“Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.”― John Steinbeck, Cannery Row
Arriving back on the coast in Monterey, California, after spending the past few days inland while visiting national parks, I was thrilled to see the ocean once again. I thought I’d be able to dip into this part of the Pacific Ocean, but the sea was cold, and the air, brisk, when we arrived mid-afternoon in Cannery Row, a one-time center of the sardine-packing industry, was immortalized by novelist John Steinbeck. Now it is lined with gift shops, restaurants, and an aquarium (not open due to the COVID-19 Pandemic).
Our first day in town we stopped at a El Torito, a mexican eatery with newly established outdoor seating in front of the entrance. My boyfriend decided to start with margaritas, which sounds delightful, except for the fact that I was freezing with the cool air sweeping against my bare calfs.
Deciding to wear a dress that day, with my optimism guiding my thoughts, when I realized just how cold it was in Monterey, I knew I had to stop in one of these shops and pick up a pair of sweatpants, to keep warm. It was 62 degrees when I first sat down to the firm seats on the concret of the parking lot. Due to the pandemic, all restaurants were only allowed to serve guests outside. Most of the other destinations we dined we enjoyed the fresh air, but this time, I was freezing. The first thing I asked for was soup. (It was August and I asked for soup, yep!)
After checking into our hotel, just down the street from the downtown area, we explored a bit of town so that I could pick up some sweatpants and create some photographs. The following day we went for a longer walk, after a fantastic (but expensive) breakfast at Schooners. We walked along the ocean for a few hours, searching for places to create photographs. At one point I did dip my toes into the cool water, ignoring the signs that told me to stay out of the water.
That evening, searching for a place for dinner, we found seating at The Fish Hopper, and ate the most expensive meal of our lives, but one of the best experiences as well. I’ve only recently started to try seafood. Up until a few years ago I had a fear around eating it, thinking I would get sick. That stemmed from a memory of getting sick as a kid. But as so many things in my life, it was time for me to try new things. Earlier in the trip I’d tried sushi for the first time, and really did enjoy it. This time I’m trying crab, and shrimp. I’ve had shrimp in dips, but the texture wasn’t appetizing to me. The steak, however, was to die for, as well as the salmon. I highly recommend this place, as long as you are aware that the platter that we got for the two of us was $190, and the fishbowl margarita was $30 for us to share! Needless to say, we were well fed in Monterey.
Check out part 5 of the Epic West Coast Road Trip, and stay tuned for part 7… only a few more stops on this adventure. Below is the video we created of the two-week trip from San Diego to Sacramento.