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Calling all San Diegans. If you’re looking for an inexpensive getaway to somewhere not Southern California, Alaska Airlines offers direct tickets to Monterey for $130 RT in winter/early spring! Jen and I visited late February for a work conference that we extended into a weekend stay. Here are my suggestions for visiting the Monterey Bay Area.

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Where to Stay in Monterey: Jabberwock Inn. This bed and breakfast, located in New Monterey (and only 4 blocks away from Pacific Grove), is named after Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky poem from Alice in Wonderland’s Through The Looking Glass novel (I actually had to memorize and recite this poem in 4th Grade). Everything at this Inn is tied to this poem— from the names of the breakfast dishes to the names of the rooms. We stayed in the Tum Tum Tree, which was a quiet little cottage separate from the main house with ocean views, patio hangs, and a pot belly stove fireplace. The sunroom in the main house has expansive windows that look west with ocean views. Every morning you’re prepared breakfast by the innkeepers (it alternates from savory and sweet every other day). And every night, there’s wine and cookies sitting out for you.

Where to Eat in Monterey: Pacific Grove was my family vacation spot growing up, so visiting now makes it very familiar. Red House Cafe is one of my favorite brunch spots. Although we didn’t have a chance to visit there this time, it’s where I developed my “sophisticated” taste buds for marscapone cheese and berry crostinis. You should also stop by the Espresso Bar at Crema, serving up Verve Coffee Roasters espresso and the best baked goods (scones, cheddar biscuits, etc.)!

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Where Else to Go: Unfortunately when we visited, sections of Hwy 1 were closed leading up to Big Sur due to mudslides from the recent big storms. Instead, we drive from Pacific Grove through the scenic 17 Mile Drive, which led us directly to Carmel. When you’re in Carmel, don’t miss walking along the rocky, forested coast. It is probably one of the most peaceful things you could ever do, and you’ll feel like you’re on your own secluded retreat.

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Where to Stay in Carmel: We stayed at Hotel Carmel, formerly the Dolphin Inn, that was recently remodeled into a hipsters hotel paradise. The lobby is decked out with a marble table, indigo dyed pillows and leather butterfly chairs. They also serve a complimentary bagel bar in the mornings.


Where to Eat in Carmel: Also, don’t miss lunch/dinner at La Bicyclette. This cute French/Italian bistro serves up some of the best salads, pizzas, entrees, rose, etc. We hit this spot twice during our 2 day stay. There are also a ton of wine tasting rooms (like 15+) in Camel, so you’re guaranteed to never go thirsty!


Thursday – Wednesday night we took a red-eye flight, and I slept in every which way possible.  Both plane rides and the car ride back to Virginia.  We had a layover in Philadelphia where we rode in a baby plane—only 12 rows and we walked up to it like VIP!  Once we landed in Baltimore, Devon’s cousin and husband (who we were going to stay with for the first couple of nights in Virginia) were gracious hosts who drove us around and gave us a mobile tour, stopping at a few iconic points of interest.  DC is so expansive and the monuments so grandiose, we definitely would’ve been overly ambitious on our own.
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On our first day we saw: ? Cathedral, Iwo Jima, Washington Monument (Devon’s favorite), WWII Memorial and the Vietnam Wall.
Once back and situated in Virginia, we went out for a 3 mile run through a cool forest/wooded area that backed up behind Dev’s cousins house.  Needless to say, we hit the hay pretty early this night.
Friday – We woke up early, and rode in with Devon’s cousin to the city (DC).  She had to work so we got an early start to the day.  We arrived at the National Archives around 9:45am, where we waited with so many kids eating ice cream and drinking soda (who does this so early in the morning? So strange!).  After waiting an hour (it opened at 10am), we spent about 15 minutes inside, glancing at the Bill of Rights, Constitution (from a distance) and Magna Carta.  Oh ya, we also saw Michelle Obama’s dress, and the original artwork/design for Michael Jackson’s anti-gravity shoes.
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Next, our plan was to find a bikeshare and ride over to the expo.  However, as we kept walking and walking, we never came across any stations (weird because we had seen so many the day before).  We ended up right by the Lincoln Memorial/Reflecting Pool, so we took some pics before heading over to Georgetown.
The expo was cool, and we both waited about, oh 2 minutes, to get our hair braided at the Paul Mitchell station.  We then proceeded to do some shopping in Georgetown (mainly the Nike store).  By 4pm we were done, and ready to leave.  Luckily, it was right before it started to rain.  We got back to Virginia and went out for Mexican food (haha) and a movie (The Other Woman).  See, not your typical DC vacation.
Saturday – After sleeping TEN HOURS, we went for a quick shake out run, then lounged all day. We just hung out in the front yard, reading books and soaking up the sun.  Such a community based neighborhood!
Later that night we checked into our hotel room (we stayed at the Melrose Georgetown) with the CONSTITUTION on the wall (one of the main reasons we chose this hotel.  That, and George Washington/dollar pictures).
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Sunday – WE RAN DC.  Had a great race, and was completely elated at the finish.  Then we walked SO MUCH.  We walked, and walked, and walked, aimlessly, with no direction.  Even with no sleep the night before, I was on go go go mode.  We ended up with over 52k steps for the day (around 25.17 miles – a new record for me!).
Monday – We had a really low-key day before our flight in the afternoon.  We checked out Georgetown, my new favorite college, and I felt compelled to buy some gear 2 years post graduating from not this college…Originally, we wanted to rent bikes and ride through the National Mall, and rent paddle boats across from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, just outdoorsy things, but both of these didn’t happen (especially the day after the half marathon).

All in all, Devon and I had the perfect trip because we both felt the same about waiting in lines, museums, etc.  And the fact that the only Smithsonian Museum that really interested us was the botanical gardens/orchid exhibit (even with that we still didn’t go).  We loved doing most of our sightseeing during the first half, and then staying in Georgetown for the second half.  Our hotel was conveniently situated in close proximity to Georgetown as well as some decent restaurants.  We managed to avoid public transportation (except for using Uber twice) because the weather was so beautiful, it just welcomed walking.  Devon’s cousin also went above and beyond in chauffeuring us around.  It was so relaxing to not have to make decisions (and even when we were posed with this, we were both so indecisive), and to not have to think about logistics.  A true vacation!


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