Take a Short Drive from San Francisco and Visit Exciting Cannery Row on Monterey Bay

Cannery Row on Monterey Bay is an easy 2-hour drive south of San Francisco. Two good reasons to add Monterey to your northern California holiday are that it is a breathtakingly beautiful part of the Golden State, and it is far less commercial than San Francisco. It’s a great place to enjoy some quality down-time during your vacation.

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A brief history of Cannery Row

csr7Oil made whales the Monterey prey of choice for fisherman until Kerosene was introduced in the late 1800s. At that time, the local fishing industry made a quick turn to sardines, and the first cannery opened in 1902 along Ocean View Avenue – now Cannery Row.

From that date until the 1960s the fishermen and businessmen of the “Row” didn’t realize it, but they were systematically fishing themselves into oblivion by overtaxing the schools of mature sardines needed to reproduce and replenish the early abundant harvests.

IMG_0727The last sardine catch and pack on Cannery Row took place in 1964 on the site of the now famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Inspired by John Steinbeck’s celebrated story, Cannery Row is visited annually by scores of vacationers from around the world, and it is well worth a prominent place on your vacation schedule.

It’s fun to share the planet

IMG_0927Cannery Row is not only a tourist’s mecca, it has also become a conservationist’s Disneyland. There’s the spectacular Aquarium, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which can be enjoyed by tour boat, sail boat, kayak, or row boat.

crb4On land, tourists can comb the waterfront, whale watch, otter watch, seal watch, bird watch, and people watch. Cold water SCUBA divers also get to fish watch. There are a whopping 26 species of marine mammals, and 345 species of fish residing in the Monterey Bay Sanctuary.

Also in the area

pg1Golfing and touring at Pebble Beach, Carmel, and Pacific Grove are minutes away,

l1and the Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove is open to the public and is a great place to get a feel for a lighthouse keeper’s life in earlier times.

pl9Point Lobos State Reserve with its fantastic views of the Pacific is also in the neighborhood.

t IMG_0464In the area, we also visited the fabulous Holman Ranch and Winery, and *here* is that story.

Where to stay

h2IMG_0777There is no shortage of great places to stay on and near Cannery Row. We chose the Monterey Bay Inn right on the “Row.” It is the first hotel on the water when driving east.

IMG_0737The Inn’s appeal includes being slightly away from the center of the hub-bub, where most of the tourists congregate. Yet, it is just a short walk to all the interesting shops that line the Row.

IMG_0621The views from the Monterey Bay Inn are impressive – especially if you are lucky enough to reserve an end room with a balcony over the water. We recommend room 320 if it is available. (that’s 320 just under the roof canopy above)

pa1The Inn is adjacent to San Carlos Beach Park, where visitors can picnic and stroll the beach. The park is also an excellent entry point for kayaks and SCUBA divers heading for a swim with the fishes among the ever-swaying orange and brown kelp beds.

Cannery Row eateries

sf4The area is awash in excellent restaurants, but there is one in particular that deserves a feature story, and that is what we plan for the legendary Sardine Factory on Wave Street.

The Sardine Factory is a world-class restaurant that is also an uplifting All-American success story. It’s about two ordinary guys that started with nothing almost 40-years ago, and today are recognized by presidents, the movers and shakers of industry, and scores of celebrities in the restaurant and entertainment world.

It’s also a tale of tradition, values, honesty and integrity – subjects that are too often forgotten in our confused times.

sssf3So look for our story about the Sardine Factory in the near future. It is good press that will inspire you – it did us.

IMG_0720The Monterey coast and Cannery Row are California treasures that should be explored and enjoyed by all lovers of the sea,nature, and fine food – definitely worth putting on your getaway list.

Happy travels.

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff
Photos © Judy Bayliff
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Drive the West Coast of Florida to the Fabulous Naples Bay Resort

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Some luxury hotels like to be considered “destination resorts,” but few actually fit the bill. The elegant Naples Bay Resort in Florida is the exception that proves the rule – it is a self-contained destination of choice for upscale vacationers.

Situated in Naples, on Florida’s Paradise Southwest Gulf Coast, the Naples Bay Resort is an AAA Four Diamond Award winner that embraces an imaginative leisure and vacation lifestyle in a gamesome backdrop that is second to none.

Welcome to the Naples Bay Resort

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We drove our rental car under the grand port-cochere entrance where we were greeted by a wide smiling and nattily uniformed attendant.

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Handing him the keys we headed inside the building where we found the foyer to be the embodiment of our expectations.

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The registration desk was located in a sweeping and tastefully appointed two-story lobby that oozed richness.

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An open air corridor led us to our large (1000 sq ft) one bedroom villa suite that overlooked the marina and featured an expansive (500 sq ft) veranda – great for hosting a party.

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As an added bonus, had we wanted to sponsor a small social event, there was an extensive gourmet kitchen in the suite.

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The suite’s décor was comfortably Tuscan and perfectly consistent with the hotel’s Italian Village motif.

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The resort has both hotel and cottage accommodations. The hotel has 65 suites and 20 king guestrooms. There are 108 elegant two and three bedroom “cottages” that would be better described as villas – that have the look and feel of exclusive private residences.

On site amenities

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The Club at the Naples Bay Resort, has a complex of well-designed swimming pools including a waterfall and meandering lazy river pool – great for tube rafting through the tropical gardens, a children’s pool, and an infinity lap pool.

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NBR Wellness Center

If tennis is your game, you will be delighted with the six lighted tennis courts and the pro-shop. Then there’s a huge state of the art fitness and wellness center, a marina with a shopping and dining promenade, and an amazing Euro-style Spa. Phew!

Eating at the resort

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NBR Yacht Club

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The Yacht Club is an on-site restaurant facility that offers a delicious “Breakfast on the Bay.” Complete with a gourmet buffet, and eggs and omelets prepared by a waiting chef who will fill your request while you watch.

Try a lunch at the BlueWater Bar and Grill located poolside and with a menu that is perfect for your mid-day repast.

The resort Concierge will be happy to help with suggestions and reservations at any of the dozens of fine restaurants that are close to the resort, but don’t miss the popular Bonefish Grill located right in the resort hotel.

The marina

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The Naples Bay Resort is the only hotel complex in southwestern Florida with a complete marina facility that provides a fuel dock, pump-out facilities, laundry service, showers, and other conveniences to all visiting boaters.

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The marina has a Ship’s Store and a Captain’s Lounge, and all guests of the marina also have full access to resort amenities.

Rent a boat from the Naples Bay Marina and cruise out to Keewaydin Island. Accessible only by boat the island’s shore indulges the feet with sugary white sand.

The Naples Bay Marina has 97 slips for overnight, seasonal, and annual rental.

Team building and events

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The resort has almost 3,500 square feet of specialized meeting space spread out among four comfortable venues. Each room is distinctly different in appearance, and the board room is stately and perfect for an executive meeting.

Remembering the kids

There is a pool just for children, and adjoining the Fitness Center is a children’s jungle gym complex where the resort provides Kidz Activity programs.

Embrace your Zen

NBR SPA

After our tour of the resort, a Therapeutic Energy Massage at The Spa was just what we needed. This medium intensity massage focuses on the muscles that carry the most stress – for us, that is usually the neck and shoulders. We could feel the tightness melt away under the skilled hands of our therapists. This is 80-minutes of intense rejuvenation. We recommend this particular therapy for all the sore necks out there. 

Poking around Naples

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The Naples Bay Resort fee includes shuttle service to many of the attractions in the area, including shopping, dining, and beaches.

Naples is a quintessential tourist haven – there is fun for everyone in the family.  From miles of white sandy beaches and a picturesque pier, boating galore, shopping, golf, and tours of the primeval Everglades with all the sounds and colors of the jungle.

Let’s all shop

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You need not leave the resort to find a bevy of boutique shops full of everyday treasures; just walk down to the Resort Marina to find the promenade of exclusive shops and noteworthy restaurants.

Shopping night

However, if your indulgence requires still more, take a short stroll to the famous Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South districts, or visit the Village on Venetian Bay for a vast array of local boutiques and galleries, as well as the chic shops of the likes of Hermes and Tiffany.

Of course if you are more inclined to shop Macy’s sales, your opportunity for that also awaits in accommodating Naples – and if existential funky happens to be your mood, there is always Tin City.

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Nothing quite like Tin City

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Tin City wharf

An unusual sea-themed, nouveau-rickety shopping mecca is within easy walking distance of the resort.

Tin City shops

Tin City

Appropriately named Tin City, this is the place to find local boat charters and tours, amusing Florida theme shops, and some of the best casual waterfront dining in Naples.

NBR Water Shuttle

To leisurely scope out the area, consider the Naples Bay Water Shuttle that departs from the Marina at the Naples Bay Resort. The 45-minute route shuttle allows hop-on-hop-off access to eight tourism locations. A small fee is all that is required to provide transportation for the entire day.

Do the Glades

If you are this close, you must take the short drive to the Florida Everglades. Everglades Area Tours offers guided boat and kayak tours deep into Everglades National Park where you can get up close and personal with dolphins, manatees, alligators, and some of the world’s most exquisitely colored birds. There are also extensive hiking and biking trails in the park.

If you go

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The Naples Bay Resort overlooks beautiful Naples Bay and is just 3.5 miles from the Naples Municipal Airport. The new Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers is approximately 30 miles north of the resort.

If you are looking for a first-class venue for your next high-end vacation, a wedding, or a corporate event, you will not be disappointed in the Naples Bay Resort. Check out their website at www.naplesbayresort.com.

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For more information about things to do in and around Naples, Florida, look at http://www.naples-florida.com/active.htm

If you want to investigate additional one-of-a-kind or upscale lodgings reviewed by Wayne and Judy in Florida, click on the titles below.

Little Palm Island in the Florida Keys

Cheeca Resort in the Florida Keys

A Beach Bungalow on Anna Maria Island

Happy travels!

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Judy Bayliff

You can see the world with Google Maps. http://maps.google.com/

Another Adventure in the California Gold Country

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Touring the Gold Bug Mine

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The Gold Country of California provides tourists with a wealth of fun vacation opportunities. Here’s another segment of our adventures in this fascinating part of America.

Our El Dorado experience

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During our last visit to the Gold Country, we were fortunate to attend a special dinner at the historic Sportsman’s Hall Restaurant in woodsy Pollock PinesCalifornia – home and headquarters of the National Pony Express Association.

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El Dorado Rose Sharon McDavid and Jim Swigart of the Pony Express Association attend the costume dinner

At the dinner we were in the elegant company of the El Dorado Rose and some of her court, along with the Director of Tourism for El Dorado County, and two County Supervisors. They were all excellent ambassadors for El Dorado County, and great people with which to share a wagon.

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Karin Klemic of the USDA confers with fellow guide County Supervisor Ray Nutting

The wagon ride

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Our day included a guided tour and transportation to dinner via a vintage horse-drawn wagon that clopped along the celebrated Lincoln Highway and the Pony Express Trail on route to the landmark Sportsman’s Hall.

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Heading for the site of the Bullion Bend Stage Robbery of 1864

Karin Klemic, District Archaeologist for the USDA provided captivating facts about the great Eldorado National Forest that surrounded us. This densely wooded park is a destination that every wilderness loving family should have on its future vacation calendar.

The Sportsman’s Hall Restaurant

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This celebrated restaurant is a showplace of Pony Express paraphernalia – and was the main Home Station for the Pony Express in California back in 1880.

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It was also an important stagecoach station for food and refreshments along what is today’s California Highway 50 and the old Pony Express Trail.

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The feature speaker at our dinner was the very impressive and entertaining president of the National Pony Express Association, Mr. James Swigart. After Mr. Swigart’s enthusiastic talk, the audience was ready to saddle up, and ride like the wind in the next annual Pony Express Re-Ride from Missouri to California.

About the Pony Express

Whatever the level of knowledge about the history of the United States – one legend of the Old West stands out and seems to have captured the imagination of every American child – the Pony Express.

The Pony Express was the first expedited mail service from St. Joseph on the Missouri River to Sacramento and the Pacific Coast. Before the Express, mail took over a month by boat, and 24 days by overland stagecoaches between St. Joe and Sacramento. The Pony Express did it in an amazing 10 days.

The daring adventures of the Pony Express riders are the stuff that cowboy dreams are made of. Whether outriding hostile Indians, besting bandits and raging storms, or suffering the torturous heat of the Western desert – these couriers were heroes one and all.

The riders of the Pony Express

The Pony Express recruited young outdoor types (as young as 14) that were slight in weight and understood horses. They preferred riders who were morally sound and God fearing. It is an interesting fact that each rider who signed up for the service was issued a leather-bound bible. Only a dozen of the bibles are known to still exist – one sold in 2007 for just under $39,000.

No saddle bags

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We learned that the Pony Express never used saddle bags to carry the mail. Such bags were too heavy – and difficult to recover and secure from one steed to another in the short time allowed the rider to switch horses. Instead the mail and letters were secured inside four locked pouches stitched on a “mochila,” which was a lightweight soft leather cover that fit directly over a saddle like a blanket.

At one of the more than 150 home or relay stations, the rider recovered the mochila from his exhausted horse and threw it over the saddle of a waiting fresh mount. The rider then quickly mounted the new horse and sat directly on the mochila thereby assuring the mail was secure and protected for the next leg of the rugged journey.

Hard work in the wilderness

Pony Express couriers rode about 75 miles per day before being relieved and changed horses every 12 miles or so. The route from St. Joseph to Sacramento crossed the states of MissouriKansasNebraskaColoradoWyomingUtahNevada, and California. The route was about 2000 miles long and took 10-days of constant and hard riding. There were approximately 30 riders in the saddle on each trip and from each direction. The Pony Express had a stable of 500 horses, and 500 employees, including station men and some 90 riders.

Short lived

Because the Pony Express has been so indelibly branded in the American psyche for so long a time, it is hard to grasp that the renowned service lasted just one-year and seven-months. It was summarily replaced by the transcontinental telegraph, but not before incubating legends like Buffalo Bill Cody, who at age 16 signed on to ride one of the most dangerous stretches of trail in the Wyoming Territory. Buffalo Bill later re-enacted a Pony Express Relay in each of his worldly famous Wild West Shows of the 1880s through the early 1900s.

The first re-ride of the Pony Express took place in 1923, and there have been many since. The Pony Express has been an enduring symbol of America’s strength and courage, individual heroism, and unfaltering work ethic for over 150 years. If you would like more information about this fascinating icon of the Old West look at www.xphomestation.com.

Last call to service

On April 9, 1983 there was a tremendous landslide along California’s American River Canyon. Heavy rocks completely covered Highway 50, the vital link between Sacramento, South Lake Tahoe, and all the small mountain communities between. Postal delivery was stopped by the slide – and April 15th (tax day) was fast approaching.

In less than 48-hours the National Pony Express Association was contracted by the U.S. Postal Service to carry the mail by horse around a 115-mile detour. Some 62 riders participated in the great “Slide Ride” of 1983. They carried more than 60,000 pieces of mail in the six-weeks that the Pony Express was activated. Each piece of mail was postmarked to commemorate the unusual event.

Pony Express Letter 1983

Although not from the great Slide Ride, we were honored to be the recipients of the commemorative letter (pictured above) from the national ride of 1983.

If you go

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There is so much to do and see in the Gold Country and along U.S. Route 50.

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Street scene in Hangtown (aka Placerville, California)

History abounds in the wild-west gold mining towns, parks, museums, and forests.

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There’s gold panning, outdoor events, white water rafting, shopping, fishing and hiking galore. Known for delicious wines and unique eateries, this is a bountiful part of America that is only a few-hour’s drive from bustling San Francisco. We recommend it highly.

For more information about what the area has to offer look no further than the informative website at www.visit-eldorado.com

Happy travels!

If you like this article by Wayne and Judy look below for two of their other stories about the California Gold Country and their suggestions of what to do and where to stay when you visit.

Discovering a luxurious hideaway in the California Gold Country

A budget friendly excursion to the California Gold Country

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Judy Bayliff

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Carmel Valley Is Home to Historic Holman Ranch and Vineyards

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The Holman Guest Ranch in Carmel Valley, California, dates back to 1928 and was originally on 1500 acres of rolling hills and indelible vistas.

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Through the years, the ranch had several owners and has evolved into a prestigious venue for special events. Its current 400 acres of natural grandeur is more than ample to provide space and satisfaction for all that visit.

 

The history

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In the early days of the ranch it was a privileged enclave for the rich and famous who hunted the abundant small game, birds, deer, and the infamous wild boar of California.

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If you have not seen one of these beauties up close, you can’t appreciate their fierce appearance and disposition. Purportedly, they are a tasty treat when grilled over an outdoor fire. Small groups of these wild pigs still roam the hills and forests of the ranch and are hunted by archers.

During the Golden Years of Hollywood, the ranch was frequented by movie moguls and actors.

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Charlie Chaplin is said to have practiced new routines in the building which was once a stable, then a theater, and now the Charlie Chaplin Game Room.

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The ranch walls are full of pictures of Hollywood luminaries such as Theta BaraClark GableGene AutryVincent Price, and William Holden to name a few.

Not your ordinary resort

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The Holman Ranch is not a resort in the usual sense of the word – instead, it is an exclusive event destination where guests rent out the entire facility for multi-day affairs or single-day off-site occasions. The ranch ensures intimacy by hosting only one event at a time.

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This unique hospitality model affords those that engage the ranch a feeling of privacy and stewardship of an authentic Spanish Colonial 18th century stone-walled hacienda – with oodles of jaunty western furnishings.

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It comes complete with ten ranch-style guest rooms,

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an inner Spanish courtyard with fountain,

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an executive board room,

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grand parlor,

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and even a quiet chapel.

Modern comfort with old-world ambiance

We found that all the ranch’s facilities are impeccably maintained and have modern amenities like flat screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and state-of-the-art audio visual apparatus.

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When not busy with happenings, the resort is dominated by a tranquility that is only disturbed by leaves rustling in the breeze and the recurrent melodies of tribes of tiny birds and black and yellow bees.

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In such circumstances, a nap by the resort’s pool is the perfect elixir for urban stress.

Catered affairs

The ranch does not have a restaurant, but that is compensated for in the business model. The owners have a preferred list of caterers that work with the ranch on a regular basis.

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For our event we enjoyed a flawless roast chicken dinner accompanied by several bottles of Holman Ranch varietal wines – all served by A Moveable Feast on one of the hacienda’s charming stone terraces.

Also, if guests prefer to arrange for their own cooking in the extensive caterer’s kitchen, that is an agreeable option. Proprietors Nick Elliott and wife Hunter Lowder are dedicated to working with their guests to provide the ultimate in flexibility to enhance an unforgettable experience.

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The couple has extraordinary credentials because Nick is an experienced winemaker, caterer, and an ordained minister, and his wife Hunter is a seasoned event planner and restaurant manager. If you would like a turnkey wedding, it doesn’t get any better than that!

Estate winery

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The Holman Ranch Estate is building a reputation as a winery of note in an area of significant wineries located within the bountiful Carmel Valley Appellation.

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Currently with 19-acres under vines they hand harvest and cellar their wines in the ranch’s modern wine cave. We took the tour, and can recommend it to all wine aficionados.

On an annual basis, Holman produces about 3,200 cases of Pinot NoirPinot GrisChardonnaySauvignon Blanc, and Rosé of Pinot Noir. The owners share their limited treasures with Holman Ranch guests, Estate Wine Club members, visitors to their tasting room, and wine connoisseurs from around the world.

Broad appeal

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If you are planning an event of any duration such as a wedding, picnic, charity event, banquet, executive retreat, company meeting, networking get together, or team building endeavor, we suggest the Holman Ranch is the right place to make it memorable.

For more information about the Holman Ranch and what they offer, view their website at www.holmanranch.com

If you go

The Holman Ranch is a pastoral treasure located at 60 Holman Road, just 12 miles from scenic California Highway 1 and just off Carmel Valley Road. Famous Carmel-by-the-Sea is an easy 20-minutes away, and Big Sur is 35 miles southwest of the ranch. Pebble BeachCannery Row, and the Monterey Peninsula are also easy drives.

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The Holman Ranch Office and Tasting Room is just minutes from the ranch at 19 E. Carmel Valley Road, Suite C, in Carmel Valley, CA 93924. In addition to fine wines, be sure to sample their very special hand harvested, cold pressed, extra-virgin olive oil – it’s delicious.

Happy travels!

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Wayne and Judy Bayliff

You can see the world with Google Maps. http://maps.google.com/