Pacific Grove Respite

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.

Beach access for this boardwalk is close to the Fishwife restaurant.
Bonus: visiting the Farmers Market which is on Monday afternoons in PG.

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.

Covid precautions are taken seriously, everyone wears a mask in public areas.

Downtown Pacific Grove boasts a really fun jewelry store: A Niche in Tyme.

Prices are reasonable. It’s fun to browse.

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.)

Acid-testing gold rings.

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.

Nice bike trail starts here at Lover’s Point.
Ride past the Monterey Aquarium (temporarily shuttered due to Covid).
The old Custom House on the trail in Monterey holds a nice little museum.
You can ride for miles past Monterey too, but watch for sand on the trail in spots.

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.

At Lover’s Point, we saw mothers introducing their toddlers to the water, including these in toddler-sized wet suits.
If it’s cold and rainy, warm your tush on the bench on this patio.

Tidbits of the history of Asian immigration to the area are noted on small plaques along the trail.

Preserved cottages for Filipino cannery workers along the trail near Cannery Row. Read more.
Pelicans on the rocks near Monterey Wharf.

We stopped at our favorite breakfast / lunch place, the trailside cafe (Wave Street Cafe) in the Cannery Row area.

It’s worth the wait!

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.

Pelican and seagull feeding frenzy we witnessed along the drive.
Patient surfers waiting for a big wave.

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

Go and enjoy our beautiful coast!

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.

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