6 Things to Know About Monterey

When Spain ruled what was then called Alta California, its capital city was Monterey. Now, the bureaucrats have moved on to D.C. and Sacramento, but the rest of us have plenty of reasons to stick around—or to come for a visit.

1. These days, the biggest lure for visitors (sorry—bad pun!) is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. And not just humans. Earlier this month, during a particularly blustery storm, a wild sea otter made her way into the aquarium’s Great Tide Pool area to give birth to her pup in safety. All together now: awwwwww….

A Southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) mother with her newborn pup less than a day after being born in the Great Tide Pool at the Monterey Bay Aquarium on March 7, 2016Photo Courtesy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium

2. Everyone’s talking about chef Jason Franey’s happy-hour tacos at the top-rated Restaurant 1833. Two for $5—you can’t beat that. Get there before 7, though, or you’ll be out of luck. (And they’re not served at all Fridays or Saturdays.)

Restaurant 1833_Social Hour tacos_Tacos and sides_Top viewPhoto Courtesy of Raul Nava

3. Once a month, the Pacific Biological Laboratories is open for guided tours. Why, you ask? This is where Ed Ricketts, the real-life Doc from John Steinbeck’s novel Cannery Row, both worked and played.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto Courtesy of Bill Abbott via Flickr

4. Four days, 100 chefs, and 250 wineries: Yes, it’s time for the 9th Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine event. The first fork is raised on March 31.

Sunday Lexus Grand Tasting (photo credit Robert Ellis) (71)Photo Courtesy of Robert Ellis and featured photo courtesy of Gina Sinotte

5. In the spring, thanks to the prevailing winds and ocean currents, whales and orcas and dolphins come close to shore to feed. From dry land, you can see them leaping, breaching, and spouting.

11283944353_1ec25bd100_kPhoto Courtesy of Marc Smith via Flickr

6. Speaking of whales, check out the sidewalk in front of the Old Whaling Station, a historic adobe house that’s part of the state park system. The diamond-shaped paving squares are made from whales’ vertebrae.

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