Monterey -- 07/12/08

We had a great time in Monterey. We (Nancy and me and our niece Lauren) were visiting Nancy's brother Matt and his wife and their two year old son Jake. A lot of our activities took us to kid-friendly places such as parks and playgrounds and, of course, the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The aquarium is highly rated, quite deservedly so. Besides lots of photographs (which I will restrain myself from clogging your bandwidth by showing) I took some short video clips, glued them together, and stuck the result on Youtube:

Monterey has perhaps the very best playground for kids that I have ever seen. It is called Dennis the Menace Park (that link has lots of photos & info). It features a huge variety of slides and swings, lots of sand, a tunnel, bridges, skateboarding area, paddleboats on a lake, and even a real locomotive for kids to explore.

Monterey is also the site of Cannery Row -- a street lined with canneries for the Monterey sardine catch -- now long-gone -- that takes its name from the John Steinbeck novel. Today the old cannery buildings and adjacent structures are filled with shops and restaurants (and condos) and it is a major tourist attraction. The picture below shows us having lunch in a Cannery Row restaurant (The Fish Hopper Restaurant -- the food was quite good, and the views as well).

The picture below shows a view of the Monterey waterfront (as seen from The Fish Hopper).

Monterey isn't just Cannery Row, it has its own Fisherman's Wharf (just like San Francisco, except not as large) with more restaurants and shops, plus its own downtown area with a couple of interesting local history museums. Nancy and Lauren and I went out one morning and explored them on our own. We had lunch at Fisherman's Wharf at The Liberty Seafood Company (clam chowder in bread bowls, very tasty -- by the way, Nancy has come up with a good method of selecting restaurants -- ask local people where they like to eat -- in this case she asked people working in the museums). We were able to look out at the harbor and watch sea otters swimming around.

The sardines may be gone (at least in the kinds of numbers needed to support a commercial fishing industry) but there is a large population of sea otters and seals and sea lions. The seals (as shown in the picture below, taken from the seaside pedestrian and bicycle pathway that goes between Monterey and Pacific Grove) are fond of sunning themselves on the rocks at low tide.

And, finally, sunset over the Pacific (as seen from Matt & Tammy's house, less than half a mile from the waters of Monterey Bay).

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