California Dreaming
by Roberta B. Turner & René Mahfood

Our family has always loved visiting California and in particular the Carmel, Pebble Beach and Big Sur areas. On our last trip we stayed at Carmel Valley Ranch and we enjoyed the resort and the area. The drive to Big Sur was amazingly beautiful and very special. We enjoyed Post Ranch Inn’s restaurant, Sierra Mar, which is located high among the cliffs and offers spectacular views of the area.

Our daughter wanted to plan a family trip based on her son’s and husband’s love of golf. So, they decided their bucket list vacation would be to Pebble Beach. They stayed at The Lodge at Pebble Beach and experienced a week of wonder. The guys played golf every day and enjoyed every challenging moment. They had tee times at Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and The Hay, which is Tiger Wood’s newest 9-hole creation. They were in awe of the courses and Pebble Beach Golf Course became their favorite.

The Lodge at Pebble Beach offers rooms, suites, and houses to guests. The Lodge has five restaurants, a golf shop, boutique stores and a market. We enjoyed breakfast at The Galley Café overlooking the first tee and the putting green. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor balcony seating and serves an excellent choice of menu items to guests. The favorite restaurant was Stillwater Bar & Grill, which is in the main lodge overlooking the 18th hole and the Pacific Ocean. The view from this restaurant is stunning and offers a more formal breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The other three restaurants also have a lot to offer with the same stunning views: The Tap Room, The Bench and The Terrace Lounge.

The Lodge sits on the seventeen-mile scene road and offers a variety of things to do. Our family decided to take a private horseback ride and the ride we chose went up and down a mountain and across from a private golf course on to the scenic road and across to the beach.  It was a special family experience.

The location of The Lodge is perfect with a ten-minute drive to Carmel and twenty minutes to Monterey, and we also discovered a quaint little town called Pacific Grove which was approximately five minutes outside Monterey. We visited the Wharf and the Sea Aquarium. The Wharf offers various whale watching opportunities with rustic stores and restaurants. We lunched at the Lala Grill with incredible views and good food.

The Aquarium is very pretty with gorgeous views of the seals resting on the rocks. There are also a lot of touristy shops and restaurants that we tried to avoid.

Carmel By the Sea is a very special town that provides some of the world’s finest scenery, historic sites, art galleries, restaurants, and boutique shops. It is charming and very quaint. We highly recommend a walking tour of this city.

We also visited Carmel Mission Basilica Museum located at the mouth of Carmel Valley. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark as the only Spanish mission in California that has its original bell and bell tower.

It was beautiful and where we bought our family a few souvenirs.