Spreckels 4th of July Celebration

The Spreckels 4th of July Celebration

US Flag flying to celebrate Fourth of July
     It's that time of year again the Spreckels 4th of July Celebration is right around the corner. So do you have any plans for the 4th? If not come on out to Spreckels and see what they have to offer. Don't forget to show your spirit and wear your most patriotic outfit. It's a good old  fashioned small town celebration, you will notice as soon as you drive into town there will be flags flying from every house. It almost seems some sections of town have a contest to see who can have the most flags and bunting up for the Fourth of July. They have a little bit of everything. It starts out in the morning with a 10k race for adults, along with a 1 mile race around town for the little ones put on by the Just Run organization which is a program for children's running through the Big Sur International Marathon. It is a very good program. There is a central park in the middle of the town of Spreckels located off of Hwy. 68 between Monterey and Salinas and that is where all the festivities will take place.

Where To See Fireworks This Year

Monterey Fourth of July Events

Schedule of Events by Popular Demand

7:30 - 8:30 am 10k Race Registration 3rd and Spreckels park

8:30 am youth 1 mile run begins. Start finish line on 3rd st.

9:00 am 10k run and 5k begins Start finish line on 3rd st.

10:30 am  Parade Registration located at Spreckels Veterans Memorial Hall 

10:45 am Awards Ceremony near registration tent

12:00 Spreckels 4th of July Parade Starts at Spreckels Veterans Memorial Hall, the best place to watch in my opinion would be on 3rd street on the park side of the street. 

4:00 pm Activities End.
      Immediately after the races will be a good old fashioned parade with old cars fire trucks and bands just like the old days. Then in the park there will be booths selling crafts and food and a fireman's muster in the afternoon. One thing you won't see in Spreckels is fireworks as the city does not put on an annual fireworks show as many cities due on the 4th of July but overall it's a very good celebration. So if you are looking for a plan for the day I would do this. Arrive early and plan to park far away because people come from all over the county to this Fourth of July Celebration. People are known to park up to a couple of miles or so away from the park. But, it's an easy safe walk to the park. Then bring your chairs, ice chests, drinks, and food etc. to the park for the day. Since your here early get the kids in the 1 mile race around town. Led off by Spreckels Fire Department's oldest fire engine. Then afterwards join all the serious runners or the not so serious as they take off for a 6.2 mile run. Immediately after the run position your kids near the road on the East side of the park by where the race start finish line is because that will be the best place to catch candy thrown by all the people going by in the old cars and fire trucks in the parade. I'll see you in Spreckels on the Fourth.
 Buy an American Flag for your home.

Brilliant Flag, a photo by OldOnliner on Flickr.

Gone To The Dogs Monterey Dog Park

Dog Park Sunday 41 by Michael Oh

The Monterey Dog Park

The Monterey Dog Park is located at El Estero Park right next to Dennis the Menace Park and the cemetery. Most dogs are just happy to be getting outside. Even if it is next to the cemetery. The El Estero Dog Park does not provide grass but most of the dogs don't seem to mind at all they just want someplace to go off the leash, and who can blame them. They do provide water and plastic bags to clean up after your pet though. You must bring your own water bowl for your pet so be prepared. There are two area at the Monterey dog park one for large dogs and one for small dogs. So this is good to keep them separate.

Dog Park Sunday 41, a photo by Michael Oh on Flickr.


Monterey Hostel Budget Accomodations

Hostel-Monterey by babageik

 The Monterey Hostel is located at 778 Hawthorne St. Monterey Ca 93940. Their phone number is (831)649-0375. Now the Hostel in Monterey may not be your idea of ideal Monterey accommodations. It is no suite at the Monterey Plaza Hotel. But they provide a nice clean safe place to sleep and eat for families and travelers who are in Monterey for a night or even a few days time.  The hostel has dorm style rooms or private rooms for families available for a very cheap rate compared to some of the hotel or bed and breakfast rates in town. Not that there is anything wrong with paying those rates we all love to stay in those places but when you are traveling with a backpack on your back or riding your bike from Canada to Mexico you aren't really looking for fancy accommodations. Just a clean place to stay with hopefully a shower.  The summer rate for adults is $25.00 and the youth rate is $16.00 and the children's rate is $11.00 per night. So as you can see next time you are coming through on that bike ride or backpacking trip this is a very good place to spend a night. They offer lockers and bike lockers and a communal breakfast. You can even book your beds or room online. 
     The Hostel in Monterey is centrally located near the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the beach and a lot of the other attractions that bring people to this beautiful city. So you are walking distance to all the things you want to see while you are here. A lot of people are coming to the Hostel from the Bike Trail along the beach, it is only four blocks from there to the Monterey hostel.
 Hostel-Monterey, a photo by babageik on Flickr.


Spend a Day At Dennis the Menace Park

dennis the menace park by jenn l.

     When you are a kid it doest't matter if you live down the street or  are visiting from across the country or the world, when you drive into Monterey one of the things that catches your eye is this park across from the beach. Dennis the Menace Park, yes that Dennis the Menace.  One of the things that make it stand out is that it's bright and colorful and a lot of the toys are tall and not something you or your kids have played on somewhere else, so it really stands out even in a place known for it's beauty as Monterey is. If you have kids this is one place you need to visit whether it's your first time in Monterey County or you drive past this park everyday kids everywhere love it. What can you expect to see and do at Dennis the Menace Park. Well, when you first walk in you have to rub Dennis's belly for good luck and try out the drinking fountain because it's not every place that you get to drink water from the mouth of a lion. Watch out he bites. There is a real steam locomotive for you to climb all over and play on. Apparently when the park opened over 50 years ago it actually had the real working brass bell on it. The kids loved it at the time. I read somewhere that you could here that brass bell all over new Monterey for about 3 days straight when the park first opened. Then finally someone decided to shut off the bell. They put one that doesn't work in it's place. I'm sure that that person whoever he was got the citizen of the year award from the homeowners of new Monterey. 
     There is also a hill you can climb up and slide down the side of or you can walk across the bridge to get to the hill on the other side. Speaking of that slide down the side of the hill, they have put in a new plastic slide recently. But, prior to that it was just these huge pieces of metal that you would slide on to go down the hill. One of the great things was that you could go really really fast down this thing and it had a bump in the middle and you never failed to catch a little air going down. That is one of the things that this park was known for in the past. They had a lot of toys that were really fun but could actually kill you. Just kidding no one died. But to a kid it sure seemed like there was a sense of danger that added to the fun of it all. But, a lot of those toys have been removed to be replaced by new ones that are just as fun but lack some of the danger as the old ones did. I'm sure this was at the behest of the city attorney or insurance agent. As you can see this park has something for everyone it has regular things like swings and poles to slide down and a maze of shrubbery to hide in. It also has a climbing wall which is relatively new. So it suits a wide range of ages even some adults can be seen playing on these toys or just following their little ones around the park for the day. Have fun.

dennis the menace park, a photo by jenn l. on Flickr.


Spend a Day Kayaking Monterey Bay

Kayak Monterey by Iobbi Adventures!
Kayak Monterey, a photo by Iobbi Adventures! on Flickr.

     A Great way to spend a day in Monterey is Kayaking the bay. You get a different view of the bay than any other way that we typically enjoy it. I like to call it the ducks eye view of the bay. One of the great things about this ducks eye view is that you can quietly row and the Monterey Sea Otters and Sea Lions will come pretty close up to your kayak twenty feet or so off your boat. Other animals you will see are Jellyfish, Cormorants, Sea Gulls and many other bird species. This offers a great experience for people to just get up close with these animals and a much different perspective than maybe the one you get at the aquarium. So be sure to take a camera and remember to not get too close to these animals as they are all protected and they are still wild animals.
     Another thing I love about kayaking the Monterey Bay is going through the kelp forests around the shoreline or off of Lovers Point Park. You can look down into the bay and see far down to where the kelp actually connects to the rocks and occasionally some fish but not too often.  Don't worry about getting stuck in the kelp beds your kayak will go right over it.   While you are going over it though look out at the mats of kelp how they float on the surface with all those little floats and stop for a minute and take a look at this huge living structure that is the kelp forest. This supports so much sea life in Monterey Bay. It is one of the bedrocks of bay ecosystem. Since it provides small fry and fish places to hide when they are small and vulnerable to larger predators.

Kayak Rental Monterey Bay

There are many Kayak rental companies in the Monterey Bay some of them are listed below.

Monterey Bay Kayaks 

Adventures By The Sea

AB Seas Kayak

     All of these Monterey Bay Kayak Rental Companies offer different choices when it comes to rentals. They offer sit on top and sit inside kayaks. They all give you life jackets and all the equipment you need to be safe out of the water. They all offer both guided tours of the Bay or you can just rent a kayak and go out for the day and let your paddle lead the way. One company even offers surf zone classes for teaching you how to kayak in the surf zone. That white water area around all the rocks. For this you use a much smaller white water type kayak but it's a blast. So these companies offer something for everyone.



Hwy 1 at Big Sur Open

     If you live in Big Sur or regularly travel through there in winter it's kind of like going to the Sierras in winter. You need to check the reports to see if you need chains but in the case of Hwy. 1 in Big Sur you need to see if the latest landslide has made the route impassable.  Hwy 1 south of Big Sur just reopened on June 9th after being closed for two months for repairs to the roadway after the latest landslide.  I'm sure business people in Big Sur are happy to get the road open for the annual summer travel season coming up. The campgrounds and the stores are usually full all summer long during a normal year. With the roads closed those dollars go to other travel destinations.
     Just because the road is open doesn't mean there will be no delays. There is still only a single lane of traffic moving at Rocky Creek Bridge due to construction. Another spot south of Carmel there is only one lane of traffic until July at least to replace a culvert. So it may still be slow going but at least vehicles can get through.


First Awakenings Pacific Grove a Great Place For Brunch

     First Awakenings in Pacific Grove is the best place in town for brunch. They are only open until two so their specialty is breakfast and lunch. One of my favorite things is to go for a bike ride on the bike trail or a run and then sit on the outdoor patio next to the fire pit. Try to get a seat next to the fire pit on cold days it really does make a difference. Trust me they could charge extra on cold days for those tables. Sitting there with a nice cup of coffee and a plate of my favorite fruit crepes next to the fire is one of my favorite things on a Saturday morning. I recommend the fruit crepes at First Awakenings they are my favorite dish there along with the denver omelette. One of the things I like about this place is it's very laid back and personal they take care of you. You will see the waiters and waitresses walking around checking on you often. You can't miss them either they are in the First Awakenings uniform of shorts and Hawaiian shirt no matter how cold the weather is. After breakfast or brunch don't forget to walk around the American Tin Cannery. It is an old Cannery building that they have turned into an outlet mall. It seems to have not taken off. Businesses come and go but never stay so it changes often. But First Awakenings is always there. One of the things I like about the American Tin Cannery is occasionally they will rent space to artists and you can see them working in the store spaces through the windows. I think this would be a great gallery space because they have all the windows it would just take someone to set it up and get the artists to show their work maybe one weekend a month. I think it would be great something like the American Tin Cannery Art Walk.


Monterey Bay Whale Watching

     Monterey Bay Whale Watching - There are many ways to see the whales in Monterey. The best is to book a trip with Monterey Bay Whale Watching. You will get a front row seat to all the Blue Whales, Humpback Whales, and Killer Whales you want there will even be a few dolphins thrown into the mix. Not to mention the fact that there is a Marine Biologist on every trip telling you what you are seeing and to just answer your questions, because personally I don't know a Blue whale from a Humpback Whale. Stand near some little kids if you can because really they ask the best question of the biologist because they will really ask anything.  So, I definitely like that part having that guide there. Then the fact that in the boat you are able to get so close to the whale that your pictures come out very good. Much better than the one above. I can't seem to make this software expand my pictures any comments on that would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. So that would be my first choice.
     My next choice would be sitting along the coast on the rocks in Big Sur somewhere or in Carmel with a nice picnic lunch and a pair of binoculars. Then you can look far out in the ocean and you will be able to see the whales. This is definitely the answer if you are the type that gets seasick or if you would like to take a picnic and a bottle of wine and your boyfriend or girlfriend for a nice day along the coast just the two of you. If you look hard you will definitely see the whales and you will have a blast with your loved one.
     Next up would be sitting in a Monterey waterfront  restaurant with a margarita or a bottle of wine and dinner or lunch whichever is the best for that time of day. Preferably you would like to get a window seat so book a reservation and do it early. So just enjoy the day and watch the horizon and hopefully you will see some whales out there and if not you enjoyed a nice dinner or lunch in one of Monterey's waterfront restaurants with an ocean view you can't beat that.


Monterey Bay Coastal Trail

     The Monterey Bay Coastal Trail is really a jewel of the Central Coast. It goes all the way from Castroville to Lovers Point in Pacific Grove. It winds along the Pacific Coast the whole way. Everyone should do this trip at least once from the person who just rents a bike for the day to the person who is doing the whole coast from Oregon to San Diego it is truly a beautiful ride. The Monterey Bay Coastal Trail is approximately 18 miles long and the Monterey weather is usually mild for bike riding expect wind off the ocean and fog as well at any time of the year. When people come here they ask what should I bring pants or shorts and I always say bring it all the weather changes daily. You can expect to see kayakers and fisherman as well as other cyclists and hikers along the trail please share with everyone. As you come in to the towns of Marina, Monterey, and Pacific Grove there will be more runners, walkers and dog walkers once again share the trail with everyone.
     There is trail access at both ends and several points along the route. You can access the trail at Lovers Point Park in Pacific Grove. There is also trail access all along the route I like to access the trail from the parking lot at Borders Books in Sand City. Go across the overpass of the freeway on the ocean side and you have trail access south towards Monterey and Pacific Grove and North towards Marina and Castroville.


Visit The Monterey Bay Aquarium

 Visit The Monterey Bay Aquarium
     It doesn't matter if you are only visiting Monterey for the day or a weekend getaway or have a whole vacation to spend at least spend one day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I know you are thinking hey I have fish at home but the true beauty that is the aquarium is in how they display the multitude of species found in the local waters. From the Giant kelp beds when you first walk in. By the way find out when they are going to do a feeding in the giant kelp bed it's pretty neat to watch. They have  all of the different species of fish that call the kelp beds home. One of the things that I was surprised by was the fact that the giant kelp can grow up to three feet in one day in the summer months. That's amazing to me. One of my favorite displays has been the Jellyfish displays they are displayed in frames like artwork in a museum. A moving living museum where every piece changes every minute. I wish i had a webcam of the Jellyfish it is something so relaxing to watch almost mesmerising. 

So beautiful yet ouch if you get caught in those tentacles while surfing watch out.  Another favorite is the outer bay exhibit with giant Blue Fin Tuna and Hammerhead sharks and many other species I can't name off the top of my head. The outer bay exhibit just recently reopened after a major renovation. They have added several species such as Puffins and added the Green Sea Turtles that used to be in the exhibit. Where else are your going to go and see a one million gallon aquarium with 600 pound Tuna and the occasional Great White Shark.
     There are displays of the many fisheries that have supported Monterey through the years that have come and gone through the effects of overfishing and the environment. You learn to truly appreciate everything that this bay has to offer. So don't miss a trip to the aquarium while you are planning your trip to Monterey.

     One of the interesting things about the aquarium is that it's built in one of the old cannery building on cannery row. These buildings just sat for years basically abandoned after the sardines and the fleets that caught them left the bay for greener pastures. So from the ruins of that bygone fishery came this beautiful scientific discovery museum that has thrilled children and adults from the first day that it opened.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Discount
     To find out the many ways to get a Monterey Bay Aquarium Discount you need to go to The Monterey Bay Aquarium Discount also if you are staying at a Hotel near the Monterey Bay Aquarium that is another way to get discount tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.