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July 31, 2010

Another Saturday at the Sea

"We've got to get right down to the sea -
We've got to get to the sea ... "
- Jack Johnson, "To the Sea" (song after post)

Given that last weekend’s post was a bit of a downer, I figured it was only fitting for me to report on a much happier Saturday at the sea, courtesy of a few bikes, two little girls, and a beautiful summer day along the ocean.

We saddled up the bikes and set out from Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, which is always a beehive of activity on weekends, and also holds a special spot in my daughters’ heart for another reason, which I’ll explain shortly.

For the time being, though, we left the crowds behind for a while on the coastal recreation trail that stretches through historic Cannery Row and along the waterfront …

… including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is another favorite stop for our kids, but today was just a landmark on the way to a different destination.

Continuing past the Aquarium, the tourist crowds thin out a bit again, and from here to the town of Pacific Grove it’s pretty much smooth sailing …

… just ask this smooth sailboat.

Beyond Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove, the rec trail ends and the road opens up into a wide, smooth, gently rolling boulevard that hugs the coastline, unless you make a sharp left turn about a mile up the road …

… and head for the Point Pinos lighthouse, which is ironically one of the best-hidden little destinations on this tourist-crazy peninsula. It was built in 1855, and is the oldest continuously working lighthouse in the state.

If you’ve got a couple of curious little girls and a bit of free time on your hands, you can walk inside and explore the whole thing – which, of course, we did. We went upstairs and downstairs, looked at old beacon lights and touched the foghorn, and spoke with a woman who was a resident of the lighthouse for three years while her Coast Guard husband was stationed there. When you can throw a bit of education in with your exercise, it’s always a nice bonus.

The girls didn’t want to dally too long, though, because they were a bit anxious to return to Monterey …

… and visit my friend’s ice cream parlor on Fisherman's Wharf. Remember when I said how cool it was to have a friend who’s an orthopedic surgeon? As far as my daughters are concerned, the fact that another friend of mine has an ice cream parlor is at least 100 times cooler. Especially when said friend likes to give free ice cream away to charming little daughters of training partners. This is pretty much an automatic stop for us now on our rec trail outings.

There might be better ways to finish a bike ride than sitting on a wharf on a beautiful sunny day eating rainbow sherbet and watching the sea lions commandeer the shoreline … but if so, I’m not aware of them.

All that was left was to say goodbye to the wharf and roll back to the car, with a fresh reminder of all the wonderful things this area - not to mention this life of ours - has to offer.

It’s amazing how therapeutic a nice bike ride can be, and how restorative it is whenever I get to the sea.

And since last weekend's post included a pretty mellow Jack song, this time around is more upbeat; it's the title track - and one of my favorite songs - from his new album.

Jack Johnson, "To the Sea" (click to play):


21stCenturyMom 8/1/10, 7:17 AM  

Great post. I spent a summer living down there just off Fisherman's wharf (on Drake street - the house is still there) and going to school at Hopkins so I walked from Monterey to Pacific Grove every day. The Wharf was not nearly so developed and there were still closed and falling down canneries along the way. The museum wasn't even a dream. One of the greatest summers of my life.

Gretchen 8/1/10, 12:50 PM  


I simply adore those Monterey Cypress. What is it about those trees. They make me feel excited and wistful at the same time.

Also, ice cream is some of the best therapy. Especially with kids. Good to hear about this day.

Angie Bishop 8/1/10, 6:08 PM  

Thanks for the photos :) I miss northern cali so much. I hope to take my boys there and share with them the same wonderful places.

So glad you had a great day with your spawn and thanks for the Jack Johnson. I had not heard that song yet :)

Kevin 8/1/10, 7:18 PM  

Man that makes me miss Monterey, lived in San Jose for 25 years and then was stationed in Monterey for 2 years. I get to come back in a year but only for 6 months. Every time I go out for a hot humid run here in Georgia in the summer I wish I was back there on the coast!

Boris Terzic 8/2/10, 7:04 PM  

Great post, never been there but I certainly want to go and check it out!

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