A Kennebunkport Classic: The Captain Jefferds Inn

18-162-162-202-IMG_6161-001

This was our first visit to the Captain Jefferds Inn and the famous coastal community that is home to the Bush family retreat on Walker Point.

21-58-73-P1010104-001

Long before news of presidential visits put quaint little Kennebunkport on the global tourist map, it was a favorite vacation spot for local New Englanders.

Pounding ocean waves, with seagulls gliding over sand and rocky shores all entreat the visitor to savor the sights and sounds of Kennebunkport, and we were glad to be there.

It was raining

20-56-71-P1010102-001

We ran from our rental car to the safety of the dry front porch of the Captain Jefferds Inn. It was a torrential downpour, but the warm welcome from Innkeepers Sarah and Erik Lindblom immediately brightened the otherwise gloomy day.

19-54-69-P1010100-001

They have enthusiastically greeted guests to the inn for more than a decade and obviously enjoy the activity.

Recommended by a friend, we found the inn to be the perfect elixir for a tiring and wet 2-hour drive from Boston.

03-016-016-056-IMG_5985-001

Our one-night stay at the Captain Jefferds Inn provided all the comforts one would expect from such a highly rated B&B in an area of many exceptional B&Bs and hotels. Perhaps it’s the friendly competition that keeps the area’s inns so special and inviting. Whatever the reason, we found this inn exceeded all our expectations for comfort and hospitality.

A step back to an elegant time

12-118-118-158-IMG_6112-001

The Lindbloms have scrupulously maintained the aura of a home once the domain of a sea captain and his family. Captain Jefferds built his home with the smartness and efficiency of a sturdy New England sailing ship. There’s even a removable railing on the stairs to assist in the repositioning of furniture between the multiple floors.

13-121-121-161-IMG_6116-001

Our room was well appointed with cozy furnishings and a warming fireplace – just what we needed to beat a late October chill. The bed was the perfect balance between support and indulgence, with linens that embellished the vibe.

Pet friendly

Captain Jefferds has considerately reserved five rooms for those who wish to travel with their pets. Located aside the main house, there is a smaller building, which was once a carriage house.

05-068-068-108-IMG_6040-001

The just-right furnishings add to the charm of these spotlessly clean and elegantly relaxed guestrooms.

07-092-092-132-IMG_6072-001

A screened porch, reminiscent of a lake house, overlooks a park like setting and completes the charm of the surroundings. It just doesn’t get any better than this for our furry best friends.

09-098-098-138-IMG_6078-001

Meet Kathleen — she is the summer/fall Assistant Manager, who gave us a splendid tour of the inn. A practicing nurse, she lives and works in Florida during the winter. Like the other staff at Captain Jefferds, Kathleen is full of energy and interesting insights about the Kennebunks.

Where we ate

Our innkeepers recommended David’s Kpt Restaurant for our evening dining. We gathered up an umbrella and walked the few blocks from the inn to the center of the little village of Kennebunkport.

08-093-093-133-IMG_6073-001

We had filled up on the delicious never ending fresh baked cookies and other goodies laid out at the Captain Jefferds’ sun room, so were not interested in a large dinner. We skipped what looked to be an excellent selection of soups, salads, and appetizers at David’s, and went directly to the main plates.

10-3-3-P1010640-001

The skewers of shrimp and scallops were delicious, and an unusual pairing of pork tenderloin, bacon, and balsamic apples, accompanied by maple mashed sweet potatoes and spinach was a savory treat. We were so content after our entrees that we passed on dessert, but did enjoy a warming espresso before heading back to the inn.

A breakfast to remember

We write about the best B&Bs, so we often experience sensational breakfasts. Notwithstanding previous enjoyments, the Captain Jefferds Inn served one of the finest gourmet day-starting meals in our recollection.

15-149-149-189-IMG_6147

The table was a picture of country food-service sophistication, and the seated breakfast guests anxiously awaited the arrival of whatever produced the tantalizing aromas wafting from the nearby kitchen.

17-156-156-196-IMG_6155-001

Once the serving commenced, the table discussion quickly turned to praises for each of the three-courses served to the delighted patrons.

16-151-151-191-IMG_6149-001

Dan, the inn’s convivial chef, made an appearance to check on the acceptability of the food. We think he knew the answer – and seemed to relish the well-deserved applause.

After breakfast, it was time for us to press on to our next lodging in Maine, but before we left we wanted Sarah and Eric to know that we would be describing our experience with tributes.

If you go

04-046-046-086-IMG_6017-001

The 16-room Captain Jefferds Inn is on the corner of Pearl and Pleasant streets just a little south-east of Kennebunkport’s town center. Check out their website at www.captainjefferdsinn.com

Unfortunately, the heavy rain precluded our visiting and photographing the many sights that bring the tourists to Kennebunkport, but we plan to remedy that happenstance on our next visit to New England. In the meantime, here’s a website of local images by Robert A. Dennis.

To learn more about Kennebunkport, look at http://www.kennebunkport.org

More Maine

1-Linda on Bow

If you think you might like to sail the coast of Maine on a grand tall schooner, read about our adventure here.

Happy travels.

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Judy Bayliff

You can see the world with Google Maps. http://maps.google.com/

A Timeless Holiday at the Adare Manor Castle and Golf Resort in Ireland

There are places in the world, where “extraordinary” is a totally inadequate description. Adare Manor Castle and Golf Resort is just such a place.

pana roses best

Our Aer Lingus flight arrived right on time in Dublin at 5:45 a.m. We picked up our rental car and immediately headed west to County Limerick. Adare Manor was the first of four five-star luxury hotels we planned to review in Ireland in five short days. What a place to begin work!

Leaving the N21 highway, we passed through the ornate stone and iron entry to the Manor and proceeded along the perfectly maintained blacktop leading to the mansion.

It took several  minutes of pleasant driving through manicured grounds to arrive at the castle. 

The layout of Adare Manor Resort

IMG_0314

The Manor House is impressive by any standard. Originally designed as a residence for the second Earl of Dunraven, the current neo-Gothic structure was completed in 1850 on a lush 840-acre parcel of land. The beautiful terraced garden precedes the house as you approach from the west.

pana sundown

Designed in perfect axial symmetry in formal French style, the garden has paths that were laid wide to accommodate the capacious dresses of the period – and the terraced steps were made aptly low to suit a lady’s stride.

golf course best

The dreamy Maigue River, complete with white swans and rising trout, passes to one side of the Manor. The Manor’s inspired, 230-acre Robert Trent Jones Sr., golf course lies just east of the house.

cedar tree

There is a densely branched Cedar of Lebanon tree – planted circa 1645 – sheltering a small bridge that crosses the tranquil river and connects the main house to the golf course.

Entering the Manor House

The front door of Adare Manor resembles that of a castle as much as a manor house. To enter is to take a step across the threshold of time to an age when personal luxury was a given, and attention to detail was the maxim.

IMG_4011

“Registration” is a single antique desk located near a massive ornate fireplace. The Concierge desk sits on the opposite side of the glowing hearth. The receptionist was welcoming, impeccably attired, and well schooled in the art of hospitality. 

IMG_0254

The Great Hall yields a calming sense of space with generous proportions open to a high ceiling. Streaming natural light emanates from towering windows.

Copy of gargoyle2 tall

Note the crouched gargoyle (above) holding up the mezzanine on the north wall.

He has been watching all that takes place in the room for over a century and a half.

Is that an “Oh, my gosh, this is amazing,” expression?

 

sitting room best

In addition to the grand welcoming room, the Manor has a spacious sitting room, cozy library, several unique and excellent dining rooms…

bar fireplace

and a chummy little lounge that remains open to the wee hours.

IMG_0195

One of the dining/meeting rooms, the Minstrels’ Gallery, is a splendid hall of epic proportions that can seat up to 200 guests.

There are 62 guestrooms and suites in the main house.

red stateroom

Our suite’s huge sleeping room, once occupied by Bill and Hillary Clinton, overlooked the Maigue, which is one of Ireland’s most famous fly fishing rivers.

claw bath

The bathroom in a nearby guestroom was almost as large as the sleeping room. It had tall windows that provided a panorama of the garden below from a vantage point of an old-style claw-footed bathtub.

It was hard to pull ourselves out of our personal sanctuary and its wonderfully inviting bed, but we wanted to visit the charming little medieval town of Adare.  

Quintessential Adare

Adare Cottage bb

 Just outside the gates of the Manor, the picturesque village of Adare provides the sight seeker with authentic thatched roof cottages.

cottage shop

Some are residences, and others house tiny boutique shops and sundry commercial enterprises.

blue door rest

There are less than a dozen or so restaurants and pubs in Adare, but those that are there provide tasty victuals in true Irish fashion.

IMG_0374

We sampled an authentic Irish lunch of Fish, Chips, and Mushy Peas at Pat Collins’ Bar and Restaurant on Main Street. Simply delicious.

IMG_4076

Adare is also home to the only Trinitarian monastery in Ireland, and the priory dates back to the early 13th century. An interesting footnote: The monastery monks were charged with raising ransom money to rescue Christians captured by the Moors during the Crusades.

Today the old priory is called the “Holy Trinity Abbey” and is the village’s Roman Catholic Church.

IMG_0266

We returned to the Manor in late afternoon, just in time to enjoy a cup of tea in the library. It would be difficult not to be captivated by the room and its excellent collection of old books. We eventually spent time paging through a leather bound journal dated 1736 – an interesting read.

The Spa

IMG_4033

Last, but certainly not least, the Manor offers the full spectrum of body treatments, wraps, and massages by highly-trained therapists at the Treatment Rooms located a short walk from the Manor and in the old Coachman’s Cottage adjacent to the Golf Clubhouse.

In addition to the Spa, a fitness room, steam room, and heated swimming pool are all available for guest use in the main house. 

Words to remember

IMG_4105

There are dozens of slogans inscribed in wood and stone throughout the castle ( as in the parapet above) in both Latin and French. One Latin motto appears often. “Quae sursum volo videre”– “I wish to see what is heavenly” – very apropos for this most enchanting of Irish lodgings.

Time spent at Adare Manor Castle is noble living – the likes pleasured by kings and queens – and now available to discriminating travelers.

The celebrities and important dignitaries that have visited the manor over the generations are many. In recent times, some well-known entertainers included Samuel L Jackson, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta Jones, Hugh Grant, Aidan Quinn, and Michael Flatley. 

Indulge yourself

IMG_3994

Adare Manor is one of the best historic luxury-lodgings that we have had the privilege to present to our readers.

If you go 

Adare Manor and County Limerick are in the southwestern part of Ireland bordering the counties of Kerry, Cork, Clare and Tipperary, and just 15 minutes south of Limerick City on the N21, and 30 minutes from Shannon airport.

Copy of golf ruins river

For more information about the Adare Manor Castle and Golf Resort, look at their website at www.adaremanor.com. Golf enthusiasts should also check out www.adaregolfclub.com. The property also has a convenient American toll-free office number in Florida at 800-462-3273 

Happy travels! 

© Travels with Wayne and Judy

Photos © Wayne and Judy Bayliff

You can see the world with Google Maps. www.maps.google.com

Charting a Course in the Florida Keys on the Legendary African Queen

As we travel, we check off places that are on our Bucket List. Being film buffs, many of the things on our list are related to movies we have seen over the years.

05-08-25-25-86-IMG_1112

We recently checked off another “to do” from our list by skippering the authentic “African Queen,” the boat made famous by Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in the 1951 Academy Award Winning film of the same name.

07-1-2-011-011-164-IMG_8358

The “Queen” is presently docked at a destination also made famous by Bogart in the Florida Keys, Key Largo

Finding the Queen

08-2-1-028-028-181-IMG_8375

We happened upon the African Queen quite by accident. We were in the Keys doing research for articles about luxury resorts and “old Florida” accommodations. A list of those articles follows this story.

The Florida Keys are fun strips of coral sand islands connected by 42 bridges and the Overseas Highway, US 1. They stretch for about 120 miles south into the Atlantic Ocean below Miami, Florida.

The Keys are ripe with salty myths and legends, and stories of true adventures like the finding of millions of dollars in sunken treasure on the Atocha. There are also unusual stories like those about Ernest Hemingway’s house of many cats in Key West.

All the excitement in the Keys make them an apropos home for the iconic African Queen.

The Queen’s history

03-07-19-19-80-IMG_1105

The Queen had an interesting past long before she came to the attention of John Houston who immediately wanted her for the movie he was directing in the Belgium Congo. She was perfect for the role of the African Queen – just beat up enough to look the part, and just seaworthy enough – to run long enough – to finish the movie.

The vessel was built in 1912 in Lytham, England, where she was named the Livingstone. Her first job was to carry cargo, hunters, and missionaries on Lake Albert and the Victoria Nile in east Africa.

Houston found her in 1951. She was sufficiently worn by then, and perfect for the material role of the African Queen in his epic adventure.

In 1968 the boat was moved from Africa to the United States by a San Francisco restaurateur. He planned to charter the famous boat to tourists.

The Queen changed hands again in 1970 when she was purchased for the price of her boatyard bill, and moved to Oregon where she was successfully chartered a few months out of the year. Finally, on to Florida for an attempt at year-round chartering – that failed.

In 1982 she was born again as a tourist attraction at the Holiday Inn in Key Largo. About that time, she also made her re-entry onto the global stage and toured around the world in ports such as Sydney, New York, and London.

The news of her re-emerging travel and popularity caught the eye of Kate Hepburn who was said to be “delighted” that the old Queen had been saved, yet again.

A new life

06-11-007-007-160-IMG_8354

Finally, in 2012, on her centennial, the most recent revival of the African Queen was completed by a new operator Lance Holmquist. She needed a new boiler, her steel hull required fortification, and her engine needed rebuilding. The work was a labor of love for Lance, and the Queen now delights vintage boat and film buffs once again.

Our wish came true

04-09-24-24-85-IMG_1111

We took the helm like Bogart and Hepburn and chugged the little 30-foot boat through the canals of Key Largo and out into the open ocean. This was high-exhilaration for two old movie buffs.

10-3-3-057-057-210-IMG_8404

As we approached the Queen’s home-dock at the Marina Del Mar, adjacent the Holiday Inn, Lance gave us the final thrill when he let loose the Queen’s shrill steam whistle. There is no mistaking that sound heard so many times in many places over the last century.

12-20-095-095-248-IMG_8442

Check off one more from the Bucket List!

If you go

For more information about tickets for the daily cruises on the African Queen located at Mile Marker 100 in Key Largo, look at the website here. www.africanqueenflkeys.com

Note: The African Queen is a true relic, and she wouldn’t be “authentic” if she was spit-polished. So, don’t wear your Sunday best if you plan to board her.

You will also benefit by checking out the general visitor information about visiting the Florida Keys at www.fla-keys.com

The Keys are full of luxurious and unique places to stay. Here are three stories to read about some we have visited.

Kona Kai Resort

Little Palm Island Resort

Cheeca Lodge and Spa

Happy travels!

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Judy Bayliff

Vintage black and white photo courtesy of United Artists

You can see the world with Google Maps. http://maps.google.com/

A Somewhere in Time Journey to the Elegant Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

The romantic movie Somewhere in Time was filmed on location, and premiered at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan in January, 1980. Since that time there has been an annual Somewhere in Time celebration weekend at the hotel. We were invited to attend the event, and are so glad we did.

SIT stone x250

We asked the event managers why Somewhere in Time continues to grow in popularity when dozens of other romantic movies have been long forgotten. “It’s because the story appeals to men and women alike. The idea of searching for your one true love, and once found, holding on to it at all cost, is understood by all genuine romantics.” “The tale of a love so strong that it overcame the obstacle of time itself is truly compelling, especially when the story is set in the Victorian era, and in a place like the Grand Hotel.”

The history of the movie

Somewhere in Time was overlooked by the critics when it was released by Universal Studios in 1980. Nevertheless, the touching story of one individual’s search for true love across the spectrum of time eventually caught the fancy of moviegoers around the world. It is now a cult classic.

Film location

MI carriage back x800

Mackinac Island (pronounced Mack-in-awe) is situated between Upper and Lower Michigan and is the perfect location to reenact bygone Victorian times. There are no public cars or trucks allowed on the island.

IMG_1888

The main modes of transportation are horses and bicycles. The image above shows guests arriving at the hotel from the ferry.

MI old house x800

The island is also home to many classic Victorian buildings. The period architecture is so significant that the United States government has declared the entire island a National Historic Landmark.

Arriving at the Grand Hotel

MI tea x800

Men and women from all walks of life, and from all over the world, gather to celebrate what they believe to be a remarkable cinematic treasure, and to share a common interest in romance and Edwardian apparel.

IMG_1704

They come to recreate – if only for a short time – the idyllic life of the gentry at the turn of the 20th century.

IMG_1822

Why this hotel?

SIT Grand x800

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island was a brilliant choice for the setting of the film.

MI Carriage passing x800

The hotel opened in 1887, is a truly magnificent structure, and the undisputed grand dame of summer resort hotels.

IMG_4954

Our suite, like many other guestrooms, was furnished with elegant antiques — making the Grand the epitome of Victorian charm.

IMG_1826

Once seen, you will not forget her spectacular 650-foot veranda – lined with spotless white wicker rockers, and a porch full of flowerboxes laden with hundreds of brilliant red geraniums.

SIT Grand pana x590

The Grand is an immense hotel that sits like a sparkling brooch on a forest green dress. Her shining white exterior can be seen for miles across the Mackinac Straits.

MI Chairs x800

She also overlooks the picturesque Round Island Lighthouse, a prominent fixture in the movie.

Dining at the Grand

IMG_1623

During the event, the Grand’s large dining room is the site of a constant parade of Edwardian fashion.

IMG_1599

Ladies in fine embroidered gowns adorned with lace and finished with elaborate plumed bonnets – some of enormous size – are accompanied by men in top hats, tails, and spats.

MI waiters x800

Add dozens of bustling tuxedoed waiters, gliding from table to table, and you have the perfect reenactment of a Victorian gala.

Saturday night Costume Promenade

IMG_1880

IMG_1877

IMG_5293On the final night of the weekend, there is an elegant parade where all guests are invited to strut their stuff in their finest vintage garments through an admiring gauntlet of hundreds of fans.

It’s all about the movie

Once each year, the moving story of Richard Collier (Christopher Reeves) and Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour) brings to life the romantic spirits of hundreds of ordinary people. They gather to have fun, enjoy watching their favorite movie, and mingle with fellow enthusiasts.

If you have not seen the Somewhere in Time film, we suggest you rent it. The story and inspirational music may stir your emotions. If they do, maybe we will see you next October at the annual Somewhere in Time weekend.

Happy travels!

For more facts about the Somewhere in Time weekend click here. For information about the spectacular AAA Four-Diamond Grand Hotel, click here. For quality ferry service to Mackinac Island, click here.

© Travels with Wayne and Judy

Photos © Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Ms. Seymour’s photo courtesy of Universal Studios

A Table Rendezvous with Italy’s Chef Ottavio Bellesi on the Golden Princess

09-13-053-26-IMG_3489

Dining at a Chef’s Table should always be a titillating treat of tantalizing tastes. Traditionally, a Chef’s Table is located in the kitchen – where the guests can watch, and “ooh” and “ahh” as the Chef and his/her team work their culinary magic. That was not how it was at the Table of Chef Ottavio Bellesi aboard the Golden Princess – and here’s why.

From the beginning

49-02-IMG_0156

Soon after boarding the Golden Princess in San Francisco, we had a meeting with the ship’s Maître d’ Hotel, Neville Saldanha, to discuss our dining preferences.

After learning that we were writing about the cruise, and knowing that food is always a popular subject with prospective passengers, Mr. Saldanha suggested that we make reservations for one of the two Chef’s Table events planned for the sailing. We quickly agreed, and a few days later our invitation was in our stateroom mailbox.

A dining we did go

On our assigned night, we gathered just outside the galley entrance with the four other lucky couples that would share our table. There we donned freshly laundered white lab coats and were led into the sparkling kitchen.

03-03-043-03-IMG_3455

Our first stop was the sink, where each guest was required to wash his/her hands before proceeding into the galley’s inner sanctum.

05-07-047-16-IMG_3472

After the salubrious ceremony, the Maître d’, Neville, introduced us to our grand host, Ottavio Bellesi, the Executive Chef of the Golden Princess. Together, they described how the evening would unfold.

18-26-013-032-IMG_4016

First, a toast of Nicolas Feuillatte Brut to celebrate the event.

20-28-015-046-IMG_4030

Then appetizers like Lobster Margarita with Avocado and Mango, and Fontina Cheese and Black Truffle Mini Quiche.

22-30-017-050-IMG_4034

While noshing on our hors d’oeuvres, we will watch the artistic galley staff create ice carvings, and ingenious fruit and vegetable table settings.

12-19-006-008-IMG_3989

Followed by a brief tour of the kitchen to look over the shoulders of the culinary crew preparing and plating the meals for the sitting dinner passengers.

24-35-024-076-IMG_4066

All the above will culminate in a procession into the main dining room where our specially prepared, multi-course dinner will be served.

Chef led tour

13-20-007-011-IMG_3992

Right on schedule, Chef Bellesi began to lead our walking tour of his vast stainless domain.

06-08-048-20-IMG_3479

During our sparkling wine toasts, we realized THIS Chef’s Table was not to be like any other we had previously experienced. Not only would it be conducted by a great Italian Chef – but one who was also an extraordinary entertainer with a gift of contagious laughter.

Chef Bellesi’s cheerful laughter was so genuine, and totally disarming – that there was no escaping his charm. Within minutes, he had all of us wrapped around his little finger, and totally absorbed in his every word.

14-21-008-013-IMG_3994

To make the situation even more hilarious, Neville, the Maître d’, was the perfect comic foil for Ottavio’s Italian-accented antics. He was Martin to the Chef’s Lewis, Abbott to his Costello, and Hardy to his Laurel. The ad hoc comedy team of Bellesi and Saldanha had us in stitches throughout the evening.

We learned and we laughed

32-53-066-36-P1000796

Our two hosts exhibited a high-knowledge of food and wine. The chef added to the group’s understanding of the evolution of Italian cuisine from the basics of simple fresh ingredients to contemporary flavoring techniques.

Italian chefs often work with fewer ingredients and less elaborate preparations than others, making the quality of the ingredients of paramount importance. Chef Bellesi explained how the composition of Italian-style grand cuisine becomes richly enhanced when blended with traditional Italian techniques of “cucina casalinga,” or home cooking.

On to the table

25-36-026-084-IMG_4074

A notable aspect of Italian dining is that the first course is frequently a filling dish like risotto or pasta. So it was at our table as we were presented succulent marinated poached Halibut atop a generous portion of Porcini Mushroom Risotto.

26-40-029-099-IMG_4091

Soon after an Amalfi Lemon Sorbet…

28-45-031-104-IMG_4096

came the Lobster Thermidor…

30-49-035-114-IMG_4106

and a Filet Mignon Rossini, accompanied by a delectable truffled herbed Rack of Lamb, Mustard Hollandaise, Rosemary Jus and Lemon Butter Fondue, Roasted Parisienne Potatoes, and Sautéed fresh market Vegetables.

35-56-037-123-IMG_4115

The above preceded Potted Stilton with Port Wine reduction and Walnut Bread, and all was finished-off with a delicate Marble Chocolate Semifreddo with a Raspberry soft center, topped off with a meaningful coffee and Chef Ottavio’s…

38-60-041-138-IMG_4131

home made Biscotti & Amaretti. What an incredible feast!

Not an easy task

29-47-033-110-IMG_4102

A Chef’s Table is an elaborate undertaking that puts a strain on a kitchen’s resources and staff. In restaurants, the event often takes place after the nightly kitchen rush.

10-16-056-42-IMG_3529

In that regard, we found our lavish affair to be a testament to Chef Ottavio’s ability to create, organize, and coordinate the serving of our event – while his galley team was seamlessly providing superb service to the main body of 1,000+ passengers in the busy dining room around us. Amazing!

36-57-039-128-IMG_4120

Abetted by many of his key staff, Chef Bellesi personally crafted our special Chef’s Table menu, and remained involved in the preparation and presentation of the feast from appetizer to desert.

34-55-036-118-IMG_4110

Along with the ship’s Maître d’, the head Sommelier was there to describe the exactly paired wines that were selected for each of our courses.

31-52-067-34-P1000793

At the end of our fabulous gourmet adventure, each participating couple received a hard-cover copy of, “Courses – A Culinary Journey,” autographed by Neville and Ottavio, along with a group picture – and the ladies departed with a rose. This was an affair to remember.

46-71-059-Chef WB-JB

Considering the investment in food, wine, supplies, and key staff time, we cannot fathom how Princess could make a profit on what each of the ten guests paid for the evening’s Epicurean enjoyment.

We rarely mention prices in our articles because prices change, but we found it amazing that our 3-hour gourmet spectacle cost us less than US $100 per person. Certainly, all the participants will talk about their bon vivant adventure with friends and family for years – and that may just be what Princess has in mind.

If you ever have an opportunity to participate in a Chef’s Table on a Princess Cruise ship – by all means, take it!  Seating is limited so apply early to avoid disappointment.

40-64-080-46-P1000926

39-65-079-38-P1000917

And if the uber-funny pair of Bellesi and Saldanha should happen to be on your ship, absolutely do not miss their afternoon cooking demonstrations.

42-62-082-53-P1000933

There is so much more to them than cooking.

For more information about Princess Cruises click here.

Happy travels and bon appetit!

Suggested reading regarding Princess Cruises by Wayne and Judy:

The Sweetest Suites for Two Aboard the Golden Princess

Luxury Cruising from San Francisco to Hawaii on Princess Cruise Lines

Three Great Reasons to Book a Cruise Out of San Francisco 

Saved by a Princess on the Tasman Sea

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Judy Bayliff

You can see the world with Google Maps. http://maps.google.com/

It’s a Wonderful Life in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania

28-090-090-204-IMG_5164

Wellsboro, PA reminds us of the quality of life and friendly folks of Bedford Falls depicted in Frank Capra’s classic 1946 Christmas flick, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

For one thing, Wellsboro has a wide grassy median down the center of Main Street (like in the movie), and rows of romantic old Victorian gas lights that lend a warm glow to the quaint town at dusk.

27-086-086-200-IMG_5160

In our minds’ eye, like Bedford Falls, Wellsboro is a great example of the best of 1940s Americana. Safe, clean, with well-maintained stately homes set back from wide streets lined with elegant elms and maples. Close your eyes, and you could easily be in a landscaped New England village illustrated by Norman Rockwell.

Outdoor paradise

12-038-038-152-IMG_5112

Wellsboro is a rural small town with lots of outdoor activities. The two we found most interesting were the lovely park overlooking the Pine Creek Gorge a.k.a. the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, and the nearby Pine Creek Trail.

11-037-037-151-IMG_5111

We visited the Gorge at Colton Point State Park overlook, where it’s an invigorating one-mile hike down to the bottom of the canyon via the steep Turkey Path Trail. The journey is worth the effort to experience the waterfalls and breathtaking views.

Not your western canyon

Very different from the Grand Canyon of Arizona, the Tioga County Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania is a dense forest. It is a sportsmen’s paradise with kayaking, canoeing, fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and hunting – all easily accessible.

Where hunting is still a family affair

Pennsylvania has more than 17 million acres of forests shared by the residents at little or no personal expense. This is fishing and hunting country, and local children are taught to respect firearms at an early age.

02-39-60-IMG_3793

Hunting is a time honored tradition in Pennsylvania, and the state’s sensible conservation rules keep the animal populations robust, healthy, and well managed – and the residents well fed with tasty game recipes!

A fabulous multi-use trail

21-063-063-177-IMG_5137

The Pine Creek Rail Trail was once a roadbed for lumber and coal trains, and later for tourist excursion trains – however, the railroad ceased operations in 1989. Subsequently, state, railroad, and community officials cooperated in removing the tracks and transitioning this beautifully scenic rail-bed into one of the premier bike and equestrian trails in the country.

22-065-065-179-IMG_5139

The trail is 62-miles long with only a 2% grade over the entire distance. A well-maintained base of hard-packed gravel is waiting for all outdoor enthusiasts – free of charge.

20-059-059-173-IMG_5133

Hunters, joggers, equestrians, and bicyclists all share the Pine Creek Rail Trail with mutual respect.

Eating in Wellsboro

32-108-108-222-IMG_5182

There are more than a half dozen fine restaurants in this little town, but be sure to drop by the famous Wellsboro Diner for a delicious breakfast, or a sizzling burger and fries with a homemade peach pie chaser.

29-094-094-208-IMG_5168

There is something special about an All-American diner. The sight of one brings smiles and visions of hearty heartland foods like a hot roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy, and a chilled chocolate malt from a stainless steel blender – all at sit-down prices that everyone can afford.

30-103-103-217-IMG_5177

The 600 or so authentic American Diners remaining in the nation are an important part of our heritage. A place where folks from all walks of life sat side-by-side and talked about important matters – like the weather and the Babe’s latest stats. A hot cup of java awaited every after movie date, and everyone had a favorite seat at the counter.

1-095-096-IMG_5170

Operating in the same location since 1939, the highly successful porcelain-enameled steel Wellsboro Diner seats about 100 and is the perfect fit for its downtown setting. Do not miss it!

Where to stay

03-002-002-116-IMG_5076

There are several delightful places to stay in and around Wellsboro, and a reader recommendation led us to a true gem.  The Bear Mountain Lodge is a wonderfully rural and luxuriously rustic log-cabin inn with four well-dressed guestrooms. The minute we walked through the door we felt at home.

09-029-029-143-IMG_5103

There is a well-stocked kitchen with gratis munchies, drinks – including Keurig coffee, and fruits for all the guests. The in-room refrigerator is also full of goodies.

06-020-020-134-IMG_5094

Our “Whitetail” suite was extra-cozy, and had a spacious bathroom furnished with delightful locally made soaps and potions.

16-048-048-IMG_5122

Amiable owner Jim Meade, converted his custom home into this unique guest lodge in 2005.

05-014-014-128-IMG_5088

The Bear Mountain Lodge is tastefully decorated with dozens of woodsy furnishings, all adding to the exclusive hunting lodge ambiance.

10-030-030-144-IMG_5104

The thickly treed grounds are well-maintained and the innkeepers invite guests to enjoy the wilderness and its inhabitants. There’s even a bike barn on property for those wanting to try a ride on the local trails.

24-45-IMG_3777

Sherri, the lodge hostess, was blowing leaves off the driveway when we arrived. She keeps the elegant inn uber-clean and neat-as-a-pin the year round.

The lodge is just minutes from town, but if you would prefer to stay right in the heart of Wellsboro, Jim Meade has the answer.

26-082-083-IMG_5157

Check out his Bear Mid-town Lodge at www.131mainstreet.com and look at the bottom right side of the website to see all three of Jim’s properties.

24-072-072-186-IMG_5146

All of Jim’s Wellsboro lodgings are excellent and warrant our enthusiastic two thumbs up rating. His Bear Meadows Lodge is pictured above.

If you go

25-075-075-189-IMG_5149

Wellsboro is located in beautiful north-central Pennsylvania, just south of the New York state border. 

Bear Mountain Lodge is at 8010 Route 6, just west of Wellsboro, and within 5-miles of everything mentioned in this article. Here’s a map.

Click here for additional details about Bear Mountain Lodge.

Get local tourist information from the Tioga Visitors Bureau at www.visittiogapa.com/

Happy travels!

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Judy Bayliff

You can see the world with Google Maps. http://maps.google.com/

Take Amtrak to a Fabulous Santa Barbara Car Free Holiday

02-13-13-13-P1010404

We had not been on a train in years, so when invited to experience a weekend getaway on the rails that was “drive free,” we jumped at the opportunity. The adventure entailed making our way to the Diridon Train Station in San Jose, California, and boarding the southbound Amtrak Coast Starlight train bound for Santa Barbara. Here’s how it all went:

Checking baggage

01-01-01-01-P1010388

Coast Starlight passengers are allowed to check two bags each, with similar baggage restrictions to those of the airlines. However, our visit was a short getaway so we planned to carry our two small bags to our compartment.

Off we go

03-14-14-14-P1010405

Our Amtrak Coast Starlight train departed on time at 10:07am. We booked a “roomette” accommodation in what is called a Sleeping Car. The roomette amounted to a small compartment with two facing cushioned chairs that recline into a bed. There was also an upper drop-down bunk bed enclosed in the ceiling for the use of a second passenger. We had a nice window to enjoy the view, and there were curtains and a door to shut out the world if we so desired.

We found the biggest advantage of a roomette over a set of less expensive coach seats during a day trip is the privacy for conversation and making phone calls.

Travel comfort

Train travel can be bumpy, but the bouncing around is part of the fun and experience.

The Coast Starlight is one of the longest ocean-view train rides in America. There are a number of venues from which to watch the numerous passing landscapes between San Jose and Santa Barbara.

33-6-6-P1010477

We spent most of the day in comfortable swivel chairs in the upper-level Pacific Parlour Car. Wide windows gave us first-class views of the abundant scenery.

This car also has a lower-level theater where first run films are featured.

Eating on the train

32-1-1-P1010471

Sleeping Car passengers receive complementary meals and can reserve eating times in either the Pacific Parlour Car, or Dining Car. The train’s *menu* is more than adequate and includes sandwiches, fresh fish, salads, several daily entrées ­– including their famous steak in the Dining Car.

07-022-022-022-P1000402

We tried a number of offerings from the menu, and highly recommend the Angus burger – it’s full-flavored and delicious.

Hello Santa Barbara

11-048-048-048-P1000435

Our Amtrak train arrived at the Santa Barbara station on-time at 5:55 pm. The station is small, and was quiet upon our arrival.

It was a short distance to our downtown lodging at the Santa Barbara Hotel on State Street. It felt good to stretch our legs and walk the four blocks from the station to the hotel.

The Hotel Santa Barbara

15-42-42-42-IMG_4951

Centrally located in downtown, the Hotel Santa Barbara is a quaint boutique style hotel with an interesting history. Originally built in the late 1800s, the hotel was destroyed in the 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake. It was quickly rebuilt and became a luxury accommodation for the likes of Clark Gable and Carol Lombard who were frequent guests.

16-49-49-49-IMG_4958

Slowly losing traction over the years, the hotel was again revitalized in 1996 when the 75 room establishment became the elegant focal point for the renaissance of downtown Santa Barbara.

14-23-23-23-IMG_4932

Today, the quietly sophisticated hotel offers small groups a place to stay and meet while visiting the many attractions of the city.

12-053-053-053-P1000440

After settling into our comfortable and spacious guestroom, we took a walk along State Street and window shopped the many specialty retailers that line the cosmopolitan thoroughfare.

Our full day in Santa Barbara

13-06-06-06-IMG_4915

It was a typically beautiful Santa Barbara morning, and after a filling Continental Breakfast provided by the hotel in their spacious Mediterranean lobby, we began to think about the best use of our day.

As part of the Car Free program, the hotel provides tickets for the scenic Santa Barbara Trolley Tour, but a friend had suggested the best way to see the downtown area of Santa Barbara, and to enjoy some of the local cuisine, is by foot on a food tour. It was a good suggestion.

The Santa Barbara Food Tour

We signed up for the Lower State Street and Funk Zone Food and Culture Tour offered by Savor Santa Barbara Food Tours. Our tour started in Rudy’s Mexican Restaurant on W. Montecito Street.

18-067-068-068-P1000456

Claire Ihlendorf-Burke, our congenial guide, handed us a menu of delectable south-of-the-border treats. We chose the beef tacos.

19-072-073-073-P1000461

Not expecting a large amount of food on a tour, and certainly not expecting the biggest and best ever tacos, we tucked away all of the plenty that was offered in short order. The only problem was that this was the first “tasting” on the tour, and we had no idea how we could possibly eat anything more that day – but, somehow we managed.

17-23-23-23-P1010415

We were able to scrape the bowl of delectable lobster bisque at the Enterprise Fish Company,

20-28-28-28-P1010424

and enjoy the grape’s bounty at the Santa Barbara Winery in the hip, but understated Funk Zone section of Santa Barbara.

28-141-142-142-P1000538

What saved us from intake overload were the short walks between the seven sample foods and beverage stops. The entire tour takes a little over three hours and covers about two-miles.

23-115-116-116-P1000509

Claire knows her city well, and she showed us the interesting back streets, urban wine trail, and fine examples of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, for which the city is famous.

22-46-46-46-P1010445

Our tour ended at McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, an artisan creamery with delicious sweets.

25-123-124-124-P1000518

We highly recommend this tour as a great way to learn about Santa Barbara, sample some great food and wines, and get some non-threatening exercise.

Our final day in Santa Barbara

26-50-50-50-P1010450

Before boarding our train to return to San Jose, we took a walk to see the Santa Barbara Courthouse and Sunken Gardens on Anacapa Street. It is worth a visit…

30-152-153-153-P1000550

and the view from the clock tower is breathtaking.

29-65-65-65-P1010467

We also enjoyed the colorful farmer’s market that literally took over State Street the morning of our departure. The market provides residents and visitors an opportunity to purchase farm fresh produce of the highest quality.

For the economy minded traveler

04-009-009-009-P1000389

In terms of space and seats aboard the Coast Starlight, coach accommodations are akin to First Class space aboard most domestic airlines.

A nice accompaniment to the Amtrak Santa Barbara Car Free getaway is the many establishments that provide discounts to Amtrak ticket holders. Get a list of who is participating from www.SantaBarbaraCarFree.org. The website also provides insight into what is available to do while in Santa Barbara.

There is so much to do and see in Santa Barbara and we could only scratch the surface within the confines of this article. You will just have to check it all out for yourself. You will be glad you did.

If you go 

The Coast Starlight runs daily between Seattle and Los Angeles.

Airport connections are available from Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles.

Amtrak offers free city guides and walking tours, which you can find *here*

For more information about what downtown Santa Barbara has to offer click *here*

Look *here* for information about the Hotel Santa Barbara.

Happy travels!

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Judy Bayliff

You can see the world with Google Maps. http://maps.google.com/

Snorkeling with the Manta Rays at the Sheraton Kona Resort Keauhou Bay

Coming face to face with a giant manta ray is the thrill of a lifetime.

Manta rays are amazing and curious creatures. People are fascinated by their opposing nature of ominous looks, and sweet dispositions.

Sheraton Kona

The Sheraton Kona Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii pays homage to these gentle giants by providing a viewing area for visitors at the resort’s Rays on the Bay restaurant.

05-22-110-IMG_9641

From the restaurant’s lookout, the magnificent and mysterious creatures can be seen gliding in the night ocean far below.

03-20-108-IMG_9617

Guests can also attend a complimentary lecture about the manta rays arranged through the resort’s front desk.

11-24-083-IMG_3752

The resort can also organize a water adventure to view the manta rays up close from a local tour boat named the Hula Kai – an opportunity we eagerly welcomed.

Swimming with the manta rays

Like whales, manta rays eat plankton. The plankton are attracted to light and that is the secret to successful manta viewing from the Hula Kai. Our excursion went like this:

04-21-109-IMG_9621

We boarded the nearby Hula Kai at sunset and moved just off shore of the Sheraton Kona.  We donned wetsuits, googles, and a snorkel provided by the concessionaire. We were given a quick course on manta watching, which is done from a horizontal position floating on one’s stomach and holding fast to a length of 3” diameter buoyant pipe – set out from the stern of the boat much like a floating rectangle.

08-15-IMG_3722

Soon darkness was upon us, and the Hula Kai engaged underwater illumination used to attract plankton to the site. We entered the water by ladder and positioned ourselves around the floating pipe. We looked down into the clear bay water and breathed through our snorkels.

Our bodies were made buoyant by the wetsuits, so maintaining our balance was not difficult. It did not take long before the first of six manta rays appeared from out of the shadows – and the fun began.

01-12-IMG_6907

Manta rays are big, but harmless to humans. They, like the whale, are filter feeders. Mantas are fish related to the shark, but have no bones, teeth, barbs, or stingers. However, they do have size – up to 2,000 pounds – which they use in a very good-natured way.

Manta rays are often given names by the crew of the Hula Kai. Each ray has distinctive “spots” that make identity possible.  The same rays tend to return for evening dining and playing with the snorkelers and divers.

For a period of about one-hour we watched these graceful giants do underwater summersaults just below us – performing like rolling acrobats with gray tops and white underbellies.

Although touching the mantas is not allowed, the creatures have no such restrictions. Frequently, one or more of the rays did a graceful roll just under a snorkeler and purposely pressed its sleek white underbelly along the length of the viewer’s body – an exciting encounter that will be remembered by anyone that experiences it.  The top of a ray feels like sandpaper, and the underside is as smooth as velvet.

Tempus fugit, so do it while you can

Sharkgroup1200

For nature and adventure lovers, snorkeling with the manta rays in the back of the Hula Kai in Kailua, Kona is right up there with diving with the reef sharks in the Bahamas, and snorkeling or diving with the sting rays at Stingray City in the Caymans.

Click *here* to read our story and see pictures of the beautiful Sheraton Kona Resort on the Big Island, and *here* to check out the resort’s website. To read about all the services offered by the company that operates the Hula Kai Manta Snorkel, click *here.*

Happy travels!

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Judy Bayliff, shark picture by Wayne Bayliff, Manta Ray pictures courtesy of Sheraton Kona.

You can see the world with Google Maps. www.maps.google.com

We flew to Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines

Long Beach, California: The Renaissance is Complete

Recently, we had an opportunity to experience Long Beach, California, in depth – the transformation of this city over the decades is nothing less than astonishing.

17-35-066-182-IMG_4805

What was an unremarkable middle class town has magically morphed into an exciting convention and vacation destination that rivals the best of what other Southern California beach towns have to offer.

Note: Everything you will read about our Long Beach holiday is available for your enjoyment. We have provided links to each topic. Just click on a link for more details about the subject.

We started out at SFO

49-87-035-137-P1010331

Our Long Beach adventure began with a flight from San Francisco on Jet Blue airline. This was our first experience on the airline and it certainly will not be our last. We found that on our flight, the extra leg room in standard economy was enough to make Jet Blue our new coach-class favorite over the ever-shrinking, sardine-like seats we are all too familiar with on our United and American flights out of SFO.

Additionally, we liked the fact that there was no charge for our checked luggage.

As long as Jet Blue provides these benefits we will be “True Blue,” when it comes to flying coach.

LGB is a delightful airport

50-88-036-141-P1010335

We relish flying into small town airports, and although Long Beach is certainly not a little town, the LGB airport has a small, open, easy-going vibe.

Stay at the Westin

47-85-033-126-P1010320

Within minutes of our arrival at LGB we were relaxing in our room at the Westin on Ocean Boulevard.

01-01-084-028-FSCN0063

The hotel is close to the Queen Mary and many of the other attractions on our itinerary.

02-07-090-083-DSCN0124

After getting settled we were off for a tour of the Queen Mary led by Honorary Commodore Everette Hoard, followed by dinner aboard…

06-19-053-102-IMG_4721

at the Sir Winston’s restaurant.

07-20-054-111-IMG_4733

What delicious French Onion Soup!

08-22-056-117-IMG_4739

Our main course was classic “Surf and Turf” that was cooked to perfection.

About the Queen

14-31-060-141-IMG_4763

The city of Long Beach went into promotional overdrive in 1967 when it acquired the iconic RMS Queen Mary.  Like the city itself, the Queen has known good times and bad, and through it all has become a symbol of pride and enduring strength in America.

Highly visible in Long Beach Harbor, the Queen Mary humbly accepts daily accolades for her beauty and durability, and for those who know, for her valiant courage.

When launched in 1936, the Queen was the fastest ship afloat. During WW2, she made 72 wartime crossings of the treacherous Atlantic and was the prize never won by Nazi U-Boat captains determined to sink her for the Fatherland and Adolf Hitler.

During the war, Winston Churchill said he felt as safe aboard the Queen Mary as he did in Parliament.

IMG_1005

Churchill’s comfortable suite on board the Queen is now part of the array of staterooms available by reservation at the Queen Mary hotel. A stay on this venerable ship is an extraordinary historical privilege.

A few years back, we stayed at the Queen Mary hotel. If you would like to read about that experience on the famous ship click here for the story.

Morning on the water

12-27-057-124-IMG_4746

The following day we toured Long Beach Harbor on the Triumphant of Harbor Breeze Cruises.

18-36-067-189-IMG_4812

This is an excellent way to see all that the waterfront of Long Beach has to offer. Harbor Breeze also offers whale watching cruises.

19-39-071-194-IMG_4817

Next we strolled around Shoreline Village with its many interesting shops, boutiques, and attractions.

16-34-064-178-IMG_4801

Our walk ended with a seafood lunch at the famous (and delicious) Parkers’ Lighthouse.

Afternoon at the Aquarium

21-41-073-209-IMG_4832

Our afternoon at the Aquarium of the Pacific proved it to be a family attraction we could highly recommend.

22-42-074-210-IMG_4833

Exhibits were both entertaining and educational.

23-44-075-216-IMG_4842

Great fun for all ages.

Final day

The following morning we had breakfast at The Attic on Broadway. The cuisine was unique and tasty.

28-52-098-321-DSCN0392

How about a Bloody Mary with bacon and a pickle?

Tour with Pedego

29-54-100-329-DSCN0400

It was a beautiful Long Beach morning so we signed up for an electric bike tour along the ocean bike path. Our host was Pedego Electric Bikes.

55-95-043-BOBS BEACH BIKE 1

This is an excellent way to view the 5.5 miles of manicured sand and shoreline residences along the beach.

33-63-008-043-P1010229

The bikes were all in super shape, and depending on your shape, you can pedal or leave the pedaling to the Pedego.

53-92-040-Electric Bike Group

The outing was great fun, and there was an outstanding group of participants.

Time for culture

36-71-016-072-P1010260

There are plenty of indoor activities in Long Beach and in the afternoon we left the sun to visit the Long Beach Museum of Art.

34-66-011-052-P1010238

We were captivated by the exhibition Baroque Sensibilities by Sherrie Wolf.

35-67-012-056-P1010242

The museum changes exhibits regularly, so keep an eye on their website.

Back in time

A quite unusual attraction that is not highly publicized is Long Beach’s 4th Street, a.k.a. the “Retro Row.” It is comprised of several blocks of funky little boutiques, antique, and pre-owned clothing shops that will take you back to mother’s time – or maybe your time, if you recognize lots of the habiliments. Locally owned restaurants and wine bars add to the joy of meandering.

39-74-020-081-P1010272

The Rows landmark 1920’s Art Theatre hosts events such as contemporary and vintage films and live concerts.

A little touch of Venice 

Our next Long Beach adventure had us back on the water.

41-77-024-087-P1010279

Gliding along the waterways of Venice, Italy is one of our fondest memories, and we had an opportunity to reminisce in Long Beach on a romantic gondola ride thru Naples Island with Gondola Getaway.

43-79-026-102-P1010295

We watched the sun surrender to the Pacific – a perfect ending to an exceptional day.

Last supper

Our last dinner on this getaway was at the Boathouse on the Bay. The water oriented restaurant was busy on a balmy Long Beach evening, and the service and food were as advertised i.e., excellent.

44-81-028-108-P1010301

Our entrees consisted of the biggest-ever and perfectly prepared King Crab Legs accompanied by a chopped cucumber sprinkled with dill and drizzled with a light vinegar – a brilliant pairing of tastes.

45-83-030-113-P1010307

We can also recommend the tasty sea bass on potato mash amidst a savory sassy mix of carrots, peas and green beans. Delicious!

Things to know before you go

Long Beach boasts 345 days of sunshine and it is cold at 50 degrees in January, and hot when it’s 83 degrees in August and September. How great is that!

The outdoor activities in Long Beach are numerous and include fishing, harbor cruises, kayaking, rollerblading, biking, horseback riding, tennis and of course, golf. If that weren’t enough, windsurfing, scuba diving, parasailing, water skiing, whale watching, and sailing are also available. Whew!

There are over 5,000 hotel rooms in Long Beach, and 17 hotels that have complete meeting facilities. The public transportation is unsurpassed, and with all the available activities, Long Beach is a spectacular convention town.

As evidenced by its many nightspots and hip restaurants, the city has become an exciting destination for younger tourists.

There’s a lot to do and see in Long Beach. We recommend a visit. You will not be disappointed.

For additional information check out www.longbeachcvb.org

If you go

48-86-034-134-P1010328

Long Beach is 22-miles south of downtown Los Angeles and is well serviced by the airlines and the California Freeway System.

Happy travels.

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Judy Bayliff

You can see the world with Google Maps. http://maps.google.com/

Spending Quality Time on the Cannery Row in Monterey, California

Cannery Row on Monterey Bay is an easy 2-hour drive south of San Francisco. Two good reasons to add Monterey to your northern California holiday are that it is a breathtakingly beautiful part of the Golden State, and it is far less commercial than San Francisco. It’s a great place to enjoy some quality down-time during your vacation.

A brief history of Cannery Row

csr7

Oil made whales the Monterey prey of choice for fisherman until Kerosene was introduced in the late 1800s. At that time, the local fishing industry made a quick turn to sardines, and the first cannery opened in 1902 along Ocean View Avenue – now Cannery Row.

From that date until the 1960s the fishermen and businessmen of the “Row” didn’t realize it, but they were systematically fishing themselves into oblivion by overtaxing the schools of mature sardines needed to reproduce and replenish the early abundant harvests.

IMG_0727

The last sardine catch and pack on Cannery Row took place in 1964 on the site of the now famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Inspired by John Steinbeck’s celebrated story, Cannery Row is visited annually by scores of vacationers from around the world, and it is well worth a prominent place on your vacation schedule.

It’s fun to share the planet

IMG_0927

Cannery Row is not only a tourist’s mecca, it has also become a conservationist’s Disneyland. There’s the spectacular Aquarium, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which can be enjoyed by tour boat, sail boat, kayak, or row boat.

crb4

On land, tourists can comb the waterfront, whale watch, otter watch, seal watch, bird watch, and people watch. Cold water SCUBA divers also get to fish watch. There are a whopping 26 species of marine mammals, and 345 species of fish residing in the Monterey Bay Sanctuary.

Also in the area

pg1

Golfing and touring at Pebble Beach, Carmel, and Pacific Grove are minutes away,

l1

and the Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove is open to the public and is a great place to get a feel for a lighthouse keeper’s life in earlier times.

pl9

Point Lobos State Reserve with its fantastic views of the Pacific is also in the neighborhood.

t IMG_0464

In the area, we also visited the fabulous Holman Ranch and Winery, and *here* is that story.

Where to stay

h2

IMG_0777

There is no shortage of great places to stay on and near Cannery Row. We chose the Monterey Bay Inn right on the “Row.” It is the first hotel on the water when driving east.

IMG_0737

The Inn’s appeal includes being slightly away from the center of the hub-bub, where most of the tourists congregate. Yet, it is just a short walk to all the interesting shops that line the Row.

IMG_0621

The views from the Monterey Bay Inn are impressive – especially if you are lucky enough to reserve an end room with a balcony over the water. We recommend room 320 if it is available. (that’s 320 just under the roof canopy above)

pa1

The Inn is adjacent to San Carlos Beach Park, where visitors can picnic and stroll the beach. The park is also an excellent entry point for kayaks and SCUBA divers heading for a swim with the fishes among the ever-swaying orange and brown kelp beds.

Cannery Row eateries

sf4

The area is awash in excellent restaurants, but there is one in particular that deserves a feature story, and that is what we plan for the legendary Sardine Factory on Wave Street.

The Sardine Factory is a world-class restaurant that is also an uplifting All-American success story. It’s about two ordinary guys that started with nothing almost 40-years ago, and today are recognized by presidents, the movers and shakers of industry, and scores of celebrities in the restaurant and entertainment world.

It’s also a tale of tradition, values, honesty and integrity – subjects that are too often forgotten in our confused times.

sssf3

So look for our story about the Sardine Factory in the near future. It is good press that will inspire you – it did us.

IMG_0720

The Monterey coast and Cannery Row are California treasures that should be explored and enjoyed by all lovers of the sea, nature, and good food – definitely worth putting on your getaway list.

Happy travels.

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff
Photos © Judy Bayliff
You can see the world with Google Maps. http://maps.google.com

%d bloggers like this: