West Coast Livin’

Hi from beautiful Monterey, California!

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I’m out here for a press trip that starts today, but I came early to see my grad school friend Lauren!

She lives in San Diego and drove up to spend a whirlwind 24 hours with me before needing to get home for work. So wonderful to catch up with her – it had been too long! Last time I saw her was when she came to visit DC shortly after I found out I was pregnant. 🙂 

I arrived on Saturday mid afternoon and we made the most of our quick visit! 

First up, after we checked into our hotel, was a quick hike at nearby Point Lobos State Park.

I’d been here once before with Matt back in 2015 when we were in the area for our friend’s wedding, so I remembered it being lovely. 

It felt so good to stretch my legs after a billion hours of flying!

We spent about an hour out there before the park closed on us. 

We headed to adorable Carmel by the Sea to grab dinner, and stumbled into a cute Italian place called Porta Bella that was able to seat us right away. Perfect! Really friendly and attentive wait staff, too.

We shared everything: a salad, a starter lobster ravioli (so good), and a salmon dish (good but I didn’t love the cream sauce – too salty). 

By the time we got back to the hotel it was only about 9 west coast time, but considering that was 12 east coast time, I was done. Luckily Lauren was down for an early bedtime. 🙂

We proceeded to sleep until 8 the next morning and it. was. amaaaaazing. Lauren got up a little before me and went out to get us coffee and biscotti – so sweet of her! 

After taking our time getting ready, we headed out for a little jog. The cool weather felt so nice after the crazy heat + humidity we’ve had in DC lately! 

There’s a path along the water in Monterey that’s lovely to run on – those views!

We found a cool beach area after about a mile and a half and stopped for awhile to climb on the rocks and wander around on the sand. 

We decided to put our feet in – brrrr, that was some seriously cold water!

3 miles – check!

We ran straight to Wave Street Cafe for brunch/lunch, which I highly recommend – cute place and great food! I had the shrimp tacos which were deeeelish.

After our feast, we decided more outdoor adventures were in order. Lauren and I love traveling together because we have very similar styles – we both want to do outdoorsy stuff all day long, and then go to bed early. 😉 It’s perfect!

Our hotel offered free bikes via a bike shop across the street, so we snagged a couple and headed out to explore more of the coast. 

This was my kind of bike ride: insanely gorgeous and mostly flat. 😉 

The whole time we were both like “omg, these views are ridiculous!”

It helped that the weather was stunning – the sun had come out and it was in the low 70’s – perfection.

We biked from downtown Monterey along the coast to Asilomar State Beach, where we stopped and watched the surfers for awhile before heading back. 

I was starved when we got back so I got an egg and veggie wrap that hit the spot, plus a green juice. 

I was so sad to say goodbye to Lauren when we got back – wish she could have stayed longer! What a fun 24 hours – thanks again for coming all this way for such a quick visit, girl.

After Lauren left, I relaxed in the room for a bit and FaceTimed with Matt and Riese (there were so many cute kids at the beaches today and it made me miss her so much!) before getting ready for dinner.

Then I did something I’m proud of because it scares me: I went out to dinner alone.

As I wrote on Instagram, I don’t know if it’s because I’m an extrovert or because I’m worried other people will judge me, but eating dinner at a restaurant alone makes me super nervous. I was considering doing takeout or room service, but decided to be a big girl and treat myself to a fun solo meal at a nice restaurant instead.

And I’m so glad I did, because it ended up being lovely – so relaxing and refreshing! 

I went to a spot that was walking distance from my hotel called Osteria Al Mare. 

I started with the beet salad and a glass of prosecco…

Before moving on to a delicious shrimp, scallop, and pasta dish. 

It was such a lovely dinner – great food, and I snagged a seat outdoors and parked myself facing the water, which was so calming.

I purposefully sat and watched the water and did nothing else – no using my phone as a distraction or as a “I’m super busy and important and popular even though I’m alone” decoy. 

And it was so, so nice. 

After dinner, I walked around the marina area a bit exploring. 

Look what I found! So cute!

What a fun treat of a weekend. I’ll be back on Wednesday with a recipe, and in the meantime you can continue to follow my west coast adventures via Instagram!

Have you ever been to Monterey? 

Does dining out alone make you nervous, too? For some reason lunch doesn’t bother me – it feels more casual and socially acceptable, maybe, to be alone? But dinner, eek!

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