Stunning views and good times in Monterey

This past weekend was another great one, in which Dave and I took a little road-trip down to Monterey, California for a beautiful wedding. We spent a lot of time outdoors, ate great food, had our puppy Rudy with us most of the time and hung out with friends, so it was pretty much all you could ask for in a trip.

Friday afternoon drive down to Monterey

On Friday afternoon, Dave, Rudy and I began our drive to Monterey (we had been through Monterey once before a couple of years ago but never stayed the night). While we hoped to be on the road before traffic got bad, we still ended up hitting some slow-downs on the freeway. In total, it took about two-and-a-half hours to get to our hotel from Oakland, which is where Dave’s office is located and where we left from.

Roadtrip to the Portola Hotel and Spa via A Lady Goes West blogLook who navigated us down the highway? The same puppy who blended into the white bedding of our standard room at the hotel. What a good traveling companion he is.

We stayed at the dog-friendly Portola Hotel & Spa, which was also where many wedding guests were staying. The hotel was huge and in a great location near the water and downtown Monterey, and the front desk even provided warm chocolate chip cookies at check-in. (A major selling-point, if you ask me!) After we checked in, we found our room on the third floor, unpacked, changed and got ready for the evening of fun ahead.

Friday evening dinner and drinks at Restaurant 1833

Shortly thereafter, we invited another couple (one of Dave’s coworkers, Eric, and his lovely wife, Trish) over to our room to meet Rudy, hang out and have a beverage before we walked to dinner. Several weeks out, we had made reservations for the four of us to dine at Restaurant 1833 in downtown Monterey. It was only about a 10-minute walk from the hotel, which led us down some nice streets, and the weather was perfect for it.

The four of us had a great table in the middle of the cool restaurant and enjoyed a long and delicious meal. While the service was a tad slow, the food and ambiance was just perfection. We began with cocktails, warm Hawaiian bread and glazed carrots to share, then got into our individual entrees. I selected a salmon dish, which came with veggies, clams and artichokes. For dessert, we had a big cookie jar full of assorted gourmet cookies and chocolate cake for the table.

Dinner at Restaurant 1833 in Monterey via A Lady Goes West blogThe entrance leading up to the restaurant was the perfect place for before-dinner photos. And although it was dark inside, I couldn’t resist capturing all of the delicious fare we enjoyed over the course of a couple-of-hours.

As you know, being that we all live in the Bay Area, we’re pretty picky when it comes to restaurants. Yet this one passed the test. I would highly recommend Restaurant 1833, and I’d go back again. It was a great dining experience. (And the waiters were wearing pin-striped aprons, which was the icing on the cake.)

After dinner, we walked just a few blocks down to an Irish bar to meet up with the folks in the wedding party, who had just finished their rehearsal. We chatted for a bit, met some new people who were in town for the festivities and called it a night before midnight.

Walking and exploring Monterey on Saturday morning

On Saturday morning, Dave, Rudy and I suited up in some casuals and walked across the street from the hotel to Starbucks for a light breakfast. After that, we made our way down to the water and strolled through the Fisherman’s Wharf pier (not to be confused with the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, of course). We walked along the water on a nice trail, which gave us a chance to see seals, yachts, kayaks, birds and tons of other walkers, runners and cyclists. While the skies were gray, the temperature was just right.

Taking Rudy around Monterey via A Lady Goes West blogRudy is not quite at the point that he can go in a straight line on a walk. He does this zig-zag-sniff-everything little number from side-to-side, which is challenging on a busy path. But he sure is cute.

We were outside cruising-on-foot for almost an hour, so it was a perfect way to stretch out the legs and start the day. And it gave me a chance to wear the workout clothes that I had thrown in my bag “just in case.” 

Lunch and great views at Pebble Beach Resort

Knowing we wanted to do some more exploring and be able to have Rudy tag along, we decided to venture to Pebble Beach Resort for lunch along with our friends. The drive to Pebble Beach was only about 15 minutes and took us through some beautiful neighborhoods and areas. 

Pebble Beach is one of the most well-known golf courses in the world, and the greens were absolutely pristine. The resort area is open-to-the-public, and with a $10 fee for our car, the four of us (and Rudy) were able to head inside to take it all in. We dined at Stillwater Bar & Grill on the outdoor patio, which gave us amazing views of the golf course and the water. While the restaurant was a little bit pricey (as expected in a place like this), we were happy that they allowed Rudy to sit with us at our table, and our waiter even brought him a water dish. I had a crab salad with some ultra-creamy Thousand Island dressing, and it was totally tasty.

Visiting Pebble Beach Resort via A Lady Goes West blogDoes it look like Dave is holding my purse in these pictures at Pebble Beach? He’s not, but it still looks funny. 

We were all pleased with our food, and after lunch, we walked down to check out the water and did a little photo-shoot in front of the vistas. We weren’t the only ones doing this. In fact, many people were taking pictures in front the backdrop, with views of Carmel’s beach behind us. But because we didn’t want to be too rushed getting ready for the wedding, we hopped back in the car after just a couple of snapshots. Of course, on the way back, we popped into Peet’s Coffee for some afternoon caffeine (matcha green tea latte for me and a small coffee for Dave, using a bogo coupon!), then went back to our rooms with nearly two hours to spare before go-time.

Saturday evening wedding and reception at The Perry House

Funny story, we apparently had a little mix-up when it came to the exact location of the wedding ceremony and reception. In fact, we had arranged for a cab for our group of five (not Rudy, but we added another coworker to the mix on Saturday afternoon) to get to the venue. Yet, when we met in the lobby and got in the cab, we actually realized that the venue was only two blocks away. So we had the cab drive us there — just up the hill. It was quite hilarious. Embarrassingly, we all hopped out after that one-and-a-half minute ride and hid our faces as we walked inside. Ha!

Nonetheless, we were nice and early for the ceremony, set to begin at 4 p.m. at The Perry House, a gorgeous venue in downtown Monterey.

Wedding at The Perry House in Monterey via A Lady Goes West blogThe bright and sunny skies illuminated the wedding ceremony, and so we were sure glad we brought our shades. It seriously could not have been more picture perfect.

When we arrived, the seats were arranged in a lovely outdoor courtyard, and I was instantly impressed with the decor and environment. We grabbed our koozies-as-favors, some fruit-infused water and then headed to our seats on the groom’s side. The wedding was very sweet and included some personal stories about the bride and the groom, Christina and Matt. Matt and Dave have worked together at the Warriors for almost three years, and it’s been great to see how happy he is with his lady. She is a wonderful person, and you could tell how much they are loved by their friends and family.

Once the couple had said their “I dos,” cocktail hour took place outdoors around the multiple patios of the venue, as the courtyard was flipped into the dining area for dinner. During cocktail hour, we not only sipped on tasty adult beverages, but we also took photos, noshed on crab cakes and other appetizers, as well as enjoyed the view. I mean, it was just breathtaking … I couldn’t stop remarking on what a gorgeous place it was to get married. 

Outdoor wedding at The Perry House in Monterey via A Lady Goes West blogCheers to the happy couple! We had an awesome time eating, drinking, dancing and celebrating with you!

Finally it was time for dinner, which was buffet style. We stood in line for tri-tip steak, macaroni and cheese fixings, veggies, mashed potatoes and more. And once the delicious dinner was over, it was time to dance. Dancing took place inside one of the upstairs rooms, where the deejay kept us moving for a couple of hours. The happy couple did some of the traditional wedding activities like the bouquet and garter toss and even cut into a cake-topper before setting us free to dig into assorted fancy cupcakes. While I’m a big wedding cake person, I was actually very impressed with these cupcakes and had far too many. I mean, I had to try as many flavors as possible to be sure they were all good. And yes, they were.

After the wedding festivities were over at 10 p.m. (strict cut-offs for events in Monterey apparently!), we walked back to the hotel to meet up at Peter B’s, a restaurant/lounge/bar, for some late-night party fun. By that time, we were all feeling snacky again, so ordered some nibbles and hung out for a bit outside around the tables. I was pretty tired by then, so I went home to call it a night just after 11:30 p.m. while the guys stayed out a bit later to do their guy thing. And that was it! A beautiful wedding, with lots of fun times.

Sunday morning coffee struggles and check-out

On Sunday morning, I figured I would let Dave sleep in and venture off to Starbucks by myself, with Rudy in tow. Big mistake. I had no idea what an undertaking it would be to bring little Rudy to get coffee. The way there was fine, but having him in my arms as I ordered our hot beverages, paid and put in all the fixings, then take a drink carrier back across the street to our room with a leash was not fun. Let’s just say I bit off a bit more than I could chew with that mission. What made it even better? As I struggled to keep Rudy in check and handle the drinks, the little fuzzball decided to do his “business” in the middle of the street we were crossing. So I had to put down my purse and the drinks and clean up after him, which as you can imagine was a lovely display. My hot tea sure tasted good from the comfort of our hotel room once Rudy and I made it back safely without a spill. Never again.

Driving around Pacific Grove and an acai lunch win

After taking our time showering and cleaning up, Dave, Rudy and I checked out and drove to the City of Pacific Grove to explore. We rode by the coastline and parks and along the beautiful and Scenic 17-mile drive. The houses were gorgeous and very unique, with beach on one side and trees and rocks on the other.

Because I wanted to find an acai bowl, Dave and I dined at Tillie Gorts Cafe in downtown Pacific Grove, which we selected via a quick Yelp search. We sat outside with Rudy and let people pet and talk to our little pup as they walked by. The good news is that my acai bowl was just delicious, but the bad news is that Dave’s breakfast burrito was just so-so. And the service? Pretty bad. But at least Rudy enjoyed the scene.

Acai bowl at Tillie Gorts Cafe in Pacific GroveI mean, look at all of that deliciousness in one bowl. It didn’t really fill me up, but it sure pleased my palate. Acai bowls are the best. And the inside of this place was super cute, even though the servers were less than stellar.

We headed out of Pacific Grove right after lunch. The drive back to the Bay Area was just over two hours, but truthfully, I don’t remember much of it, because Rudy and I took a snooze for the majority of the trip, as Dave navigated the traffic. He claims I slept with my mouth open the whole time. But I don’t believe him. Good times!

We were home and and unpacked by 4 p.m. At which point, I hit the grocery store, while Dave got to hit the couch. Overall, it was another fabulous weekend, full of fun moments. I have never been to a wedding which I didn’t enjoy, and this one was extra beautiful because of the good people and the amazing scenery with Monterey as the backdrop.

Questions of the day

Have you ever been to Monterey?

What’s the best place where you’ve attended a wedding?

Would you rather drive or fly to get somewhere for vacation?

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48 Comments

    1. Hi Morgan! Ha, yes, I’m sure it’s tough with small children too. I had no idea what I was getting into with that little excursion hehe. πŸ™‚ Happy Tuesday, lady!

  1. I recently went to a wedding in the mountains of North Carolina and like you I was just stunned by how beautiful it was. The venue was overlooking the valley of one, and it was at the bride’s grandparents which added the perfect personal touch! I think I have become a fan of outdoor weddings for sure!

    1. Hi Hilary! Oh wow, that sounds beautiful. I wasn’t always a big fan of outdoor weddings, because in Florida they are so often messed up by rain. But perhaps I’m turning around. North Carolina mountains sound gorgeous!

  2. Looks beautiful! I love how much you packed into the trip. Those are the best ones. And a chocolate chip cookie at check in wins in my book! Ha Rudy is becoming quite the traveler already! THe wedding looks absolutely beautiful.

    1. Hi Heather! I know, it’s so cool we’ve been able to bring him on our last two trips. And YES for cookies at check-in! Hope you had a nice weekend too! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Stacie! Yes, this place had SO much charm. And history, because it used to be a private house. πŸ™‚ Hope you had a nice weekend as well, lady!

  3. What a fun trip! It would definitely be hard to go to Starbucks with a doggie! πŸ™‚ we just drove across country to Cape Cod and it was actually pretty fun!

    1. Hi Julia! Yay for a cross-country road-trip. I’ve always wanted to drive the full span of the U.S., but have never done it. Glad you had fun!

  4. SO jelaous! Dane and I went back in March and stayed at the same hotel! We tried to go to 1833 and had reservations, but they called us later to tell us they were renovating that week… worst luck! Hopefully we can make it to 1833 next time!

    1. Thanks, Ash! I really like Monterey — totally chill and different from San Francisco, so a nice change of pace. πŸ™‚ Happy Tuesday! Glad you’ve been able to experience the area as well.

  5. Wow, it sounds and looks like an amazing place to have a wedding. πŸ™‚ You were pretty brave to bring Rudy with you. As someone who lives in a house with quite a few dogs, I understand the challenges and joys that can come with them.

    1. Hi Emily! The good thing is that Rudy is nice and small. πŸ™‚ And you have a few dogs?? Nice! A lot of joy and a lot of cleaning up, right??

  6. Looks like a lovely weekend! hahaha about Rudy, when ya gotta go, you gotta go :). I have not been to Monterey , it looks beautiful.

    1. Hi Jessie! That’s true. Rudy had to go. So he went. hahaha And you’d love Monterey — it’s super pretty, and the weather is nice and mild. πŸ™‚

  7. I love living in Monterey! Our favorite place here for weddings is lovers point or Carmel beach where I was married. Come back someday to visit again.

    1. Hi Lexie! Totally cool that you live in Monterey. Yes, we drove by Lover’s Point, which was gorgeous. I definitely want to come back and visit soon!! πŸ™‚

  8. Being a passenger in a car makes me sleepy! My husband always manages to take a picture of me sleeping with my mouth wide open and texts it to me so that I see it when I wake up. It’s too funny!!

    I don’t mind drives but prefer flying if it’s feasible. I’m one of the few people that loves airports and flying.

    1. Well Catherine, my husband does the same thing. And on planes. I guess I fall asleep a lot? hahahha! πŸ™‚ I don’t mind flying either when it comes to traveling.

  9. How fun!! Rudy is such a good little traveler! I never made it to Monterey, but I’ve heard so many good things about it! We are visiting So Cal next week and I can’t wait to be back in Cali for a little bit! πŸ™‚

  10. What a beautiful location for a wedding! Outdoors weddings are my favorite, especially when the weather is nice. I am glad you guys had such a wonderful time. That restaurant does look amazing! I mean, a cookie jar for the table?!
    I hope you have a great rest of your day!

    1. Hi Heather! That’s the cool thing about this restaurant is that it was fancy, but also had totally casual touches like a cookie jar. I want one for home!

  11. Ashley! I loved seeing your pictures pop up all weekend. Looks like it was such a great weekend getaway! I haven’t spent time in northern California, but I’m dying to get there!!! Hopefully San Francisco will happen soon and we can have a run/yoga/wine date!

    1. Hi Liz! Oh you are SO missing out on the beauty of the Bay Area and of course the Carmel area as well. Hope you make it here one day! I’d LOVE to do a yoga/wine/run date!

    1. Hi Sam! Thanks! And yes, some things are harder with a dog, but seems like Rudy is going to stay small enough to tote around everywhere. πŸ™‚

  12. Wow, such an eventful weekend! I am so impressed with all the touristy things you guys did on a weekend away for a wedding. I am envious of all that ambition! I have never been to Monteray, but would love to go some day. We really do love the bay area, the hubby has it on the list for where we move to in the next few years πŸ˜‰ maybe we will get to take the same drive some time soon!

    1. Hi Rachel! Yes! The Bay Area is the best, and it would be awesome if you were able to relocate here. And we sure did fit a lot in over the weekend, which was nice. πŸ™‚ Hope you had a great one as well!

  13. I have been to Monterey many times, and while I hate the long drive, it is truly a beautiful place! The beaches and seaside landscape view is stunning, and any beach lovers can attest to its fantastic beaches.
    Your acai bowl looked different than the usual setups- isn’t it technically supposed to come in a ‘bowl’ :P?

    1. Hi Niki! That’s actually a bowl under my acai bowl — just a shallow one. It had more of a sorbet consistency than a smoothie, but all the same elements. Totally tasty! And I’m glad you have seen the beauty of Monterey! πŸ™‚

  14. What a pretty place for a wedding! I love outdoor weddings! I went to Cali last year and I can’t wait to go back.. I’m from CT so it is a bit of a trip πŸ™‚

  15. So funny that we just missed you in Monterey πŸ™‚ We got into town Sunday afternoon and had so much fun! I should have read your review of Tillie Gorts before we went. We had the same poor service but my acai bowl was so good!

    1. Hi Jen! Yes, acai bowls are totally a thing out here, and with good reason. You can even make them at home, which I’ve done as well — but of course, the ones prepared at restaurants with all the fixings are the best. Glad you see the light now! πŸ™‚

  16. I love Monterey! I’ve only been once, for the Triathlon at Pacific Grove, but it was beautiful and I’d love to return someday. I’m sure the total of my experience there played a part, but I’m sure it really is as lovely as I remember. πŸ™‚ Best place I’ve been to a wedding? Hmm… I might have to say Boston just because it was so different πŸ™‚

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