A travel journal
to California by Cekimon
Quote: My home town is Salinas, which is known for the famous author, John Steinbeck, who was born here and buried here. Monterey Bay is also home to the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row.
Restaurant | "Blue Fin Cafe & Billards"
The menu has a lot to choose from, including nachos, sandwiches, and entrees. Our favorite is to order a few mixed drinks and a few appetizers and enjoy a few hours of playing pool.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 3, 2004
Blue Fin Café & Billiards
685 Cannery Row
Monterey, California 93940
Restaurant | "Rosine's"
For the portion size and quality of food, the price is very well worth it. It's a local favorite. Almost everyone I know around here knows about Rosine's. They also sell a cookbook with some of the favorite recipes.
434 Alvarado Street
Monterey, California 93940
The place is family owned and operated. It is very casual dining -- seat yourself at any open table and make yourself at home. Three of the servers are sisters and you can find mom and dad in all the time. Many of the other servers have been working there for years and the atmosphere is very homey feeling.
The menu consists of many traditional Mexican food items like enchiladas, tacos, burritos, chimichangas, tostadas, and quesadillas.
This place gets very busy around the lunch time hour and on Friday and Saturday nights. You can often see many local members of the community having lunch here. Bankers, police officers and teachers are always in here having lunch.
They will take large parties.
Restaurant | "John Steinbeck House Restaurant"
The restaurant is completely staffed by volunteers and all of the proceeds go directly to local charities or to maintaining the house.
We had a lovely experience there. The menu changes from week to week. For the price of $11.50, you can choose from two entrees, a soup or salad, and (for $4 extra) you can have your choice from two desserts. Your lunch is served with a beverage as well. Each week has a different menu and some of the menu selections for the calendar we got for the month of March 2004 were: veggie sandwich, chicken piccata, green chili quiche, royal chicken breast, ham casserole, and more. It looks as though each week has a vegetarian meal and a meal with meat.
We had a charming server. She looked as though she was a high school volunteer. She couldn't have been any older than 15 or 16. She wasn't the best server in the world, but she was sweet and friendly (keep in mind, they are all volunteers!).
Reservations are not needed, but highly recommended because the dining areas are small and the hostess was telling us they often get large travel groups that take up a lot of space.
The hours are limited -- they are open for lunch Monday through Saturday from 11:30am through 2pm, so plan accordingly.
There is also a gift shop down below called the Best Cellar. The shops sells a collection of small trinkets for the home, such as aprons, napkins, greeting cards, and such. It also sells novels by Steinbeck and other Steinbeck related items.
The restaurant is a restored Victorian home, so it looks amazing on the outside and in. It is available for private parties. It is within walking distance of the National Steinbeck Museum and only minutes away from the Salinas Amtrak Station.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 7, 2004
The Steinbeck House
132 Central Avenue
Salinas, California 93901
Attraction | "Twin Creeks Golf Course/Driving Range"
Local rates are available. I believe you need to provide them with a local zip code. Call them for more details.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 3, 2004
Twin Creeks Golf Course
1551 Beacon Hill Drive
Salinas, California 93905
The staff is very friendly and helpful.
The Outer Bay Tank has many creatures found in Monterey's outer bay is very huge. Just the tank and glass are impressive, not to mention the creatures that swim in the tank. You can see sunfish, sea turtles, and tuna. It's really amazing. Also don't miss seeing the penguins, and sea otters.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a major local attraction and is a must see for the area.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
886 Cannery Row
Monterey, California 93940
This mission was founded in 1797 and restored in 1949. It boasts a beautiful, arched hallway. There is a gorgeous garden to walk through during your visit. Keep in mind that the mission is an operating parish so you may not enter the church itself during mass.
San Juan Bautista is also the widest of all the CA missions. The church is one of the largest missions as well - it is 190 feet long. It has survived many earthquakes as it is situated on the San Andreas fault. The walls are four feet thick.
Some of my fondest memories of being at Mission San Juan Bautista is when I've attended weddings there. In 2000, I attended a wedding there. Then I attended two last year in 2003. One of the weddings, I was a bridesmaid in so I really got a unique feeling of being apart of the parish activities. It was a very unique experience walking down the aisle in a wedding in that type of environment. You can often see wedding parties there at the mission on Saturday. A lot of tourists stopped us and said how nice we looked which was really nice. The beautiful gardens were also an amazing backdrop for my friend's wedding photos.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 5, 2004
Attraction | "Salinas California Rodeo"
The Rodeo takes place over four days beginning with two evening shows on Thursday and Friday nights. Saturday and Sunday are afternoon events. Each day begins with the "Grand Entry" parade which starts on Main St. and makes its way through Old Town Salinas, weaves through the city, and ends up at the Sports Complex.
There are many booths that serve food and sell country/cowboy/Native American gifts and knick knacks.
California Rodeo Salinas
1034 N. Main St.
Salinas, California 939006
Attraction | "National Steinbeck Center/Museum"
This is a hands-on museum, so even though a lot of the content isn't something that small children can appreciate, at least there are a lot of hands on exhibits for them to interact with.
Some parts of the museum kind of get me emotional. One of Steinbeck's novels depicts the dust bowl immigrants who moved to CA in hopes of jobs. Many came to Salinas. These people, who were often called "okies," and that's basically how my family ended up in Salinas. Seeing how these workers lived and were mistreated is a very sad thing, but it is a part of history that can't be forgotten. Steinbeck was born in Salinas, by the way!
Anyway, aside from the museum depicting his novels and life, it also has a new wing that depicts Monterey County culture and life. It shows many of the cultural events that take place throughout our county and many of the events as well.
Admission for adults is $10.95 and there is a discount for students (with ID) and seniors. Children’s tickets are also discounted.
On a side note, when Oprah revitalized her book club, the first book she chose was a John Steinbeck novel and she recently visited the museum and John Steinbeck's birthplace, which is just down the street from the Steinbeck Center. Steinbeck is also buried in Salinas at the Garden of Memories. You can visit his grave. The cemetery is located on the corner of Abbott St. and E. Romie Lane (see mapquest.com for directions!).
National Steinbeck Center
1 Main Street
Salinas, California 93901
The major anchor stores at this mall are Macy's, Mervyn's, JC Penney, and Sears. The mall has undergone a lot of rennovation in the past years, and now has a newer modern look.
There is a new food court that just opened in 2003. Some of the dining choices in the food court and throughout the mall are McDonald's, Panda Express, Bagel Bakery, Carl's Junior, Subway, Hot Dog on a Stick, and American Chicken Bistro.
Currently there are no sit down restaurants at the mall, but thanks to new ownership there are two restaurants coming to the mall parking lot. They will be Chili's and Jonny Corrino's.
Also in the mall parking lot there is a Big Five sporting good store, a Toys R Us, and a 14-screen movie theater. The theater is brand new--it opened spring 2003 after the old one had been there for many years, and they completely tore it down and built a brand new one.
As for major retailers in the mall, shoppers can find Gap, Gapkids, Children's Place, Disney Store, Express, Sanrio Surprises, Hot Topic, Lerner NY, Rave, D.E.M.O., American Eagle Outfitters, Zales, Anchor Blue, Bath and Body Works, Champs, Lane Bryant, and many, many more.
The mall offers gift certificates and there are strollers available for rent.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 10, 2004
796 Northridge Mall
Salinas, California 93906