Since leaving Boston, me and my best friends from grad school make it a point to meet up for a few days every year to celebrate our friendship. With Kim in Boston, Chelsea in L.A., and myself in the Bay Area, it’s been hard to find time to get together and choose a location.
Our first reunion was last year in L.A. where we had an amazing time roaming the LA streets and noshing on the best food. This year, Kim and Chelsea met me in the Bay Area and we did a road trip down to the Monterey coast and Big Sur.
We hit the road in the early afternoon and arrived in Carmel-by-the-Sea just in time for some lunch at Carmel Belle, a fun little spot in downtown with gourmet sandwiches and salads.
Then we wandered through the cute shops and down to Carmel Beach where we checked out the views and said hello to my favorite cypress trees.
Because Kim and Chelsea have never visited before, we did the scenic 17 mile drive along the coast. The crashing waves. The wind blown trees. The jagged coastlines. And of course, the bajillion tourists feeding bread to the seagulls in front of a large sign to not feed the birds and unintentionally (but annoyingly) photobombing almost every photo we tried to take. So much for the calm and contemplative experience. Despite the crowds and the noise, we still enjoyed the beautiful coastline views.
After a stop at the famous Pebble Beach Golf course, we headed to our hotel, The Stevenson Monterey. Clean, affordable, and close to Fisherman’s wharf. We cleaned up and then walked to Cannery Row and downtown for happy hour at Hula’s Island Grill. $6 Apps and Cocktails. Sounds good to me! We filled up on delectable shrimp egg rolls, sea bass ceviche, hand cut fries, ahi tuna and some questionable abalone calamari and called it a night.
On day 2, we drove down to Big Sur.
We started the morning hiking to Pfeiffer Falls, and there, we had a bit of a celebrity moment… When we got to the falls, I immediately spotted a famous blogger that I hate to admit I follow religiously and his pal, Derek Hough (I had no idea who he was until Kim told me he was Julianne Hough’s brother from Dancing with the Stars…) Of course, I was too chicken to say hi…
We then headed to Big Sur Bakery for some lunch. The food was delicious and the restaurant had great outdoor seating under the trees. It was perfect for an after-hike fuel up.
We then made our way to McWay Falls where Kim and Chelsea stood in awe of the gorgeous views and went crazy with the picture taking. Who can blame them? The sun was hitting the water and the falls so perfectly.
Despite having visited Big Sur many a times, I never had the chance to go to Pfeiffer Beach, so I was really excited to check it out. The views did not disappoint, but the wind was just unbearable! The wind was blowing at what seemed like 100 mph with purple sand flying in all directions and pelting our ankles and faces. We braved the wind for 15 minutes and then ran for the shelter of my car covered in sand.
For dinner, we explored Fisherman’s Wharf and had ourselves some fresh seafood at one of the many seafood restaurants competing for customers using their samples of “award winning clam chowder”. We got the best view and the seafood was surprisingly delicious!
The next day, we packed up the car and headed back up north, stopping for dim sum along the way at Joy Luck Palace in Southern Bay Area. Then we we drove towards the coast again to Half Moon Bay.
When visiting one of the beaches, we bumped into a shipwrecked sailboat. After chatting with the captain, we learned that he and his buddy were sailing just a little bit too close to the shoreline and one large wave just toppled them. The two had to jump ship and guide their boat towards the beach. They ended up with a very destroyed sail… but a great backdrop for a picture!
We bookended the trip with drinks and views at Sam’s Chowder House. It was a perfect end to our roadtrip as we planned for next year’s rendezvous / reunion!
Cant wait until next year!