7 Day Trip Ideas Around Carmel By The Sea!

Disclosure: I was invited to stay in Carmel by the Sea at the Hofsas House.  This is what I saw, learned, and why I love STAYing in Carmel by the Sea whenever I visit the Monterey Peninsula.

I’m going to be honest.  I love visiting the Monterey Peninsula.  I love the first time seeing the Monterey Bay as I come in off the 156.  I love the ocean waters, the sea life happening all around the Bay, and of course, the cute little towns throughout the Peninsula.

And, because of the adorable little town of Carmel by the Sea, it’s exactly where I stay every time I come to visit the Peninsula.  This town, with lots of charm, is in such close proximity of SO MANY fun things to do, another GREAT reason to stay.

With that being said, to help GET you inspired, here are my 7 Day Trip Ideas:


1) Monterey’s Cannery Row


Cannery Row has so many fun offerings happening all times of the year from the Monterey Aquarium, to the various dining establishments in the area.  Also, many wine tasting rooms are right on the Waterfront offering for a great view as you sip on your favorite wines.

Stop in the fun shops along the way as you walk around the Waterfront, and end your day at Old Fisherman’s Wharf where you can enjoy a sunset dinner at Big Fish Grill, the restaurant at the very end of the Wharf that overlooks Monterey Bay.


Oysters at Big Fish Grill – Old Fisherman’s Wharf

2) 17 Mile Drive

Probably ONE of my all time favorite things to do while in Carmel by the Sea, and with an entry point right next to the town, it’s so easy to do.  Just remember: 10 Dollar Admission to get into 17 Mile Drive, so when on the drive, plan on making a day of it:

Grab a drink at the Pebble Beach Lodge, Take in a Photo at the Lone Cypress Tree, or just spend some time along the water, no matter what you do, you’ll create some fun memories:


3) Make it a BEACH Day

With the Carmel Beach being less than a mile from Town Center, it’s WAY too easy to make it a Beach Day.  The best part?  How dog friendly Carmel Beach is: Dogs run free here!

Also, did you know that Carmel Beach is one of the FEW beaches in California that allow WINE on the beach?  That’s right.  Wine on the beach as you take in the sun and water.


Dinner Recommendation:  Head to Pacific Grove to the Beach House at Lover’s Point for a Sunset Dinner to make it an awesome end to your fantastic day on the beach!

4) Take a Visit to Carmel Valley

Carmel Valley, not to be confused with Carmel by the Sea, is just a few miles down the road from Carmel by the Sea off of Carmel Valley Road.  You can begin your day by grabbing lunch at Earthbound Farms, enjoy it picnic style, or bring it in the car with you as you drive into Carmel Valley.

Take in the scenic views of the Valley, or stop in various tasting rooms along the way such as Holman Ranch, Jarman Cellars, Talbott Vineyards, Joyce Vineyards, Cima Collina, Cowgirl Winery and many others.  Each tasting room bringing a little bit of Carmel Valley personality!

5) Explore Big Sur

I don’t think people REALIZE how close Big Sur is to Carmel by the Sea (less than 3o miles, really!)  Hop on Highway 1, and head off into the Sunset.  Be sure to bring your camera to capture the famed Bixby Bridge, and other scenic views along the way.


One of my absolute favorite California drives!

Once in Big Sur, be sure to grab lunch or dinner at Big Sur Roadhouse, where you’ll experience a bit of New Orleans right off the California coast.

6) Go on a Hike!

There’s a lot of GREAT places to Hike around the Monterey Peninsula, but, if you want to enjoy a bit of the outdoors, while taking in some great scenic views, a stop off at Point Lobos needs to happen.

Just some of the views along the way:



If you book a stay at the Hofsas House, you can partake in their “Take a Hike Package” which will allow you to “Experience Big Sur hiking trails ranging from tranquil walks along a coastal waterfall to miles-long ascents through the redwoods and into the rugged wilderness or take in magnificent Point Lobos State Park. After a day of hiking the Big Sur coastline, guests relax in the hotel’s heated swimming pool or European dry saunas. Package includes a $25 gift certificate for Carmel’s 5th Avenue Deli. Offer valid from June 1  thru July 31st, 2016 with a minimum of a two (2)-night stay. Mention HHNature at booking. Offer not valid with any other discounts, promotions or thru a third party booking agent.

7) Explore Moss Landing

Another fun town apart of the Monterey Peninsula is none other than Moss Landing.  Home of the largest Estuarary in the State, and a place with tons of unique, antique stores right along their town’s main drag.

To learn more about Moss Landing, be sure to check out my article here.

8) Bonus: Spend a Day in Carmel by the Sea

But of course, a stay in Carmel by the Sea, isn’t complete without spending some time in the town itself.  With its picturesque cottages, wooden signs, and all of it’s fun shopping, it’s a place worth spending time in.

Buy a new hat, grab a cup of coffee at Carmel Roasting Company, or purchase some Salt Water Taffy at the Cottage of Sweets, or, if you’re like me, spend an afternoon Wine Tasting with their affordable Wine Tasting Passport (I mean, 14 wine tasting rooms in the town itself!)

Or grab a meal at one of their AWESOME dining establishments! Trust me, I like to splurge on food every time I make a visit.

Where to Stay:  The Hofsas House

The Hofsas House has been in business for over 69 years!  And, they know Customer Service.  This inn, right in town center of Carmel by the Sea is in close proximity to all of these Day Trip Ideas, and let me tell you, their BEDS are incredibly comfortable.

Complimentary Breakfast comes with your stay with various yogurts and pastries from a local Monterey Company.  The Hofsas House offers a variety of packages to help host you during your stay from Wine Tasting to the Monterey Aquarium to a Day Spent on the Beach, they will have all of your needs covered.

Just take a look at one of their rooms:


They will definitely take care of you while in town.  Now is the perfect time to plan a getaway to Carmel by the Sea, summer has officially arrived!

Tell me, what are some of your favorite things to do around the Monterey Peninsula?  Or, more specifically, in Carmel by the Sea?

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Bit of Germany in Minnesota: New Ulm

Disclosure: I participated in a pre-tour during my TBEX North America conference experience held at the Mall of America this past May. All opinions are my own. And lets just say, I’m a bit partial to Minnesota (born and raised and all!)

Did you know that 38% of Minnesotans report German heritage?  It’s true, and it is the top nationality within Minnesota, so it only makes sense that there’s an entire town with German Heritage intertwined into the state.



Let me introduce you to New Ulm, MN.  This town, in the South Central area of Minnesota, was named after Neu Ulm in the state of Bavaria in southern Germany.  It was founded in 1854 by the German Land Company.

The town has quite the history including the location of the 1862 US Dakota War where the town was attacked twice by the Dakota Indians.  The town came together, with help from other nearby towns to fight back.  Many of the areas surrounding the town were burnt down.

In 1881, a massive tornado came through the town of New Ulm, and left utter destruction afterwards killing a total of 6 and injuring 53.

BUT, New Ulm, has left it’s German heritage in tact, and has become a fun destination for many to come and explore throughout the years.

During my recent visit to Minnesota I had the opportunity to explore New Ulm, and believe it or not, it was my FIRST time visiting.

Some of the favorites include:

Hermann Monument:


The Hermann Monument in New Ulm dominates the Minnesota River valley from a hill overlooking the city. Inspired by a similar monument called Hermannsdenkmal near Detmold, Germany, this figure served as a symbol for members of the Sons of Hermann, a fraternal organization of German Americans. In 1885, the 362 Sons of Hermann lodges across the country committed themselves to the construction of a monument representing their cultural heritage. Through the efforts of Minnesota’s 53 Sons of Hermann lodges, the monument was built in New Ulm, home to many German immigrants. The sculptor chosen for this project was a German sculptor from Ohio, Alfons Pelzer.

What’s great about this monument is that it sits along the Hermann Heights Park, and guests are welcome to climb the 99 steps to the top of the monument.  Once atop, you can enjoy 360 views of the town of New Ulm and surrounding cities.


View from the top of the Hermann the German Monument. 

New Ulm Glockenspiel:

From a distance, it looks like a clock around Town Center, but after closer inspection you’ll soon find out, this clock, aka Glockenspiel (is a percussion instrument composed of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano.) has musical performances daily beginning at Noon.  The musical performances last for a solid 10 minutes, but it’s a beautiful sight to see.  There are just a FEW of these around the world.


Schell’s Brewery:

With German heritage in tact throughout the town of New Ulm, it was no wonder, that a brewery was soon established.  Schell’s Brewery just happens to be the 2nd oldest running brewery in the United States, and yes, holds true to it’s German heritage in creating a German Craft Beer right in town.


And, for those with littles, during the prohibition era, when alcohol was not allowed, they learned the craft of making Root Beer, their 1919 Root Beer is still being made today, and is even sold in the local grocery stores throughout Minnesota in Keg Form.

The local Schell’s Brewery has local tours at a cost of 3.00 per person where the tour guide will tell you a brief history of the brewery and walk you through different parts of the brewery.  The tour will end in the tap room where you are welcome to taste their different beers.  They will offer Root Beer for the littles.


During the summer, their Beer Garden is open up during the hours of 11am to 5pm on Saturday and Sundays.

Summer Tour Schedule:

Weekdays: 1:00, 2:30 & 4:00

Saturday:  12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 & 4:00

Sunday: 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 & 4:00

The brewery even has 2 peacocks that walk around the grounds throughout the day.  So keep your eyes open for them when visiting:


Morgan Creek Vineyards:

If Beer isn’t your drink of choice then you may just want to make a stop off at Morgan Creek Vineyards for an afternoon wine tasting. The venue is a true culinary destination that offers a tasting room, wine cafe, and gift shop.

It is also the first and only Minnesota underground winery *thus far* that established itself in 1993.

May – October
Thursday 11.00 – 9:00
Friday-Saturday 11:00  – 9:00
Sunday 11:00 – 5:00

Cafe Menu Available
Thurs/Friday 5:30 – 9:00
Saturday 11:00 – 9:00
Sunday 11:00 – 3:00 (Brunch 11 – 2:00)

Explore Downtown:

Of course, one of the gem’s of New Ulm is walking through their downtown area where you can stop into local shops to find German Beer Steins, Christmas Tree Ornaments to Marzipan.

A few local gems:

Domeier’s German Store (1020 S. Minnesota Street)

GutenTag Haus (127 N Minnesota Street)

And, if hungry, especially if craving a bit of authentic German food, a must stop off at: Veigel’s Kaiserhoff.

Weiner-SchnitzelWeiner Schnitzel at Veigel’s Kaiserhoff

So, if you have not been to New Ulm, this summer is the perfect opportunity for a weekend getaway to this German Town!  Perhaps a new tradition will be born for you and your family! It just so happens to be the Polka Capital of Minnesota too!  And is home to the Music Hall of Fame.




Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Celebrate 100 Years in Carmel by the Sea This Year!

Disclosure:  I visit Carmel by the Sea once or twice a year because of how much I adore this town.  Sometimes my stays are hosted, other times they are not.  All opinions are my own.

Carmel by the Sea is one of those California Coastal Towns that always leaves a lasting impression.  Between it’s quaint little cottages, wooden adorned signs, and homes and businesses without addresses, that truly bring this modern day fairy-tale town to life.  And the best part, it’s all so close to the Ocean, just a short distant walk from the downtown hub.

It is in its own history where so much of Carmel by the Sea has come to be:  Named one of the best dog friendly towns in California, Clint Eastwood, once was mayor, and of course, their famed no high heels law that still exists today.

2016 is a remarkable year for this town so many have come to love and adore.  The last weekend in October of this year (2016), Carmel by the Sea will be celebrating their 100 Year Birthday! Mark your calendars for October 29th, as the town comes together for a grand celebration, parade style, of course!  However, the city, is already letting it be known it’s their Centennial Celebration with signs found all around town.  There will be celebrations throughout the year!


And, even some businesses, aren’t shy about paying tribute to the town they’ve come to adore and love, such as Galante Vineyards with their Centennial Red Wine Bottle, featuring the father of Carmel of the Sea: James Frank Devendorf, who also happens to be the great-grandfather of Jack Galante, owner of Galante Vineyards.


The Hofsas House, a boutique inn within the town of Carmel by the Sea, has also created a variety of packages to give back to the town, and also their guests throughout the year.


One such package includes the “History Tour” Package:

Celebrate Carmel-by-the-Sea’s 100th Anniversary and Hofsas <class=”il”>House Hotels 69th Anniversary with our History Tour! Delight in the special charms of Carmel on a leisurely, fun and informative two-hour guided walk past enchanting Fairy-tale cottages, through secret pathways, hidden courtyards and award-winning gardens. At the end of the tour, you’ll feel like a local. Cost is $25 per person. When booking use promotion code: HHWALKS.

And of course, Carmel by the Sea knows how to commemorate in style by having a complete website dedicated to the celebration.  The website will feature all of the events happening throughout the year, along with updates as more information comes out about bigger celebrations down the road (around October!) The Centennial Committee are still finalizing all details of the full on celebration taking place the last weekend in October.

You can also purchase memorabilia on the site from etched wine glasses to a picnic blanket, t-shirts and more!

Of course, Carmel by the Sea will still be keeping their annual traditions of:

Concours d’Elegance:  Tuesday, August 16: Concours on the Avenue
Thursday, August 18: Concours d’Elegance (Ocean Avenue and Devendorf Park).

And of course, Carmel by the Sea famed, “Poodle Day” will take place on September 24th, 2016. Carmel by the Sea is one of the most dog friendly towns in California, all thanks to Doris Day.  The annual Poodle Day is an annual event that brings Poodle Lovers and Owners together for a day of festivities all around Carmel by the Sea.  More information here.

Carmel by the Sea is one of those towns that makes California what it is!  A town for dog lovers, art lovers, wine lovers, food lovers, and yes, even car lovers.  This is the year for a must visit!


Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment