Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Slow Travel

HH and I are slow travelers. We like to go somewhere and stay for several days. Unpack, stow our suitcases in the closet, hide all the hotel literature, and pretend we live, for example, at the newly and nicely renovated Hyatt Regency Monterey in a second-floor room overlooking the golf course. (Which this week we do, thanks to my sister Cindy.) Then wake up each day, decide what we might want to do, do some of it or all of it or sometimes none of it, and end the day by discussing what we might want to do the next day without committing to anything in particular. Time takes its sweet time.

Yesterday was the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Today was breakfast (brunch, actually) at Parker-Lusseau on Hartnell in downtown Monterey, a trip to Taste of Monterey in search of a map showing local wineries, and a drive into Carmel Valley with a lengthy stop at the Heller Estate Vineyards tasting room. Rather than drive back the way we came, we continued southeast on Carmel Valley Road (Highway G16) to Highway 101, a journey of about 110 miles. Many were twisty, turny miles with spectacular views of canyons and ridges. Vineyards sparkled in the late-afternoon sun; growers tie strips of Mylar to the vines to keep birds away.

We returned to Monterey in time for the last hour of the Tuesday farmer's market on Alvarado Street. Had a fig lesson from a fig farmer (I had no idea there were so many different kinds) and bought figs picked earlier today. For dinner, street food: samosas, spinach and portabello pie, a tofu and avocado roll from a sushi vendor.

Tomorrow, maybe Nepenthe in Big Sur. Earlier this year, when fires blackened almost 400,000 acres in northern California, I scanned area newspapers to learn if this famous restaurant survived. It did.

Susanne, if you're reading this, thank you for your hospitality at the Heller tasting room. Kevin, freelance writer and novelist and French teacher, we hope to see you on Saturday at the jazz festival.

More about slow travel.


  1. Omahgawsh! I can't believe I am reading this! I googled Sobranes and came across your blog and started reading about your stay and Heller Estates. Came to the bottom of the post and saw my name!!! How cool is that?! I no longer work for Heller but enjoyed every moment with all the wonderful customers I met along the way. Truly blessed to be able to give great service to other's. Thank you and if you are ever in my neck of the woods shoot me an e-mail. Susanne :)) backtobody@yahoo.com

  2. Susanne, how lovely to hear from you. We have very fond memories of our afternoon sampling your wine. We often come to the Monterey Jazz Festival and I'll get in touch when we return. (The person we mention after you--Kevin--has become a good friend of ours. He and his partner visited us in Minneapolis last September.)


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