Don’t Miss this Blogger’s Central Coast Tale

Checkout one family blogger’s experience on the Central Coast:

Just arrived in BuelltonSanta Barbara county after an excellent drive down the” PCH” from Carmel, taking in the amazing Coastal scenery of the Big Sur – dramatic cliffs, huge pacific surf and hair-pin bendy roads (another RV navigational challenge)! Had a great lunch-time stop at a restaurant called Nepenthe in the heart of the Big Sur.

Monterey and Carmel were superb – the whale watching was the undoubted highlight with us being extremely lucky in seeing a couple of killer whales and also spending a great few hours in the impressive Aquarium in Monterey.

Tomorrow we are taking in some winery visits in the Santa Ynez wine area and then an afternoon on the beach near Santa Barbara.

Probably time to return the RV as I have started to assess the various merits of the different RV ‘s around the campgrounds – may need some serious help from friends and family to talk me out of entering the dark world of caravanning when we return to the UK. Thanks in advance!

Read more of the Resfamily blog here…
ere…

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Sea Otter Pup on Exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

June 30, 2011: At just 9 weeks old and weighing 11 pounds, she’s the youngest and the smallest sea otter pup that they’ve ever had on exhibit. She’s spending time with Joy, our most experienced mentor mom who can show her all the things a young otter needs to know. Continue reading

SAVOR 2011 Central Coast Tickets Go On Sale!

Sunset magazine has launched ticket sales and posted this year’s website for Sunset’s SAVOR the Central Coast. 

In addition to the main event at the Santa Margarita Ranch featuring celebrity chef Cat Cora – the multi-day celebration, held Sept. 29 through Oct. 2, is set to include a host of new activities:* VIP Reception & Opening Night Event at Hearst Castle (Thursday, Sept. 29) An enchanted evening soiree featuring premium Central Coast wine, tapas, and inimitable coastline views beside William Randolph Hearst’s magnificent Roman-style Neptune Pool.* Sunset Western Wine Awards Gala (Friday evening, Sept. 30). One of the weekend’s most anticipated events, the Sunset Western Wine Awards are recognized as the highest honor for western winemakers.  Hosted on the historic Pismo Beach Pier, the event features tantalizing, locally grown fare paired with wines that have been nominated for a Sunset Western Wine Awards.* Adventure Tours (Friday, Sept. 30). An unparalleled opportunity to explore the unspoiled and diverse majesty of the Central Coast, enhanced by the flavors of a gourmet picnic.  New tours for 2011 include:* Behind-the-scenes Hearst Castle www.HearstCastle.com tour with Sunset travel editor, Peter Fish* Kayak tour of the peaceful Morro Bay Estuary* Afternoon of horseback riding across the Oceano Dunes* Expert-guided hike through rugged Moñtana de Oro State Park*  Tour of the newly-restored Avila Lighthouse with Sunset associate garden editor, Julie Chai* Hot-air balloon ride over the Paso Robles wine region with Sunset president, Barb Newton*  “Berry to Bottle” winemaking experience with Sunset wine editor, Sara Schneider

*  Main Event at Santa Margarita Ranch (Saturday, Oct. 1 and Sunday, Oct. 2)

* The Backyard Farm – Docent-led seminars on raising poultry, bees, goats, growing veggies and, potato towers; making compost, and more. Tours benefit the Lillian Larsen School in San Miguel as part of the national Farm-to-School Program.

* Winemaker Central Seminar Stage – This is a new SAVOR stage dedicated to the fruit of the vine. Seminars will feature unforgettable Paso Robles blends, cool-climate syrahs and a blind tasting of the Central Coast’s best pinot noirs.

* Cat Cora Demonstration – Celebrity chef Cat Cora brings her world-renowned culinary expertise and Iron Chef style to a seminar on “Classics with a Twist.” Visit the pavilion afterward where she’ll be signing books.

* Sustainable Seafood with Cindy Pawlcyn – With restaurants including Northern California favorites Fog City Diner, Mustards Grill and Go Fish, celebrity chef Cindy Pawlcyn brings her contagious passion for sustainable seafood to SAVOR.

* Beer Tasting and Food Pairing Seminar – Sunset magazine Food Editor Margo True picks her favorite Central Coast beers and pairs them with dishes made from local ingredients.

Ticket information

Tickets for the Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast officially went on sale on May 5. Tickets will also be available at Farm Supply stores on the Central Coast beginning July 5. Sunset magazine is partnering with the San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Conference Bureau to launch Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast.

For more event information and ticketing, visit www.SavorCentralCoast.com or call 768-6653.

Become a fan on Facebook , http://www.facebook.com/SavorCC, or follow them on Twitter (@SavorCC). Ticket proceeds and sponsorships are considered donations to the San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Convention Bureau, a 501c6 nonprofit tourism organization promoting San Luis Obispo County.

• About Sunset magazine

Sunset magazine is the premier guide to life in the West, covering the newest and best ideas in Western home design and landscaping, food and entertaining, and regional travel in 13 Western states. Sunset and http://www.sunset.com are part of the lifestyle group of magazines and websites published by the Time Inc. Lifestyle Group.

• About the San Luis Obispo

Visitors & Conference Bureau

The San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Conference Bureau promotes San Luis Obispo County through advertising, marketing, public relations and group sales.  Its member base is comprised of more than 500 tourism industry-related businesses including lodging properties, restaurants, wineries, golf courses and retail stores.

For more information on the VCB, visit www.SanLuisObispoCounty.com or contact Molly Morrison Cano at 781-2531 or mollym@SanLuisObispoCounty.com.

His Royal Highness The Prince Consort of Denmark to Visit Solvang during Centennial Celebration

The Palace in Denmark has announced that His Royal Highness the Prince Consort Henrik of Denmark will visit Solvang on Saturday, June 11, 2011.

He will help celebrate the city’s Centennial as well as re-affirm the historic, cultural, and business ties between Denmark and the “Danish Capital of America.” Accompanying him will be Peter Taksoe-Jensen, Denmark’s Ambassador to the United States, and Torsten Jansen, Minister Counselor Culture and Public Diplomacy at the Royal Danish Embassy in Washington, DC.

Danish Prince Consort Solvang CA June 2011

Get more details at http://www.solvang100.com/

California’s Scenic Highway 1 to Reopen April 21, 2011

Big Sur Hotels, Restaurants and State Parks Set for Summer Tourism Season, Occupancy Projected at nearly 90% for June/2011-

PR Newswire

BIG SUR, Calif., April 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Spring means renewal, and where better to spike the senses than Big Sur, TripAdvisor’s® #7 Best U.S. Destination (Traveler’s Choice, 2010) sporting 90 miles of iconic outback from Carmel to San Luis Obispo.  Just in time for tourism season, Scenic Highway 1 is scheduled to officially reopened April 21, 2011 following a March 16, 2011 slide and road closure south of Carmel.  Top stops from Point Sur Lighthouse Station toNepenthe restaurantJulia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Henry Miller Memorial Library are open for business as well as the region’s 12 lodging options.  “This is a critical time for the reopening of Highway 1,” said John Reyes, Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Improved access toBig Sur couldn’t have come at a better time as visitation to the area is already increasing.” CalTrans estimates that nearly four million visitors travel to Big Sur on Highway 1 annually.

HOTELS REPORT POSITIVE BOOKINGS

Big Sur is poised for the summer tourism thanks in large part to the region’s loyal repeat guest ratio and critical international travel market that enjoys this slice of real California.  Area hotels, which comprise 303 guestrooms, have an average projected occupancy rate of 89.9% by June.  “Big Sur guests have a strong emotional tie to the area, this translates into profitable repeat guest ratio,” says Janet Lesniak of the Big Sur River Inn, which is projecting an 89% occupancy rate.  Basil Sanborn, owner of the newly-remodeled Glen Oaks Big Sur, notes “hotel bookings have already bounced back in anticipation of Highway 1 reopening.  We are projecting 90% occupancy as of mid-May.”  Other hotel properties reporting a strong comeback by June include Big Sur Lodge(90%), Post Ranch Inn (80%), Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn (100%) and Treebones Resort (100%).

TO SUR WITH LOVE: TOP 10 ICONIC STOPS

For adventurers, Big Sur packs in hundreds of miles of hiking terrain, resident wild animals and all things oceanic.  Its seamless blend of rustic yet revered lands have made “El Sur Grande” home to a long list of artists, poets and craftspeople since the area was first settled in the 1870s.  For nature and auto enthusiasts, the trek through Big Sur is a rite of passage.  Strike out southbound from Carmel and let the seduction begin.

Point Lobos State Reserve

Noted as “the crown jewel of the State park system,” this is the stop for hikers, birders and divers.  At 25 miles north of Big Sur and home to 250+ animal and bird species, the 544-acre park packs plenty of punch.  Try the ocean-front Perimeter trail or just park and hit the key points including Cypress Grove, home to one of two naturally growing strands of Monterey Cypress in the world, Bird Island, Whaler’s Cove and China Cove – with its dramatic sparkling jade-green waters framed by hanging Cliffside gardens.

Bixby Creek Bridge

One of the most photographed features on the West Coast, this architectural marvel linked the world to Big Sur in 1932 at a cost of $10 million.  The 714-ft. long bridge is one of the top ten highest single-span bridges in the world and has debuted in Play Misty for Me, as well as a number of television programs and car advertisements.  It also is center stage for the annual Big Sur Marathon every April.

Point Sur Lighthouse Station

Go off-road for a seasonal moonlight hike/tour at this State Historic Landmark set on a volcanic rock 361 feet above the Pacific.  Located in Point Sur State Historic Park, the lighthouse has been in operation since 1889 and is the West Coast’s only complete turn-of-the-century light station open to the public.  The lighthouse and nine other buildings, including a complete blacksmith and carpentry ship, are viewable by guided tour.

Pfeiffer Beach

Hard to find and even harder to forget, this pristine beach is a rare opportunity to get up close withBig Sur’s shoreline with dramatic offshore rocks and an unusual purple sand, from manganese garnet particles that have washed down from the hillside.  This is nature at its naked best, especially at sunset.  A sharp right turn on the only paved road past the Big Sur Post Office (Sycamore Canyon Road) heading south on Highway 1 delivers a two-mile windy road, from there a walking path opens up to this hidden gem.

Nepenthe Restaurant

Set 808 ft. above the crashing surf, this classic redwood and glass outpost was once home to author Henry Miller, doubled as a dance floor in the film Sandpiper and was a gift from Orson Welles to actress Rita Hayworth in 1944.  Today, travelers find Nepenthe’s lure irresistible, with views to infinity as the sun slips into the sea.  An open-pit fireplace, meandering decks and dishes like local Castroville artichokes and the signature Ambrosia hamburger paired with a substantial wine by the glass program ensure an ethereal stay.

Henry Miller Memorial Library

The funky library, tucked deep in a redwood grove along Highway 1, offers a variety of books by Miller and his contemporaries, a sculpture garden, alfresco stage for performances and plenty ofBig Sur character.  Henry Miller spent eighteen years (1944-1962) living in Big Sur while turning out some of his finest work, including The Rosy Crucifixion, a three-volume epic about his life with his second wife, June; and Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, the story of his life in the region.

McWay Falls

Located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, this slender yet dramatic 80-ft. fall is a brief one-mile round trip jaunt via the Scenic Overlook/Waterfall trail.  The falls flow year-round and are one of only two in the region that are close enough to the ocean to be referred as “tidefalls” with its delicate sand landing.  Along McWay Creek, the path leads through a tunnel under Highway 1 and emerges with a spectacular grand panorama of the Big Sur coast.

Esalen Institute

Once home to a Native American Esselen tribe, the institute sits on 27 acres of spectacular Big Surcoastline with the Santa Lucia Mountains rising sharply behind.  In 1962, Esalen was founded as an alternative educational center devoted to all things “human potential.” Today it is better known for its blend of East/West philosophies, workshops and breathtaking grounds blessed with natural hot springs. Baths are open to the public from 1:00 a.m. – 3:00 a.m.; $20.  Guestrooms are sometimes available independent of workshops.

Limekiln State Park

For a true Raiders of the Lost Ark adventure, visit this magical site.  Cutting deep through towering redwoods along several lush creeks line four 100+ year old lost limekilns, used for quarrying limestone in the 1870-1880s. The Park combines crashing Pacific with an opportunity to trek through some of the oldest and largest redwood groves in Monterey County.  Cut down to the beach thereafter for prime views or sunbathing.

Jade Cove          

Named after the smooth, waxy stone frequently found here, Jade Cove offers an inside look at the riches of Big Sur.  Two miles south of Sand Dollar Beach, the Jade Cove Trail quickly descends from the bluffs to the beach with a number of rocky coves.  Scout about for treasures while soaking in the dynamic mixture of land and sea.  Note: regulations for collecting apply.

Whale Watching

Highway 1 also boasts several vantage points from which to view the migratory path of the California Gray Whale. Between late November and early February, these giant mammals swim south to the warm waters of Baja California, Mexico, where they breed and birth their calves. The whales often travel together in large pods, and their trademark spouting makes these huge creatures easy to identify. Then, from late February through early April, the migration reverses itself.

VISITOR INFORMATION

Monterey County is located 120 miles/192 km south of San Francisco and 345 miles/552 km north of Los Angeles along the classic California corridor, Highway 1.  The region boasts 99 miles of prime Pacific Coastline, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, three historic missions, 40,000 acres of premium vineyards, 24 golf courses and over 250 lodging properties.  Monterey County includes the Monterey Peninsula, Big Sur, North County and the Salinas Valley.  The Monterey Peninsula Airport (MRY), just three miles from historic downtown Monterey and minutes from the area’s major attractions, is served by non-stop flights to and from Denver (DEN), Las Vegas (LAS), Phoenix (PHX), Los Angeles (LAX), San Diego (SAN) and San Francisco (SFO).  www.SeeMonterey.com.

SOURCE Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau

California’s Central Coast Dazzling Travel Deals

For DOZENS of dazzling travel deals on lodging and activities click on:

California’s Central Coast.

The Central Coast is the Original Road Trip!

www.TourTheCentralCoast.com

2011 Amgen Tour of California

2011 Amgen Tour of California Route Revealed for Stages 4, 5 & 6

Stage 5, Presented by Rabobank: Seaside to Paso Robles (Thursday, May 19)http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/Route/stages/stage5.html

Start Location: Seaside (City Hall – Canyon Del Rey Blvd.)

Finish Location: Paso Robles (11th and Spring St.)

The Amgen Tour of California will return to Seaside and the Monterey Peninsula once again in 2011, marking the first official race start in this storied location since the race last visited the city in 2008. The race will take the same route down Hwy. 1 through Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, and Big Sur, providing some of the most dramatic and compelling scenery of any location in the world. The route has quickly become legendary among the pro peloton with the Bixby Bridge, towering cliffs, crashing waves, lighthouses, two KOMs, and herds of sea lions that gradually give way to a gentler coast line.

After passing through a Sprint line in San Simeon (home of the Hearst Castle), the race will enter the tranquil seaside town of Cambria, where their main street is lined with quaint shops. A mile later, tranquility will be left behind as the riders start Santa Rosa Creek Rd. The road is narrow, twisting and overgrown with hanging vegetation, making the racers feel like they’ve entered the set of a Harry Potter movie. On this route, if the peloton lets a rider escape up the road, they may never see him again. It will be a constant 2-3 percent grade up Santa Rosa Creek Rd. until the riders reach the 20 percent “Wall.” A steep and technical descent will face the riders as they crest the summit of the KOM.

From here, Stage 5 will offer up some of the most beautiful roads of the 2011 route into Paso Robles as the roads roll past several of the famous vineyards and wineries of the Paso Robles wine region. This is the same long finishing straight to the Downtown City Park in Paso Robles that was used the last time the Amgen Tour of California finished here in 2009. There were thousands of screaming fans to watch the finishing sprint then, and a repeat performance is guaranteed for the conclusion of Stage 5 in 2011.

Stage 6, Presented by Herbalife: Solvang Individual Time Trial (Friday, May 20)http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/Route/stages/stage6.html

Start Location: Intersection of Mission Dr. and 1st St.

Finish Location: Copenhagen Dr.

After a hiatus in 2010, the Amgen Tour of California’s individual time trial returns to Solvang, the quaint Danish village that plays host annually to some of the Pro Tour teams for training camps, as well as some of the largest cycling events in the U.S. With the start and finish lines located only one block apart, Stage 6 will be an ideal location for spectators to view the race. The route will highlight the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, winding through quaint towns, vineyards, and farms, and one short but steep climb up Ballard Canyon. This year’s short, flat and fast time trial will create a challenging test for the riders and is expected to be a decisive day of the race. As in the past, the Solvang time trial will separate the true contenders for the golden jersey from the rest of the field.

For more details…

http://www.independent.com/news/2011/feb/11/2011-amgen-tour-california-route-revealed-stages-4/

For race info, previews, live videos, results and highlights see

http://www.steephill.tv/tour-of-california/