Thursday, December 13, 2012

Downtown Monterey is Pretty AND Sweet


I certainly don’t want you to think that I was a stick in the mud just because the temperatures were half of what they should have been. It didn’t keep me away from exploring a pretty neat little tourist trap…Downtown Monterey, California.

On the day that we headed home, I got a few hours to wander around and take seventy-gazillion pictures. It never gets old, really. What a neat place to visit! And even though we were just a few days before Thanksgiving, this town was packed.

And I can see why. This would actually be a great place to visit with a beloved.


Enough with the jibber jabber. Let’s get to the good stuff…boats!

Just kidding. I’ll have pictures of food shortly.


We passed the harbor on our way to Cannery Row, which is an adorable shopping and tourist district found where the old fish canneries used to be.

They were pretty creative with the name, I must say.


Here is a distance shot for you. We stopped at this Mexican restaurant just shy of Cannery Row to eat lunch until we realized that we were at the ocean and should probably have fish.

Just kidding. Only one of us likes fish, but I agreed that we could have Mexican food any time at home. Besides, I wanted to try something unique while visiting such a neat little place.


So we went our separate ways for a few hours. I prefer it like that so I’m not annoyingly slow to anyone while I wander around. This is one of my favorite ways to explore…just take it all in until something sounds wonderful enough to try!


There were lots of cute little eateries and cafes. Originally, I thought that I would try this place, Austinos, but nothing really caught my eye on the menu.

The “Ice Cream” vinyl on the window had absolutely nothing to do with me stopping here first. Nothing, I say.


So I continued exploring. I passed this giant tourist shop full of everything from t-shirts to license plate holders. They have really exploited the fact that lots of people come here to visit and probably like mementos after the fact.

I’m so glad that I’m not a “collector,” so to speak.

I take lots of pictures, and that’s really all that I need to remember such a nice time. Occasionally I break down and invest in a t-shirt, but only if it’s one that I can’t live without.

So that rarely happens.


This little shopping district was next on my walking list. It had been recommended to me by the hotel customer service lady to try The Fish Hopper for lunch. I walked past and even took a gander at their menu. But, with a name like The Fish Hopper, you can imagine the main ingredients on their offerings for lunch.

Man. Maybe I just need to grow up and try fish. But just the smell makes me sick, so I can’t imagine actually paying for food that smells awful to me. And then, since I paid for it, I’d probably have to attempt to eat it, too! Yuck!


This is a chain restaurant, but one that is appropriately placed here in Monterey. I would say it’s easier for them to get some fresh fish options compared to their sister restaurant in, say, the Mall of America in Minneapolis.

Hi, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company! No, thanks. I won’t be coming any closer.


My stomach was starting to growl pretty loudly at this point, but I couldn’t resist taking some beautiful pictures of the ocean. Over on the opposite lookout is that Mexican restaurant that we had originally stopped to try. Now I’m on the little boardwalk in front of a bunch of little shops.

Pretty view!


The sailboat was sure beautiful as it peacefully went by. Sometimes I think that it could be fun to live by the ocean. But the desert isn’t so bad, either.

And, according to Gorgeous George Strait, we do have some ocean-front property somewhere in this state.


This was the entrance to The Fish Hopper. They have a clam chowder sample lady out front to lure unsuspecting patrons inside. I was onto them, though.

I said, “Self, I bet there’s fish in there. Stay clear.”

And I did. This is proof that I sometimes I listen to myself…even in situations other than buying things at TJ Maxx!


Oh wow. This is gorgeous. I love the sound of waves, I do.


Since nothing near The Fish Hopper sounded like something that my stomach could keep down, I walked on through Cannery Row. I love these old, quaint, historically-charged locations.

This entire street used to be full of various fish canneries. In fact, the last cannery was canning squid and didn’t close its doors until 1973. That very same building is where the present-day aquarium stands, which opened in 1984.

And now you know.


Although I was really enjoying the sightseeing, it was time to grab some lunch! I decided to try a local favorite (just kidding…how could I possibly know what the locals like?) by stopping at Captain Bullwackers Restaurant.

I think that I just liked the name! How can they not have good food with a name like that?


The inside of this place definitely felt more pub-like than restaurant-like, but I was glad to have a menu in front of me at last!

The pub-like feeling was only increased by sitting next to countless British visitors on “holiday.”

It was actually really fun to listen to them talk while I ate my lunch.


When the waitress brought my bill, she asked if I was with them. Do I really look as old as these nice, retired Europeans?!

Wait, don’t answer that…


This was my favorite piece of “decoration” inside the whole place. It’s a pontoon that has a sailor saying, “Where in the heck am I?” on the side.

Pretty dang cool, yo.


Since I hadn’t gotten ice cream earlier, I knew that my calcium levels were at an all-time low for the day. How better to fix it than with a plate of fettuccine alfredo? My thoughts exactly.

It was actually pretty good, despite the sausage and bubble being eaten next to me. With clam chowder. And beer. Because 11:00 AM is not too early for a beer (or four), apparently?


Goodbye, Captain Bullwacker! Thanks for having me today.


This was an old cannery building that has now been turned into a mini mall with several touristy stores.


And I liked that this ocean-front part of town was very pedestrian-friendly, despite there being a ton of cars circling for a rare open parking spot. They always stopped for walking people, which the local emergency rooms appreciate, I’m sure.


It’s hard to read the sign, but I let my nose lead me to this cinnamon bun store for a post-lunch treat.

Tractor beam. Sucked me right in.


Honestly, I have no idea in the world as to how I ended up in here. It certainly wasn’t because this was my view as I tried to walk by.


I  had high hopes for this place. Especially because just a month previously, I had finally tried the first Cinnabon in my life.

Why on earth didn’t anyone tell me that I would like them so much? Wait…maybe it’s a good thing that you didn’t tell me.


Anyway, I forked over $6.50 for this pecan roll. And then I wanted my money back. I mean, I managed to choke it down. And a few grunts may have escaped my sticky lips. But it certainly wasn’t worth the price of a small apartment in Kentucky.

If you know what I mean.

I guess that they do have to pay rent on Cannery Row…


I did like their decorations, though.


Monterey is famous for being the final resting (and writing) place of John Steinbeck. You know…the John Steinbeck who wrote The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden and Of Mice and Men. He even wrote a few books based on the fun area of Cannery Row. I doubt that it was this fun when he lived here, but one can pretend.

And, if you lived in the Dust Bowl during The Depression and lived to tell about it, maybe living on the beach in Monterey in the fifties wasn’t so bad.

He kind of looks angry to have been statue-tized, in my honest opinion.


But you know that this made me happy…it wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet, and they were putting up the Christmas tree! See? I’m not crazy for wanting to do that in August!

This tree was quite something, too.


Oh, what? I’m by the ocean again and should probably take some more pictures?

Well, OK.


I thought that these seagulls must have been having a nice conversation as they admired the incoming waves.


Or maybe not. This guy was probably offended at their joke and flew away.

Seagulls can be pretty crude at times. I’m sure that you all know that, though.


This is one of my favorite pictures from the day.


And, as I headed back to the car for our drive to the airport, I passed the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. I didn’t have the time or the $20 to go inside today, but I would like to eventually when I can spend the day.


And here is the Aquarium entrance, or should I say, the entrance to a building that used to can squid just forty short years ago. If it smells in there, now you know why.

It’s now time to head to the airport to get Gladys ready for a our quick flight home.

What did you think of Monterey? Do you want to go visit now? I know that I wouldn’t mind a trip back to see more.


  1. I feel the same way about fish. But next year, I am going to London - something I never dreamed would happen! - and doesn't it seem to be a requirement to have some fish and chips? At least to go to a fish and chips shop. Our tour is going to one. I guess I will let my nose guide me as to what to do when we get there. Will I even go in? It is hard to imagine that I will actually "indulge". Which would I regret more - having fish or not having fish and chips? Does it count if you just have chips?

    1. London!? Oh, wow! I'm so jealous!

      I'm sure that you would enjoy Chicken and Chips much more than any of that old stinkin' fish stuff. But that's just my opinion...

      How fun! Take me with you, please?


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