Travel Tuesday: Coastal Cousins – Go West Young (Wo)Man Part 1: Monterey & Pacific Grove, Cali

by Marika Flatt on February 7, 2023 in Travels,

Many Texans have heard of Monterey and Carmel, California, but have you heard of the precious Pacific Grove in between the two? These coastal cousins set on the Pacific Ocean provide a serene getaway with great temperatures any time of year.


As LL Cool J sings in his 1988 hit: “Going back to Cali…”

A view that will sweep you off your feet, the Villa by the Sea spares no expense in showing the best of this Pacific Grove area. Photo Courtesy Sanctuary Vacation Rentals

Be Our Guest

To find your ideal cottage by the sea, Sanctuary Vacation Rentals has approximately 135 homes to choose from in this area. When I scheduled this trip, my main priority was to have a home with a view of the ocean. Villa by the Sea, one block from the coast, featured just that.

This 3-bedroom, 2 ½-bath, two-story that sits one block from the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, was the perfect escape for our family of five. The second floor, where the comfortable living room and kitchen sat, also highlighted the hero of the house, which are French doors that open up to a small patio with a view of the ocean! 

Perfectly appointed and generously comfortable, this rental featured all that you need and more. From Trader Joe’s bath amenities to extra blankets and ample thread count sheets, Sanctuary Vacation Rentals wants to make sure that their guests want to return. With small extras such as local coffee and the option to use either a coffee pot or a Keurig, these little extras don’t go unnoticed.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium, right on the Pacific Coast, is a perfect immersion to the salt and sea of Cali. Photo Courtesy Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Out and About

Pacific Grove is perfectly located to enjoy a host of activities, such as simply walking along the coastal trail to view sea life and get fantastic pics for the ‘Gram! You’re also just a few blocks away from the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, lots of adorable shops, and even within walking distance to a market for any grocery needs, since you can easily cook meals in your rental home.

The Haute Enchilada is the perfect taste of fresh and funky. Photo Courtesy Haute Enchilada.

Drive about 25 minutes north on Highway 1 to a little area called Moss Landing, a vintage fishing village, that features a restaurant called The Haute Enchilada. The husband & wife owners have had this funky little restaurant for 25 years that is now surrounded by a 5-Airbnb park. Enjoy your lunch in the courtyard, surrounded by an art gallery and social club, mostly for special events, but featuring a live feed of a nearby owl sanctuary. Definitely order the enchiladas, haute (bougie) and delicious. Choose from either their Huitlacoche Enchiladas (black truffle corn, shrimp and squash blossoms) or Two Enchiladas al Mole (chicken, veggies, Oaxacan cheese). 

Sal Rombi in his element, a glass of red in hand and a smile inviting visitors to toast with him. Photo Courtesy Rombi Winery.

If you head south from Pacific Grove, just off of Highway 1, you will see the exit for Carmel Valley. This seemingly country road features wineries and tasting rooms for your sipping pleasure, including Rombi Wines and Twisted Roots wineries.

Sal Rombi has been making wines since 1998 and his tasting room is only open two days a week, on Saturdays and Sundays. If you are a fan of a smokiness, try the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, which gets its smoky tasting notes from the area fire of that year. Other notable varieties offered in the tasting room include their 2018 Merlot, 2017 Cab, 2014 Petite Sirah and the 2018 Petite Verdot, my personal favorite.

The Twisted Roots Winery keeps the fun going and wine flowing! Photo Courtesy Twisted Roots.

Just across the road, you’ll find the tasting room for Twisted Roots, owned by a husband and wife who are cradle Californians. The Albarino, with its citrus notes, and the Chardonnay, with tastes of crisp green pear and white peach, are ideal for a warm day. The Petite Sirah, which was their first wine, and the 1918 Old Vines Zinfandel, which comes from their old family estate, are great for cooler evenings.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Charming Carmel-by-the-Sea! 

An option for getting there…

American Airlines announced that starting in February it will begin using larger aircraft for its twice-daily flights from Monterey Regional Airport to Dallas-Fort Worth.

“For the first time in nearly three decades, our region will enjoy daily non-stop service on a mainline aircraft which will increase our available seats by nearly 40,000 per year in the Dallas-Fort Worth market,” said Michael La Pier, Monterey Regional Airport’s Executive Director. 

The doors are open at Sanctuary Vacation Rentals. Photo Courtesy Sanctuary Vacation Rentals.
Photo from Marika Flatt


Cover Photo Courtesy Paul Rosenthal on Unsplash

Marika Flatt, Outstanding Austin Communicator 2021, is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She began her travel writing career in 2002 with Austin Woman Magazine and now writes their “Texas Traveler” section. She can be seen as a contributor on TV shows across Texas, offering travel tips and spent five years as the voice of the “Weekend Trip Tip” on NPR’s Texas Standard.