Geothermal wonders that rejuvenate the body and mind, Japan’s onsens (naturally occuring hot springs) are a must for any traveler, and Miyagi Prefecture has no shortage of them. With many dotted throughout Miyagi’s diverse terrain, each onsen provides a unique experience with different water sources producing baths of different temperatures, mineral content, texture and more. As these onsens are often located in the mountains, by the ocean and in forests, they provide a great place for travelers to practice the tradition of toji, extended stays at onsens to recuperate from illness or overexertion. Below is a sample of Miyagi’s best onsens for travelers to dream of relaxing in once travel restrictions are lifted.
One of the more popular onsen towns due to its proximity to Miyagi Prefecture’s capital Sendai, Akiu Onsen is tucked in the region’s mountains. The town features about a dozen hot spring hotels located along the scenic Natorigawa River with many offering day use of their hot spring baths. Nearby, Tenshukaku Gardens is home to its own onsen, known as Ichitaro no Yu. After strolling through the traditional Edo-style garden, guests can warm up in the hot spring with a view of Mount Osawa. Lucky bathers may even get to catch a glimpse of kamoshika, a rare Japanese goat-antelope often seen roaming on the mountainside. While the onsen’s water will leave skin soft and silky, Akiu Onsen water is also said to improve quality of sleep, circulation and reduce stress levels.
Sakunami Onsen is located deeper into the mountains and the train ride to this town passes through thick pine and maple tree forests with views of the Hirosegawa River below. This onsen town was often visited by weary monks, members of the shogunate and the shogun himself centuries ago as the water was said to treat a variety of illnesses. After cleansing their mind and body at the onsens on the rocky banks of the river, travelers can opt to hike one of the many trails or take a day trip to the Nikka Whiskey Miyagikyo Distillery.
Known as one of the “Three Most Scenic Spots of Japan,” Matsushima Bay has its own onsens facing towards the bay with views of countless small islands
Several hotels near the bay have their own natural onsen facilities and staying the night is highly recommended. Guests should make their way out to the open-air baths during the night to see thousands of stars light up the bay. For early birds, the baths are also an ideal spot to watch the sunrise. While Naruko Onsen can be a little hard to get to as it’s hidden away in the hills of northwestern Miyagi, the trip is worth it. Naruko Onsen boasts one of the richest onsen experiences anywhere as the town has eight of the ten types of hot spring water found in Japan. Additionally, the town has more than 400 different springs providing an almost endless variety of bathing facilities. Naruko Onsen also has a wide range of ryokans from traditional inns to luxurious private baths.
For more information on Miyagi Prefecture’s onsens, travelers are encouraged to use the website’s Trip Organizer which has plenty of resources and travel tips. Travelers can also watch this short video highlighting experiences at onsen towns in the prefecture.
Estero Inn on the Waterfront of Morro Bay Estero Inn is an intimate boutique hotel on the waterfront of Morro Bay. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or a revitalizing stop on your coastal journey the Estero Inn is awaiting you with cozy fireplaces, private balconies and wet bar. Relax on their seaside landing, enjoying panoramic ocean views, amazing sunsets and inspiring wildlife including sea otters, sea lions and seals with Morro Rock as the backdrop. The Inn is gently removed from highway 1 on the Bay & Embarcadero, just steps away from exceptional shopping, dining and your complimentary wine tasting.
Fairfield, California the San Francisco Bay city famous for its fruit and local wineries that provide grapes to the Napa and other surrounding vineyards.
Welcome reception at the glorious Jelly Belly Candy Company, includes a self guided factory tour by the staff. The marvelous Company is a family-owned business based in Fairfield with another factory in North Chicago. The Goelitz family started a confectionery business in Illinois in 1869, than a Candy Business in 1924 in California. Later the Candy Company would expand a product line to include jelly beans. In 1965, the Mini Jelly Bean was developed. This was a small bean with a center of natural flavoring, different from traditional jelly beans in which only the outer shell was flavored. The company would become the infamous Jelly Belly Candy Company, with more than 50 varieties of flavors. Flavors traditional as cherry, exotic as buttered popcorn, and even inspired alcoholic drink flavors like blackberry brandy. Ronald Reagan while governor of California would quit smoking and turn to jelly beans as a substitute. The company also makes 100 different confections like gummies, candy corn, and chocolates. The tour is fun for the kids, but just as fun for the adults. This tour takes you through the process of making jelly beans, some stages include a video monitor explanation, while wearing a mandatory Jelly Belly paper hat. And, yes you get a free pack of Jelly Belly Beans at the end. There is also a shop where you can purchase and a Chocolate Shoppe with a fudge bar available for tastings. The ground floor cafeteria is great for lunch with Jelly Bean shaped pizzas being a favorite. For adults, upstairs is a wine tasting room with six different Suisan or green Valley Wines to match the six different chocolates made by the Chocolate Shoppe.
Mankas Steakhouse, a full American steakhouse menu with a local California flavor was our dine for the night. Chef Peter at Mankas uses favorite Suisun Valley products. The local product in Wooden Valley Winery was our first visit the next day at 7am for a visit to watch wine harvest in process. The Suisun Valley and Solano Country American Viticultural Area(AVA) -which is a wine-grape growing region-includes more than 50 sub-appellations of the best known wines region. The Suisun Valley about 8 miles long and 3 miles wide, between the Blue Ridge of the Vaca Mountains on the east. One fifth of the valley is planted as a vineyard with more than 20 varieties of grapes, established in 1982. The Green Valley just west of Suisun Valley is 4 miles long and a mile wide. Also called the Solano County/ Green Valley, AVA was established in 1983.
For breakfast a visit to Il Fiorello Olive Oil Companydedicated to growing and milling the “finest artisan olive oil” produced by owners Ann and Mark Sievers. Ann and her husband began with a harvest of 6 pounds of olives and 170 baby trees they planted in Green Valley. This turned into more than 2000 trees in Green Valley and Suisun Valley. The Suisan groves have 12 single varietals from Italy, Spain, France, and Greece, with blends as well. Il Fiorello offers in depth tours of their property, that concludes in an olive oil tasting and 13 balsamic vinegar reductions. Oil tastings are paired with seasonal bites of food including the classic Frantoio oil with steak.There are even cooking classes within the Fiorello’s Kitchen.
A visit to the GV Cellarsis just what we need for a glimpse into a simpler time. The tasting area on the second floor consist of a deck view of the vineyards and Vaca Mountains. The original property was an 80-acre fruit orchard which was replaced with grapes to produce wine under “Chateau de Leu”. In 2005, Bob Hager the current owner would acquire the winery and vineyards. Today, the Cellar grows within a 30-acre vineyard six distinct varietals:Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. The Dolcetto and Cabernet Franc are a house favorite.
Greeted by the owner and winemaker Sal Glavan at his Galvan Family Cellarsto taste his wines. Sal Glavan has been making wine in California since the 1990’s including a time working for GV Cellars. Galvan usually has a focus on crafting from the Green Valley and Solano County vineyards, but also ‘high end’ wines from the Napa County vineyards. Producing about 3,500 cases a year depending upon the grapes available wines are exceptional with the signature Bordeaux-style blends or Cabernet Sauvignon-base. The cellars also hold the tasting room for rock Wren Winery, owner Dennis De Domenico has produced Green Valley grape wines since 2005. He is known for making his Frenchs style Syrah “in the classic French style”.
The Suisun Valley Co-op is a perfect tasting room that is cozy but not crowded. Blacksmith Cellars, King Andrews Vineyards, and Sunset Cellars distribute their wine here. Matt Smith the owner and winemaker of Blacksmith Cellars started in 2003, with his release of his 2001 Alexander valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Smith starting as a chemist working in the lab at Beaulieu Vineyards in 1996. From that point he would work at various winecellars making a variety of familiar Suisun Valley wines. King Andrews is owned by Roger who is also the winemaker and Carol (Andrews) King. Sunset Cellars was established by Doug and Katsuko Sparks in 1977. Their speciality includes making small batches of high quality red wines. There are many interesting wines to try like the Blacksmith Rose and Sunset Suisun Valley Charbono Sunset.
The Pacific Flyway, where more than a billion of birds follow the 10,000 mile stretch from South America to the Arctic on their annual migration, makes a stop in Fairfield. Suisun Marsh is one one of the significant stopover points where the birds rest, feed, and restore their energy for continuing on. The Pacific Flyway Centeris an educational and conservation initiative. With goals to educate public about the Flyaway and restoring wetlands to keep the flyaway viable.
A drive to the Grizzly Waters Kayak in Suisun City, where we meet the owner James Berg and get set for kayaking Suisun Marsh. Suisun Marsh is part of the Bay Area Water Trail where you can go on trails and see local and migrating birds.
With greetings from Jennivive Soriano the supervisor of brewery experiences we explore the Anheuser-Busch Fairfield brewery. Opened in 1976, the Fairfield Brewery is the ‘greenest’ of the company’s breweries, which derives a third of its power from solar and wind energy. Brewery tours include an hour of the Anheuser-Busch story and how their beers are produced. We took the tour of the brewery that includes the Flights of Fairfield. Fairfield is home to one of the Budweiserplants a famous attraction. The brewery is home to the one of a kind Budweiser Clydesdale (Horse) race events, tickets available online.
The Heretic Brewery Company known for their inner heretic beers that push the boundaries of beer flavors. Owners Liz and Jamil Zainasheff started as homebrewers and in 2012 would open the Heretic Brewing Company. With a variety of 18 different beers on their menu they also have a bar menu of burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers.
The Vezér is a Suisun Valley winery, owned by Frank and Liz Vezér. The Vezérs came to Fairfield more than 20 years ago and purchased 30 acres for vineyards, which has now spread to 60 acres. Originally selling their grapes to other wineries but in 2001 established their own label. The family vineyards produce estate wines like their flagship, La Salette a blend of Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. There are two tasting rooms one on Mankas Corner Road and the other on Suisun Valley Road.
A visit to the Cal-Yee Farm Shop whom specializes in dried fruits and nuts. Founder Yee chew Yong fled from China to work as a laborer in California. In 1908, he rented 20 acres of farmland on Clayton Road where his son would purchase the land and his son would start the family’s dried fruit business.
The Wooden Valley winerystarted in 1933 after prohibition by Salvador and Manuel Brea.In 1944, Mario Lanza would partner with Manuel and eventually become the sole owner. Third generation of Lanzas, four brothers manage the Winery today. This winery is the oldest in the Suisun Valley with a large variety of red and white wines. The Lanza wines have the authenticity of traditional Italian family wines.
Dinner at Favela’s Fusionan upscale Mexican tequileria. The menu includes signature dishes representing the flavors of different regions in Mexico. The owner Veronica Favela-Diaz’s parents immigrated from Mexico and she grew up in Northern California. She and her father opened three restaurants in the 90’s emphasizing affordable quality Mexican food. After Veronica and Husband Edgar traveled all over Mexico learning about the different regions foods they came up with Favelas Fusion. This fusion offers a combination of traditional authentic Mexican cuisine. The Fusion applies a mix of Mexico to obtain one of a kind dishes that are beautifully displayed like the Shrimp Fajitas burrito with cilantro infused with rice and black beans in a tomato tortilla.
A trip to the Mangels Family Vineyardsto meet owner Gary Mangels and winemaker Gina Oberti. Gary Mangels is a fourth generation of a California farming and ranching family. His great grandfather bought 240 acres of land in 1876 and the family has grown grapes, made and sold wine, and raised livestock since. In 1943, surviving through prohibition the family sold the winery operation, but maintained the vineyards. Eventually the family would purchase Suisun Valley land and partner with Gina Richmond to found the Mangels Vineyards. Gina makes a variety of red and white wines including, Pinot Grigio and Syrah.
Backroadowners Jeff and Judy Anselmo greet us inside the tasting room in the kitchen of the house. Their wines are relatively young and maturting. As they find their style the plans for construction of the multimillion dollar tasting room will be completed in 2019. Backroad will be a neighbor to The Wagner family of wines -owner of famous Caymus Winery- new tasting room on Suisun Valley Road. It will open in late 2018 with hopes to specialize in ‘grand durif’ and become the trademark wine for Suisun Valley.
Dinner at Chez Soulin downtown Fairfield a Louisiana style restaurant. With every Southern comfort food you can think of from Gumbo to Southern Fried chicken. “Beneath the heart is soul. The soul needs food.”. The owner Cheryl Reed runs the restaurant with her family her brother is the manager and her daughter is the cook. Cheryl’s vision for Chez Soul is good food in a welcoming place that feels like home.
The World’s first and Premier 100% Foiler Event Launches mid-November 2018
New York – June 13th, 2018 | Organized by the Martinique Tourism Authority (MTA), the Martinique Flying Regatta will take place from November 17 to 24, 2018. It will be the world’s signature international foiling event.
The bay of Fort-de-France is the perfect location to run a race and showcase these hydro-foil sailboats that represent the technological future of competitive sailing. Inducted into the prestigious club of “The Most Beautiful Bays in the World,” the Fort-de-France Bay is particularly well suited for these sailing boats, with is vast and protected 28 square miles (72km2) of maritime space. Wrapped in the island’s low 80s temperatures the bay’s steady, moderate winds and smooth seas will provide these speedsters with perfect conditions..
“We are very proud to hold this groundbreaking race,” commented Karine Mousseau, the Martinique Tourism Commissioner. “The Martinique Flying Regatta will not only showcase the beauty of the island and everything we have to offer, but also our people’s innovative knowhow. The joyous mix of our natural wonders and perfect sailing conditions with the sleek designs of the foil revolution will make the Martinique Flying Regatta the nautical must of the Caribbean and of the World.”
To date, about 40 participants have been registered in this seven series race (or foil types), representing most of today’s hydro-sailing boats. Foil types include the very fun and high-tech Kitefoil and Windfoil—that may soon be seen at the Olympics—the one-man Onefly and the celebrated Moth; the race will also feature bigger crafts like the Flying Phantom, the Easy to Fly and the American favorite, GC32.
The competition will include demonstrations and racing events in the Fort-de-France Bay; residents and guests will enjoy what promises to be a spectacular show. The program will also include races from the bay towards the farther shores of Trois-Ilets, Anse Mitan or Anses d’Arlet.
Saturday, November 17: Individual training and launch day
Sunday, November 18: Individual training and demonstrations
Monday, November 19: Martinique Exploration day for the participants
Tuesday, November 20: Start of official races
Wednesday, November 21: Long-distance race day – Skippers Supper Soirée
Thursday/Friday, November 22- 23: Official races
Saturday, November 24: End of races – prize-giving – special soirée
Major logistical support will be provided to registered competitors including complimentary shipping in containers or and preferential rates for accommodations. Access from the US to Martinique is just a hop skip and a jump; with Norwegian Air from JFK & FLL, American Airlines from MIA.
The Martinique Tourism Authority has also secured support from the Fort-de-France Port Authority and the Sailing Federation of Martinique, representing the island’s clubs which will provide nautical logistics. Registration to Martinique Flying Regatta is handled by Sirius Event.
This seaside fishing village with bustling waterfront offers a picture perfect getaway for travelers who seek food, wine and outdoor adventures on the coast in a gorgeous natural setting. Located along the Central California Coastline on California’s scenic Highway 1, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay offers an unspoiled slice of California. Sitting pretty between the beach and the harbor is the most recognizable landmark – Morro Rock. This amazing landmark welcomes travelers as they approach the city from miles away and is unforgettable.
An ideal playground offering beaches, natural estuaries, kayaking, surfing, biking and hiking, fishing, golf and whale and bird watching, Morro Bay is an affordable destination for families, couples or groups. Located just minutes from world-renowned Hearst Castle, historic missions and breathtaking Montana de Oro State Park, Morro Bay also offers a myriad of year-round events including food, wine and music festivals, art fairs and car shows unique to the town.
Sustainable Fishing in Morro Bay
The city of Morro Bay started out as a small commercial fishing village in the 1950s, and grew to be a tourism destination built on living an active healthy lifestyle. Today, Morro Bay is home to a thriving fishing community, successfully leading the way in sustainable small fleet fishing practices nationwide. Major publications like the New York Times and National Geographic noticed and wrote about the quaint town’s sustainable fishing practices in 2014. Leading the way in Morro Bay’s sustainable fishing practices is oyster farming. It actually began in the early 1900s and has been a part of the town’s rich culture ever since. The cold, clean waters of Morro Bay produce two specific kinds. Pacific Gold Oysters are farmed by the Morro Bay Oyster Company, and are a beautiful, hardy species that develop a robust flavor with a hint of melon. This impressive 130-acre oyster marine farm can be seen by paddleboard, kayak or from a guided tour with Lost Isle Adventure Tours.Grassy Bar Oysters are becoming a popular oyster grown and harvested in Morro Bay, exclusively raised by the Grassy Bar Oyster Company. These oysters are medium sized and have plump and juicy meats with rich, briny watermelon flavor.
Whether your adventurous spirit is extreme or serene, you will discover amazing outdoor activities in Morro Bay. For the adventurer looking for something exciting, sign up for a deep sea sport fishing expedition to catch the big one from one of the many charter boat companies that line the bay. Catch salmon, rockfish, lingcod, albacore or whatever is biting on daily fishing trips from Virg’s Landing Sport Fishing. They provide live bait in season and you can rent tackle if you need it. From kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and canoeing, to sailing and surfing, there are many rental companies to keep the active adventurer happy and healthy in Morro Bay.
Looking for a more low key adventure? There are plenty of hiking and biking trails to be found in and around Morro Bay. From the Black Mountain trail in Morro Bay State Park to hiking the Morro Bay sand spit in Montana de Oro, or the Cloisters Wetlands trails in North Morro Bay the natural beauty of this coastal community is breathtaking. Check out the Sub Sea tours for bay cruises and whale watching, or book an evening sunset or Saturday brunch cruise on the bay with one of the many other tour operators along the Embarcadero. You can even rent an electric boat and cruise the bay yourself! Or, head to the Back Bay for a round of golf at the Morro Bay State Park Golf Course. With amazing bayside views, this 18-hole course is a must do for the avid golfer. For the bird lovers, be sure to bring your binoculars. The Morro Bay National Estuary offers over 250 species of birds to discover.
Bustling Waterfront, Charming Old Town and North Morro Bay Districts
Morro Bay’s waterfront is a hub of activity that attracts tourists from around the world, local residents and anglers alike. Whether you are strolling the Embarcadero shopping and lunching, or heading out to experience one of the many water sport adventures, Morro Bay is an enchanting destination. Stroll along the Embarcadero and enjoy homemade salt water taffy, or the smell of fresh baked cinnamon rolls. Discover fresh fish markets offering fish and chips or steamed crab. Restaurants, wine bars, hotels, and shops abound. From the Embarcadero, take a walk out to Morro Rock, past the marinas, along the harbor walkway as you watch the boats come and go through the harbor mouth. Watch the surfers at the Rock, or have a picnic on the beach. Rent a kayak, motor boat or paddleboard and get on the water to explore the bay and appreciate the waterfront from the ocean.
Take a walk up to Old Town, the quaint downtown shopping district a short walk up the hill from the Embarcadero filled with lodging properties, antique shops, one of-a-kind boutiques, jewelry stores, art galleries, coffee shops and restaurants. The Saturday afternoon farmers’ market on Main Street is alive with produce, local vendors and fun surprises. Stop in for a matinée at the classic historic Bay Theater. Hop on the Trolley and head up to North Morro Bay to check out the fabulous beaches that stretch for miles along Estero Bay. A great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner, North Morro Bay offers several destination restaurants, a Thursday afternoon farmers’ market, surf and coffee shops and great parks. Check out the distinctive surf shops, shell shops, home décor shops, wine tasting bars, live music venues and more in this amazing working fishing village.
Morro Bay National Estuary and Museum of Natural History
The Morro Bay Estuary Natural Preserve and its 800-acre wetland are home more than 250 species of land, sea, and shore birds, both migratory and resident and dozens of endangered species. This extensive marsh is located at the mouth of Los Osos Creek that opens out into Morro Bay, and is designated both a state and national estuary. Wildflowers bloom in the spring and green grass and brush cover the hills, offering a seed supply that attracts birds all year-round. Morro Bay hosts the Winter Bird Festival every January attracting bird watchers and photographers from all over the world.
The great blue herons and the great and snowy egrets roost all year at the Heron and Cormorant Rookery located near the entrance of the museum. You can locate the rookery from the bay by the cluster of barren eucalyptus trees. Or you can view the rookery from the parking lot of the Inn at Morro Bay. You can walk to the site and observe these magnificent birds, watch courtship rituals, nesting habits, and, in spring, adults caring for their young.
The Museum of Natural History – the only one in the California State Park system – opened in 1962. It serves between 45,000 and 50,000 people annually, including 5,000 school children in programs that support California’s required science and social studies standards. The museum offers new state of the art displays focused on the ecology of the Morro Bay Estuary. Several of the exhibits feature touch screens that provide visitors the opportunity to find out what the forces of nature are doing at that moment in time. Visitors can build a sand dune, operate the hydrologic cycle and dig into the food pit to create their own food chains. Entry fees are $3 for adults and free to children 16 and under. The Museum is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Agri- and Aqua- Tourism
Agriculture and Aquaculture is alive and well in Morro Bay. From grapes, avocados and tangerines, to oysters and abalone, local chefs are in heaven preparing seasonally fresh caught fish and local produce. Meanwhile, visitors benefit from the amazing food and can also tour some of the farms. Visitors can get a behind the scenes look at a working avocado farm, the Morro Creek Ranch, boasting more than 27,000 trees that produce delicious Haas avocados of the highest quality. This family-owned agricultural operation started in 1978 and offers an avocado stand open to the public just outside of town. Morro Bay hosts two farmers’ markets in town. One in north Morro Bay at Spencer’s Market on Thursday afternoons, and the other on Main Street in Old Town Morro Bay, up from the Embarcadero, on Saturday afternoons. You’re likely to find a chef or two browsing the seasonal fare. Many local wineries offer behind the scenes tours of vineyards and crush facilities, so be sure to call ahead when planning a wine tasting tour.
Morro Bay is also home to two of the area’s renowned oyster farms, the Morro Bay Oyster Company and the Grassy Bar Oyster Co, respectively farming delicious the Pacific Gold and Grassy Bar oysters. Situated on the pristine bay, the Morro Bay Oyster company is a 130 acre marine farm that can be seen by paddle board, kayak or from a guided tour with Lost Isle Adventure Tours. Morro Bay oysters are sustainable seafood, delicious and full of nutrition. They can be found at many local restaurants and food and wine events. Just north of Morro Bay in Cayucos is the abalone farm that produces local sustainably farmed abalone for restaurants and chefs to prepare, and for visitors and locals to enjoy. Restaurants, Fresh Seafood, Wine Bars and Craft Beers
With thriving aquaculture and agriculture industries, fresh seafood and locally grown produce are in abundance in Morro Bay. Surrounding farms and vineyards yield a bounty of outstanding organic produce, fresh seafood and award-wining wines served with flair at Morro Bay’s renowned restaurants, wine bars and craft breweries.
Windows on the Water is a well know local favorite for its seasonal farm to table menus, Oyster Tuesdays, fabulous views, and an incredible wine list. Sunsets don’t get much better than from this romantic dining room on the bay. They also have a fabulous wine and extensive sake list. Dorn’s Original Breakers Cafe on Market Street above the Embarcadero has been a Morro Bay favorite since 1942, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner with breathtaking views overlooking the Embarcadero and the bay. They offer fresh seafood, a great brunch and make a mean bloody Mary.
Family friendly dining is abundant on the bay as well. At Tognazinni’s Dockside, Too visitors can actually watch the catch of the day being unloaded as they sit under patio umbrellas listening to live music while eating fish tacos, smoked salmon or fresh tuna from this restaurant and fresh seafood market. Oh, and they are super pet-friendly as well. The family-friendly Hofbrau der Albatross restaurant offers patio seating right on the bay with a perfect view of Morro Rock. Diners can watch the sea life frolicking in the bay as they dig into their freshly carved roast beef the restaurant has been known for serving for over 35 years. And don’t miss Giovanni’s Fish Market right on the bay, offering their famous giant calamari sandwich, fish taco Tuesdays and fried fish on a stick – a favorite for kids. This family owned fresh fish market has been a main stay on the waterfront for over 25 years.
Located on the bay with magnificent views of the harbor, the Morro Bay Wine Seller has been providing exceptional service and a comprehensive selection of local and regional wines to wine enthusiasts from near and far, for taste or purchase, for over a decade. They offer specialty cheeses, olive oils and craft beers to pick up and take with you. If you are looking for a wine bar that offers great food, stop by Stax Wine Bar & Bistro for a bite on the bay. Come relax by a fire on a plush leather couch and choose from over 150 local and imported wines with many offered by the taste, glass and bottle. Enjoy lunch or dinner from the Tapas Menu featuring gourmet cheeses and charcuterie, Panini sandwiches, prawn cocktails, oysters on the half shell, and more. Looking for craft brews? Look no further. The Libertine Pub offers patrons a cozy atmosphere, live music and an expansive beer selection, a great place to celebrate American Craft Beer Week each May. They focus their brews on barrel aged “wild ales” and offer up to 48 craft beers on tap at all times, so even the seasoned beer geek can satisfy their palate. When you’re REALLY hungry, you might be interested in trying their fish and chips burrito, deep fried in their Lagunitas IPA beer batter. It’s a legend on the waterfront.
Morro Bay: A Wine Lovers Paradise
Aside from great restaurants serving a great variety of award winning local wines and a fun sampling of wine bars dotted along the Embarcadero, Morro Bay is uniquely situated between two world class wine regions located in San Luis Obispo County.
Nestled in the Santa Lucia Mountains, just 30 minutes northeast of Morro Bay is Wine Enthusiasts 2013 Wine Region of the Year, Paso Robles. In the mid 1990’s Paso Robles was home to 35 wineries and 13,000 acres of grapes. Today there are more than 250 wineries, many of whom are small boutique producers dotting the countryside amongst Paso Robles’ 32,000 planted vineyard acres. Although the region is largely known for its stellar Rhone varietals and big Cabernets, there are more than 40 wine grape varietals produced – from Spanish to Italian to Bordeaux and Rhône, including the area’s heritage variety Zinfandel. Wine lovers can visit a large variety of tasting rooms, many of which offer picnic areas and specialty winemaker dinners.
Just 30 minutes to the southeast of Morro Bay is SLO Wine Country, which includes two small adjoining American Viticultural Areas, the Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande Valley. This wine region boasts an average distance of just five miles from the Pacific Ocean, resulting in prevailing marine conditions that are among the most pronounced of any wine region in California, forging a unifying wine quality that is native to SLO Wine Country. Cool-climate varietals such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir excel here and the ocean proximity exerts a moderating effect minimizing temperature swings so that growing conditions are rarely hot or cold. The result is an extraordinarily steady growing season that fosters balanced ripening and consistent quality from vintage to vintage.
For a family-friendly California adventure head to Morro Bay where moms, dads, grandparents and little ones will enjoy a fun and comfortable getaway with a wide range of activities and places to stay. There are over 30 hotels and motels to choose from, some featuring free breakfast and convenient amenities such as mini-fridges and microwaves. From May through October, a seasonal trolley runs from the Embarcadero, to Morro Rock, up to Old Town, to the State Parks by the Back Bay Marina, and out to North Morro Bay so there is easy access to anywhere you want to go, no matter where you stay. In fact, the picture-perfect community of Morro Bay is a breeze for hotel guests to navigate thanks to the new FREE trolley service. The Morro Bay Tourism Bureau (MBTB) has partnered with the city to sponsor the trolley for the busy tourism season starting Memorial Day Weekend and going through the first week of October. Within this partnership, all guests staying at Morro Bay hotels and motels will be able to ride for FREE.
Spend a day exploring the bustling waterfront filled with classic places to stop like the Shell Shop, on the Embarcadero since 1955, or Crill’s Salt Water Taffy stand, in Morro Bay since 1970. Kids of all ages love the Sub Sea Tours where they can ride around the bay in a semi-submersible boat to get a feeling of what it’s like to be underwater without donning a wetsuit. Rent kayaks or a canoe and watch the kids light up when encountering wildlife like sea otters, pelicans or seals. Rent kites and a surrey from Farmer’s Kite Shop and bicycle out to Morro Rock along the harbor walk to fly your kites on the beach. Jump on the trolley and head up to Morro Strand State Beach and spend the day beach combing, building castles and swimming in the ocean. Oh, and don’t miss the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum featuring skateboards and memorabilia from the 1930s to present day. Every member of the family will enjoy Morro Bay no matter your age! The whole family can relax and take in all the natural beauty of this unique fishing village.
Art and Culture in Morro Bay
Art and culture take center stage in the seaside village of Morro Bay. The Art Center in Morro Bay is one of the largest California Central Coast venues for exhibiting original fine art by local artists, boasting two large galleries. The Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History is regally perched on a hill overlooking the Morro Bay Estuary. In addition to amazing panoramic views of the coastline, the view from the museum includes the world-famous Morro Rock. Featuring state-of-the-art interactive exhibits, this is the only museum of its kind in the California State Park system. The Morro Bay Skateboard Museum is the place where visitors can see the complete history of skateboarding – from the early 1930’s to present day. More than 200 skateboards are on display from all eras with rotating exhibits from extensive private collections. And there are the many shops and boutiques that carry the works of local artists. Now visitors can add the Morro Bay Mural Mile Walk to their itineraries. The Morro Bay Mural Mile tour is the perfect way to tour the downtown and waterfront areas, enjoying the 23 murals that depict the area’s natural beauty, its history and the amazing array of sea life beyond the shores.
There are also many unique art galleries and specialty boutiques in the quaint seaside town including:
• John Ramos Art Gallery a few blocks off the Embarcadero at 407 Morro Bay Blvd showcases the original paintings and limited edition prints of John Ramos, capturing images of the California beach lifestyle along CA Highway 1. (805) 772-4700; www.johnramos.com
• Forever Stoked Gallery at 1164 Quintana Road is a grass roots art collective that spreads positive energy through artwork. Nature is the source of their inspiration and currently features the paintings of Charlie Clingman, Chris Pedersen, Peter Pierce, Jordan Haughey, and Dave O’Brien and quality goods locally made in Morro Bay. (805) 772-9095;www.foreverstoked.com
• Fiona Blue Gallery at 900 Embarcadero offers an eclectic mix of sculpture, lighting, clocks, glass, pottery and paintings. Fun gallery; (805) 772-0541; www.fionableu.com
• Gray’s Inn & Art Gallery at 561 Embarcadero features original watercolors of the Central Coast area by Todd Gray; (805) 772-3911; www.graysinnandgallery.com
• The Garden Gallery at 680 Embarcadero offers a blend of indoor and outdoor living products that capture the essence of the California lifestyle. Here you’ll find lush plantings of succulents along with pottery, fountains and home accessories; (805) 772-4044; www.thegardengalleryinc.com
• The Shell Shop at 590 Embarcadero is family-owned and operated since 1955 and exhibits the largest selection of marine sea shells on the Central Coast. Shop for decorative corals, unique crafted sea shell jewelry and sea clams; (805) 772-8014; www.theshellshop.net
• Suite 1 Gallery at 601 Embarcadero #1 is a full service gallery where you can view, purchase and create your own art; (805) 772-4972
• Poppy at 901 Embarcadero offers shoppers a warm, friendly shopping experience where you’ll find artisan soaps and lotions along with women’s clothing and accessories; (805) 771-9750
Morro Bay offers a wide variety of cultural events and exciting things to do on California’s Central Coast. From on-going events like cruises, whale-watching tours, brunch and dinner cruises, and fishing charters departing daily from the Embarcadero to the annual Surfboard Art Festival, Bird Festival, Kite Festival and Art in the Park Fests, there’s something for everyone in Morro Bay. Stay in the know on what to do in Morro Bay by checking this calendar regularly.
BFF Getaways – Two Legged and Four!
Morro Bay, CA is the ideal location for a best friend’s getaway along California’s Central Coast. From girlfriend getaways to bro-cations and pet-friendly adventures, this quaint seaside village is the picture-perfect destination offering everything from golfing, fishing, and hiking, to restaurants, shopping, wine tasting and plain relaxing. The variety of lodging options in Morro Bay offers BFFs the opportunity to stay in beach front vacation rentals, luxurious inns, leading brand hotels, reliable budget and specialty accommodations that fit any budget.
Girlfriend’s getaways are perfect for Morro Bay with its fabulous water front, extensive list of restaurants, boutique shopping, wine bars and relaxing spas – not to mention amazing beaches. Start the morning off taking a nice speed walk down the Embarcadero and out the harbor walk to Morro Rock, a great way to get in exercise before the day really begins. Reward you and your BFFs with a girl’s brunch at Dorn’s, sitting on the patio overlooking the Embarcadero and the bay planning out what adventure to tackle next. From horseback riding on the beach to kayaking on the bay, to renting surreys and riding around the Embarcadero, there is no shortage of things to do. And, then there is wine and food. Located 30 minutes from Paso Robles and Edna Valley Wine Countries, wine tasting tours are a great way to spend some girl time with your BFFs. Paso Robles and SLO Wine Country are home to many wine touring companies that will come to Morro Bay and pick you up in front of your hotel, B&B or vacation rental. Or, stop by the many wine bars located in Morro Bay for some waterfront wine tasting.
Morro Bay also offers everything for the bro-cation from exciting deep sea fishing and whale watching adventures to a challenging round of golf at the Morro Bay Golf Course, offering incredible bayside views. When the tide is right, Kayaking through the channels in the Back Bay Estuary is a wildlife adventure not to be missed. When it’s time for a hearty meal and craft brew, head over to The Libertine Pub, offering an expansive beer selection and a great menu of man grub. They focus their brews on barrel aged “wild ales” and offer up to 48 craft beers on tap at all times, so even the seasoned beer geek can satisfy their palate. Their fish and chips burrito, deep fried in their Lagunitas IPA beer batter is a legend on the waterfront, sure to satisfy the hearty adventurer. Or, stop by Giovanni’s Fresh Fish Market and enjoy their blue crab sandwich or fish taco Tuesdays while you sit out on the patio.
And, you don’t need to leave your four-legged best friend at home when you travel to Morro Bay! From hotels and restaurant patios, to beaches, parks and wineries there are plenty of businesses welcoming pups with open arms. The Inn at Morro Bay located on the water next to the Morro Bay Golf Course offers a warm welcome to Fido’s and their owners. From the Best Western El Rancho, and the Bayfront Inn, to the Beach Bungalow and vacation rentals, there are dozens of pet friendly accommodations to serve every budget. Pet-friendly restaurants on the water front offer great bayside views and yummy treats for owners and their pups. From Giovanni’s and Dorn’s to Frankie and Lola’s and the Bayside Café, there are a dozen restaurants with patios that offer pet friendly choices. One of the few off leash dog beaches along the Central Coast of California is just north of Morro Bay on the way to Cayucos. This two mile stretch of sandy shoreline is a great place for a playful afternoon or a full beach day with your BFFs.
Romance is Everywhere in Morro Bay
With majestic Morro Rock casting its own shadow on the bay at sunset each night, Morro Bay offers couples a blissful, off-the-beaten-path romantic getaway. Morro Bay exudes romantic vibes and a dreamy waterfront and marina, dotted with boutique lodging options with views right on the bay. Dozens of cozy hotels, Inns, and B&B’s are within walking distance to the shore offering great amenities that serve any budget.
Think horseback riding on the beach, or renting a surrey to ride along the Embarcadero with your honey. Take a romantic stroll along the harbor walk out to Morro Rock to watch the sunset or have a picnic on the beach. Romance is whatever you make it. Kayak the bay out to the sand spit with a bottle of wine and spend the afternoon frolicking on the beach or have a romantic lunch or dinner at one of the many restaurants and wine bars that line the Embarcadero and bay.
A variety of wedding venues like The Inn at Morro Bay, The View at Morro Bay Golf Couse and the Garden Wedding Chapel at Coalesce Bookstore Old Town Morro Bay are known to offer amazing destination weddings. And, of course, Morro Bay offers miles of beautiful sandy beaches offering unique scenic backgrounds for your unique wedding day. Whether planning an engagement, wedding, honeymoon or just needed time away, Morro Bay has something romantic for everyone.
Morro Bay is conveniently located on the Central Coast – close to everything and far from ordinary. Beaches and hiking trails run for miles north and wind their way up Highway 1 from Cayucos to Cambria. Morro Bay is also close enough for a day trip up to Big Sur for hiking and a nice lunch. Just north about 40 minutes is the area’s most well-known attraction Hearst Castle State Park, located just south of the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, the largest on the Pacific coast and, and the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse near San Simeon, which is open to the public for tours on Saturdays. Hearst Castle offers not-to-be-missed daily tours for only $25, and the Elephant Seal Rookery offers docent lead walks and is open every day for free. The most active times of the year are during breeding season, from December through February when almost 4,000 pups are born in just a few weeks.
Located south of Morro Bay, in Los Osos, is Montana de Oro State Park, offering hiking access to the famous sand spit that creates the western boarder of the Morro Bay harbor. This park features over 8,000 acres of rugged cliffs, secluded sandy beaches, coastal plains, streams, canyons, and hills, including the 1,347-foot Valencia Peak. There are also mountain biking and equestrian trails. The best-known beach is Spooner’s Cove, which offers a beautiful beach with endless tide pools. The park’s name means “Mountain of Gold” and comes from the golden wildflowers that bloom in spring.
About Morro Bay
This seaside fishing village with bustling waterfront offers a picture perfect getaway for travelers who seek food, wine and outdoor adventures found in a gorgeous natural setting. Located along coastal Highway 1 in San Luis Obispo County just south of Big Sur, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay offers year round activities in an unspoiled slice of California. Recently named as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, outdoor activities are a way of life. From ocean-side golf, kayaking, sailing, hiking, fishing, surfing, biking, and bird watching, to kite flying, shopping, dining, wine bars, local craft brews and miles of unspoiled beaches, there is something for everyone.
Sitting majestically between the beach and the harbor lays the iconic and historic landmark Morro Rock, welcoming travelers from miles away as they approach Morro Bay. Located just minutes from world-renowned Hearst Castle, historic missions, breathtaking Montana de Oro State Park, and surrounded by vineyards from Paso Robles to Edna Valley, Morro Bay is a destination designed to fit any style and budget for families, couples or groups. Morro Bay also offers a myriad of year-round events including food, wine and music festivals, art fairs and car shows unique to the town. For more travel information visit http://www.morrobay.org or follow Morro Bay on its Twitter or Pinterest pages.
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