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The International Writers Magazine:California

Monterey, CA
Laura Strong
With the soft purr of the engine, we raced against the setting sun, getting ever closer to our final destination, Monterey, CA. From the beautiful coastal views to the lively entertainment, Monterey is a place you may never want to leave.


As you enter the city the beautiful blue ocean and the scent of the ocean breeze welcome you. Those who visit this magnificent destination find that they never want to leave. In fact, my husband mentioned that his first time in Monterey was due to the military. Ever since his first stay there his heart has always been in Monterey.
            Monterey is a city with an eclectic population. Walking down the beautiful downtown streets you will find yourself running into artists, students, military, visitors, and locals. You will also find varying cultures spread throughout this beautiful city. It is, in part, because of this variance of individuals that keeps people returning to this destination. I remember walking down the cobblestone street on one of my very first nights in Monterey. The lights gave off a particularly warm glow. I happened upon this quaint indoor/ outdoor restaurant called Indian Summer. This restaurant met all of my expectations, with delicious cuisine, tasty hookah’s, and a friendly atmosphere. Well into the night I could hear lively discussions and laughter that seemed to echo out into the street.
            There is no shortage of great food in this fine city. On a trip to the city my husband commented that one of his favorite haunts is the Crown & Anchor. The lively environment, strong nautical decorum, and great food and beer add to a great night. The Crown & Anchor is one of many great restaurants that line the city’s streets. The wonderful thing about Monterey is that its history is rich with fishing, which means that most every restaurant will have fresh seafood on hand. There is a distinct difference between eating the freshest swordfish from the waters upon the shore you’re on and say, eating frozen transported swordfish in the Midwest.

Wandering down Cannery Row, one becomes familiar with the streets that were once walked by great individuals such as John Steinbeck and Marilyn Monroe. You won’t be able to resist the decadence of Cannery Row’s beautiful shops, irresistible restaurants, and other attractions. In fact, “Monterey is home to the world renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium, a must-see attraction that delights and educates millions of visitors every year” (City of Monterey).
Cannery Row

One of the best things about Monterey is the surrounding area. Just a few miles out of town you will find yourself in downtown Carmel. On a clear sunny day you can catch a glimpse of the crystal blue waters that race up to the fine white sandy shores. Carmel is rich with art galleries, fine dining, and all the shopping your heart could desire. I recall my first time in Carmel, walking up the street, and finding a small Bavarian style home selling homemade chocolates. The smells you will encounter in Carmel are enough to make your mouth water. It was here where my husband and I were married, under the shade of the Monterey Cyprus, on the sandy shores of the warm beach.          

Point Lobos In addition to Carmel you may want to visit Point Lobos. This particular part of the coast is a naturists dream. This park is full of trails that lead you all over the coastline. You may even encounter some of its more animated wildlife. On a hiking trip my husband recalled that we were just walking down the trail and there it was, posing for the picture, a bobcat. Point Lobos, no more than ten minutes from Monterey, is a great destination to hike the coast, get a feel for the true history of Monterey’s coast, and happen upon some exciting wildlife.

On one of the trails of Point Lobos there is an old whaling station, with all the atmosphere of what the coast was like back then; and for those adventurers out there, there are several pirate coves in point lobos, where many a pirate landed on our western shores.
            Regardless of whether you’re a history buff, or just looking for a beautiful getaway, Monterey is your scene. “Monterey offers iconic California experiences” (See Monterey). Monterey offers the best of all words, from touring the city to scuba diving along its shores. In the morning the ocean is a flurry of blues, churning up the underbelly of the sea. The beaches are friendly and welcoming to everyone, individuals, couples, and families alike. Many mornings I have found myself walking along the shoreline, barefoot in the sand, picking up the small trinkets that the ocean leaves behind. On one occasion I was lucky enough to come across a baby seal pup, grooming itself upon the shore. The small creature looked up at me and then continued to groom itself. I was lucky enough to get within a few feet of this magnificent creature before it got bored and slowly waddled back into the sea for its morning swim.
            The wildlife in Monterey is astounding. Nowhere else would you find such wondrous creatures in the wild. In the evenings the atmosphere changes. The city gives off a glow that could be seen from miles out to sea. The city streets are bustling with music and laughter, with the scent of some of the most delicious menus in the air. To say that the city comes to life at night is an understatement. One would need to be there to experience the awe of the evenings in Monterey. You feel as though you are in a different world completely. In fact, you are able to see the brilliant city lights from far away, almost like a beacon in the darkness of the surrounding ocean.
            Leaving the area left an ache in my heart. I completely agreed with my husband when he knew it was time to go, but we just kept staring out at the big blue ocean, hoping that it was just a dream and that we actually lived here. Each and every time I left the city I felt the exact same way. The residents are amazing, and everything the city has to offer is magnificent. You could spend a hundred life times in Monterey and never truly discover all of its mysteries; from the way the fog rolls down the hill as though it were intentionally trying to engulf you, to the way you could stand atop that same hill, look up at the beautifully warm sun, and then scan the horizon, seeing nothing but cloud cover. There are moments in Monterey that seem surreal, and yet I know in my heart that they happened.

Some of my most treasured memories rest in Monterey, and my soul continues to be called back there. While my own bias urges you to visit this fair city, it is up to you to decide to make the decision. Everyone has their favorite city; the one they feel drawn back to no matter what. For me, Monterey is that city, and it calls to me every day. fogwine

So, as I sit here in the middle of the country, dreaming of the ocean waves crashing against the waiting shore, I tell you of the times the sun has set on that ocean, and hope that you will want to witness the glorious moments that call to the end of the day. These moments are the ones worth witnessing, the moments where you know you are right where you belong. For me these moments are forever cemented in Monterey; but for you, who knows?
© Laura Strong Nov 4th 2011

Works Cited
City of Monterey. Monterey City Hall. 13 Oct. 2011. Web. 13 Oct. 2011.
See Monterey. Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau. 13 Oct. 2011. Web. 13 Oct.
Strong, Shane. Personal Interview. 10 Aug. 2011.

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