I mean, do squid around… cause there’s gonna be oceans of family fun at Monterey’s first annual Clam Chowder and Calamari Festival, May 26-28.
Clam Chowder and Calamari?
Yep. Let it never be said that the city of Monterey has trouble finding excuses to celebrate. This free festival at the Custom House Plaza at Fisherman’s Wharf will feature music and entertainment, arts and crafts, marine exhibits, cooking demos, and plenty of food and drink. (Besides soup and squid, there will be fish and chips, pasta, sandwiches, strawberry shortcake, caramel apples, cookies, ice cream and more.)
Beer, wine and margaritas will be available, and three live bands will play each day, including John “Broadway” Tucker, the Cachugua Playboys and Red Beans and Rice.
Hours are 11am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday and 11am – 6pm Monday.
A chance to eat delicious seafood, imbibe fine wines, and mingle with PGA Tour Players and celebrities after the second round of the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach?
And it’s for a good cause?
Count us in.
The third annual “Clambake for a Cure,” February 10th on Fisherman’s Wharf, will feature a strolling dinner prepared by celebrity chefs, award-winning wines, entertainment, dancing, and an auction of rare items—all to benefit brain tumor research and treatment.
Celebrity Chefs include:
- Luciano Pellegrini, Valentino, Las Vegas
- Casey Thompson, Star of Bravo’s “Top Chef”
- Mark Ayers, CLM & Pebble Beach Food & Wine
- Tom Snyder, Esteban, Monterey
- Tim Woods & Marc Jones, Carmel Valley Ranch
- Brian Meier and Steve Salle, Del Monte Meat & Ports Seafood
- Mary Font, Mrs. Delish’s Cupcake Boutique
- Baum & Blume Catering, Carmel Valley
- Dory Ford, Point Pinos Grill & AQUA TERRA Culinary
- Erika McDonnell, FlouRish Organic Breads
- Arnufo Martinez, Gilbert’s Seafood
- Kevin Phillips, Albalonetti Bar & Grill
And because seafood pairs so well with wine:
- Jocelyn Lonen Winery, Napa
- Elkhorn Peak Cellars, Napa
- Ventana Vineyards, Monterey
- Morgan Wines, Santa Lucia Highlands
- Hahn Estates, Santa Lucia Highlands
- Oh Wines, Monterey
- Heller Estates, Carmel Valley
- Chateau Marie Antoinette, Monterey
- Kristilynn Wines, Monterey
- Scheid Vineyards, Monterey
- Judd’s Hill, Napa
- Elizabeth Spencer Wines, Rutherford
- Clos la Chance Winery, San Martin
- Delicato Family Vineyards, Lodi
When: Friday, February 10 from 4 pm – 9 pm
Where: The Marina View Lounge, 30 Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey
Cost: $125 per person
The Monterey Peninsula is a favorite weekend destination for Bay Area families. The beaches, sunshine and beauty attract the parents, while the kid-friendly attractions motivate the kids. Here are a few local destinations that are favorites with young families.
Dennis The Menace Park is Monterey’s famous playground within El Estero Park and offers lots of fun places for young children.
Monterey Skate Park is a skateboard park for the older kids, also found within the El Estero Park complex. Parents can picnic within view of the skateboard park and keep an eye on the munchkins.
El Estero Lake is filled with bathing birds and paddle boats on sunny days. Rent a paddle boat for a 1/2 hour and we guarantee your legs will get a great workout!
Monterey Bay Aquarium is the major destination for most visitors on the Monterey Peninsula, and rightly so! It’s beautiful, educational, fun, and lots to see. Membership to the aquarium will help you get inside quicker and earn you discounts in the gift shops, so consider getting a membership if you visit Monterey often.
The Recreation Trail runs along the water’s edge through Pacific Grove, Monterey, Seaside, and all the way up to Marina. Between Lover’s Point and Fisherman’s Wharf is where most people are found riding rented bicycles and surreys.
Del Monte Beach is across Del Monte Blvd. from El Estero Lake. To find easy parking, pull into the paid parking lot at the corner of Del Monte Blvd. and Figueroa, right at the foot of the Commercial Wharf #2. Del Monte Beach is dog-friendly, offers lots of sand for sandcastle builders, and is a safe beach where small kids can run and play in the waves. Picnic areas are available, as are kayaks and paddle boards. If you visit Del Monte Beach, please make sure you pack all your trash, shoes, plastic toys and such so you don’t pollute the water. People forget that high-tide will sweep all that refuse into the water and it harms our sea life.
Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck, is a street filled with candy shops, restaurants, souvenirs, and holiday memories. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is at one end of Cannery Row, and San Carlos Beach park and the Coast Guard pier are at the other end. In between, at the corner of Prescott and Cannery Row, families will delight in yummy yogurt at MYO Yogurt. During summertime, you’ll see MYO’s brightly colored yogurt cups in everyone’s hands as they cruise around Cannery Row. Make sure you properly dispose of the yogurt cups and other refuse in the trash, however, so we don’t pollute our shores!
Old Fisherman’s Wharf is another top tourist destination after the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It’s from Fisherman’s Wharf where you can grab a bag of salt-water taffy or depart on a whale watching tour. Visit a gift shop or restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf, or head for the sea on a chartered sail boat. There’s lots of stuff to do at Fisherman’s Wharf, but remember that you’ll need to budget for parking, and higher food prices because of the stellar location. At the foot of Fisherman’s Wharf, check out the Custom House and take a history walk in downtown Monterey via Alvarado Street’s Portola Plaza.
Insider’s Tip: In summer, from May to September, ride the free trolley through town. It makes a loop from Fisherman’s Wharf and downtown to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and back. Click here for the map.
Many tourists are in a rush and don’t get a chance to enjoy the full extent of the recreation trail that extends from Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove to Marina. Due to most foot traffic staying between the American Tin Cannery and Fisherman’s Wharf, a lot of beautiful views are overlooked.
I live in New Monterey, the neighborhood just up the hill from Cannery Row. I often walk down the hill and turn right toward Fisherman’s Wharf so I can have a nice, long walk to Del Monte Beach, which is north of the Commercial Wharf.
My favorite time of year is between April through June when the sea lion pups are newly born and they hang out by the docks and shore-lining rocks. They can be a little stinky (and what baby isn’t stinky at times?) but they’re so darned cute! Hearing them vocalize and bark is so much fun.
I love the change of scenery along the rec trail. I start my walk from the hill, where the view can extend out over the blue water all they way to Moss Landing…or on a really clear day…Santa Cruz. On cloudier days, I’m satisfied looking out over the old buildings of Cannery Row.
As I head north on the rec trail from Cannery Row, I see the grassy park and Coast Guard pier of San Carlos Beach. Sometimes I’ll walk out to the end of the pier to see the snoozing and/or barking sea lions.
I then proceed north toward Fisherman’s Wharf and enjoy the view of the fun houseboats moored out in the water, right next to the colorful buildings along Fisherman’s Wharf.
Once I hit the foot of Fisherman’s Wharf, I look over at the Custom House and think about all the history that building has seen over the centuries.
I continue north down the rec trail and hear the tourists beeping their horns as they go through the tunnel. Yes, we know you’re a tourist when you honk your horn. Only tourists do that…all summer long…and it drives some of us locals a little crazy.
After the rec trail delivers me safely around the Fisherman’s Wharf parking lot, I can then visit the Commercial Wharf. If I want to check in with the commercial fisherman, I’ll walk down the wharf and see their haul. Squid season tends to be the most spectacular time of year because the boats are out on the water all night long with their lights on to attract the squid. This gives those of us up on the hill a wonderful boat light show.
Having my fill of the Commercial Wharf, I then step onto the sand of Del Monte Beach, right by the aqua-colored Adventures By The Sea building. Once my toes hit the sand, my senses are more keen to hear the sounds of the waves and smell the sea mist. I have walked as far as the Monterey Dunes Beach Resort on days where I want to walk about 4 – 5 miles.
For those with bicycles, or longer legs, you can continue all the way down the rec trail to Marina. You can see the rec trail as you drive down Highway 1, and I love seeing folks ride their bikes or walk their dogs.
The rec trail is a Monterey Peninsula treasure, and it has made our area rank high on the “city walkability” scale. Our rec trail has consistently been a site for many marriage proposals. I, for one, was just recently proposed to by my honey after a nice walk down the rec trail where he got down on bended knee on the beach at Lover’s Point.
Imagine that…the rec trail is just as romantic as it is healthy, beautiful, dog- and family-friendly…and that’s pretty special.