Wednesday, June 13, 2012

San Francisco - Day 6: Monterey Bay, Cannery Row, Pebble Beach & Carmel

Best picture from the trip, great shot by the wifey of the Oakland Bay Bridge before departing

Thursday, day 6 was our tour along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to Monterey Bay, Cannery Row, the famous 17 mile drive through Pebble Beach and then onto Carmel.  This one is a longer drive, around 3 hours on the way out due to taking the scenic route and then a little over 2 hours on the way back.

It is a very scenic drive along the coast on the way down to Monterey Bay.  And surprisingly, there really isn't a whole lot of anything along the way except for scenic views.  There were a few artichoke crops and you do come across little towns here and there, but other than that it's pretty sparsely populated.

Starting out our trip down the PCH from inside the shuttle bus

Pigeon Point Lighthouse
Me and the wifey
Pigeon Point Lighthouse Prairie Dogs
Kinda seems self explanatory
Really bright pink invasive wild flower
Example of the farm country along PCH
High end Taco Bell in Pacifica on the ocean complete with walk-up window for surfers
Artichoke starting to bloom, they were lots along PCH
Artichoke blooming close up
We stopped at the Pier in Monterey Bay for about 30 minutes to walk around and get some pictures.  There really isn't much here other than a few restaurants on the pier and souvenir shops.  It was beautiful, but we were a little disappointed in this specific area, but just around the corner is Cannery Row, which we didn't know at the time. 

Monterey Bay Marina
Monterey Bay Pier
Monterey Bay Sailboats
Monterey Bay
Monterey Museum
Cannery Row has a lot more shops and restaurants and that is where the Monterey Bay Aquarium was located.  Since we had only about 90 minutes there, we didn't do the aquarium.  It was over $50 each and we really didn't have the time to do that and grab lunch.  We ate at The Fish Hopper instead and had a great waterside table outside.  We had an amazing view and the food was very good as well!

View from our table at The Fish Hopper restaurant in Cannery Row
Grilled artichoke
Cannery Row
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Otter in the water by the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Pacific Grove
We then wandered around the shops, bought a few shirts and a vintage looking beach sign and we were on our way to the famous 17 mile drive through Pebble Beach.

There are 5 golf courses, including the famous Pebble Beach course and some of the most expensive homes in the nation.  I was hoping for some cool stories of who lives where, how much all the houses were, etc. but unfortunately we didn't get a lot of that.  The driver pointed out a home formerly owned by Clark Gable, but that was about it.

Huge home on the hillside along 17 mile drive
There were a lot of massive homes and when we got to Carmel I checked out some of the for sale pictures at real estate offices and this one below in Pebble Beach had a golf and ocean view for...wait for it...$27 MILLION DOLLARS! Whew...

Home in Pebble Beach with a $27 million dollar view
Me and the Lone Cypress, which is the trademarked logo for Pebble Beach Golf
Pebble Beach Lone Cypress
Pebble Beach Lone Cypress close-up
Carmel was blocks and blocks of unique/high end shops.  An interesting fact about Carmel is that it's one of the most dog friendly places on the planet.  Everywhere you go people are walking their dogs and most of the shop owners have their own dogs hanging out in the stores.  Dogs were welcome at most eateries with outdoor seating from what we saw.

Carmel California
Even the street clocks are big dollar
All in all, we were glad we got to see the Pacific Coast Highway and Monterey Bay/Cannery Row/Carmel, with the Cannery Row area being the area we liked the most.  However, we were glad we did not decide to spend a day or two staying in that area.  Initially we were thinking of spending 2 days in the Santa Cruz area, which is close to Monterey, but I think we would have been bored, our time was definitely better spent in San Francisco, taking day trips here and there.


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