either they are the best in the business. 

 Book Your Jazz Festival Hotel Now At Bookit

What I like about this venue is you have all these Jazz greats in this small area so you are guaranteed to get a chance to see the artists that you want to see even if the schedule is pretty tight since the venues are so close together. 

Voted Best Jazz Fest
This event was voted the World's Best Jazz Festival By JazzTimes Magazine readers in 2006, 2007, 2008.  What more can you ask for these are the people that know their jazz. 

2013 Musicians At Monterey Jazz Festival

 Diana Krall
 Bobby McFerrin

Omara Portuondo

George Benson

Dave Holland

Joe Lovano

Gregory Porter

These Are Just a Few of The 500 Artists at The Monterey Jazz Fest.

So as you can see this is a pretty eclectic bunch of artists from several different generations of Jazz all in one place over one weekend in Monterey what can be better than that?


The Best Place To Have a Bonfire On The Beach

Carmel Beach Bonfire

Gathering around the bonfire by asmythieThe Best Beach in Monterey County to have a Bonfire is Carmel Beach. A Carmel Beach bonfire is truly an experience that every visitor and local should experience. Whether that is a romantic fire at the beach with your husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend or a group of friends that get together to enjoy the sunset at it drops into the ocean as your kids eat smore's by the fire. 

Rules For Carmel Beach Bonfires

UPDATE Carmel has updated it's rules for bonfires on the beach READ THIS

The City of Carmel has updated the rules governing bonfires on the beach. The new rules were put into place to help with air quality south of Carmel beach as well as to alleviate the problems of ash left of the beach after the fires.

  Hotels Near the Monterey Bay Aquarium 

Rules For Carmel Beach Bonfires

  1. All Wood Fires Must be In city provided fire pits. The Hours for wood or propane fueled beach bonfires are from 4pm to 10pm. 
  2. No Reservations are required to use the fire pits.
  3. Sharing of fire pits is highly encouraged. This just makes it better for everyone.
  4. Stairways and pathways must be used for entering and exiting the beach. No climbing up or down the bluff.
  5. Free Parking is allowed along Scenic Road and Del Mar parking lot until 12 midnight.
  6. Wood fueled fires are only allowed in fire pits supplied by the city of Carmel.
  7. Propane fueled fires are allowed at least 25 ft from the base of the bluff, from 8th Ave. South towards Martin way. 
  8. Do not burn driftwood.
  9. Charcoal fueled briquette fires are not allowed.
  10. Do not use sand to extinguish a bonfire put a little water on the fire and let it burn itself out.
  11. Temporary structures such as tents canopies or similar enclosures are not allowed.
  12. Smoking is not permitted on the beach or scenic pathway.
  13. Consumption of alcohol is permitted only on the beach but not on the scenic pathway.
  14. Dogs on the beach must be on a leash or under voice command. Dogs on the scenic  pathway must be on a leash. Always clean up after your dog. 

  The main rule is you can only have a bonfire South of 10th ave. It must be in a city provided fire ring or be a propane powered fire pit. Anything North of 10 ave. is off limits for bonfires on the beach. Another thing is use firewood not old lumber or pallets etc. Simply because these have nails and metal debris in them that long after the fire is over kids and dogs  get stuck in their feet as they are playing on the beach. The size of your fire can only be 3 feet by 3 feet by 3ft. anything larger than that is not legal. All Fires must be put out by 10 pm. All fires must be further than 25 feet from the bluffs. All fires must be put out by water not just by piling sand over them. That is a big one. You want anyone running or walking their dog in the morning to be able to see where your fire was last night and if it's covered with sand possibly it could still be very hot. Nowadays the crowd having bonfires on Carmel beach is usually groups of family and friends so it is a very quiet crowd with lots of little kids running around skim boarding and playing in the water. The parents of these little kids are probably the same teenagers who used to have huge bonfire parties on the beach when they were in high school. So to say the least the crowd on the beach has mellowed over the years a lot. This is really a great experience whether you are just visiting or have lived here forever.

Carmel Beach Bonfires Rules List  I'm Here On Vacation How Do I have a Bonfire On the Beach.

If you are here on vacation and you want to have a bonfire on Carmel Beach there's a few ways you can do it depending on you accommodations. Now if you are staying in a Vacation Home Rental then it's pretty simple you can get firewood from the wood stacked up where you staying if your rental has a fireplace. Now if you are staying at a hotel this is a bit more difficult you simply need to go to a convenience store or grocery store that sells firewood in a box. Now while your at the grocery store pick up marshmallows, Chocolates, and graham crackers for smore's. you also need a 5 gallon bucket of water to put out your fire. Oh and get some of those metal marshmallow roasters that extend to roast your marshmallows on and you and your loved ones will have the best Bonfire on Carmel Beach.


California Artichoke Declared State Vegetable

The California Artichoke Declared California State Vegetable
dainties (CC) by marfis75     How did this come about? Well the Artichoke was declared the California state vegetable stemming from a contest that started on KGO 810 radio in San Francisco they were talking to the Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom about declaring a state food. So they decided to have a little contest each of the nominees which were California Artichokes, California Avocado's, Crab, Wine Grapes, Sourdough Bread, and California Wine Grapes each had a spokesperson come on the radio and give a passionate speech about why there selected food or wine as it were should become the new California State Food. Then KGO Radio started taking votes on their Facebook page for each of the entrants. Well it turns out that the Mighty California Artichoke beat them all I think mainly because of the passionate speech of it's spokesperson I don't know her name but she certainly expanded my horizons about Artichokes. 

Gavin Newsom's Proclamation

The lieutenant Governor being the politcian that he is not only proclaimed the Artichoke as the state vegetable but also the avocado as the state fruit and the almond as the state nut and rice and the state grain. This was all kind of tongue in cheek as hey what are you going to do to exercise your power while the Governor is out of the country and you have the full power of the office of Governor. This will be a great thing for Watsonville which is already the Artichoke Capital of the World. But now it's truly official. The California Artichoke is The California State Vegetable.
dainties (CC), a photo by marfis75 on Flickr.


Take A Hot Lap Around Laguna Seca On Your Bike

Laguna Seca Twilight Rides Are Back

Twilight ride by zr750The Twilight Ride program is back in full swing again. If you have never heard of this it's basically you bring your bike out to Laguna Seca and you get the thrill of riding the same track that normally your are only a spectator for. If you have someone in your family that is a cyclist this might just be that little something different they could try or if they are a die hard racing fan this is definitely a good thing to try out. A lap around Laguna Seca on a bike is great a gentle uphill around the front part of the course till you get to the world famous Corkscrew that is truly a blast. You will definitely do this more than once. 

What to Bring to Twilight Ride at Laguna Seca

Your bike basically any bike will do for this I have seen a lot of kids and adults on Mountain Bikes and a lot of road racing bikes and they are fast all the way down to I have seen a kid on a bmx bike do the track. Bring your Helmet this is a must. The cost is $10.00 and bring some food and drinks. 

The Dates for Laguna Seca Twilight Rides
  • Wednesday March 13th     Wednesday April 10th      Wednesday May 8th
  • Wednesday June 12th        Wednesday July 10th        Tuesday Aug. 13th
  • Friday Sept 6th                  Wednesday October 16th        
If you like this take 2 seconds and share it on your Social Media. Thank You.
Twilight ride, a photo by zr750 on Flickr.


Fort Ord National Monument A True Gem Of Monterey County

Fort Ord National Monument
In July of 2012 President Barack Obama designated Fort Ord as a National Monument. For the hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders who have been coming to Fort Ord and using this open space to enjoy nature almost since the moment the base closed  this is a wonderful thing. It protects this open space forever. Parts of the old Fort Ord will be developed however and it's nice to know that there are these open spaces that will remain open to enjoy your pastimes. So the most notable changes since Fort Ord became a national Monument is the signage and the new trail heads with parking facilities and bathrooms at hwy 68 which is much like the trail head at Creekside Terrace. Other than more construction to help more people gain access and improved trail maps that are in color instead of the old ones that were hand drawn, for the average user there is not much change. However at the Hwy. 68 trail head I have noticed a sizable uptick in the amount of traffic most notably cyclists which is a good and a bad thing. It's nice to see more people cycling but when it was just a dirt lot there were always only a few cars cyclists. Now when I say I am seeing more traffic you can still get away and be all by yourself. Fort Ord has so many trails and different riding areas that it's easy to spend a few hours and not see anyone else if you don't want to. 
Fort Ord sign by Conservation Lands Foundation 
Fort Ord Trail Map

There are always trail maps at all trail heads but it's always nice to just print one out and put it in your pack just in case you should get lost. 

How to Enter Fort Ord National Monument
The main trail heads of Fort Ord National Monument are Creekside Terrace off of Hwy 68 and Reservation Rd. Then there is the Hwy 68 entrance with all new bathroom facilities and a new parking area for cars and horse trailers. This side is probably the best to go if you have very small children on bikes simply due to the flatness of the trails and also how wide they are. If you come here with your kids once you enter the trails go to the right and you will go behind the houses in Toro Park and along the edge of Toro Creek. This trail is flat and wide all the way. You will come to a school and then get ready it's a downhill and through the creek and up the other side your kids will love this. If instead of turning right you go left you are headed into some nice uphills that will give you a very good workout.
Laguna Seca Entrance
You can also enter the Fort Ord National Monument at Laguna Seca. This is an area of steeper hills and faster trails but it's very fun. Many of these trails are where they hold the Sea Otter Classic which is coming up soon. So if you are entering the Sea Otter you might want to look at the old trail maps and get out to Fort Ord and practice and this can be the year you place at the Sea Otter Classic. 
From Hwy 1 
You can enter Fort Ord from Hwy one in the Gigling Road and Watkins Gate Road area. This is a really great riding area it seems to go on and on forever and it goes from flat to rolling hills but it will keep you busy with just the sheer amount of trails you can cover out here.

This is the place to go mountain biking if you are coming to the Monterey Area. I highly recommend all of these areas and I personally ride them frequently. 

Whats Your Favorite Trail or Trails on Fort Ord To Ride?

It seems well all have our favorites in Fort Ord what is your favorite trail or group of trails because people are always asking me what trails to go take on Fort Ord what are some that are favorite and some that should also be mentioned  leave you answers in the comments 

What Is The Future For Fort Ord?
The future for Fort Ord was largely sealed on approval by the President to make Fort Ord an National Monument. However many cities still hold right to hundreds of acres of open space and in the past they have tried to do things with this open space such as build a bus facility in an oak woodland when they have areas of Fort Ord that are all ready fully developed. That plan was ultimately stopped however other plans are on the drawing boards for this area such as a Horse Racing Facility on a few hundred acres of open space land. There are groups that are fighting this proposal as well such as the group If you support keeping Fort Ord as open space and not fully developed then check it out. 

What To Watch Out For At Fort Ord

Okay Fort Ord is an old Military installation and it was a training base so basically the military probably fired millions of rounds of ammunition at this base. Much of these old munitions have been cleared but many hundreds of acres are not clear. Don't worry they are very well marked with signage telling you stay away unexploded ordinance etc. So basically don't pick up anything at Fort Ord that you cannot identify because chances are it could be old ordinance no matter how cool it looks or even if it would look nice on your mantel it could explode. Note now I know this sounds like you will be finding bombs everywhere you look. I have ridden Fort Ord for years and haven't found any unexploded ordnance.


Monterey Salinas Transit Express Bus To Santa Cruz

Monterey Salinas Transit Express Bus Service
MST San Jose bus by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious
Monterey Salinas Transit is setting up a new express bus service between the Presidio of Monterey and Santa Cruz. I think this is a great idea and will serve a lot of customers. It is called line 78 so when you are looking for the schedule check out the schedule for line 78. This is a list of all MST Bus Routes
     During the week there will be a few stops in Monterey and along the way but on the weekend it's pretty much a straight trip with one stop in at Sand City Station. During the week with the extra stops it takes a little longer but it should only take about an hour on the weekends. This is a great ride on a bus really you can sit and just enjoy the view of the Monterey Bay, watch a movie on your iPad or read a book on your Kindle. This will serve a lot of customers and travelers who do not have a car and just want to go check out Santa Cruz for the day or a few days even or for those people who are here playing golf and want to send the kids to to the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz for the day. 


AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro - Am

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am

Hole Seven by ghzIt's Pebble Beach Pro- Am time again this will be an opportunity to come out and see your favorite golf legends playing side by side with your favorite TV stars and Sports personalities. There will be 156 pros playing with 156 amateurs which is always an interesting mix. This event has been running annually since 1937. This event generated over 10 million dollars for charity in 2012 alone and over 100 million dollars for charity since 1937. 

The courses for the Pebble Beach Pro-Am are truly some beautiful world class golf venues. Pebble Beach Golf Course, Spyglass Hill, and the MPCC Shore course. So there is a great mix of courses in this tournament.


There are several ticket options available to everyone. 

Practice Rounds Tickets cost $50.00 until 2/2 then $60.00 and they are good for all three days.

Tournament Rounds cost daily ticket for Thurs. Fri. Sat. Sun. $50.00 or $60.00 after 2/2

Season Badge cost $125.00 advance and $150.00 after 2/2

This event usually sells out so buy your tickets in advance and I recommend the Season Badge or the Tournament Rounds that has always been the best for me. You get to see the stars hamming it up and a different side of the golf pros. Where if you go to the practice rounds it's more real practice and there is not as much going on. I guess there is not as much on the line. This is a family event so by all means bring the family they will have a blast and I know maybe your wife or husband or kids aren't golf fanatics but there is so much other stuff to do on the Monterey Peninsula they will have a blast.

Hole Seven, a photo by ghz on Flickr.


How To Get To Monterey

The Best Way To Get To Monterey
There are several ways to get to Monterey. It just depends on where you are coming from and whether you want to take a nice scenic drive or you just want to get here. That all depends I suppose on the time you have the people you are riding with and whether the goal of the trip is to get here or the goal of the trip is simply the trip itself. Sometimes a nice long road trip is the best thing between friends or family or whatever. But, there are other times when you are just like let's get there so we can enjoy ourselves. Especially if the little one in the back is asking over and over are we their yet just like you did to your mom and dad. 

If You Are Coming From the South
bigsur018 by mlhradioIf you are coming from the South then the fastest route to Monterey would be to take I-5 and then take the 46 Paso Robles exit and stay on the 46 until you come to Hwy. 101 and take 101 North until you get passed Soledad and Chualar then take the Abbot st. Exit off the left side of 101 and follow the signs through the small town of Spreckels. After you pass through Spreckels you will take HWY 68 W. towards Monterey. Congratulations you are here.
That was the fast way now if you want to take the long scenic route just drive up hwy 1. Not too many people go that route however it is very beautiful and it will take you a very long time. So only do this if you are prepared for a long drive but one that will be worth it in the scenery you pass or in the time you pass with whoever you are riding with.
If You Are Coming From The North
From 880 S. San Jose merge onto 101 S. towards Los Angeles. Merge onto Ca 156 towards Monterey Peninsula. CA 156 W. becomes CA 1 S. Take the Exit towards Monterey.
Once again that was the fast way and the slow way again is HWY 1. All the same things apply it is very slow but very beautiful.
Monterey Peninsula Airport
The best way to come to Monterey is to fly into Monterey Peninsula Airport. They serve all the major hubs in California so you can pretty much fly in here from anywhere if you are okay with getting a connecting flight at a hub. But if you are flying out of a hub then it's a direct flight. There is now even service from Monterey to Hawaii for pretty low cost. 

 bigsur018, a photo by mlhradio on Flickr.

Fish Hopper Restaurant Monterey

Fish Hopper Restraunt Monterey

Fish Hopper Restaurant Monterey

     Recently friends came into town for the weekend and when the inevitable question came up of  where are we having dinner? We all went back and forth, what kind of food do you want etc. etc. etc. My friends wife was like hey we are in Monterey we have to have fish for dinner. So I took them to one of my favorite seafood restaurants The Fish Hopper. One of the things I like about the Hopper is the view, the restaurant sits at the end of one of the old cannery piers so the whole back wall of the restaurant is glass and during the day you can see sailboats and fisherman coming in with their daily catch along with the shorebirds flying around. At night if their is a moon out and your eyesight adjusts to the darkness you can see the waves rolling in. So it's a wonderful view probably one of the best in Monterey. The service here is pretty great most times you can always find your waiter or waitress and they are always happy to help with anything you need. The  food is wonderful, my friends wife had crab which is what she was craving and I had the salmon which is one of my favorites at the hopper. The nautical themed artwork on the walls of the restaurant is just beautiful from the bent steel undersea scenes which are some of my favorite I could actually see these on a wall in someones home to the Jellyfish light fixtures. I know it almost sounds tacky but they are indeed very beautiful. their nautical themed artwork. So go to the Fish Hopper Monterey for the food and the service but enjoy the view and the artwork while you are there. Another great thing is just outside the door of the restaurant is a stairway down to the beach so if as we did you bring kids along after dinner they can work off some of their energy playing at the beach and getting chased by the waves.

 Fish Hopper HDR, a photo by Monica's Dad on Flickr.


5 Books About Monterey

5 Books About Monterey and Monterey County

This is my list of books about Monterey. This list is by no means totally complete as there are so many titles for you to enjoy. There is everything from Monterey wildlife, to Monterey History and hiking and wine tasting. So I hope you enjoy my first list of books about Monterey. This is something that readers keep asking me to put up so here it is.

Books About Monterey

The Monterey Bay Shoreline Guide: With Special Notes on the Monterey National Marine Sanctuary. (UC Press/Monterey Bay Aquarium Series in Marine Conservation)The Monterey Bay Shoreline Guide- by Jerry Emory and Frank Balthis What can I say about this book it has more than I expected when I picked it up in a bookstore. It's a guide to the Santa Cruz Coast all the way through Monerey to the Big Sur Coast. This book has everything. Just when you think you know everything about this fabulous place you pick up this book and find a fabulous secret beach or a new trail that you never knew existed. The Monterey Bay Shoreline Guide is the only book that I know that explores all the parks and beaches as well as trails of the Monterey Bay Area in one large book. I definitely recommend this one.


A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop FestivalA Perfect Haze The Illustrated History of The Monterey Inernational Pop Festival
by Harvey and Kenneth Kubernick
From June 16 through the 18 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds an amazing thing happened. Thousands of people came to the Monterey Pop Festival during the summer of love to celebrate music and listen to some fabulous music by Jimmi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, and Otis Redding and many others. What they didn't know is that they were in the middle of a cultural revolution and this was the beginning. The Monterey Pop Festival happened before Woodstock and it is seen as the beginning. So if you were there or just want to see what happened and read about it this is the book for you.

The Death and Life of Monterey Bay: A Story of Revival      The Death And Life Of Monterey Bay by Stephen R. Palumbi and Carolyn Sotka is a very nice book. The title tells the story of this book pretty well. It's about how the Monterey Bay is this beautiful place teaming with wildlife and sea life until the fisherman and whalers discover it. Then what happens to the Monterey Bay after that. Then it also tells the story of the end of the canneries and the rebirth of the Monterey Bay as a place to come and just see wildlife and whale and not take them. A great read. It's amazing to see this change over just a few generations.

Day Hikes Around Monterey and Carmel: 77 Great Hikes    Day Hikes Around Monterey And Carmel 77 Great Hikes by Robert Stone. This book is sitting on my desk as we speak. It's a great book to take on that long drive when you don't know where you will end up. With this book you can always find a trail you haven't hiked near by. Robert Stone has hiked all of these trails so his directions and difficulty levels are spot on so there is no problem finding your route or knowing what the trail will be like when you get there. So if you are going to do some hiking when you come to Monterey or even some trail running this is a must have book for you.

Wines and Wineries of California's Central Coast: A Complete Guide from Monterey to Santa Barbara Wines & Wineries of California's Central Coast by William A. Ausmus This author profiles nearly 300 wineries that he personally visited. Their are ratings for each winery as well as contact information for each of the different wineries. The California Central Coast produces some of the best wines around and this is definitely a comprehensive guide to the wines and wineries of the Central Coast. If you are going wine tasting while you are in the Monterey or Santa Barbara area this is the book for you.


Candy Cane Lane 2012 in Pacific Grove

Pacific Grove Candy Cane Lane 2012
Candy Cane Lane: Nutcracker by nicandres
Robo nut. by nicandresCandy Cane Lane is an institution in Pacific Grove Ca and really the whole  Central Coast of California. People come from far and wide to see this neighborhood all lit up and decorated for Christmas. I know everyone decorates their neighborhood for Christmas but at Candy Cane Lane it's just I don't know different. Sort of like how going to your grandmas for Christmas was different than staying home. What do I mean? I mean it's just bigger and more magical I guess. If you have never been to Candy Cane Lane for Christmas before then you will be awed by the creativity of the residents, there are giant soldiers and Elvis just like every year and then there are just the whimsical cutouts of peoples favorite Walt Disney Characters. One of the additions that I especially like is the high school kids singing every night after six pm. Everything that you see is put together by volunteers and residents of this neighborhood. It's a tradition passed down from homeowner to homeowner as homes sell often times one of the things talked about is, oh by the way in the shed in the back are all the Christmas decorations. This house is very famous for a such and such decoration and you have to do it every year. LOL how would you like to get that in the contract when you bought a house. If you are a resident and have been coming since you were a kid this is a great place to bring your kids or out of town guests. If you are from out of town and happen to be here during the holidays get out of the hotel and come check out candy cane lane. The soldier has always been my favorite yard decoration. I don't know why since I was a boy he has just always fascinated me. What is your favorite and why?
photos by nicandres on Flickr.