It’s the mother of all back­drops for HBO’S Big Lit­tle Lies, the land­scape of many a Stein­beck story, a sur­re­al­ist set­ting for artist Sal­vador Dalí and, now, the en­vi­rons for your next es­cape. Yes, Mon­terey County, Calif., lends it­self to the cre­ative eye,

Vegas Magazine - - Contents -

Take a three- day tour through Mon­terey County, Calif., us­ing our tips on where to stay and what to do.


Gor­geous vis­tas beckon you out­doors upon ar­rival, and a stroll along the Mon­terey Bay Coastal Recre­ation Trail in Pa­cific Grove (seemon­ does the trick. This 1-mile seg­ment of the path runs be­tween Lovers Point and the aquar­ium on Can­nery Row and is rich with nat­u­ral won­ders—frothy waves, blues from sky to sea, seals on the shore. Re­fuel with the seafood salad at Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar (Mon­terey Plaza Ho­tel, 400 Can­nery Row, 831.372.2628, schoonersmon­; then ex­plore the Dali17 ex­hibit (ad­mis­sion $20, Mu­seum of Mon­terey, 5 Cus­tom House Plaza, 831.372.2608, With 580 works, it’s the largest pri­vate Sal­vador Dalí col­lec­tion in the United States—fit­ting, as Mon­terey was the only place in the coun­try that the sur­re­al­ist lived and painted. On dis­play: a rare orig­i­nal litho­graph of “The Per­sis­tence of Mem­ory,” from the Changes in Great Master­pieces suite. (Look closely at the land­scape; mu­seum co­or­di­na­tor Hi­lary Roberts sug­gests it’s rem­i­nis­cent of the Mon­terey coast.) Your last stop: the 500-acre

Carmel Val­ley Ranch (1 Old Ranch Road, 831.625.9500, carmel­val­ The main lodge is perched atop a road that winds by the golf course, fit­ness com­plex, gar­den and vine­yard. Check in to a Vine­yard suite (from $655 per night) and re­fresh with a soak in your bal­cony tub be­fore tex­ting the shut­tle to take you to the lodge for a late-af­ter­noon elixir at the

bar (try this month’s Hanky Panky cock­tail). A fi­nal pour: a cus­tom, be­hind-the-grapes ex­pe­ri­ence amid the vines— a tour with vint­ner Peter Figge, or a paired din­ner with som­me­lier Mark Buzan (ad­vanced reser­va­tions re­quired, price upon re­quest).


Na­tional Stein­beck Cen­ter in Sali­nas (ad­mis­sion $13, 1 Main St., 831.775.4721,

stein­ is re­quired read­ing: Stein­beck was born here in 1902, and works like Tor­tilla Flat draw on the re­gion. (Don’t miss the Stein­beck Fes­ti­val May 5-7.) Then, head to Sali­nas River State Beach for a horse­back ride with the Mon­terey Bay

Eques­trian Cen­ter (from $80, 119 Mon­terey Dunes Way, Cas­tro­ville, 831.663.5712, mon­terey­bayeques­ Lo­cated about 20 min­utes from Sali­nas, the beach is a lo­cal se­cret and af­fords supreme soli­tude, with the steady gait of your horse (Torino is tops) be­neath you and the splash of the sea all around. Rides are reser­va­tion-only and tai­lored to your needs to en­sure com­fort

from the time you’re in the sad­dle un­til you’re on two legs again. Hun­gry post-ride? Nib­ble a steamed ar­ti­choke at The Choke Coach at Pezzini Farms (460 Nashua Road, Cas­tro­ville, 831.757.7434, pezzini­ be­fore trekking to the Forbes triple four-star-rated Bernar­dus Lodge & Spa in Carmel Val­ley (415 W. Carmel Val­ley Road, 831.658.3400, bernar­dus­ for luxe loung­ing: the 50-minute A Dozen Roses ex­pe­ri­ence ($160), with a full-body rose clay ap­pli­ca­tion to re­move im­pu­ri­ties, a Mo­roc­can rose aro­mather­a­peu­tic oil mas­sage and a glass of Bernar­dus’ blush rosé; and din­ner at Lu­cia. Re­serve the chef ’s ta­ble (from $225 per per­son, two-guest min­i­mum) to feast your eyes on the ac­tion of gour­mand Cal Sta­menov’s kitchen (he’ll cre­ate your unique menu) and the sig­na­tures scrawled around your booth ( Ju­lia Child, Leonardo Di­caprio, re­cent visi­tor Kate Up­ton). Other Lu­cia high­lights: the scal­lops and sea­sonal abalone rouge; the lat­ter’s tex­ture is a dream. And a dip in the adults-only in­fin­ity hot tub back at CVR en­sures a sound sleep.


Greet your fi­nal morn­ing with a sun salu­ta­tion dur­ing a com­pli­men­tary 90-minute yoga ses­sion on CVR’S hill­top plat­form over­look­ing Robin­son Canyon ($150 for pri­vate in­di­vid­ual class, out­door yoga re­turns Me­mo­rial Day week­end). Brunch at Val­ley Kitchen in the lodge comes next; ex­ec­u­tive chef Tim Wood is in­spired by the lo­cal pro­duce and the back­grounds of his guests and staff. It’s why chili chicken wings with salt and honey har­vested on-site and Viet­namese rice pa­per rolls made to or­der are on the menu. And later this year, sa­vor the creami­est cheese you’ll ever taste from the prop­erty’s new tribe of goats. With bel­lies full, cruise to the quaint Carmel-bythe-sea to sa­vor sweet nec­tar. A Wine Walk pass­port ($100, carmel­ pro­vides ac­cess to a dozen-plus tast­ing rooms and never ex­pires. Sip va­ri­etals from Wrath Wines (team it with a trio of cheeses, in­clud­ing East of Edam) and Sil­vestri Vine­yards, whose Grammy-win­ning name­sake has scored up­ward of 100 films (think Flight) and is bud­dies with Giuseppe Panzuto, owner of the pint-size din­ner spot Il Tegamino (south side of Ocean Av­enue, be­tween Lin­coln and Monte Verde in the Court of the Golden Bough, 831.250.5790, il­ It’s walk-in-only and so per­sonal that Panzuto of­ten de­liv­ers the dishes. The taste of the sauteed oc­to­pus, with its lemony potato olive-oil puree; the crab seafood ball (from the meat­ball bar); and the home­made can­noli with lush, light ri­cotta (a dessert spe­cial) linger—much like the mem­ory of Mon­terey.


1 1. Lovers Point in Pa­cific Grove 2. Sal­vador Dalí’s “The Per­sis­tence of Mem­ory” from the Changes in Great Master­pieces suite (1974, litho­graph), 24 inches by 27 inches, at the Dali17 ex­hibit 3. Carmel Val­ley Ranch’s lobby at the main lodge 4. The Vine­yard Oak suite’s pri­vate bal­cony 5. The mo­ji­toin­spired Hanky Panky cock­tail 6. Horse­back rid­ing along the Sali­nas River State Beach







7. The warm­ing room at The Spa at Bernar­dus Lodge 8. A sea­son­ally chang­ing scal­lop dish (shaved black truf­fles, snap peas, freshly for­aged chanterelles) at Lu­cia 9. Out­side the main lodge at Carmel Val­ley Ranch: a salt­wa­ter swim­ming pool, in­fin­ity hot tub and ca­banas 10. Hill­top yoga with a view of Robin­son Canyon’s nat­u­ral chap­ar­ral 11. Wrath Wines’ pinot tast­ing bot­tles 12. A peek inside Il Tegamino’s charm­ing pa­tio for al­fresco din­ing 7





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