Tag Archives: Carmel

Thanksgiving Weekend Weather Forecasts At USA Beaches

Sunny Skies And Warm Temperatures In Southern California

Coronado Beach San Diego
Coronado Beach in San Diego is one of the best places for weather over Thanksgiving.


It seems whenever I do one of these holiday weekend weather reports, the advice is always the same: Head west for the best beach weather.

And that’s the case once again for Thanksgiving Day in 2014. Southern California will be basking in 70-degree weather and sunshine.

Los Angeles – which has beaches including Malibu, Santa Monica, Long Beach and the lively South Bay consisting of Hermosa, Manhattan and Redondo – it’s the usual warm Thanksgiving weather. Perfect for hanging out on the beach and/or taking a bike ride along The Strand. On Saturday, USC takes on Notre Dame in the LA Coliseum; if you are going be sure and bring a sweatshirt (but NOT one that says ND, ha).

San Diego – Ditto for the most fun city in California. Have drinks on the deck of the Hotel Del overlooking Coronado, stroll the dramatic cliffs in La Jolla and act like it’s endless summer in Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and Mission Beach. Or, get a convertible and cruise up the coast through the beach towns of Del Mar, Encinitas, San Clemente, Dana Point, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach.

Northern California – San Francisco will be nice with sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s but remember it gets cold in “the City” at night so always have a jacket or sweatshirt with you. If you’re going wine tasting, Napa will also be mostly sunny and in the mid-60s (Friday is going to be the best and brightest day). If you find yourself in Carmel or Monterey, consider yourself lucky! Plus, the weather will be mostly sunny and mid-60s but like in San Francisco it will get chilly at night. Up the coast 45 minutes in Santa Cruz, do all your outdoor activities before Saturday when rain is expected to arrive in this cool little beach town.

Hawaii – The weather in Southern California actually surpasses that of the #1 Thanksgiving destination according to PubClub.com, Honolulu. While the temperatures in paradise will be in the typical mid-80s, it will be mostly cloudy the entire weekend. This will not affect the parade through Waikiki Beach, which takes place Friday evening and honors Pearl Harbor survivors and victims.  Maui and the Big Island will have sunshine.

Another fairly pleasant beach to be at on Turkey Day Weekend is South Padre Island, Texas. There, it will be partly sunny Thursday and Friday with full sunshine arriving on Saturday, with temperatures in the mid-60s and upper 50s at night.

The South and East Coast will be coming out of a period of thunderstorms by Thursday with overall mostly sunny skies. Here’s a breakdown from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard.

Florida –In South Beach, rain on Wednesday gives way to to partly sunny skies the rest of the weekend with highs in the low 70s dropping to about 60 at night. The situation is similar in Key West with rain on Wednesday, mostly cloudy Thursday and Friday and showers Saturday morning. Temperatures will be in the mid-70s and mid-60s.  In the Keys, it will be cloudy and windy Thursday and Friday and sunny on Saturday. On the West Coast of the Sunshine State, St. Pete will be very pleasant, mostly sunny Thursday thru the weekend with temperatures a mild 65.

South Carolina – Myrtle Beach will be nice, albeit cool at night, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (55 high, 40 low) with rain coming in on Saturday night. The nice resort area of Hilton Head Island will be sunny but a tad cool, especially at night. The daytime highs are expected to be in the mid-50s with the evening temperatures dropping to the low 40s.

Ocean City, MD – This popular beach town will be cool and sunny with temperatures stretching to 50 on Friday but lows in the mid-30s.

Martha’s Vineyard – A warm stretch of weather hits the East Coast on Thanksgiving and that is going to make Martha’s Vineyard rather pleasant, at least by November standards. It will be mostly sunny with temperatures hovering near 50 and lows a tolerable 38-39. Rain is expected to arrive on Saturday.



Monterey Carmel Pacific Grove Links To Hotels, Restaurants Activities

Links To Activities And Wine Tasting Throughout Monterey Bay

Carmel's Best Hotels Hofsas House Room
The Beach Blogger spreads out at Carmel's Hofsas House, with a glass of wine, of course.

Anytime is a great time to visit Monterey Bay in the upper Central California coast.  Here’s an overview of Surfside Sam’s best restaurants, bars, activities and hotel recommendations. Links follow at the bottom of the post.

There’s so much to do, such as going on the Carmel Food Tours at lunchtime, where you taste your way through some of the town’s finest restaurants, all led by a friendly local guide. Follow that up with the Carmel Wine Walk, which is a $50 pass that’s good for several of the town’s tasting rooms. No need for a designated driver to the wineries; the wineries are right in the town waiting on you to visit!

Have dinner at the exotic tapas restaurant Mundaka one night and the fabulous Fandando in Pacific Grove the next. And be sure and be cool by going to Carme’s Best Dive Bars!

Stay in the Hofsas House, an European-style hotel on the edge of town with a staff so friendly I’ve started calling the owner “Aunt Carrie.”

Just 10 minutes away is Monterey and it, too, has several wine tasting rooms.

It also has a great restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf, Abalonetti Bar & Grill, which I highly recommend, and fun bars and nightlife. Stay at the Portola Hotel, which almost always has specials with tickets to area activities.

You can spend a weekend in Monterey Bay or easily make it a week. Or much longer.

Lover's Cove Pacific Grove California
Lover's Cove at Pacific Grove is one of Monterey Bay's most beautiful spots.


And of course, go by Pacific Grove, between the Monterey and Carmel, which in my opinion is the most gorgeous spot in the entire area.

And be sure to head up to Moss Landing to look at the harbor and have drinks and lunch or dinner at the Haute Enchilada.

Here’s links to all the places I mention in this post.

Carmel Wine Walk Wine Tasting Rooms
The Carmel Wine Walk is a great way to visit many of the village's tasting rooms.



Carmel Food Tour

Carmel Wine Walk

Mundaka Restaurant Review

Reviewing Carmel’s Dive Bars

Hofas House Hotel Review


Abalonetti on Fisherman's Wharf Monterey Restaurants sand dabs.
A dinner of sand dabs, a Monterey specialty, at Abalonetti on Fisherman's Wharf.


• Abalonetti Bar & Grill




Pacific Grove The Most Beautiful Spot In Gorgeous Monterey Bay

Lover’s Point, The Cove, Big Rocks And Beach House Restaurant All Part Of The Visual Pleasures

Pacific Grove Monterey Bay CA
Waves crashing on rocks by the shore make Pacfic Grove the most scenic location.

Of all the beautiful places in Monterey Bay – Monterey itself, the wide beach at Carmel, Pebble Beach, Big Sur, Carmel Valley among them – the most gorgeous of them all is Pacific Grove.

I know, it’s like trying to choose the best looking beauty queen between Miss America and Miss Universe. You’re not going to go wrong with either, but if you had to pick one, then which would be at the top of your list? Or heart?

And as scenic as all those other places are, Pacific Grove is the most stunning of them all.

It has to do with the deep-blue Pacific crashing onto those rocks by the shore.  The small cover with water so clear it makes you want to run into it even though you know it’s probably only 50-something degrees. And, above all, the rock formations at Lover’s Point, where you can indeed fall in love.

I’m ashamed to admit that, despite spending a considerable amount of time in the Monterey Bay area the past few years – thanks to my friend having a boat in Monterey Bay where I can stay – it had been several years since I went to Pacific Grove. And what kind of fool am I!?

Pacific Grove CA Monterey Bay
It's easy to spend hours just staring out into Monterey Bay from Pacific Grove.


Lover's Point Park Pacific Grove CA Monterey Bay
The land makes an "L" right here at Lover's Point Park.


Lover's Point Park Pacific Grove CA Monterey Bay
The water at Lover's Point is so clear you want to run in, even though it's 50 degrees.


Lover's Point Park Pacific Grove CA Monterey Bay
Walking the rocks and feeling the breeze is a Titanic "king top of the world" moment.


Beach House Restaurant Lover's Point Park Pacific Grove CA Monterey Bay
Beach House Restaurant at Lover's Point is open for casual diniing with a view.


The place is not just gorgeous, it’s time-stopping gorgeous. (Fortunately, the street parking is free so you don’t have to worry about losing track of time and returning to your car and having a ticket.) I can just stare out to the sea for hours. Walk up and down the path or, as I did one time with a person of some significance, climb the rocks feeling as if I was starring in a romantic movie.

The most gorgeous part of this most gorgeous part is Lover’s Point Park, where the land makes an “L” shaped turn. It’s here you get a full, huge view of the entire bay. Walk out onto the big rocks, feel the wind blowing in your face and, well, it’s a “Titanic” moment.

I look forward to going back and trying out the new restaurant that just went in on the corner in late spring 2013, Beach House. It’s run by Kevin Phillips of the fantastic Abalonetti’s on Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf, and it’s going to be less formal than the previous occupant of that prime property.

You can bet the next time – and every time – I’m in Monterey Bay, I’ll stop by Pacific Grove to soak in the most gorgeous view in Monterey Bay.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley Photos Reviewing The Gorgeous Views

The Spectacular Scenery Never Seems To End At This Wedding And Corporate Event Location

Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
A catered dinner on the terrace of Holman Ranch is a good as it gets in Carmel.

It doesn’t take long to appreciate the beauty of Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley, CA.

It happens the moment you pass through the gates and see a perfectly manicured equestrian course below you and golden-colored hills rising above the road.

And things only get better from there, for Holman Ranch is a place of stunning beauty. It is high on a hill above Carmel Valley in Central California, about 20 minutes from Carmel-By-The-Sea and just over a mountain range from Big Sur.

It’s easy to see why it books 50 weddings a year and has a long list of corporate events from one-day parties to multi-day retreats.

Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
This is a perfect spot to enjoy glasses of wine from the Holman Ranch vineyards.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
This is another perfect spot to enjoy wine from the Holman Ranch vineyards.


It is a private events ranch, exclusive to events, as well as members of its Wine Club. Holman Ranch’s vineyards wrap around its facilities as if they are giving it a big hug. Which is understandable, because I was tempted to do the same.

It’s vineyard produces a mere 10,000 cases of wine a year, which makes it as cozy as the ranch. For the everyday customers, it has a tasting room in Carmel Villlage (19 E. Carmel Valley Road, the last winery on the right in the Village).

Surfside Sam spend a day and night at Holman Ranch and was so overwhelmed by its beauty a single story about the ranch and its facilities hardly does it justice. So here is another post focusing primarily on photographs of its majestic views.

For Surfside Sam’s full story and review of Holman Ranch, click here.

The Holman Ranch website is: www.holmanranch.com.



Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
Vineyards with a view at Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
The equestrian areas are for people who keep their horses at Holman Ranch.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
The distinctive Central California rolling hills are in plain view from Holman Ranch.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
A wall of fame displays pictures of Hollywood celebrities who have been at the ranch.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
Small groups can have dinner catered on this terrace overlooking the vineyards.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
This is fine dining at its finest.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
The terrace provides yet another ideal spot to enjoy the Holman Ranch wine.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
Seen through a glass of Pinot Noir, Holman Ranch's Nick Adams hosts a dinner.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
This magnificent place is used as the alter for weddings.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
Holman Ranch has wine caves to make and age its wines.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
The side patio of the terrace is another inviting place at Holman Ranch.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
The Spanish Colonial look of the buildings fits perfectly with its surroundings.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
From every angle, the terrace is an inviting dining spot for small groups.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
The vinyeards produce several reds and whites with Pino Noir a specialty.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
Overnight guests can enjoy Holman Ranch's wines in rocking chairs on room patios.



Holman Ranch Carmel Valley Top Location For Weddings, Corporate Events

Mesmerizing Views Make This The Perfect Venue For Marriages And Company Retreats 

Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
The view from the "alter" for weddings at Holman Ranch is memorable.

One word comes to mind when standing at the alter, so to speak, at Holman Ranch: mesmerizing.

So mesmerizing, in fact, that you will suddenly lose the ability to move, so transfixed on the stunning scenery of the vast valley that lay before you will have discovered  it has rendered the body motionless.

Motionless, that is, until you need another glass of wine.

This is Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley, CA, and nature has blessed it well.

Holman Ranch has also taken advantage of its surroundings, and that’s why is is the ideal place for people seeking a location for a corporate event or retreat, or to hold a wedding.

Bring your wedding party here and guests will sill be talking about it when the bride and groom are approaching their golden anniversary. Hold a corporate function for a one-day party or a multi-day retreat, and it will build stock in the company faster than any spike on Wall Street.

Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
Dinner – and events – are served with style at Holman Ranch.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
The path from the patio to the alter provides another great view.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
The immaculate grounds of Holman Ranch are as well maintained as a golf course.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
Holman Ranch's vineyards produce grapes for wine made on the property.


Located high in the hills above Carmel Village, the family-owned and operated Holman Ranch is a private estate with Spanish Colonial architecture that rents out part of the property for events. It’s almost always sunny here and, due to its inland location, rarely gets the fog that often hits the coast (particularly in June, as locals know all too well).

Outside, the immaculate grounds provide views where memories are made. Inside, the decorative buildings include a super-cozy living room, a game room and a small meeting room with all the modern technology a board meeting requires. There’s even a small chapel.

There are overnight accommodations, as well, 10 cabins that manage to be rustic and luxurious at the same time. But note this is not a B&B; accommodations are reserved for Wine Club members and parties who must rent all 10 cabins.

Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
Nick Adams of the Holman Ranch family ownership shows off the Rose of Pinot Noir.


In addition to all the happily married couples and ecstatic corporate executives and clients, Holman Ranch has hosted legendary Hollywood celebrities of the past, among them Charlie Chaplin and Vincent Price.

As a bonus to all this history and beauty, you are surrounded by vineyards, for Holman Ranch makes its own wine.

It’s a small winery, only about 10,000 cases a year, but the grapes are grown right on the property and processed in wine caves just below the swimming pool.

Specializing in Pinot Noir – there are currently four of them on sale in the tasting room – it also makes a Sauvignon Blanc, Pino Gris, Chardonnay and a Rose of Pino Noir, the latter of which is not what you may think but a refreshing blend of reds and whites that is not sweet but is idea. for the warm days in Carmel Valley.

It also makes an olive oil from Tuscan olive trees planted on the property.

Anyone can visit the tasting room in Carmel Village, which is on the right side in a small shopping center at the end the Village, and sample the wines.

But the estate is for private functions, and the 10 cabins provide limited overnight accommodations. The price per room is comparable to what you will find at many places in Carmel, $325-375/night.

Holman Ranch hosts 50 weddings a year for wedding parties up to 350 people. When you see the place, even those of us who are not contemplating such a thing immediately start to go through our mental phone contacts for potential spouses.

The area where the ceremonies take place will take your breath away almost as much as your bride or groom.

Weddings – and events, too – are all customized to individual groups at Holman Ranch. That’s because they provide the grounds and you bring in everything else you need: catering, flowers, DJ (or band), alcohol. You can even bring in your own wine but of course Holman Ranch is glad to sell you cases of its own wine at a special price.

And it makes sense to drink Holman Ranch’s wine when you are Holman Ranch, of course.

Holman Ranch does have a list of recommended vendors, but this is no cookie-cuter experience.

The busiest time for weddings at Holman Ranch is not June, as you might expect, but the fall. September and October in particular. So if you want to have your wedding here – and trust me, you could do far worse – then plan accordingly.

Of course, by renting all 10 rooms you can just go up with a group and enjoy the grounds. There is great hiking on trails through the vineyards and you can also arrange for a wine tasting, a catered dinner in a courtyard overlooking the valley (trust Surfside Sam on this one; that alone is worth a visit!) and spa treatments, among other mind-clearing experiences.

The best way for individuals to experience Holman Ranch is to join its Wine Club (link below).

The horse stables and riding grounds, by the way, are used by people who stable their own horses at the ranch.

Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
A catered dinner at Holman Ranch is something guests remember for a long time.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
A table for two is all set at Carmel Valley's Holman Ranch.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
The buildings have a Spanish Colonial design and fit perfectly into the surroundings.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
The rooms at Holman Ranch are comfortable and classy.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
For those who get a room, the beds provide a snoozing night's sleep.



Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
The rooms are large and have plenty of room to relax.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
Rooms have a porch with rocking chairs, which is a very nice touch for guests.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
The peaceful setting of Holman Ranch in Central California's Carmel Valley.


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley
There's a game room with a pool table and 70's-era juke box.



• Located on 400 acres in Carmel Valley in Central California, on the edge of Carmel Village 20 minutes from Carmel-By-The-Sea in Monterey County.

• Closest airport is Monterey Peninsula Airport (30 minutes) or San Jose International Airport (90 minutes). Holman Ranch is two hours from San Francisco International Airport. Holman Ranch can arrange for helicopter transportation.

• Overnight accommodations require renting all 10 rooms. Wine Club members can rent individual rooms on a nightly basis. Meeting spaces are included with room and event bookings.

• Complimentary Internet service available throughout the property.

• The wine tasting room is at 19 E. Carmel Road, Suite C, in Carmel Village. Bottles of wine sell for $20-40.

• Website: www.holmanranch.com

• Holman Ranch Wine Club link;  click here

• E-mail: info@holmanranch.com

• Phone: (831): 659-2640

• Mailing Address: P.O. Box 149, Carmel Valley, CA 93924

• More Photos: SurfsideSam.com

• Blog: Thanks To Holman Ranch, I’m No Longer Afraid To Drink A Rose Wine





Carmel Hotel Hofsas House Welcomes Repeat Guests Back Like Family Members

Family-Run Property Makes Guests Feel Like They Are Home

Carmel Hotels Hofsas House
The friendly Carrie, and staffer Michael, bring cheers to the Hofsas House hotel.

I went back to visit my new family recently.

It wasn’t exactly planned  – quite the opposite as I was forced to turn back due to California wildfires along Highway 101 – but Aunt Carrie was there to greet me with a smile. And a room for the night. A big room, too, about the size of my apartment, in fact.

I even chatted with her mom about where she used to live and I currently live, Manhattan Beach. CA.

“Is Pancho’s still there?” she asked.

“It’s one of the best bars in Manhattan Beach!,” I excitedly replied.

I was not at a home, tho, but a hotel. And Carrie is not really my aunt; I just call her that because when I go to her hotel it feels like walking into a family member’s house.

Carmel Hotels Hofsas House
One of the rooms at the Hofsas House in Carmel, as big as an apartment.


Carmel Hotels Hofsas House
The Hofsas House is a European style hotel in a European style of city.


Carrie’s hotel is the Hofsas House in Carmel, CA and it’s been in her family for decades. Her grandmother opened it and she runs it now. It’s also not just Carrie that makes me feel at home but everyone who works there, and it’s not just me they treat this way. People who are this welcoming and friendly don’t just do it for one person, they do it for everyone.

I’m sure than anyone who has stayed at Hofsas House also walks through the door, announces, “hey I’m back!,” and a small series of “hi’s” and hugs ensues. Heck, you don’t even have to have been there before to experience it; I’ve only met Carrie once before my most recent “family” reunion.

The Hofsas House is a European-style hotel in a European-style city, a five-minute walk from the heart of Carmel-By-The-Sea. The rooms are like the people who work there, in that they are all a bit different but all comforting.

Read a full review of the Hofsas House here!

Hofsas House website: hofsashouse.com



California Wildfires Along Highway 101 Chase Me Back To Carmel

Stopped Southbound Traffic Causes Turnaround North Of Paso Robles

California wildfires 101 southbound traffic
Southbound traffic on the 101 in central California at a standstill due to a brushfire.

Those wildfires hitting Southern California are not just affecting Ventura County and Camarillo; they are also having an impact along the inland central coast.

I know that from personal experience because I was headed south on Highway 101 about 30 miles from King City when traffic came to a complete stop. I’m talking cut-the-engine, get-out-of-the-car complete stop. A water helicopter was flying overhead and I thought we could be there for hours. Stuck. And miles from the nearest exit, which in this area probably would have no services anyway.

About 20 minutes later, we were allowed to pass (slowly) as fire crews had just put out a roadside blaze. A few miles down the road the traffic stopped again, and while we were able to pass, we did so inching along and down to one lane.

Then it happened again a few miles later and if was this bad this far north – still more than an hour from Paso Robles and about three from Ventura – I wondered how bad it must be in the prime affected areas.

So I put in a call to a well-connected PR person in the Monterey Bay area, Marci Bracco of Chatterbox PR, and she was able to score a room for me at the Hofsas House in Carmel. So I decided to turn around and head for Carmel, from where I had started my day.

It was just a couple of months ago that I spent two nights at Hofsas House and the way the place is run, I knew it would be like going back into a family home. In fact, I even call the owner “Aunt Carrie.”

Plus, how could I turn down a night in Carmel!?

Carmel Hotels Hofsas House
The familiar – and warming – welcoming sign at the Hofsas House in Carmel.


My day started at Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley and at about 10 a.m., I took out for the 101 by way of scenic and curvy Carmel Valley Road. When I reached the 101 an hour or so later, I was flying at 64-70 mph until I hit the fire zone.

The hills on the west side of the highway were charred for miles and smelled like a barbeque. I can only imagine what it’s like in Ventura County.

Had I carried on to south of Paso Robles – and who knew what traffic stops awaited me along the way – then I would have pretty much reached the point of no return. I would have been subjected to whatever nature and the situation would throw at me, and I much preferred to be sitting on the rooftop at Happy Hour in Carmel rather than standing on the freeway looking at traffic not moving and trying to figure out my next move.

California scenic drives Highway 101 taco stand
In the middle of nowhere, a good Mexican restaurant sits off Highway 101.


I did make one discovery along the way. The part of 101 between Paso Robles and Salinas is the “no man’s land” of the 101. There are few exits and few places to stop to eat or for get gas. I had 3/4 in the tank of the car but my tank was getting low, so I pulled off at at outpost at 10th Street. And rolled right up to a Mexican restaurant. Tacos & burritos. Perfect!

It’s little more than a big taco stand but the steak burrito was tasty and people kept coming in and the small space was full. Where all those poeple were coming from, I had no idea; many were obviously regulars and worked somewhere around the area. But there is no town for miles and I could not begin to imagine what they must do for work in such a desolate area. The restaurant is called Dos Hermanos, by the way.

Anyway, I certainly hope that everyone has safe travels and, well, I’ll give it another go manana.