If there is anything better than vacation, it is a free vacation. When Peter told me a few months ago that he was planning on attending a work-related Immunology conference in Monterey, a part of the central coast we’ve never been to, I was sad to miss out on seeing a new place with him. But then plans worked in our favor and the kids and I ended up being able to tag along while he met with important people who do important things. (This was the extent of my knowledge of immunology prior to Caltech.)
He was busy for large portions of the day, but the kids and I were able to explore parts of the Pacific Grove/Monterey area on our own, and then during a few break periods he was able to join us in our explorations. It was sunny but chilly, perfect for long walks along the coast and towns. I’m not confident enough yet to brave immersion in the water outnumbered by kids, anyway.
Our lodgings were a sort of inn/cabin/wannabemodernyetquaintandold hybrid of a residence. A block away from Peter’s conference, a little farther to the coast, and perfect for us!
On the road heading north. The countryside was so green, as green as I’ve seen California.
Driving through rainbow valley, where we saw rainbows, and double rainbows, galore.
After arriving Peter checked in to the conference and we walked around the grounds.
The next morning the kids and I went to the Monarch Grove Sanctuary, a place where thousand of migrating Monarch butterflies habitat for the winter months. Apparently the fine is $1000 if a butterfly is harmed. I made sure the kids stayed on the path.
It was hard to take many pictures with the kids running around. Gotta protect those butterflies.
Timer fail…or a possible win, given Andrew’s face.
Then we walked several miles along a beautiful coastal trail from Pacific Grove to Monterey. Kate walked the whole way and was cheerful and energetic there and back.
Look closely, they may look like rocks but are actually harbor seals.
We made it to Cannery Row in Monterey!
As a special treat, we stopped to get some cookies. It was vacation for us, after all, and nothing says vacation like cookies before lunch.
Drew’s favorite part of the morning, a glass elevator.
In the afternoon Peter had a break, so we drove the 17 Mile Drive. Aptly named.
Among the many beautiful coastal views along the drive was this 200 year old Cypress tree.
We also made a quick stop in Carmel (or Carmel-by-the-Sea) to see the beach and get a quick snack and coffee. Apparently Clint Eastwood was the mayor of the town once upon a time.
Andrew and his precious stone. He always finds treasures wherever he goes.
Peter bought me fudge, having learned in our almost 5 years of marriage that fudge is my main love language.
Kate picked a pretzel.
Andrew got to splash in the water and run around.
Day 3 involved more morning walks, this time to Fisherman’s Wharf.
Kate and I avoided various forms of sugary temptations (mostly because I wisely left my cash behind).
And then we found an amazing old school playground right by the coast. Rock walls, roller slides, suspending bridges…made me want to be 6 again.
Then we met up with Peter again and did some quick afternoon hiking in Point Lobos State Park.
His first sorta nap in three days. Poor kid.
And then we went in search of coffee. And ended up driving along the 1 until we reached Big Sur. At least it was pretty.
And that was the last picture taken. A fantastic trip with lots of exploration. Loving California.