And Most Romantic Town Goes To… Pacific Grove

In February, the Monarch butterflies steal the show in Pacific Grove (they arrive in October as part of a yearly migration). But rip yourself away from the Monarch Grove Sanctuary for a moment to explore the Victorian village on the Pacific Ocean known locally as PG.

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While the drive along Ocean View Boulevard is Highway-1-style rewarding, we recommend biking or walking a portion of the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail to get even closer to the Pacific and its noises (sea lions barking). The gathering spot right off the trail is Lover’s Point, which has filled many Instagram feeds.

PG’s main street is called Lighthouse Avenue for a reason. At the northern foot of it is Point Pinos, one of the original seven built on the West Coast, this one in 1853-54. Although Point Pinos is convenient to PG, in the pioneering days, the keeper was separated from town by dunes, cougars and grizzlies (the last being a real dilemma). You can visit the lighthouse.

Closer to town off Lighthouse Avenue are shops and eateries to explore, such as Pavel’s Backerei, an old-school European bakery. A line snakes out the door for the many things sweet and savory, from Danishes, Meyer lemon cakes and chocolate croissants to seven-seed and sourdough breads. The line moves quickly.

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Alpha Stationers, next door to Pavel’s, carries the type of papers and pens you want to write on and with. Those who have a fetish for fine instruments might ink in some time here.

Make good on your promise with that new pen and paper and start writing the great American novel. One day it would end up for sale in Bookworks, an indie bookstore that hosts events and operates a popular coffee shop that is conducive to meeting locals.

Wednesday night is pizza night at PG’s Il Vecchio, on Central Avenue, a couple blocks from Monterey Bay Aquarium. This rustic-Italian restaurant is completely decorated with all salvaged materials. If you miss pizza night, the homemade pastas are a fine substitute any time.

05-d-pacific-grove-california-il-vecchioPhotos Courtesy of Sara Essex Bradley Photo