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:

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.


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.

Labor Day in Monterey: Anything but Labor

Barbecues, pool parties, parades, the last of the season’s warm summer evenings on the patio with family and friends…however you choose to celebrate this Labor Day, Monterey makes it happen. Here are just a few things to do in Monterey this Labor Day weekend.

Parade to the Park

The city of Marina is one of the few places in Monterey to organize a parade, embracing a richly colorful custom that has spanned more than a century in the US since our nation’s very first parade in 1882. Marina’s parade begins at Reservation Rd and Crescent Ave, leading up to a festival from noon to 2pm at the Marina Shopping Center.

My Big Fat Greek Weekend

Every labor day weekend, Monterey hosts the annual Greek Festival at the Custom House Plaza right on Fisherman’s Wharf. Enjoy all things Greek at this three-day fest, with traditional Greek recipes passed down through hundreds of years of history, live music, Greek dance performances as well as interactive dance lessons, and the chance to experience the Mediterranean lifestyle on the beautiful coast of Monterey Bay.

It’s Labor Day for Sharks too…

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is open this weekend, with another new guest: Great White Shark Jr., 4’7″ and just over 43 pounds. The young shark was found near Malibu, CA, earlier this month and brought to the aquarium’s new Open Sea Exhibit on August 31. Plus, this is the last weekend for Evenings by the Bay, the aquarium’s summer concert series starring musicians from the Monterey Jazz Festival and the MBA’s majestic marine life. But if your weekend’s already booked, the series ends only to set the stage for the Monterey Jazz Festival just around the corner: September 16-18 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds.

Monterey County Fair

In honor of its Diamond anniversary this year, the fair is debuting lots of first-ever and one-time-only opportunities, and this year is billed to be the largest carnival in its 75-year history. Rodeo performances are free this Thursday through Saturday, and the fest boasts new thrills with its Zero Gravity ride and T3 Triple Twist. You can even check out some rides previously owned by Michael Jackson, the Zipper and the Wave Swinger.


It’s no secret that the Peninsula and surrounding areas are home to countless fine wines and wine events, and this weekend is no exception. Today, September 1, is a special wine tasting event at the Monterey County Fair, as well as a Wine Dinner by Jordon Winery held at The Clement Monterey on Cannery Row. And each weekend means Fromage Friday at Taste Morgan in Carmel—ask your innkeeper at Pacific Grove Inn about our special coupons to this event!

Feliz Soledad

Celebrate the weekend Fiesta style with Soledad Fiesta Days, September 1-4. Music, activities for children, a talent show, and more, all under a summer sun with the hint of fall…what’s not to love?

No matter where you are or what you’ve got going on this Labor Day, we hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Happy Labor Day from Pacific Grove Inn!

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