We wandered around the main drag and a few of the side streets of Pacific Grove. Since it was early
evening – most of the shops were closed and the streets pretty deserted except for the restaurant crowd.
On a few of the quieter side streets, we practically had the whole street to ourselves. This is such a
lovely serene laid-back seaside town – charming and picturesque to boot.
Our stroll brought us back to the main drag to where Favaloro’s restaurant is located among other restaurants
and shops. Some of the buildings have cute upstairs opera –style windows that overlook the street.
Friends recommended Favaloro’s highly for its excellent seafood entrees and to make reservations
ahead of time (which we did) as it is popular both with locals and tourists alike.
Favaloro’s is a cozy family restaurant and its seafood cioppino entree is excellent here – about the best that
I have savored within the past year. It’s generously loaded with seafood (calamari, crab, shrimp, mussels,
scallops, fish) and I do mean LOADED unlike a lot of other restaurants where the cioppino contains more
sauce than seafood. Sourdough bread comes with it for dipping into that delicious thick tomato-based seafood sauce.
One late morning, we took a drive down to visit the Point Lobos State Reserve south of Carmel. Entrance fee
is $10 per vehicle and some people chose to park on the side of Highway 1 and walk or bike in. Since Point
Lobos is a very large park, we think it is wiser to drive in and have the ability to visit the different
areas of this preserve along the coastline.
Incoming vehicles are metered and when vehicle traffic equals the number of parking spaces available throughout
the park – incoming traffic is halted at the entrance gate until cars leave the park. So it’s best to be there
early (before 9AM) especially weekends and camping is not permitted as it’s a day-use only preserve.
Once onto the preserve grounds, we located a scenic area that has a picnic area and joined the other early
picnickers who had the same idea that we had – that it’s better to go wandering around on a bellyful of
food and skip lunch instead.
There were a number of these 4-inch (9.4-cm) long scaly lizards scampering around the picnic area. The
small lizard looked like a miniature reptilian from the prehistoric era and it can run pretty fast too.
The picnic area was situated right at the base of a partially wooded hillside of mixed cypress and pines.
Wildflower bushes grew in profusion especially in the open areas.
After the early brunch, we walked over to the edge of the cliff to see the giant kelp-covered tiny inlet that lie
directly across the road from the picnic area. Just watching the ocean swell lapping against the granite walls
of the cliff was a mesmerizing sight. Wildflowers grew in abundance all the edge of the cliff too, The red flowers
are the Indian Paintbrush. It grows on the coast and all the way up into the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Even on the crevices of the granite surface of the steep cliff – wildflowers, especially the succulent
species, have managed to take root and grow.
We spent time scanning the waters for any sign of sea-otters loitering in the kelp beds close to shore but did not see any.
We proceeded down along a trail that ran alongside the Cliffside shoreline flanked by coastal wildflowers.
One of the more common wildflowers along the way were bushes which bore these dainty yellow flowers.
The trail often ran close to the edge of the cliff and one has always to be aware of one’s surroundings and
stay on the trail. The abundance and the profusion of the coastal wildflowers is a sight to behold.
Not long after, the trail weaved its way downwards on a rocky hillside. We treaded our footsteps
very carefully among the granite rock cropping along the narrow path.
As we edged downhill towards the granite outcrops in the ocean, the views got more spectacular and the
crash of the surf against the rocky shoreline became even more pronounced.
We halted often to enjoy both the wildflowers and the closeness of the power of the ocean surf even on
a beautiful calm day like today. Here we got a chance to examine the beautiful flowers of the succulent
species of the coastal wildflowers with its reddish-pink stalks and bright yellow flowers. Its red stalk
resembles that of the Snow Flower of the high Sierra Nevada that blooms among the snow banks in late May.
Here some views of the wildflowers and surf along the rocky cliff side trail.
A view of the narrow and rocky cliff side trail that we were on.
A bench along the trail with a million-dollar view of the ocean and shoreline. The crows flew off
when we ambled close to the bench and sat down.
There were patches of Seaside Daisies mixed in with the Indian Paintbrushes along the trail by the bench.
From the bench, we had a beautiful view of the ocean in front and an adjacent cove.
Immediately behind us (sitting on the bench) is a hillside blanketed under a sea of coastal wildflowers
This is a very healthy and thriving coastal wildflower succulent growing along that cliff side rocky trail.
That cliff side trail wound around the hillside and terminated at the edge of a ravine so we had
to retrace our steps back to where we had started from.