A Visit to Northern California: Monterey


I grew up in Monterey (and my parents still live there) so we go back to visit pretty often. Marlow and I usually go for long weekends, but all three of us went this time and we were there for over a week. It was a much needed break from routine.

This was the first visit where we did activities specifically for Marlow. Prior to this trip, she was just so tiny and went along with whatever we did. Now she is curious and soaking everything in around her. It’s really fun showing her my hometown in a way she can understand. Here is what we did, if you would like to see…


Our first stop was, of course, the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is famous for a reason–the aquarium is a must-see. I spent so much time here as a kid and it is just as majestic as an adult. It’s funny because when I was little, I thought it was so exciting and fun; as an adult, it’s calming and almost therapeutic. The rooms are dark, calm music is playing, and tanks surround you. The jellyfish and penguins were Mo’s favorites, as was the touch pool in the kiddy area (they have an awesome kids area).



Ergo for the win! We love ours (we have this one). She can really just chill in this thing for hours.




The touch pool! This used to freak. me. out. as a kid (stings rays are slimy!) but now its all so fascinating.



Marlow’s cousin Willow was our tour guide :)



The views aren’t bad either…


note: the Aquarium gets busy quickly, so going on a weekday morning, if you can swing it, is the best time to go. 


Next, we went to see Aunt Lexi at MY Museum, which is a must-see with kids…my-museum



It’s an exploratory museum and they did such a good job with it.


We eat a ton when we come, especially seafood. Like these poke bowls…


Our first stop is Poke Lab (I went there five times in two weeks). It’s just that good. The fish is SO fresh and the bowls are only eleven bucks! alvarado-brewing-co


One evening, Carter and I snuck off to Alvarado Brewing Co. for a drink in their new outdoor area…


…and went on a fancy date to Roy’s at Pebble Beach. It felt like we were back in Maui for our honeymoon! It was all so incredible (if you want to experience Spanish Bay but don’t want to eat a meal, there are fire pits and tables outside with a bar. Every night at sunset, a bagpiper plays hymns for a half hour. It’s worth seeing. If you look closely at the picture above, you can see him). We ordered the scallops, seared ahi, and a few sushi rolls.

Of course, there was a lot of playing and cuddling with Nana…

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One afternoon, we hopped in the car and went to see the Redwoods…our longtime favorite stop during California visits.



Redwoods are extraordinary. I grew up with a huge one in our front yard, and looking back, I didn’t understand its majesty. Our favorite park is Henry Cowell in Santa Cruz. There is a perfect mile long loop with trails extending off it, if you want to walk for longer. Super kid friendly, btw.


California may be expensive, but the most beautiful parts of it are free.


I’ll share pictures from our road trip up the coast soon.

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