The second day of the Sports Trifecta, there was a lot more exploring than was originally set in the schedule. When I was younger, my family and I used to travel a lot to the west coast so I thought it would be great if I was able to relive some of those memories by driving down the coast to Carmel-by-the-Sea. It was everything I remembered and more. The day was capped off with my second sporting event of this trip, watching a San Jose Sharks NHL hockey game.
In Northern California, Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea, are two of the most beautiful places that you can visit. Some time has passed since the last time I was there, and because I was in the vicinity of seeing the Carmel beaches, there was no way I was going to not add that into my trip.
Although most of our time was spent in Carmel, Monterey served as our intro and outro for the day. We started at First Awakenings for breakfast, which I would highly recommend. After that, we started the journey down to Carmel and Big Sur.
Less than a five-minute drive down the road is Carmel. When you arrive in the town, it is filled with little restaurants and shops that make it a unique coastal town. In fact, in addition to the many facets that make Carmel what it is, one fact being that Clint Eastwood was once the city’s mayor, which makes this area that much more special. One place in particular that holds special meaning in Carmel is a candy store called Cottage of Sweets. I was happy to see that after all of these years the place I enjoyed the most as a child is still as busy as it once was. It is a very a distinctive, classic feel of an “old time” candy store that you do not truly see that often these days.
While the restaurants and shops enhance what Carmel is, the beach is what sets the town apart. There is something to behold when you see the waves crashing down with Pebble Beach, one of the greatest golf courses in the world, off to one side, and cliffs to the other. It is truly majestic.
Although I had been to Carmel many times, I did not really have many memories of seeing Big Sur and its many spectacular views. I had always seen pictures of the famous Bixby Bridge at Big Sur but did not recall seeing it first-hand. The pictures do not do it justice as it is one of the best observation points that I have seen of the Pacific Ocean. While I only got a taste of what Big Sur is in this past trip, I hope to make another trip at a future date and really take in the entire area.
On the way back from those locations, we stopped at Bright Coffee, a coffee shop in Monterey that I had on my list. It shares which shares a location with a shop called Lilify. The motto on the building is “traditional coffee, untraditional goods.” Besides the great coffee that Bright Coffee serves, they offer a great experience pairing with an artisan shop like Lilify. The two together, blend and make a folk culture vibe that is shown from the cup you drink your latte in, to the decorations on the wall.
Finally, after a packed day from breakfast in Monterrey, then to Carmel and Big Sur, and wrapping up in Carmel, the San Jose Sharks game was the finale to the day. Because we were staying in San Jose in preparation for the 49ers game the next night, this was an incredibly convenient sporting event to squeeze in.
I had heard stories from stadium blogs in recent years talking about how Sharks games are loud. I can definitely say, without a doubt, that is true. “The Shark Tank” as they call it, has almost every seat occupied for a regular season game, and feels as loud as a rock concert when a goal is scored. If that is not a great atmosphere for a Hockey game, I am not sure what is. At the time of this game, it was Veterans Day weekend. They had some outstanding programming during the evening which included honoring a different Vet at various points throughout the game. One moment that was very special was honoring a United States Veteran that was survivor of the D-Day during World War II. That was a very special moment to watch.
I will be a Dallas Stars fan until the end of time, and although sitting in an arena for a team that has had its fair share of successes against my team does not sit the best with me, I still enjoyed my experience at the SAP Center watching their game.
Check out Part 3 of the Bay Area Sports Trifecta!