A sleepy beachside town, laws against loud live music past 9pm, original cobblestone streets... No, this isn't a Hallmark movie - it's Pacific Grove, California and it truly is a dream come true for the visitors and the few who call it's quiet streets home. While many automatically attribute Monterey Bay to the aquarium (and yes, that is where that huge tank is located) the town offers so much more to the visitors and the residents then just a simple otter show. We decided to take an early January long-weekend trip in early 2020 (pre-COVID era) to stay at one of the legendary Four Sister's Bed and Breakfast Inns, The Gosby House Inn and enjoy the quietness that Carmel and Monterey offered to us. A good tip to remember, The Four Sister's B&B Collection Inns are legendary and book up fast! Robert surprised me with our reservation as a November anniversary present, so if you have the ability to plan far ahead in advance - do so, as the quaint or rooms of the ocean, will be booked first!
The Four Sisters Inn Collection have four different Inn locations available all over Monterey; however, we chose The Gosby House Inn because of it's amazing walking distance to local cafes (it's located right on Lighthouse Ave), it was in a quieter area (so if you want to be in the center of Monterey action - this is probably not the street for you!), and the history of the house is adorable.The Gosby House was built in 1886 by J.F. Gosby from Novia Scotia and was so large, he would open his grand home to seasonal visitors to Monterey and Pacific Grove. Believe it or not, this Inn has been expanded many times because Gosby kept running out of rooms to keep people! It was bought in 1978 by the Post Family who added it as a second property to the Four Sisters Inn Collection around Monterey. Some fun moments we shared while staying here was that each morning, the house staff laid out a small fare of breakfast nibbles downstairs: bagels, toast, danish, etc. Every evening, there was wine, coffee, and freshly baked something awaiting on the downstairs coffee table for anyone who needed a midnight drink or nibble! Although Robert and I were always on the go each morning, either for a bike ride ( which they so helpfully stored in the house garage) or out to eat, there was always someone in the main parlor ready to play chess, just chat or even share a glass of wine with. What a cute atmosphere this Inn was!
Of course, there's the matter of 'what was my favorite meal of the trip?' In fact, one of my favorite parts of this trip was the amount of local cafes, snack shops and restaurants we could simply stop at while on a bike ride or walk. It was in fact, because of this little seaside trip, that inspired Robert and I to both move to Oceanside, an area much like Monterey - devoted to local fare and local businesses. But, back to my favorite meal!
The Place: The Red Roof Cafe
The Food: Cafe Fare
Location: Across the street from The Gosby House Inn, on Lighthouse Avenue
We actually came to this cafe twice, the first time was because we were looking for a place for coffee and dessert after our first night in Monterey and this was the only cafe open at 8:00pm! However, as we were leaving, we checked out their breakfast menu and it was so 'wow, yum!' we knew we had to come back. And boy, were we unprepared. What we didn't know is that The Red Roof Cafe is the local spot and they do. not. take reservations, so we were essentially met with the biggest crowd of hungry diners at 9:00am! On the very, very bright side - the food moves out fast at this place so I think we waited 20 minutes? We even scored patio seating, which I totally recommend. Robert and I both ordered the Avocado Toast because we saw it on someone else's plate and it was HUGE! It was one huge piece of sourdough bread, a thick, thick layer of avocado (not guac - I promise), then you can choose how they cook your eggs on top. I chose scrambled, Robert - over easy. I had the side of the potatoes and Robert ordered the side of the tomatoes. Even writing about this, I can't believe how much food received on such a small bistro table.
I keep talking about local cafes and how that was my favorite aspect of this trip, so along with sharing this cute coffee cafe, I'll share my favorite 'quick stop' of the trip.
The Place: Carmel Valley Coffee Roasting Co
The Food: Coffee & Treats
Where: Carmel By The Sea Shoppes, Ocean Ave
First of all, these shoppes are truly a delight. If you have a chance to spend an entire day getting lost in Carmel By The Sea, strolling through tudor-style shops and sipping lattes - this is the place to be! Which brings me to Carmel Valley Roasting Co. We had passed this hub of a shop at least three times and seeing the long line, truthfully unwilling to be apart of it. However, once inside, we understood why this was such the place to be. Since this was before COVID, the entire double-deckered space was crammed with cafe tables and people either reading the local newspaper or sharing a book. I ordered a freshly made pain du croissant and coconut milk latte, Robert ordered the house brew coffee - which they made a fresh pot to order. We both opened the local Carmel newspaper, grabbed the closest cafe table available, and we were able to spend a calming cafe morning with the local surroundings!
The Florida Keys hold many natural treasures with a day trip that will give you an introduction to the most fragile ecosystems in the world and many endangered species. This one focuses on the coral reef and mangrove island habitat, which are disappearing fast as development continues to put huge stresses on the limited natural and human resources