Isabel and I just returned from an incredible trip to Europe, and while we had the best time, we are thrilled to be back home on the Monterey Peninsula. Our area is so unique and rare, and we wanted to highlight a few of the thoughts that came to mind about our appreciation for the area as we traveled to other lands. 

One of our favorite areas in Europe was the Bordeaux region of France. We loved the small town feel of Saint Emilion and the vineyards were strikingly beautiful. It felt very much like Carmel Valley Village, and with several great French restaurants in the village owned and operated by the Georis family, we feel like we have a small slice of France right in our backyard. We also found ourselves in the region of Provence full of small towns like Goult – a tiny, charming town that reminded us of Carmel-by-the-Sea with its fresh markets and walkable restaurants. 

Another area we loved was Portofino, Italy and the surrounding cities of the Italian Riviera. Aside from the gorgeous pastel colored buildings, we explored some of the residential areas and drew comparisons with some of the homes we’ve seen in Big Sur, perched on steep cliffs overlooking the sea. The Italian Riviera has a fairly rugged coastline, similar to ours as you drive down Highway 1 through the Carmel Highlands. It was beautiful and reminiscent of home. The seafood here was outstanding, and seafood was about the only cuisine on the menu at the restaurants we visited. 

We visited each area for just a few days, so we barely scratched the surface, but as we progressed throughout our trip, I couldn’t help but observe that the qualities I loved most about the different regions of France and Italy are shared here in the Monterey Peninsula and greater Carmel area. Not to take away from the experience in the slightest, I just appreciate how much the peninsula has to offer between its world class cuisine and tasting rooms,  to the small town feel when you walk into a coffee shop and can easily get to know the owner. To be able to drive 25 minutes from unbelievable seafood at Wildfish in Pacific Grove into Carmel Valley Village for the best wines on the Central Coast is amazing to me. To drive just 10 minutes south from Carmel to the Hyatt for happy hour in a 100 year old mid century modern building overlooking the Pacific is also amazing to me.

One thing Europe taught me is that I need to visit our farmer’s markets more often. We have several of them each week, and this is one of the best ways to support local businesses and get the freshest ingredients available. 

The Monterey Peninsula is such a treasure! What are some your favorite things about our area?