To celebrate our anniversary, Kyle and I decided to go away for the weekend. Based pretty much entirely on how much I loved the beach at Point Reyes, I found us a place at the beach! (Having grown up in the Midwest, I'm basically a stranger to beaches. Kyle thinks this is bizarre.) In any case, Kyle took a half-day off on Friday and we headed for Marina, out on Monterey Bay.
Now, we knew that it was going to be chilly. The weather forecast for the weekend was the low sixties, if I remember correctly. The weather lied. When we got there, it was about 50 degrees, cloudy, and windy. Fortunately, the locals are equipped for this sort of "summertime" weather. The forecast would continue to be wrong, but we dealt with it. And it did warm up on Saturday and Sunday.
So the thing to know about the place we were staying (it's called the Sanctuary Beach Resort) is that it's built on a nature preserve and there are various measures in place to help the environment out a bit. First up: golf carts! The resort consists of several separate bungalow-style buildings, rather than one big one. Instead of everybody driving their cars around the site, everybody gets a golf cart. Yes, we both had a lot of fun driving ours.
Okay, so we got to our room. And it was seriously one of the very best ones they had, way out on the end with absolutely nothing between us and the ocean. Don't believe me? This was our view:
Oooooh. I'm seriously thinking of making that my wallpaper. It re-relaxes me just to look at it. The fence is 'cuz we weren't allowed out on the dunes (protected habitat)--the beach access was down a bit further. The extra benefit of the little banned area, though, is that nobody could go walking past. So we could sit in front of our patio window (too cold to sit outside!) and look out to sea and feel like there was just no-one else around. It was glorious. (Side note: who knew dunes were so colorful? Not me. But the plants were gorgeous.)
Note the fireplace. That's how our room was heated. How cute is that? Our own little fire demon to keep us warm (yes, it was gas and ran off a thermostat). Calcifer even dried my jeans after the ocean gods got them wet. Good little fire demon. If you looked right out to the right, though, you could sorta see what the little buildings looked like:
And this shot, taken Sunday, further illustrates how close we really were to the ocean:Sadly, it was way too cold to go down to the beach Friday night. We settled into our room and went to dinner at a local Italian/seafood joint. On the way back, we stopped at Starbuck's for some hot chocolate, then just relaxed in our room, reading and trying to balance our desire to have the door open so we could hear the waves against our desire to not freeze. There was a break in the clouds such that we could actually watch the sun set. I had actually never done this before and didn't realize you could truly see it move! I may have also spent a bit too much time staring at the sun itself, but my eyes eventually recovered.
We started Saturday by going to Denny's for "breakfast" at noon. Afterward, we went to a pond we'd spotted to play with the bajillion birds. There were gulls, ducks, pigeons, and geese, all being crazy.Also, on a related note, I love this sign:
The third duck is my favorite.
Next, it was time to finally hit the beach! I'd been looking forward to dabbling my toesies in the water for weeks and weeks. Sadly, it was still dang cold and the wind was blowing really hard. So despite the fact that we took blankets and books down with us, we only stayed for around half an hour. I don't think Kyle ever sat down; he just stood around, wrapped in the blankets. I rolled my jeans up and ran in and out of the surf like a loon, but it was super cold and the wind was giving me a headache (and Kyle a jaw-ache), so we headed back to our room and on to the hot tub to warm up.
After the hot tub, we were both 'zausted. Kyle took a nap and I, who am not a fan of naps, computered for a bit. I woke him up when I got bored and we spent forever trying to decide what to do for dinner. We ended up going into Monterey for P.F. Chang's, which was tasty. That was pretty much it. We were both really tired from the hot tub (we've decided those things are energy-sappers), so we turned in early. After enjoying the chocolates provided with our turn-down service, of course. (Somehow, we never did get around to that complimentary bottle of wine. Pity.)
Sunday was our last day there, and we had to be out by noon. I knew I wanted to go back down to the beach, so I woke Kyle up early, around 8, and we ran down first thing. This was good, because it was actually warm and sunny for the first time since we got there! ("Warm" is a relative term, of course, but still.) Kyle took a couple hundred pictures, a few of me being fascinated by waves.
Okay, I look like a moron there because I was just attacked by a wave monster. You can't tell from just one shot, but I was wading along happily, and then a couple of waves came together to make one BIG one, I got rather shockingly wet (that water was cold!), and then came pelting my ridiculous way back up the beach. And Kyle caught it all on camera and insisted it go on the blog. So there you go.
After a while, Kyle retreated to an "impenetrable fortress":
Yeah. It was soon flooded.
All too soon, we had to return to our room to pack up and get ready to go. I did not want to leave our exceedingly peaceful oasis. However, the appearance of this guy made it a bit easier:Kyle found him on the bed (we think he hitched a ride via his computer bag). All I know is that I was in the bathroom, putting on my makeup, when I heard screaming. Yelping, at least. And yes, we trapped it under a glass and left it for housekeeping. But we figured that's what they would have wanted us to do--they had a sign in the room about different wildlife from the dunes that could possibly make its way into our room and offering to "escort it out for us" if we called them. True, they didn't mention spiders. But still.
Okay, this post is almost done, I promise. We checked out of the hotel around 11:30 and went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I'll be brief and just say that my favorite parts were the jellyfish and sea horse exhibits. (They were so cool!)
For scale's sake, that first jellyfish was small. The second one was huge. Sorry, no pics of the sea horses. Kyle's favorites were the penguins (no surprise there) and sea otters. The aquarium's parking garage is down Cannery Row, so we got to walk along all the shops, and we had to stop in the Ghirardelli store and split a sundae. We also picked up a yummy caramel apple at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Co. before going to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. And after yet another tasty meal, we pointed Chloe back towards Livermore. Vacation over.