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Monterey Peninsula City Trip

Take a tour of one of the vineyards and wineries in Monterey, California

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Sleep in, or take a walk on Monterey's Recreation Trail before driving South on Highway 1 and heading inland on Carmel Valley Road. Stop at Earthbound Farm's Organic Farmstand just five miles down the road to grab some coffee and get a glimpse into where your food comes from. Continue east to Carmel Valley Village where you can enjoy brunch at Café Rustica and then visit the area's many wine tasting rooms. There's Bernardus and Talbott, along with East End Wine Row, which boasts six wineries within a space smaller than a city block.

Inside the National Steinbeck Center in Oldtown Salinas, California

For more local agricultural flavor, drive over the scenic Laureles Grade and turn right onto Highway 68 where, about 10 miles to the east, you can peer down Steinbeck's "Valley of the World," one of the largest lettuce-producing regions in the country. You can either take the River Road exit for more wine tasting in the heart of the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA or visit the National Steinbeck Center in Oldtown Salinas. Oldtown is an area in the midst of a revival, and is home to fun shops like Gold Leaf Spice and Teas, which has more than 200 loose teas for sale that can also be brewed for you on the spot, hot or iced. You won't be far from Route 101 — it parallels the River Road wine trail and goes right through the middle of Salinas. Before hitting the highway, though, make sure you stop into Salinas City BBQ and pick up some of the pulled pork and hogwash sauce for the road. As you drive off into the sunset, you'll have a kaleidoscopic collection of memories and inspiration from land and sea to take home.

By Elaine Hesser

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