A beauty junkie in California: Monterey & Carmel day trip

monterey and carmel

First things first,  a little introduction. As you probably know, I spent last week in San Francisco. I’m here for a VERY exciting reason – as I have been working with the mega chain of US department stores, Macy’s on a project called #UKdoesMacys . If you have a little look on twitter and you will find the other two UK bloggers involved – Becky from English Mum and Kavita from She Wears Fashion. Becky has been over to Orlando to check out a couple of amazing Macy’s stores there from a family perspective. Kavita will be visiting the flagship Herald Square store in New York (which I visited when I was there recently and she’s in for a treat… nine floors and the size of a city block…it’s huge). And me, I’m in San Francisco to check out the beauty offerings (plus, let’s be honest…the rest of the store too) at the Union Square store that’s the West Coast Flagship. I’ll be telling you all about the Macy’s experience over the coming days/weeks but as a starter for 10 I wanted to share why I’m here.

I arrived in the city a couple of days ahead of kicking things off with Macy’s so I could have a little wander down memory lane as I was last here when I was 16 years old. Plus it meant I could shift the jet lag and do a bit of exploring. I also took the chance to go on a day trip down the coast to Monterey and Carmel by the Sea. This was something I wanted to do as I mentioned above – it would be a bit of a trip down memory lane for me. It was a great trip – I booked via Viator and it was really simple. I used the app and actually managed to book the whole thing on the tube on the way to the airport. Just a quick call to confirm hotel pick up time and I was good to go.

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Monterey is probably best known for it’s Aquarium – but did you know that this was built by David Packard the founder of Hewlett-Packard for his daughter Julie who was studying Marine Science and is still Executive Director of the aquarium. I think that’s somewhat like my Dad building me a Sephora…right?

I actually chose not to go to the Aquarium and just have a wander and get some lunch instead. We had two hours in Monterey before the bus departed again. So I took a walk along Cannery Row mixing between taking in the views of the bay, checking out possible lunch places and perusing the shops. The shops are a bit of a mix between tourist tat and quaint gifts and handmade art/jewellery. The weather in Monterey can be quite iffy – much like San Francisco it’s prone to fog/rain but on the day I was there it was a lovely sunny day and so nice to enjoy some warm California sun in November.


I spent my time strolling Cannery Row, stopped for some prawns for lunch and generally just enjoying the buzz of the area and chillng out. It really was quite special to be back somewhere I have such fond memories of from my teenage years.

17  Mile Drive

Between Monterey and Carmel by the Sea there’s a rather special area that will mostly be a ‘must see’ for any golfers out there. As a non golfer I can’t really vouch for this. But the 17 Mile Drive is a famous area around the exclusive Pebble Beach Golf Course. Along with the stunning gold course (that even a non golfer can appreciate for it’s stunning views) there’s also some of the worlds most prime real estate. The level of luxury in the homes along this strip of road is beyond anything I’ve seen in my life and that even includes some of the crazy homes I’ve seen on MTV Cribs. We drove along the road so didn’t get chance to snap any photos. But we did stop at the iconic lone cypress tree that is the symbol of the Pebble Beach course and even if you’re not a golfer (I’m not) I think you can still appreciate how stunning this looks!

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Carmel by the Sea

The last stop on the tour is Carmel by the Sea. I don’t know how to describe Carmel other than a little town of perfection. It’s just a chocolate box of gorgeous little ‘All American’ homes, plus pretty stores, craft shops, coffee shops and B&B’s. Including some that literally look like they’re out of a fairytale… Rather than hitting the shops I took the walk down to the beach with the aim of catching the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean. I just caught the last of it and then spent the walk back up to the hubb of the picture postcard town trying to plot a way to move there. It was a great place for the last stop of the trip.


As I mentioned, the tour I booked was via Viator and it was really straight forward. I used their app to book and pay for the tour and that was it. I had to make a quick phone call to confirm the collection time. But it was so easy – and after THIS post about travelling alone, it’s definitely a tour booking option I would recommend – especially if you’re a solo traveller as I felt comfortable the whole way through.

Have you visited California? Where did you go and what did you think?


1 Comment

  1. January 20, 2015 / 6:38 pm

    I love California and Carmel is just so beautiful! I remember some weird squirrel type creatures that lived on the beach.. seriously want to move there. Also Santa Barbara is amazing! Enjoy your trip 🙂

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