|Subject: Re: Monterey, CA|
Thanks for narrowing down the options a little (you still have a lot of choices!) Given your parameters, I think I'd start with Pacific Grove. I listed the wineries at the end.
Good luck! JoAnne (halfway between San Jose and San Francisco)
**** The Monterey Peninsula:
Carmel -- a ton of b&bs -- The Wayside Inn gets rave reviews, and I also have friends who love the Cobblestone Inn. (Carmel is picturesque, but tends to have a lot of tourists and I find it cloying; personally I would stay in Monterey or Pacific Grove and limit my visit to Carmel to a few hours--starting early in the morning so you can find a place to park, and hold off on fluid intake before you go because there is only one public bathroom in town).
Monterey - Portola Plaza (we have stayed here many times; it's downtown with a lot of restaurants nearby and a cozy bookstore across the street--but it's quite a hike to the acquarium if that's on your agenda)
Pacific Grove--Try Asilomar, Gosby House, or Green Gables for starters. Pacific Grove has much of the charm without the crowds of its Monterey Peninsula sibs
North of Monterey
Pescadero (San Mateo coast) - Costanoa http://www.costanoa.com people rave about this place though I haven't been there; more isolated than any of the above, and the San Mateo coast tends to be rainier and grayer than the Monterey coast.
Aptos - Seascape Resort http://www.seascaperesort.com/ list prices are high, but they are always running specials). Aptos is a short drive south of crowded (but still worth a visit) Santa Cruz. The better restaurants are in Santa Cruz and Capitola (a beach town between Aptos and Santa Cruz). I have yet to hear of a great place to stay in Capitola though--the accommodations tend to be kind of funky--but most of the restaurants are on the beach. .
See ftp://www.scmwa.com/wineries.htm for a comprehensive list. Local favorites are Fogarty (very scenic but not near Monterey), Ridge, and Picchettti.