Ferrari Challenge returns to Monterey’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

May 16-18, 2014

Ferrari Challenge returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Ferrari Challenge returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

The Ferrari Challenge returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with three full days of racing where fans can see the swift and exotic Ferrari 458 Challenge cars attacking the technically-demanding 11-turn road course. The series allows Ferrari owners the opportunity to compete wheel-to-wheel while providing Ferrari enthusiasts and motorsport fans the chance to watch the Prancing Horse run in its natural environment – the race track.

Tickets: Click Here

For all available #vacationrentals check out

What The Locals Know–Where To Work Out

Whether we are looking to exercise while on Christmas vacation, or whether we’re planning on making regular exercise as part of our New Year’s Resolutions, there are plenty of places to exercise on the Monterey Peninsula.

In-Shape is a fairly new health club chain that has opened 2 locations in the Monterey Peninsula.  The Monterey facility is located at 2370 Fremont Street, Monterey, CA 93940-5407 (831) 333-1835.  The Pacific Grove facility is located at 1146 Forest Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, (831) 649-2348.  Call each facility for daily operating hours.

Monterey Sports Center is city-owned and -operated by the City of Monterey.  It’s beautiful and very affordable for drop-in, out-of-town guests, and it has a large pool area, cardio room, basketball court, weight room, exercise classes, and well-tended locker rooms.  Monterey Sports Center is located in downtown Monterey at 301 East Franklin Street, Monterey, CA 93940-3044, (831) 646-3730.  Call for daily operating hours.

The Recreation Trail is a very popular destination for walkers, runners, and bikers, for this coastal trail offers gorgeous views of the Monterey Bay.  The Rec Trail goes all the way from Asilomar State Beach to Marina, so you have plenty of entry and exit points from which to choose.  Just park somewhere near the water’s edge and start your nice, long stroll.

El Estero Park has many areas of diversion for the whole family.  From walking around or paddle boating within El Estero Lake, to playing with the little ones in Dennis the Menace Park…from picnicking by the lake to skateboarding in a safety zone, El Estero Park is a popular family destination.

Monterey County’s Beaches are lovely and there’s something for everyone.  Get close to the sea lions at the Coast Guard Pier at San Carlos Beach at the foot of Cannery Row in Monterey.  Take a nice, long beach walk and dream of owning your own condo on Del Monte Beach.  Surf or body board the beaches in Seaside, but be careful of the strong current.  Paragliders and kite aficionados can be found along the windy shores of Marina’s beaches.  They’re all lovely and they all beckon you to come over for a visit.

The golf course at the end of Lighthouse Avenue in Pacific Grove is known as the Pacific Grove Golf Links, and it’s an incredible bargain considering its location by the ocean.  Rated as one of the best golf courses under $50, it’s a must-see for golfers who don’t want to pay the higher rates at Pebble Beach.
Scuba Diving is very popular around Monterey Bay, due to the fact that it’s a national marine reserve.  If you’re okay with diving in cool water temperatures from 50 – 55 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll love this region of gorgeous dives.  Popular dive sites include Breakwater at San Carlos Beach for diving newbies, right by the Coast Guard Pier in Monday; night diving at Lovers Point in Pacific Grove; and doing the “Monastery Crawl” at Monastery Beach in Carmel–which can be extremely dangerous and is known by locals as Mortuary Beach.  The BEST diving can be found at Point Lobos in Carmel, but you’ll need to make reservations, for they only allow 15 dive teams per day.  Be warned, diving here is splendid, but DO NOT dive in poor diving conditions…regardless of how far you’ve traveled to dive here.  Dive smart!

Kayaking is tremendous fun and a great way to get some exercise on the water.  You can kayak out in Monterey Bay, or go inland down Elkhorn Slough by Moss Landing.  Either way, you are very likely to pull up close to sea birds, otters, sea lions, harbor seals, jellyfish, kelp, and fellow kayakers.

Paddle Boarding is a pretty cool new sport where a person stands up on a surf board and paddles around.  Paddle boarders get ripped abs and arms and say that it’s pretty easy once you’ve mastered balancing on the surf board.  There’s even a local paddle boarder who takes his dog along for a ride on the board.  So cool!  Paddle boarding lessons are available at Adventures By The Sea and gear is available at Monterey Bay Kayaks.

Bicycling is fun for all ages and there are plenty of places to bicycle around the Monterey Peninsula.  There are plenty of places to rent a bike if you don’t have your own, and the types of bike rides to choose from are endless.  Here is a link to several bike routes around town.  For novice bikers, choose the Recreation Trail.  For diehard mountain bikers, try some of the tougher trails up in the hills.  Just be careful of cars when you’re sharing the road–especially around blind corners or narrow mountain roadways.

What The Locals Know–Dining Out During Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, our delightfully gut-busting national holiday is around the corner, and for a few, that means a terrifying experience in the kitchen. Not everyone has what it takes to prepare a large feast that tastes great and hasn’t gone cold before reaching the dinner table. That’s why a brave few choose to opt out of cooking during this Thanksgiving holiday and find a yummy turkey dinner at a local restaurant.

Not all restaurants are open on Thanksgiving, but here are a few worth mentioning:
Whole Foods: If you are staying in one of the lovely vacation rentals offered by Monterey Bay Property Management and want to have Thanksgiving Dinner within your rental, you may want to reserve a fully prepared Thanksgiving Meal from Whole Foods. It’ll be an easy solution that will allow you to celebrate Thanksgiving at “home”. Whole Foods is located in Monterey.
Asilomar Conference Grounds: Offering a Thanksgiving Package that includes Thanksgiving dinner. Asilomar is located in Pacific Grove.
Il Fornaio: The Italian eatery located at the NE Corner of Ocean and Lincoln Avenues in Carmel is offering Thanksgiving Dinner, and reservations are required.
Fresh Cream: With it’s French-inspired California cuisine, located at the NW Corner of Dolores and 8th Avenues in Carmel, just published its Thanksgiving Dinner menu. The menu makes our mouths water with their descriptions of roasted butternut squash soup, oven roasted turkey, sweet potato puree, savory bread pudding stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Wow! Make a reservation at Fresh Cream by contacting 831-250-7943 or
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa: Offering a 4-course Thanksgiving Dinner from 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM in their Duck Club Grill. The Duck Club Grill is in side the Monterey Plaza Hotel on Cannery Row in Monterey.
Cannery Row Brewing Company: Offering Thanksgiving Dinner and beer. They’re new, so it might be worth checking out their Thanksgiving Day efforts. Call 831-643-2722 for details.
Fandango Restaurant: Offering a special Thanksgiving Day menu. Contact them for reservations at 831-372-3456.
Chart House: Is doing something a little like Whole Foods, where they are offering a full Thanksgiving Dinner that will feed 6 – 8 people and it’s all To-Go! Or, you can eat there. Call 831-372-3362 to make your order.

Insider’s Tip: There is a little bar, tucked in the back of its row of shops in Carmel, called Ody’s Tavern, that sometimes serves up Thanksgiving dinner on the evening before Thanksgiving! It’s on San Carlos near Ocean Avenue and the building is light blue. Call them at (831) 626-6821 for directions if you get turned around.

Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival Weekend

Book a week with us to include the Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival Weekend, December 10-12, 2010, and pay only $99 per night for your weeknight accommodations! That’s right – book the weekend at the regular price, and all weeknights are only $99!

The 12th Annual Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival Weekend is December 10-12, 2010. This year we present two one-hour shows, two hour-and-a- half shows, four two-hour shows, and a Cowboy Church hour — all in one convenient comfortable venue. All this, along with a silent auction and a first-rate Christmas Art & Gear Show Sale. You can visit for details, then return to to select your accommodations for this great event and to experience all that Monterey County has to offer!

What The Locals Know–Monterey County’s Wine Region

A new generation of wine enthusiasts is being drawn to Monterey County. Monterey County boasts a delightful wine region and it’s due to several factors: The distinctions of our deep underwater canyon, widely varied temperatures, specialized soil types, and wine and food pairing harmony between local fresh agriculture and sustainable seafood from the Monterey Bay, make Monterey one of the stand-out regions that wine connoisseurs and beginning wine enthusiasts are passionate to explore.

These distinctions are described as follows by the Monterey Wine Country’s website:

Blue Grand Canyon–Monterey Wine Country is home to the Blue Grand Canyon™. The Monterey Canyon begins at Moss Landing, in the middle of Monterey Bay, and extends approximately 95 miles. The canyon’s bottom is about 2 miles below the surface, making it comparable in depth to the Grand Canyon. The impact of this natural resource on the grape growing region is significant – guiding the exact location of viticulture areas, the wind pattern between the two mountain ranges in the region, the constant and predictable weather, and the varietals that are grown. Monterey Wine Country stands alone in being in such close proximity to a maritime landmark with such significance to a viticulture region.

Thermal Rainbow–The southeast end of Monterey County, during any given day in July, will approach 90 degrees before noon while the Bay will still be engulfed in fog and 60 degrees. This temperature gradation starts the daily wind that moves the air mass from the bay down the valley—the mid-valley, near the Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco AVAs, may never reach 80 degrees. The sun adds heat to the south, while the wind moves the cool air off of the bay. From 2 until 5 the “air conditioner” moves from Gonzales to San Ardo, which produces the cooling effect through the southern end of the County for the rest of the day. This creates the vibrant Thermal Rainbow that makes Monterey unique in the world wine regions of Mediterranean climates.

8 Primary Soil Types–The eight primary viticulture soil types include:
• Lockwood Shaly Loam (28%)
• Chualar Loam (15%)
• Garey Sandy Loam (9%)
• Arroyo Seco Gravelly Sandy Loam (7%)
• Rincon Clay Loam (7%)
• Placentia Sandy Loam (6%)
• Oceano Loamy Sand 95%)
• Chamise Shaly Loam (5%)
This variety of soil types is part of what makes the expanse of Monterey County so special.

42 Varietals–Classy Chardonnay and Elegant Pinot Noir. Aromatic Riesling and Magnificent Merlot. Rich Cabernet and Syrah. From the steep slopes of Carmel Valley to the rolling hills of the Santa Lucia Highlands and Gavilan Mountain Ranges, Monterey stands alone in crafting 42 fine wine varietals of exceptional flavor, character, and balance.
The influences of the Blue Grand Canyon and the Thermal Rainbow allow for such diversity of varietals to be grown.
The leading white varietals in Monterey Wine Country are Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc.
The leading red varietals in Monterey County include Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz, and Cabernet Franc.
Other red grapes of significance include Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Barbera, Valdiguie, Aleatico, Alicante, Dolcetto, Freisa, Mourvedre, Muscat Hamburg, Nebbiolo, Souzao, Tannat, and Tempranillo

Insider’s Tip: Take a day trip along River Road, between Salinas and Soledad, where you’ll find the majority of the wineries. For those who desire to stay close to the comfort of their Cannery Row hotel, kick back and enjoy the offerings of the Scheid Vineyard’s Tasting Lounge and A Taste of Monterey.

What The Locals Know–Halloween Events

Autumn is a fabulous time of year and October hops along with harvest festivals, pumpkin patches and corn mazes for the whole family.  The climax at the end of October is, of course, Halloween, the second highest grossing holiday of the year.
Here is a link to various locations that celebrate Halloween all month long:
The Monterey Bay Aquarium will host its annual Halloween party on Oct. 30 for its members.
The Lighthouse District will also host its Second Annual Children’s Trick-Or-Treat on Lighthouse from 3:00 – 5:00 pm.
Insider’s tip:  Even though there are numerous crosswalk personnel, drivers be AWARE and EXTRA careful when driving along Lighthouse that Saturday!
For adults, there aren’t that many events being promoted at press time, but here’s an insider’s tip:  Keep an eye out for event postings in the Monterey County Weekly and the Go! Calendar inside the Monterey Herald newspapers.

What The Locals Know–October Festivals

Because Fall offers some of our better weather, there are many festivals and outdoor events happening in and around the Monterey Peninsula during the month of October.

Pacific Grove Historic Home Tour, Sunday October 3, 2010

Visitors will have a rare opportunity to view the interiors of Pacific Grove’s finest historic homes during the 41st annual Pacific Grove Historic Home Tour. On-site docents can answer questions about the history of the buildings and how early residents of Pacific Grove lived. Self-guided tours of these historic buildings will run from 10am to 3pm. Tickets for this once-a-year event are only $20 for adults and $10 for children 6 to 18. Children 5 and under are free.

Insider’s tip:  If you have always wanted to see what it’s like to live in one of these historic homes, go on this tour!  It may inspire some home design ideas of your own.

Now in its tenth year, Monterey History Fest has grown into a festival that offers a variety of programs for both residents and visitors to experience Monterey’s unique cultural heritage and historic resources. Sponsored by the City of MontereyMonterey State Historic Park (California State Parks) and Monterey History and Arts Association, History Fest has developed a plentiful schedule designed to bring Monterey’s past to life during this community-wide event.
Insider’s tip:  Arrive early to get the best parking spaces!
Healing Waters Ceremony, October 16, 2010, 9:00 – 10:00 AM at Del Monte Beach in Monterey

The Healing Waters Ceremony is a spiritual gathering that is one part memorial service for past loved ones (including pets), and another part healing celebration for the water itself and those animals that live within it.  This event is open to the public and free, but donations will be accepted.

This ceremony is meant to bring people together to celebrate life; remember the animals, lives, and losses of the Gulf Oil Spill–because all waters are connected; and to also heal our spirits with music, dance and prayer.
Insider’s tip:  Music will be provided by our very own local GRAMMY nominated singer/songwriter, Jennifer Filzen.  She’ll be performing “Sirena”, a beautiful funeral song during the flower toss portion of the ceremony.  It’ll be a nice way for participants to say hello and goodbye to past loved ones.

Admission is free for folks interested in vintage airplanes and classic cars.  You can get a plane ride for a fee.
Insider’s tip:  Take a dream ride in an old plane and make sure you bring your video camera so you can brag about it to your Facebook friends!

View this list of places that celebrate Halloween all month long.  Corn mazes and pumpkin patches make for fond Fall memories.

What The Locals Know–Why Is It So Cool Here?

Many visitors comment on how cool it is here on the Monterey Peninsula.  Like Mark Twain is reported to have said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” and since San Francisco is close by, the same can be said of our area.

Our weather is cool during the summer for several reasons:

1.  Our ocean currents run from the Arctic Circle and (North to South) and our water temperature tends to be around 49 degrees to 55 degrees Farenheit.

In contrast, the Eastern seaboard of the United States experiences water currents flowing North from the Equator (South to North) with an added bonus of the warm water originating from the Gulf of Mexico known as the Gulf Stream.

2.  We have a deep underwater canyon that begins in the Monterey Bay (at Moss Landing and Carmel) and there is a lot more water depth than eyes on land can see.

To compare, the Eastern seaboard tends to be shallower and can heat up from the sun more quickly.

3.  Water currents and wind churn the water up from the depths to the surface, which causes cooler water to circulate up.  This makes for very happy marine life because the upwellings bring food closer to the surface.

Now you know why you don’t see Sea Lions and Otters frolicking on Florida beaches.

4.  The water’s cool water temperature and wind from the ocean makes the air cooler and creates a marine layer/low cloud ceiling.  When that cooler air blends with the warmer air temperature over land, fog is created.  Our marine layer usually evaporates from the sun after noon.

We hope this helps explain why our air is cool and why we rarely need air conditioning.  It also explains why you should always keep a jacket or sweater handy when you’re visiting the Monterey Peninsula.

What The Locals Know–Weddings and Resources

by Jennifer Filzen

The Monterey Peninsula is a distinct wedding destination for many happy couples.  If you, or someone you know is planning a wedding, we hope this blog will be helpful.

First, if you’ve not yet seen it, our very own Monterey Rentals website has a wedding page.  We have found that many of the same people who are looking for a vacation rental through us are also looking for local wedding vendors.  So, we got smart and developed a resource guide for our clients.  We hope our wedding page proves useful for you and yours.

Second, if you’re booking a wedding here and you’re doing it during the high season–which is summer–know that room rates at B&Bs, hotels, and motels go up.  Believe it or not, the most economical way to stay on the Monterey Peninsula is to stay at one of our lovely vacation rentals.  If you rent a house, condo, or duplex and share the cost with others in your group, it makes it more affordable and fun.  Your wedding friends and family will likely have a ball at the “party house” that they’re sharing with other guests.  If they can have fun and save money at the same time, everyone wins!

Lastly, if you have questions about what to do, where to send your wedding guests, tours, etc., we have crafted our website to provide helpful information for you and yours.  If you don’t find what you’re looking for on our site, try visiting the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce site or the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Have fun planning for your big day!