3 Days in…Monterey: The Gem of Central California



8:00 AM                    
Start the day with a leisurely hike along Point Lobos, once called the "greatest meeting of land and water in the world" by the 19th-century landscape artist Francis McComas. Known as a crown jewel in the California state parks system, the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is home to a variety of hikes, from easy to challenging. California Legacy Tours provides guided group hikes that include historical and wildlife information. bit.ly/smPointLobos

4:00 PM                    
After a day of meetings and a scenic hike, invite the group to unwind by participating in the Carmel Wine Walk. With a $65 passport, each attendee can enjoy a wine flight at any nine of the 14 local tasting rooms along Ocean Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea. bit.ly/smCarmelWine


9:00 AM                         
Fit in a round of morning golf at Poppy Hills in Pebble Beach. This independent, newly renovated golf course winds its way through the Del Monte Forest and is known for its firm, fast, and fun game. The staff at Poppy Hills can also put together teambuilding competitions and other activities for groups to make sure all attendees can participate, no matter their levels of golf experience. Afterward, grab a bite to eat at Porter's restaurant, a clubhouse that specializes in farm-to-table cuisine. www.poppyhillsgolf.com

6:00 PM                                           
Arguably Monterey's most famous landmark, the Monterey Bay Aquarium was recently named the No. 1 aquarium in the world by the 2014 TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Awards. Groups can take advantage of behind-the-scenes experiences, such as an early-morning feeding tour or a sea otter conservation tour. The entire aquarium is also available for private group events like a festive dinner among the exhibits, as well as complete buyouts. www.montereybayaquarium.org


11:00 AM                                   
Spend your morning out on the water with a guided nature boat tour of Moss Landing, not far from the Monterey Peninsula. Here, your group can enjoy a 1.5- to 2-hour tour of one of California's largest wetlands aboard a 27-foot pontoon boat, taking in the varieties of wildlife, from golden eagles and harbor seals to sea otters and sea lions. The Elkhorn Slough Safari accommodates groups of up to 22 at a time. www.elkhornslough.com

6:00 PM                                  
End your meeting with an unforgettable dinner event at the Ocean View Venue, part of A Taste of Monterey Wine Market & Bistro. Located in the heart of Cannery Row, the historic district made famous by John Steinbeck, the 4,000-square-foot facility serves as a regional wine visitor's center by day, but at night it can transform into an unusual event venue, with fantastic wines and equally beautiful ocean views. www.atasteofmonterey.com

Questions or comments? Email dting@ntmllc.com

This article appears in the January 2015 issue of Successful Meetings.