Friday, June 27, 2008

California: 17-Mile Drive

Let me just start this post by saying that I'm complete aware that I'm taking entirely too long to talk about our trip to California. If you're sick of hearing about the vacation already, please feel free to skip this post! At this point, I'm treating my travel related posts more as a personal journal, since I'm probably the only one who cares about this many details. Maybe someday someone will Google some place I'm blogging about and then they'll find some helpful information for a trip or something. I try to think of my ramblings as providing some sort of a service to the community!

Before we left for California, I kept joking that I was going to eat hundreds of dollars worth of fresh fruit at our bed & breakfast in Carmel, so that we'd get our money's worth after paying so much for our suite. It probably wasn't a crazy amount by most people's standards, but it was definitely the most that we'd ever paid for one night of lodging, so we were all about getting the most out of the food. The funny thing was that we almost missed it! The breakfast was served until 10 a.m. so we didn't bother setting an alarm, since we haven't slept past 10:00 in ages. However, the morning after our anniversary, Chad sat straight up in bed at 9:40 a.m. and said, "Oh my gosh!! We're going to miss breakfast!" Oh, the irony.

Thankfully, we did get dressed and stumble to the dining room in time to chow down on muffins, tons of fruit, oatmeal, granola, juice and toast. We intentionally ate enough so that we'd be able to forgo lunch completely and just survive on snacks until dinner!

After getting showered and packed and checked out of our room, we headed to downtown Carmel to do a little shopping. The town is absolutely adorable, but I have to say there wasn't a ton of variety with regard to the shops. There were loads of jewelry stores and art galleries, neither of which interested us a ton. In fact, I'd say that like 85% percent of the stores downtown were art or jewelry! Although we didn't walk down every street, I saw only one clothing store the entire time! We did shop around in a cute toy store for the nephews and in an adorable dog boutique that had every frivolous thing you could ever possibly want for your dog!

After a little shopping we headed down to the beautiful beach at Carmel. Since the community is amazingly dog-friendly, we watched a bunch of adorable pups while we walked along the beach and took pictures. The area is so amazingly beautiful!

After our stroll we got back into the car and headed to the entrance of 17-Mile Drive. This scenic stretch of road is very touristy, but we thought the beautiful views were well worth the $10 it cost to drive through. There are 21 points of interest along the way (a few of which we didn't actually find that interesting) where you can view sea lions, rock formations, amazing shorelines, the famous Lone Cypress Tree (which really wasn't all that alone), and of course lots of golf courses! The Pebble Beach course is obviously the most famous in the area, but we also saw Spyglass Hill, Poppy Hills, and the Links at Spanish Bay on our tour. The crazy thing is, those are just four of the public courses in the area--there are at least two more private golf clubs in the area as well.

We stopped at the lodge at Pebble Beach, which is a beautiful place. Since it's a public course, anyone is welcome to hang out and play there, although the greens fees are $450 a round. I've also read that you have to stay at least one night at the hotel too, which means you'll spend about $1,000 a game. While I can't say that I'll probably ever play this course in my lifetime (especially the way I play golf), it was still fun to stand right next to the 18th green and take some amazing pictures! We thought about buying a t-shirt in one of the many shops there to commemorate the occasion, but I just couldn't justify spending $65 on a t-shirt because it said Pebble Beach! I know...I'm so cheap. We should have probably purchased some of the U.S. Open 2010 gear at the shop that sold items just for this upcoming event. Even though the regular golf shirts were like $120, they'll probably be way more expensive by the time 2010 rolls around. Chad is already trying to figure out how he can get tickets in two years!

The one thing that I found really amazing about 17-Mile Drive is that it's so public, and yet it's also the main thoroughfare through the very exclusive Pebble Beach neighborhood! I couldn't imagine spending that much money on a home only to have hundreds of tourists drive by my house on a daily basis. With that said, having annoying tourists frequent your backyard might be a small price to pay for having such a beautiful backdrop for your daily jog!

After leaving the Pebble Beach area, we headed north on our continuing journey to San Francisco. It was only a couple of hours to the south side of the bay, but since we left pretty late in the day Chad was panicking about not getting to see the Celtics play in game 1 of the NBA finals. We Googled "sports bars" in the San Jose area on Chad's Blackberry, found a few to choose from, got directions from Google maps and made it to a restaurant about 30 minutes before tipoff--but the place was so shady looking we didn't even go inside! We ended up at the chain restaurant Chevy's, which was absolutely packed because they had a bunch of happy hour specials going on. We had to stand and wait for a table in the bar because there were no other T.V.s in the restaurant, and since it was first come, first served, these young women who came in behind us asked if we'd be willing to share a 4 top table if it opened up before a table for two. It was kind of strange, but we ended up sitting with complete strangers while we ate our dinner and watched the game! They were very nice and gave us tips on what was good to order and which items were on sale during happy hour (the Cripsy Flautas were awesome, by the way--we about made ourselves sick on them!). Since they were engaged in conversation while we were focused on watching the game, the whole thing was totally fine and only slightly bizarre.

Of course by the end of the game, everyone in the bar knew we were Boston Celtic fans. We weren't too shy about cheering, and thankfully we got to do a lot of cheering since the Celtics ended up winning! I'm just glad we weren't still in the LA area during the game--cheering for the Celtics against the Lakers in LA might have caused a serious problem!


Jen said...

We did the 17-mile drive and highway 1 from San Fransisco to Monterey Bay around 10 years ago. It was so pretty and yes the prices were outrages especially in Carmel and Pebble Beach.

Erin said...

wow, 450 to play golf and 65 for just a tshirt. crazy.