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Pacific Grove, Calif.: 5 Things We Love

Small-town charm and big-time beauty make this seaside village your perfect home base for a weekend on the Monterey Peninsula.

  • walkway at Asilomar that leads to beach, image
    Photo credit
    Photo: Courtesy of Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce
    Photo caption
    A wooden walkway at Asilomar winds through the dunes to a dreamy beach scene.
  • rainbow and Monterey Coast with pink ice plants, image
    Photo credit
    Photo: Courtesy of Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce
    Photo caption
    A magicial scene on the coast shows a rainbow dipping into the Pacific and a rocky shore adorned with cypress trees and blooming ice plants.

Once a settlement of Chinese fishermen who fished for squid, then the site of a religious retreat, this quiet city next to Monterey has a burgeoning restaurant scene, friendly shops, and more than its fair share of rocky, romantic coastline. Area code is 831.

1  Where the water meets the bluffs, diving sea lions, waving kelp, and lounging sea otters invite closer inspection. Adventures by the Sea equips visitors to explore by kayak along the bay’s quiet shoreline or by bicycle on the pedestrian path that leads past the handsome Point Pinos Lighthouse. 372-1807,

House-made sausages, especially the rabbit and bacon butifarra (a Catalan staple), make a great entry to a meal at Jeninni Kitchen and Wine Bar, which opened last year with a menu that riffs off the cuisine of Spain. It’s a country that chef Jeffrey Weiss knows well—he literally wrote the book on Spanish charcuterie tradition. 920-2662,

At Kai Lee Creamery, owner Butch Adams serves healthy doses of local flavor both in his friendly conversation and in the delicious ice creams, among them ginger honey and blueberry muffin, that he makes fresh daily. 324-4043.

4  The smile-inducing kaleidoscope of colorful objects—toothy and textured dinosaur hand puppets, boldly patterned fabric wall hangings, and handmade stuffed animals such as birds and tropical kissing fish—makes Tessuti Zoo an irresistible store for both kids and adults. 648-1725.

5  The crisp, spicy firecracker shrimp is a popular menu item for good reason at the Beach House at Lovers Point. The restaurant combines tasty dishes, friendly prices, and front-row views of the Pacific Coast. 375-2345,

This article was first published in September 2014. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.