Good Times Travel
17132 Magnolia St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Featuring a Single-Hotel Stay in Monterey, 17-Mile Drive, Steinbeck Center, Steinbeck Home, Coast Starlight Train
Activity Level 2
Pace Level 2
On this holiday escape to the Monterey Peninsula, we’ll not only discover the cypress groves, historic towns, early California history and exceptional stories that make the Monterey Peninsula so special, but do it at a magical time of year when it’s delightfully decorated for the holidays. Join us as we travel along the coast by train, enjoy a single-hotel stay in the heart of Old Monterey, and appreciate this region that celebrates the holiday season with beautiful lights, fairy tale-like decor and the simple pleasures like a cup of hot cocoa with an ocean view.
We set out from our departure points this morning aboard a deluxe motorcoach and travel to down- town Los Angeles’ Union Station to board Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train for a memorable, five-hour rail journey along California’s spectacular coastline and through its fertile valleys to San Luis Obispo. We’ll travel along Point Conception and through Vandenberg Space Force Base where you’ll see the launch complexes and beautiful undeveloped coastline which is only visible by train. We’ll enjoy an included boxed lunch onboard along with a snack bar selling snacks and drinks. Enjoy the relaxing ride in your reclining seat or check out the view from the observation car featuring windows that stretch up to the ceiling offering unparalleled and expansive views. Upon arrival in San Luis Obispo, we’ll reboard our motorcoach and continue north to the Monterey Peninsula. We’ll enjoy a three-night stay at the Portola Hotel & Spa, a AAA Four Diamond bayfront hotel decked out for the holidays and situated adjacent to Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf in Old Monterey. Enjoy the balance of the evening at leisure with dinner on your own at the hotel or a nearby restaurant. (Lunch)
Following an included breakfast, we’ll join a local guide for a comprehensive area tour. Wrapped by the Pacific Ocean on three sides, the Monterey Peninsula is often described as “the greatest meeting of land and sea.” For centuries, artists, poets, explorers and novelists have been drawn to the rugged beauty here – from the crashing surf to the towering redwoods to the unspoiled wildlife. On this in-depth driving tour, we’ll travel through historic Old Monterey, Cannery Row, Pacific Grove and along the famed 17-Mile Drive. One of the most picturesque drives in the world, 17-Mile Drive is an enchanting journey full of dramatic coastal cliffs, snow-white beaches and mystical forests. Along the way, we’ll encounter such spectacular sights as The Lone Cypress, Bird Rock, celebrity homes and the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links. Enjoy time at leisure for lunch on your own and browsing in the charming seaside town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. This town that deftly straddles the balance point of rich history and new wealth, features great restaurants, boutiques and galleries. The setting is even more magical at Christmastime, when the adorable shops, inns and cafés are delightfully decorated for the holidays. We return to the hotel with the balance of the evening at leisure. (Breakfast)
Following an included breakfast, we’ll travel to the Salinas Valley, often referred to as “Steinbeck Country.” The agriculturally rich area is where John Steinbeck grew up and drew inspiration for his most famous novels like East of Eden. In John Steinbeck’s hometown of Salinas, we’ll enjoy time at leisure to discover Steinbeck’s world through interactive, multi-sensory exhibits and rare artifacts at the National Steinbeck Center. This afternoon we’ll enjoy an included lunch at The Steinbeck House, Steinbeck’s birthplace and boyhood home. This restored Queen Anne Victorian built in 1897 is charmingly decorated for the holidays. We return to Monterey this afternoon with time at leisure to browse Monterey’s historic Cannery Row and take advantage of included admission to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. The former sardine cannery located on the ocean’s edge of Cannery Row boasts spectacular coastal views and sets the standard for aquariums around the world because of its immersive exhibits and ability to present marine life on a truly grand scale. Get up-close and personal with 35,000 sea creatures representing over 550 marine species including sea otters, penguins, sharks, jellies and thousands of other marine animals and plants. We return to the hotel with the balance of the evening at leisure. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Following an included breakfast at the lodge, we’ll travel south by motorcoach to San Luis Obispo and visit the eclectic and historic Madonna Inn, the California landmark that features a timeless elegance, whimsical décor and is beautifully decorated for the holidays! In the Santa Ynez Valley we’ll travel the backroads to the quaint Danish town of Solvang, known as America’s famous “Little Denmark.” This time of year, the quaint old-world architectural styles and flower-lined streets are beautifully decorated for the holidays. Enjoy time at leisure to browse the wonderful shops that offer imported European wares and collectibles with lunch on your own in the delicious restaurants. For a true taste of Danish culture, sample the delicious pastries offered by Solvang’s authentic local bakeries. We continue south returning to our drop-off points this evening with many fond memories of our holiday getaway to the Monterey Peninsula. (Breakfast)
While we make every effort to operate our tours as outlined in the itinerary, we ask for your patience, understanding and flexibility and to retain a sense of adventure while traveling with us. Situations may arise that necessitate changes to the itinerary. Should we need to adjust the itinerary either prior to or while on tour, these changes will be communicated to you and only done when absolutely necessary.
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