We’ve had the good fortune to spend some time in Pacific Grove this fall. Way back on Labor Day 2020, when most of the San Francisco Bay area was smothered in an orange haze, we had a late lunch and walked along Asilomar Beach. It was lovely with clear skies and a slight ocean breeze.
Since then, we’ve had several other one- or two-day trips over and each visit has been beautiful. This is the best time of year along the Monterey Bay. On our visits, we’ve always felt safe from Covid. And there are plenty of good restaurants with outside eating––I’ll list our favorites at the bottom of this post.
Downtown Pacific Grove boasts a really fun jewelry store: A Niche in Tyme.
Owner Chuck Long also buys silver and gold, and you won’t find more fair prices anywhere. He is as honest as they come. Take in your broken chains, single earrings, and other no-longer-wanted jewelry items, and you can earn some real money. (If you have a lot of items, call first and arrange an appointment.)
Park near Asilomar and go either direction for a great bike ride.
Take Sunset Drive away from the ocean and turn right on Seventeen Mile Drive, to go through the free-to-bikes gate on the famous drive. Or take Sunset Drive around the point, then Ocean View boulevard to catch the trail at Lover’s Point, enjoying ocean views all the way to Monterey and beyond. When you return to your car, enjoy some great seafood and good service at The Fishwife.
If walking and hiking is what you do, you have plenty of options there too. On our last visit, we walked along the trail from Lovers Point to Monterey’s Fishermans Wharf, and enjoyed the scenery as well as the wildlife and people-watching.
Tidbits of the history of Asian immigration to the area are noted on small plaques along the trail.
We stopped at our favorite breakfast / lunch place, the trailside cafe (Wave Street Cafe) in the Cannery Row area.
Or if you prefer to drive and see the sights from your car, then the drive around the point (Sunset Drive and Ocean View Boulevard) is easy and beautiful, with plenty of places to stop and enjoy the scenery. We saw bird’s going crazy and watched surfers catch some large waves along Asilomar Beach.
Where we’ve eaten:
The Fishwife. Seafood. I loved the tilapia salad on the lunch menu, which is in some ways better than the dinner menu.
Poppy Hall. Limited selection of high-quality dinners. Nice outside eating area.
Max’s. Long a favorite of ours––we had take-out that was very good. They also have an outside eating area behind the building.
Wave Street Cafe. Our favorite for breakfast or lunch.
Pacific Thai. We had take-out from here because we were staying close by and one of our sons wanted Thai. It was good, but very garlicky.
Dates of our visits: September and October, 2020
Lodging: Pacific Grove Plaza
Postscript: Friends tell me that weekends are quite busy, and the mask rules are not enforced. My advice is to go on weekdays if you want to avoid crowds. We stayed at Pacific Grove Plaza, a timeshare resort that also functions as a hotel. Nice accommodations with full kitchens.