PGIF: Music, racing, and good ol’ California wine

Here in Monterey, we are passionate about the weekend. As summer turns to fall, the kids are back in school, and work settles into a steady routine, Monterey starts up their world-famous Monterey Jazz Festival, the American Le Mans racing series, California Wine Month, a beach party, and more.

The way they do the things they do
And it’s the way they do the things they do that has made The Temptations one of the most successful Motown groups of all time. After more than 40 years, the hit-making trendsetters (My Girl, The Way You Do the Things You Do, Get Ready) are bringing their unique sound and unparalleled talent to the Peninsula for this one-night-only concert, tonight, September 15, at the Sunset Center in Carmel. What better way to ease into the weekend than velvety vocals, soothing grooves, and a relaxed atmosphere just a stone’s throw from the Pacific.

‘Any good music must be an innovation…’ Les Baxter, American Musician and Composer

And Monterey must be a haven of innovators. This weekend features a staple of every musician’s and music lover’s diet: Jazz. The Monterey Jazz Festival, September 16-18, is the world’s longest-running celebration of its kind, voted “World’s Best Jazz Festival” three times by JazzTimes Magazine readers. And it’s no wonder, with 500 outstanding artists, 5 arena concerts, 7 different stages spread over the fairground’s 20 acres, and 30+ hours of live music, as well as cuisine, a bazaar, and endless activity. The festival is held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, just 10-15 minutes from Pacific Grove Inn.

Featured artists for 2011 include Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins, both praised by the legendary Miles Davis for their exceptional skill, as well as India.Arie, Idan Raichel, and Huey Lewis and the News. Check out their incredible bios and resumes on the festival’s website: http://www.montereyjazzfestival.org/2011/artists/arena.

Ready. Set. Race.
Yes, Monterey loves cars. The racing continues with the American LeMans Series (ALMS) this Friday through Sunday at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It’s a six-hour adrenaline-surge for drivers and engineers alike, racing their 1000+ pounds of pure force around the world-famous track with its formidable Corkscrew. With makes from Acura to Porsche, there’s something for everyone.

A (Post) Midsummer Night’s Dream
In case you didn’t get enough summer this year (who did?), now’s your chance to catch just one more summer night with a beach party, a featured event of California Wine Month. The Pinotfest Monterey kicks off this Friday at Del Monte Beach, with music, dancing, BBQ favorites, samples from 20+ local wineries, and a silent auction to benefit Ag Against Hunger. All this at a newly-renovated beach party house on Monterey’s gorgeous shores alight with tiki torches and a star-studded sky. It’s everything you’d ever want a beach party to be.

For other ways to celebrate California Wine Month, check out these options:

Fromage Friday at Taste Morgan. Ask our innkeeper about your free entry to this weekly wine tasting.

Harvest Wine Dinner at the Chateau Julien Wine Estate, next weekend, September 23. Make your reservation now!

Click here for a full list of featured California Wine Month events.

FallFest/Oktoberfest

Two other fantastic Monterey Bay festivals going on this Saturday and Sunday:

The FallFest Arts and Crafts Faire at Monterey State Historic Park exhibits the talents of our local artists and artisans with sculptures, paintings, and jewelry of all kinds. Enjoy great food while watching live entertainment, and browse all kinds of creative treasures. You can even meet the artists!

The Monterey Bay Oktoberfest at the Barnyard Shopping Center in Carmel opens the tap on “foamy fun” with traditional music, Bratwurst, Pretzels, and of course…beer. The brew of choice is Spaten, one of the few to reach “Oktoberfest beer” status in Munich. Don’t miss this cherished centuries-old Bavarian tradition!

If it’s that easy to plan your weekend by the coast, why settle into back-to-do blues? When the going gets mundane, let the mundane get to Monterey.

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The Monterey Bay Aquarium: Play. Eat. Nap. Repeat.

So goes a day in the enviable life of our friends the otters, says the Monterey Bay Aquarium. And this summer, you’re invited to play too, and to celebrate a brand-new sea otter pup!

In its 25+ year history, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has rescued 540 stranded animals. This year brought the latest edition to the family, temporarily named ‘Pup 540,’ in an exciting new exhibit you won’t want to miss. This little pup, believed to be about one day old at the time of rescue, was found washed up on the coast in April and now lives happily in her new home with surrogate mother Joy, the aquarium’s most successful surrogate mother to date. Catch these two playing on the aquarium’s YouTube channel!

Also new this summer is the Open Sea exhibit—an awe-inspriring million-gallon display with a 90-ft window where you’ll see hammerhead sharks, mola molas, puffins, sardines, sea turtles, and more. And the aquarium is hoping to have a white shark on exhibit this fall, the first since releasing one of the majestic predators into the wild in 2009.

There’s more to do at the aquarium than could ever fit into one day. Summer is a prime time to visit, with countless Aquarium Adventures, including Day and Evening Sealife Sails where you may even get a chance to steer the boat; a SCUBA diving program for children ages 8-13; and a Summer Deck Program combining music, theater, and puppets. You can even watch aquarists feed the penguins or the creatures in the Open Sea Exhibit.

On weekends, the aquarium holds a special concert series through September 4 called Evenings by the Bay. Visitors can enjoy the underwater magic of Monterey with a glass of wine and specially prepared menu, all set to the soundtrack of Monterey Jazz Festival musicians. Stay after hours for Summer Nights Sleepovers—bring your sleeping bag and camp out next to your favorite exhibit, then wake up to an MBA continental breakfast.

But the aquarium is more than just an attraction. Besides the daily rescue and care of our finned and feathered friends, its ongoing commitment to protecting the environment and the community is shown in its programs Save the Oceans, supported among others by celebrity Betty White, and the Seafood Watch program to promote sustainable fishing practices. Many local restaurants have joined the effort, among them Fish Hopper and two waterfront restaurants at the Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa on Cannery Row. Click here for a list of participating restaurants. You can even download an App from the MBA website that shows you where you can find sustainable seafood and sushi, as well as share your own findings with others.

Be sure to visit the aquarium website for weekly podcasts, blog updates, amazing pictures and videos, fun facts, and even a free downloadable wallpaper—and learn what you can do to help protect our oceans and its beautiful creatures.

Book your accommodations with PGI and receive two days at the aquarium for the price of one. Find out more on our website or call our innkeeper for more details!

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