Monterey is a town in the Monterey Bay area of California. Monterey is one of the more beautiful coastal cities of California and can make for a great two day trip for those visiting San Francisco or a weekend getaway for California natives. It was originally the state capital of California, and has more historic buildings in its downtown than any other city west of Santa Fe. Today it is most commonly known for its beautiful coastline, its world-class aquarium and from the many John Steinbeck novels that used the town as their setting, including Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat.
The local specialties are artichokes and sanddabs. Artichokes can be found at nearly every restaurant - fried, grilled, broiled, boiled, in soup, on pizza and almost any other way you can imagine. The nearby town of Castroville is "the artichoke center of the world," and the local source for the wealth of artichokes. Sanddabs are a local seafood, often served fried. Clam Chowder in sourdough bread can be found at Fisherman´s Wharf. Abalone is available, too, but expensive. The area is notable for other seafood delicacies, including calamari and Dungeness crab.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium runs a "Seafood Watch" program, and keeps a list of which sea life is overfished and which are safe, and environmentally friendly, to eat. Pick a copy of the list up at the Aquarium, or around town. Many local restaurants have signed on to the Seafood Watch program.
Monterey has many superb vineyards located near the town. There are a number of tasting rooms located on Cannery Row, all within an easy walk. Some, such as Scheid Vineyards, Bargetto Winery, Baywood Cellars and Silver Mountain Vineyards provide wines from only one winery. A Taste of Monterey allows visitors to try wines from throughout Monterey County, while taking in a spectacular panoramic view of Monterey Bay through their windows.
In addition, the public bus service Monterey-Salinas Transit has a route, Number 24, that is also called "The Grapevine Express". This route leaves from downtown Monterey and stops at all the wineries in nearby Carmel Valley. A daypass on the Grapevine Express, which allows riders to hop on and off at will, is $4.50 as of December, 2008. Grapevine Express maps and schedules, which detail the wineries that the route stops at, are available at Monterey County Visitors Centers.