One of the many advantages of living on the Peninsula, from San Francisco to the Silicon Valley, is proximity to other beautiful areas, one of which is the Monterey Peninsula.
Pacific Grove, California, is the not-quite-so-well known town there, with less name recognition than Carmel or Monterey. It is, however, our favorite destination.
Located at the tip of the Peninsula, the natural beauty is stunning, and walking and biking paths let one enjoy it all, from the somewhat sheltered bay side, around the tip at Lover's Point, along the ocean coast to Asilomar State Beach. Sea otters frolic; sea lions and seals sun themselves on rocks; waves send spray high into the air.
Tiny houses rub shoulders with grand Victorian homes; Monterey cypress and huge eucalyptus trees provide resting spots for birds and Monarch butterflies; traffic slows along the downtown Lighthouse Avenue.
Old Saint Angela's Inn makes a great headquarters for an overnight, offering fabulous breakfasts and a sumptuous afternoon happy hour in their always beautifully decorated, comfortable house.
Just before Christmas we spent two happy days here, with only a minimum amount of time spent on work (yes, as we were driving there I received word that my client's purchase offer was accepted; free wi-fi at Old Saint Angela's meant I could get documents sent out as necessary and keep the sale moving forward.)
Nice walks, time to read curled up by the fire, a fabulous bike ride along the coast to the golf courses of Pebble Beach, Cypress Hill, and Spanish Bay, fine dining at Passion Fish, a bit of stress-free Christmas shopping in small local shops, and plenty of sleep. And to top it off, a Chanticleer concert in the Carmel Mission on my birthday.
Close enough to San Francisco and the Silicon Valley for a day trip, an overnight makes a great option too.
When your spirit needs calming, when a respite from hectic days is needed, remember Pacific Grove.