After 6 Months of Shuttling around the Kids and Shopping at CostCo it was Time to Reconnect
Being a dad, a husband and owning my own photography studio require allot juggling and time management. While at and way from the studio, I tend to keep very connected digitally. During the summer months its pretty much non-stop wedding and portrait and blogging time. Add to that, taking the kids clothes shopping, doctors appointments – flu shots – check ups, orthodontist appointments, food shopping, family birthdays, car maintenance, laundry, house cleaning and a myriad of other life chores and oh yeah….running a photography studio, it often leaves little time left to really connect with my wife, my sweetheart and my best friend Connie.
We both love road trips and traveling in general. I’ve been able to get away with one of my buddies to Yosemite last winter and to Seattle this past March, but because of her work, Connie was not able to get away with me. We love our kids dearly, however sometimes with need US time. Recently we had an opportunity to get away for five days and travel north, up the coast. We chose to explore and enjoy Carmel By the Sea and the Monterey Peninsula. We’ve both been there several times before but haven’t had the chance to spend an extended amount of time there. We found some unexpected treasures in both Carmel by The Sea and Monterey.
The Driving Route / And What I Didn’t Bring
1st Stop – San Luis Obispo
We took our 5 series and packed light driving up the 101 to San Luis Obispo and stayed over night. Enjoying a great dinner at Old Juan’s Cantina in Grover Beach just south of Pismo Beach and SLO. Our favorite Mexican restaurant in the area. The place rocks and makes fantastic Pork Verde (pork in a green chile sauce). We sat at the bar for dinner. Great beer and Tequila selections. The atmosphere is casual and lively, a locals joint. Last time we were up there with Emerson and Claire we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express but it was fully booked so we stayed at a Best Western and got a great rate for the night, only $79! with a continental breakfast.
Since purchasing my iPad a few months ago, it was an easy decision not to take my laptop with me. By doing this I could accomplish a few things.
- I could give Connie my undivided attention during the evenings. No on line time = together time.
- There would be no image downloading and no image editing on vacation. I also didn’t need to take any hard drives or my Lexar Pro fire wire card readers. I made sure to take 30 gb of CF cards with me. I’m a RAW shooter and taking 32 gb of cards with me is the equivalent to capturing over 2,400 images which I knew I wouldn’t do. This was a conscious decision to lighten up both physically and mentally.
- If I needed to get online and send a major email I could do it easily at any Starbucks, they offer free WiFi. I did bring an Apple wireless keyboard with me to pair with the iPad for speedy typing.
- The decision not to take me laptop, cut down on the amount of stuff I was carrying with me. Literally less baggage to take with my on vacation.
- Anything else business-wise I needed to do on the fly I could accomplish with my iPhone, which I made sure to keep in my pocket most of the time so that I was with Connie and not my iPhone.
The Next Day – Driving through Big Sur
In the morning we woke up early had breakfast and headed off to Route 1 stopping in Moro Bay for some clam chowder for lunch, and drove the gorgeous coast line North through Big Sur. I’ve done this a dozen time in the past but am always visually delighted by this part of California’s coast. We always find something new to see or do along the way. Stopping along the way of course when inspired by something to do some photography. We arrived in Carmel just in time for sunset and enjoyed a bottle or delicious of juice: a nicely oaked Hahn, SLH Estate, Chardonnay from Monterery County along with some freshly baked Pizza. Yummy. Much appreciated after a long drive.
Our favorite place to stay in Carmel is the Cypress Inn. But, due to the Carmel Art & Film festival taking place over our travel weekend, the Cypress was fully booked. So we went with our favorite fall back, Amerca’s Best Value aka Carmel Resort Inn. A five minute car ride from town center or a 15-20 minute walk. A dated but charming bungalow style hotel on Carpenter Street. Their room rates are a whopping $79 & $99 per night. You’ll typically pay three times that anywhere else in Carmel. Unheard of in Carmel. And undoubtedly one of the best kept secrets. I hope i don’t blow it by listing it here.
We owe a great debt of gratitude and thank you to famed actress, animal activist and hotelier Dorris Day. It is because of her that Carmel By The Sea is dog gone crazy and super dog friendly. Ms. Day owns The Cypress Inn in Carmel. It’s Connie and my favorite hotel to stay at when we are in town. The hotel has a doggie menu, at the reception desk a huge clear glass vase is filled with dog biscuits. Luxe beds and a spa menus are available for the Cypress Inn’s guest’s dogs. The lobby is choc filled with dogs large and small. All kinds of different breeds led by their traveling owners. On a recent visit we got comfy in a couch and snuggled by the warmth of the fire place enjoying some live jazz in a small lounge at the Cypress surround by guests and their dogs.
Their is a fantastic bar and restaurant just off the lobby and and the walls are adorned with photographic art and movie posters and memorabilia from Dorris Day’s Hollywood movie days.Many of the attractive tiles embedded in the walls are architect Julia Morgan’s leftovers from her Hearst Castle project.
The Weston Gallery
Carmel is like no other town in California. Home of Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford’s daughter, it has fantastic eateries and restaurants. Posh clothing and home furnishing shops. Top of the line antique shops. And, some of the best art galleries in the nation. To wit: The Weston Gallery, celebrating their 25th Anniversary. I’ve visited the Weston several times and the show on this recent trip was astounding. Iconic photogrpher’s works on exhibit included: Watkins, Adams, Bullock, Cole and Edward Weston, Burnhard and Karsh to name a few. The Weston’s holdings are tremendous, its like enjoying face time with the great photographers or our time in a mini museum with no stanchions.
Below: Just across from Point Lobos on PCH. I’ve past by the rock sanctuary for years and always tried to capture it. This time I spent about 20 min. photographing it. Here are a few frames.
Walking the back streets of Carmel. The Carmel Valley has some cool old funky backdrops. Its farm, vineyard and horse country. At Georis’ restaurant The Cork Screw in Carmel Valley for lunch. We were kind of wines out after a VIP tasting at the amazing Talbott tasting room right next door, so I didn’t care to taste Georis’ wine. Dang it. When I got back to the O.C. my buddy told me that their wines are spectacular. I missed out. But, we did have a great lunch there. The Bernardus Inn where we had lunch some vino and played Croquet. I was up 2 games and gave Connie a huge head start in the 3rd game, but she fumbled on the last goal and I ended up kicking her butt!
Below is a breakfast sign from Belle of Carmel a small all Organic cafe with some of the best (organic espresso roast – Mr. Espresso) coffee I’ve ever had. There breakfast rocks. We traded making portraits of each other. I wish I could convert Connie to a photographer. But she loves being a secret agent for the federal government. The French inspired Georis. These are warm, fresh out of the oven, Apple and Olallieberry pies that we bought at an organic farm in the Salinas valley. Connie and I bought one and ate it, feeding each other scrumptious bites of melt in your mouth deliciousness. We took a side trip to Salinas to visit a weekend farmers market and found ourselves in the middle of a pumpkin field and organic farm. Produce from the farmer’s market at Salinas. A sunset walk in Monterey on Asilomar Beach.
Disconnecting allows me to see and think in new ways.
I’ve got this whole series of geese flying on the Monterey Bay at sunset. As sun sets, the colors in the sky get more intense and reflects off the bay.
P.S. Can’t wait till out next getaway with each other. Our 4th anniversary is coming up in Dec. Travel suggestions welcomed.
P.P.S. While walking down Ocean Ave. I stopped into the Robert Talbott clothing store to ask about the Talbott tasting room in Carmel Valley. The totally styled us out with 4 VIP Tasting Passes! Totally surprised and grinning from ear to ear i was stoked to visit the tasting room. Talbott was one place I really wanted to go, because they make some kick-ass Chardonnay. Connie and I tasted every Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that they had available. About 5 Chards and 5 Pinots. Each one of them were winners. My favorites were the Cuvee Audrey Chardonnay and a single vineyard Talbott Pinot which I can’t remember the name of. Anyway, if you are up there or at a bar or Total Wines, treat yourself to some Talbott juice, it’s delicious.
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Marc Weisberg is an award winning photographer and Sony Artist of Imagery based in Irvine, California. Specializing in Luxury Architecture & Real Estate Photography, Food + Wine Photography, and Weddings & Family Photography, he’s easy to work with and produces clean, crisp, and technically flawless images. Marc’s photography is published internationally in over a dozen books and magazines. You can contact Marc by phone at 800.943.0414…. or email.