Christmas at the Inns...

While looking for what's happening while we're in town, I found this really awesome Pacific Grove Chamber sponsored event. For two nights, we strolled the streets, getting a glimpse into the Victorian-era inns in all their historic splendor.

We began at Asilomar Hotel & Conference Center with a ranger-led tour of some of its buildings. This unique place was designed by famed architect Julia Morgan. Miss Morgan, the first licensed female in the male dominated field, worked on this YWCA Leadership Camp from 1913 to 1928. Known as Monterey Peninsula's "Refuge by the Sea," the state park is located on 107 acres of state beach and conference grounds, within the quaint and scenic town of Pacific Grove. It is celebrated for its restored dune ecosystem and architectural significance, with cozy, historic structures.
We also came for the hot cider, a handbell concert and its festive decorations.

Each of the Inns were showcasing their holiday spirit as well as their amenities.
There was just something about these framed gloves that tickled me... fingers crossed?

Each location provided treats, Christmas Carols and Santa, who made his way to each place, making us all happy.

♪♫ It's beginning to look a little like Christmas ♫♪

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Sunsets... Every Day Treats!

I just have to share this "eye candy". We have enjoyed the end of day so very much while on the Monterey Peninsula.

This view is from Asilomar and we almost missed it.
We did not make that mistake twice and headed to the shore with plenty of time for the show.
This the moon that is captured above Steve's left shoulder in the previous photo.
Last night's spectacle was absolutely breathtaking.

If you'll notice, there is no cold germ sharing happening in this photo.

“Never waste any amount of time doing anything important
when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under!”
-C. JoyBell C.

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Carmel-by-the-Sea for an Explore

Our destination today was the quaint village of Carmel-by-the-Sea (often simply called Carmel).

Incorporated in 1916, it is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history. In 1906, the San Francisco Call devoted a full page to the "artists, writers and poets at Carmel-by-the-Sea", and in 1910 it reported that 60 percent of Carmel's houses were built by citizens who were "devoting their lives to work connected to the aesthetic arts." Early City Councils were dominated by artists, and the city has had several mayors who were poets or actors, including Herbert Heron, founder of the Forest Theater, bohemian writer and actor Perry Newberry, and actor-director Clint Eastwood. Interestingly, this was the last place photographer Ansel Adams called home. Way, way cool.
Everywhere we looked we discovered "cuteness". We loved this town.

Sustenance was found at the Carmel Bakery, a bakeshop which has been dispensing European-style pastries & pretzels, coffee, soups & sandwiches here since 1906.
Uniqueness abounds in Carmel. For instance, this was interesting... one of the few remaining "milk shrines" that were once positioned every two blocks along Ocean Avenue, the main drag. In the early 20th century, residents left cash and dairy orders in the open hutches to be exchanged every day for fresh butter, cheese, and milk. Now, as in those early days, neighbors gather at the post office to gossip. Most houses in the mile-square central hamlet are named, not numbered, and everyone who is able picks up mail from a warren of boxes on Fifth Street. The city delivers only to the homebound.
Steve didn't seem to notice that he was interrupting the intimacy of the couple sitting next to him.
And the town is not afraid of whimsy!
Our longest pause was to learn about the Carmel Mission. The history of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission takes place over more than 200 years of California's historical timeline. The restored Mission, a National Historic Landmark, was founded in 1770 by Father Junipero Serra, the second of the chain of California missions. The mission served as the headquarters from which Serra directed the expanding mission system of California. 

It is here, in the Basilica, that Serra is buried. This was his favorite of the nine missions he saw to completion.

These simple crosses, adorned with abalone shells, mark just a few of the thousands of graves that are the final resting place for the indigenous people who perished here. Sad reminders.

This was Father Serra's cell, the room in which he lived and died (1784).

And this was rather cool... California’s First Library (founded in 1770) that contains Father Serra’s 400 year-old Bible. The same bible that Ronald Reagan used to be sworn in as our State's governor. Interesting stuff everywhere.
With a population of less than 4,000 people, Carmel-by-the-Sea surprisingly wowed us. We plan to return for a longer explore to learn even more about this unique place.

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Monterey Peninsula: Day 1

Today was the perfect day to get out in it all. When it's sunny and warm, there is nowhere like here.

A must is always a visit to the harbor. Boats docked evoke wanderlust. What scenery!

We could observe the various wildlife for hours.

We even received a history lesson while strolling by the sea. Steve is in front of the mural called the Vizcaino - Serra Oak. This is an image of the actual tree marking where Monterey began when Sebastian Vizcaino, leading a fleet of three ships, sailed into Monterey Bay (1602). Vizcaino named the bay Monte Rey in honor of the Viceroy of Mexico, Don Gaspar de Zuñiga y Acevedo, the Count of Monte Rey, Spain, who dispatched the expedition to find a port for Spanish galleons. History really is everywhere.
Fish & Chips are required eating when in a seaside town. Vivolo's Chowder House served us a pretty delicious dish of them.
We will be hanging out in Monterey's less known neighbor, on and off, for a few days. Pacific Grove was founded in 1875 when Pacific Land Improvement Company, owned by David Jacks, donated acreage towards the first West Coast Chautauqua retreat formed by a group of Methodists who modeled the town after Ocean Grove, New Jersey. In time, the butterflies, fragrant pines and fresh sea air brought others to the Pacific Grove Retreat to rest and meditate. The initial camp meeting of the Pacific Coast branch of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle was held in here in June 1879. Modeled after the Methodist Sunday school teachers' training camp established in 1874 at Chautauqua Lake, New York, this location became part of a nationwide educational network. Interesting!
We came today for the butterflies.
Every year, thousands of monarch butterflies overwinter in Pacific Grove. Arriving in October, they cluster together on pine, cypress and eucalyptus trees in the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. Their migration to here is so unique that Pacific Grove is nicknamed "Butterfly Town, U.S.A." Oh man, I do love butterflies.

This is another place we could have stayed for hours, observing the unique happenings of this special place.
I delighted in seeing the eucalyptus trees in bloom.
And a hummingbird or two. It has been a very good day indeed.
“My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.”
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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