Our spontaneous trip to Monterey and Carmel

Trip-with-Lexus-headerWe had some of our Canadian friends come down to visit us a few weekends ago. I gotta tell you. I love it when visitors come to stay at our place — I enjoy hosting friends and family, plus our home looks really awesome for a few weeks there after — dusting is completed, the floors freshly washed, it’s all around a nice feeling.

Blue-skies

OlympiansOlympians lined up. Who can spot Kara Goucher?

While I had the Lexus NX200t to review for the week, we decided to join our Canadian friends as they drove south to Carmel + Monterey for the weekend. Their plan was to run a half marathon, and then finish their drive back down to SoCal to visit more friends.

Walk-to-LexusMy husband and I loaded up the Lexus Nx200t, with Alfie in tow (including his crate for him to sleep in at night) and made the drive down to Carmel-By-The-Sea, where we hunkered down at our favourite place, Hofsas House — you guys know that place all too well by now I’m sure, as this was my third visit to warm and welcoming Hofsas (see our 2 day honeymoon + girls weekend trip!).Hofsas-roof

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Feet-and-AlfieHofsas-view

Alfie-in-CarmelOur room at Hofsas House this time, ended up having its own private balcony. It was excellent to have breakfast out there, overlooking the ocean in the distance, and it wasn’t too chilly either. A perfect time of year to pop down for a visit.

Can you tell Alfie was demanding satisfaction here in this photo? He’s getting a bit more bold lately, scratching your arm for attention or belly rubs and won’t stop until you give in. Mr. Bossy Boots is his new nick name you guys…I think it fits :) Hofsas-balcony

Minutes before registration to sign up for the the Big Sur Half Marathon closed, my husband casually decided he too was going to run the race with our 2 Canadian buddies. WHAT? I mean, how can you just do that without even training? Although, his everyday workout routine pretty much consists of hours and hours of exercise (whether it be biking or running) so I suppose that means he’s always in tip-top running shape for a half marathon the very next day.

However, I had made plans for us to have supper at The Grill (where we had our supper on our 2 day honeymoon just the previous year!), and I wasn’t about to cancel because he decided to sign up for a half marathon (many people prefer to have a bland carb loading meal before a race like that). But we dined at the busy Grill and had a delicious warm meal with dessert to boot.The-Grill

BigSur-HalfHe doesn’t like me posting many photos of him, so unfortunately no photos of him running the race were captured by me. But let me tell you how fast his lil’ legs can go. He not only bet his half marathon time (sub 1:20), but he came in with the Olympians. I literally screamed when I saw him, it was unexpected especially with our large supper the previous night.

After the half marathon was over, the runners all went back to their hotels, showered and got ready for checking out of the hotel + lunch. Monterey-walkHi Jenny!

Since we had Alfie, we needed a dog-friendly place (which isn’t difficult to find because I feel like Monterey and Carmel (basically all of California) is the epitome of dog-friendly places, including restaurants).Carmel-Monterey

The 6 of us ate at this cute hipster spot called Wild Plum. A few of us got sandwiches, the rest got big ol’ yummy breakfasts. I always choose a sandwich over breakfast. How about you?Lunch-in-Monterey

After we said our good-bye’s to our Canadian buddies, we wanted to take advantage of having the rest of the afternoon free, and not drive back up to South Bay just yet. So we ended up aimlessly driving the renowned, beautiful Highway 1 coast until I think we got to Big Sur. I haven’t got a clue because the bridges all looked the same. I’m sure we were close to it. Right? :)Alfie-me-lookout

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I’m pleasantly surprised with the fuel efficiency of the luxury Lexus Nx200t, eats up about the same amount of gas as my little Mazda 3 hatch. Not to mention the Lexus’ gorgeous red interior. I made sure to drive the vehicle every single day the week I had it. Even took it to San Francisco on my last day, just to visit a new-to-me coffee shop. One thing that stuck out to me with the Lexus, is that when it’s in reverse, it of course has the rear back up camera — BUT — the camera shows you the wheel rotation. I don’t usually like to use back-up cameras (because I only have the car a week and don’t want to get used to it), but you bectcha bottom dollar I used it this time, it was too cool.

Lexus-NX200tFsportI even convinced a dude on Twitter to get the Nx20ot over another vehicle he was looking at, which I thought was kinda neat. I mentioned to him a few key things I thought were pretty spiffy looking. The front of the Lexus has a mean-lookin’ grill on the front of it, so it isn’t too “girly” looking. The cargo space in the back is limiting, so if you’re looking for a family car to store a bunch of kids hockey gear or suitcases, perhaps it’s not for you. Though, a fun and fast lil’ vehicle to drive with hip hugging seats. It’s not even that outrageous in pricing, considering it is luxury. This model is $43.3k. I definitely thought the MRSP would be higher.

Hanging-out-window

Many thanks to Lexus for the car to review for the week, Hofsas House for providing a warm welcomed stay, and to The Grill for the wonderful grub. 

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Visiting Hofsas House in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Hofsas-House-HeaderFor my husbands birthday I surprised him with a two day honeymoon to the 3rd romantic city in the world Carmel-by-the-sea, California. You see we got married in less than a week, and immediately packed up our belongings to move to the United States. We never did have a chance to have our honeymoon, so I took it upon myself to book a small one for us. The only thing I told him leading up to his birthday was to clear his weekend schedule, something I knew would prove to be difficult.

Imagine an unplugged weekend where you reconnect with your loved ones. A beautiful place where the entire town shuts down at sunset and is completely quiet. Street signs, and store fronts made from wood, no street addresses to get to a place, just the customized names on houses or businesses. This is Carmel, a welcoming and friendly atmosphere from everyone who was visiting and living there. The incredible pacific coast line was simply breathtaking. Today, I’m taking you through our trip and stay at the Hofsas House.

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Wine-and-Cheese

Laying-on-rose-petalsWe called Hofsas Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea our home for the past two days. The location of Carmel-by-the-sea is about a square mile on Carmel Bay. Hofsas House is walk-able to Carmel itself, where it has many boutique stores to meander through, a diverse selection in restaurants and wineries, everything in walking distance.

Once we collected our room keys and walked in through the pink dutch doors, we were taken back by the hospitality. Our room was completely decorated into this romantic honeymoon suite with rose petals, fireless candles and Hershey kisses (an added upgrade guests can request for a fee) with a massive king sized bed with treats and a dog bed off to the side for Alfie. On our bedside table there was a bottle of wine and a cheese platter from The Cheese Shop, which guests can order to their room for $30. Talk about a warm welcome, hey?

Hofsas-House2The three of us (Alfie came too!) took off for this two day weekend to explore this town for the first time. We have heard a lot about this place and its beauty. We were welcomed with open arms, even after arriving an hour later than anticipated due to traffic, from the charm of the Hofsas House, which is in its 3rd generation of the family run business. We had about an hour to get ready for supper at The Grill when we arrived. Perfect time to re-curl my hair, swap out my cozy clothes and change into a silkier blouse and skinny jeans for our date night.

Fireplace-Alfie-and-ICarmel is much cooler at night, so we took advantage of our in-room fireplace and had a cozy fire each night. There’s nothing quite like sitting in in front of a warm evening fire.

Enjoying-our-fireplace

Hofsas-House-breakfastThere were trays available if we wanted to enjoy our continental breakfast in the comforts of our room.

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Alfie-chewing-on-boneCarmel is known for being incredibly dog-friendly with tons of restaurants catering to your pooches. At Hofsas House, not all rooms are dog-friendly but the ones that are take special care and go the extra mile to make your family pets feel much more at home. Alfie is crated and we bring his with us when he travels, but to our surprise he hopped on the plush dog bed in front of the fireplace to chew on one of his bones that we picked up in Carmel at Diggity Dog.

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Carrie-of-Hofsas-HouseCarrie Theis started working at Hofsas House with her Grandmother Donna Hofsas, the founder of Hofsas House over sixty years ago. Carrie has since taken the position full time and moved to Carmel to run Hofsas House. You can tell she takes great pride in not only the business aspect of Hofsas House, but she truly lights up, talking about Carmel. She gave us many suggestions as to what to do while we were in Carmel along with supplying us with wine walk tour tickets, and reservations to The Grill, a fantastic restaurant where we had a delicious 3 course meal, which I’ll talk about in an upcoming blog post. Our impression of Carrie is that she doesn’t care just about the business she runs with the family, but more about the village itself.

Out of the 38 rooms on the Hofsas House property they are each decorated differently. Looking past the retro feel to the room we had, it has its charm. The room itself was huge and we had a lot of extra space which felt comfortable. I got sparkly eyes looking out the Dutch doors in the morning when I realized the view we had. There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and taking in the Pacific Ocean air. It’s clear I missed the ocean living in central Canada for a number of years after growing up in Newfoundland.

Arriving-at-Hofsas-House

Alfie-and-me-outside-HofsasSaturday night we were completely wiped from our day adventure to Point Lobos where we had a picnic lunch provided by 5th Avenue Deli. We hadn’t planned on staying all afternoon until the sun set, but the place was more breathtaking than we had imagined. More on that spot soon! I loved the hospitality we received from Carrie and everyone at Hofsas House last weekend. Since we are so close to Carmel, we’re excited to return sometime to explore the other areas we didn’t get a chance to. Big Sur is definitely on our to-visit list, along with a trip to the neighbouring city, Monterey.

Hofsas House Hotel

San Carlos St, Carmel, CA 93921, USA
Phone: 831-624-2745

To learn more visitwww.hofsashouse.com

Our stay was hosted by Hofsas House, however the opinions in the blog post are 100% my own.

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