For general area information, contact the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau (closed Sat-Sun; 150 Olivier St.; www.montereyinfo.org or831/649-1770).
Adventures by the Sea. Three-hour guided kayak tours $50;kayak rentals $30 a day. Three-hour bike tours $50; bicycle rentalsfrom $6 an hour. 299 Cannery Row and 201 Alvarado Mall; www.adventuresbythesea.comor (831) 372-1807.
Custom House. At one time, all goods entering California hadto go through this mid-1800s point of entry. From here, you cantake a self-guided walking tour of Monterey history (brochuresavailable on-site and at www.oldmonterey.org). ClosedWed; free. (831) 649-7118.
A Taste of Monterey Wine Visitors' Center. Wines poured frommore than 45 of the county's wineries, with sweeping views of thebay. 11-6 daily; $5 tasting. 700 Cannery Row; www.tastemonterey.com or(831) 646-5446.
The Bakery at 481. Excellent pastries, breads, and lunchtimepanini in colorful downtown cafe. 481 Alvarado; (831) 648-1481.
Lighthouse Bistro. Mediterranean eatery in a renovatedhouse. Closed Tue. 401 Lighthouse Ave.; (831) 649-0320.
Jabberwock Bed & Breakfast. Cozy rooms on hill aboveCannery Row with playful Alice in Wonderland theme. From $145. 598 Laine St.; www.jabberwockinn.com,(888) 428-7253, or (831) 372-4777.
Monterey Hotel. Quaint rooms in four-story 1904 buildingdowntown; no elevator. From $139. 406 Alvarado; www.montereyhotel.com or(831) 375-3184.
Old Monterey Inn. Gracious rooms and suites in a large,beautiful stuccoed home, the former residence of Monterey mayorCarmel Martin. From $240. 500 Martin St.; www.oldmontereyinn.com or(800) 350-2344.
Spindrift Inn. Stylishly renovated rooms with fireplaces,overlooking ocean or Cannery Row in one of the area's first hotelbuildings. From $199. 652 Cannery Row; www.spindriftinn.com, (800)841-1879, or (831) 646-8900.
For general information, contact the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce (584 Central Ave.; www.pacificgrove.org or800/656-6650).
See Pacific Grove Architecture.
Passionfish. Understated dining room serves stellarsustainably fished seafood dishes. Intriguing, reasonably pricedwine list. Dinner only; closed Tue. 701 Lighthouse Ave.; (831)655-3311.
Red House Cafe. Tasty meals and pastries in restoredbarn-red house. Closed Mon. 662 Lighthouse; (831) 643-1060.
Robert's White House. The newest restaurant from notablelocal chef Robert Kincaid offers a $24 three-course meal ofbeautifully prepared formal dishes. Closed Mon. 649 Lighthouse; (831) 624-9626.
Taste Cafe & Bistro. On State 68; California-styleEuropean dishes. Dinner only; closed Mon. 1199 Forest Ave.; (831)655-0324.
Green Gables Inn. Circa-1888 Queen Anne Victorianoverlooking the ocean has 11 rooms. From $120. 301 Ocean ViewBlvd.; www.foursisters.com, (800) 722-1774, or (831) 375-2095.
Inn at 213 Seventeen Mile Drive. The 1925 building isdecorated in Craftsman style; near downtown. From $145. 213 17-Mile Dr.; www.innat17.com, (800) 526-5666,or (831) 642-9514.
Seven Gables Inn. Overlooking the bay, the family-run innhas 14 Victorian rooms filled with stained glass and antiques.Accommodations in two cottages and two main buildings, includingthe original 1886 house. From $175. 555 Ocean View; www.pginns.com or (831)372-4341.
For general area information, contact Carmel Valley Chamber of Commerce (call for hours; 13 W. Carmel Valley Rd.; www.carmelvalleychamber.comor 831/659-4000).
Strung along Carmel Valley Road are a handful of wineries andtasting rooms where you can sample a range of vintages coming outof the valley and beyond. Here's a cluster of our favorites, listedin the order you'd come to them when driving through the village.The drive itself is a lovely bonus.
Heller Estate (formerly Durney Vineyards). Good organicwines ― especially the Merlot ― in bright, friendlytasting room with Toby Heller sculptures in the garden. $3 tasting. 69 W. Carmel Valley; www.hellerestate.com or(831) 659-6220.
Georis Winery. Tucked behind Corkscrew Restaurant, Georis'sfine Merlots and Cabernets are paired with tasty nibbles in thecourtyard of an old adobe building. On Oct 4, the winery hosts thefourth annual Carmel Valley Wine Festival ($50-$85; 831/659-6010). $10-$15 tasting. 4 Pilot Rd.; www.georiswine.com or (831)659-1050.
Robert Talbott Vineyards. Excellent, lean Burgundian-styleChardonnay. $3 tasting. 53 W. Carmel Valley; (831) 659-3500 or www.talbottvineyards.com.
Chateau Sinnet. Interesting fruit-flavored wines (try peachand pomegranate). Estate wines will be available soon. $3 tasting. 13746 Center St.; (831) 659-2244.
Bernardus Winery. Their Marinus is one of the mostimpressive of the local Cabs. $5-$10 tasting. 5 W. Carmel Valley; (831) 659-1900 or www.bernardus.com.
Carmel Valley Road (G16). Drive the length of the valley,through oak groves and gently wild hills ― one of the mostbeautiful views of California still available.
Earthbound Farm's Farm Stand. Pick up organic fruit,vegetables, flowers, gifts, and garden tools at this refurbishedfacility. An all-organic kitchen offers smoothies and food to eatat nearby picnic tables. Tour fees vary; reservations recommended. 7250 Carmel Valley; www.ebfarm.com or (831)625-6219.
Garland Ranch Regional Park. Hike or ride horses aroundgolden meadows or along Santa Lucia ridges in this 3,464-acre park.Docent-led hikes on weekends. Free. 700 W. Carmel Valley; www.mprpd.org or (831)659-4488.
Holman Ranch. Guided trail rides with views of the Salinasand Carmel Valleys; Riding lessons by appointment. From $40 for trail rides; fees for lessons vary. www.theholmanranch.com or(831) 659-6054.
Toni Venza Training at Garland View Stables. PrimarilyEnglish lessons, by appointment, in this lovely, friendly littleplace. From $25 per hour. 456 W. Carmel Valley; (831) 659-4004.
Cafe Rustica. Great comfort food and wines in cozy stone-walleddining room. Closed Wed. 10 Delfino Place; (831) 659-4444.
Corkscrew Restaurant. Stop for pate (or calamari or pasta;the menu runs the gamut) in the courtyard of this rustic cafe.Great local wine list. 55 W. Carmel Valley; www.corkscrewcafe.com or(831) 659-8888.
Marinus at Bernardus Lodge. Chef Cal Stamenov is doing themost creative cooking in the county here. Reservations required. 415 Carmel Valley; (831)658-3400.
Running Iron Restaurant & Saloon. Stop for a drink inthis 1940s Old West-style saloon. 24 E. Carmel Valley; (831) 659-4633.
Will's Fargo Dining House & Saloon. Excellent steaks inhistoric roadside house. 11 3/4 W. Carmel Valley; (831) 659-2774.
Bernardus Lodge. Chic but casual rooms and beautiful spafacilities. From $450. 415 Carmel Valley; www.bernardus.com or (831)658-3400.
Carmel Valley Lodge. Pleasant motel-style rooms andfamily-friendly pool. From $169. 8 Ford Rd.; www.valleylodge.com or (831)659-2261.
Los Laureles Lodge. Family resort built in 1870. Kids lovethe rooms in the converted stables. Poolside bar and goodrestaurant. From $105. 313 W. Carmel Valley; www.loslaureles.com or (831)659-2233.
MONTEREY PENINSULA CLASSICS
Here are three more experiences you won't want to miss.
Carmel by-the-Sea City Beach. The much-loved white-sandbeach stretches just south of Pebble Beach Golf Links. Dogs allowed on leash. West end of Ocean Ave.; www.carmelcalifornia.comor (831) 624-3543.
Monterey Bay Aquarium. This showplace for creatures of the5,300-acre Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary celebrates its20th anniversary next month. Though often crowded on weekends, it'sa must-do. 10-6 daily; $18. 886 Cannery Row; www.montereybayaquarium.orgor (831) 648-4888.
17-Mile Drive. Worth the $8.25 fee (refunded on purchases atPebble Beach restaurants and shops). Better yet, bike the route.It's free this way, and you'll get a more leisurely look at theview. Drive or pedal the seaside route in one direction, then headinland for lesser-known delights such as the cypress groves of the Del Monte Forest.
Another great way to get an inexpensive taste of 17-Mile Driveis to have drinks on the patio at Roy's (in the Inn at Spanish Bay, 2700 17-Mile Dr.;831/647-7500). From here you can take in the Scottish bagpiperclosing the links at sunset. There are several entrances to 17-Mile Dr.: at State 1 inMonterey; at Sunset Dr., SFB Morse Dr., and State 68 in PacificGrove; and at Ocean Ave. in Carmel.