Monterey Bay is one of my favorite destinations and Cannery Row is one of the reasons. Whatever you like to do, you’ll find ways to entertain yourself.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
If you’ve never been to Cannery Row, then the Aquarium should be at the top of your list. We’ve been many times, but on this visit to the area, we were short on time. Still, you should go, because but kids of all ages (including Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation) will be fascinated by the amazing exhibits, including the one of a kind otter tank.
The John Steinbeck Factor
Had John Steinbeck never lived in Monterey, it would still be a beautiful place to visit. However, his novel Cannery Row, added to the area’s mystique and helped make it the destination it is today. To completely appreciate the Steinbeck factor, it’s well worth the drive over to Salinas for a visit to the National Steinbeck Center – especially since it’s not far away. In fact, here’s an itinerary you might enjoy for a three-day Steinbeck Immersion Weekend.
Shopping Cannery Row
Two words: Outlet Mall. I love them and Cannery Row has one. It’s called American Tin Cannery and it’s across the street from the Aquarium. But that’s only the beginning. The whole area if rife with shopping opportunities. Truth be told, a lot of these opportunities are just tourist traps filled with junk.
Two shops, Turkish Fine Jewelry and Fine Art Turkish Grand Bazaar, were new to us and they were also exceptions to the tourist trap trend. I know, the names of the shops are less than creative, but OMG what gorgeous things they have inside. I’d give you a link, but they don’t have websites! And I’ll tell you this too: Don’t judge the places by their exteriors. Without Bill I wouldn’t have walked into either one and that would have been my loss.
We stepped into the jewelry store first. The pieces in the window were out-of-this-world gorgeous. GORGEOUS! Not your usual stuff. Exotic, but not so weird you wouldn’t wear it. Frankly, I wanted one of everything I saw in the window, but I knew I couldn’t afford any of them. I was glad Bill wanted to see more, even though we weren’t going to buy anything. The decor of the store is pretty boring compared to what’s in the showcases. What I’m saying is that this is not one of your premiere shopping experiences, but if you’re looking for beautiful jewelry, it’s the right place.
Along one wall they display hand-crafted mosaic chandeliers – jewelry for your home. I’m sure the proprietor could tell we weren’t serious jewelry prospects, but he quickly picked up on the fact that we might buy a chandelier. He and Bill chatted for a bit. That’s how we found out about the Grand Bazaar across the street. It’s owned by the same people.
As I said, the jewelry store was not exactly a premiere shopping destination, but the bazaar looked like a place I would avoid altogether. The front of the store was crowded with cheap imported knick-knacks, but they did have dozens of the beautiful mosaic chandeliers, so in we went. Ignore the chotckies! This place is a treasure trove. Stunning pottery, unique clothing, hand-embroidered boots!! I loved it. Bill got me in there and without his restraining influence I would have broken the bank.
In the end we left empty-handed. Bill couldn’t negotiate the owner down far enough on the chandeliers to justify carrying them all the way back to Dallas and I really didn’t need another pair of boots. But my-oh-my, did I ever want a pair, and about four of the outfits, and several of the plates, and some jewelry, and…well, you get the drift.
(Psssst! Dallasites! Since this trip Bill and I discovered Another Place & Time at The Shops at Legacy in Plano. They don’t much of a website either, but they do have a facebook page and they do have the same kind of gorgeous stuff the Monterey store has, though they’re in no way related. The store has been in the mall for a while now, but it didn’t used to have all this cool stuff. They also just moved off Bishop, but I promise, it will be worth the effort to find them.)
Did Someone Say Lunch?
It’s amazing how long we lingered in the store admiring the chandeliers, but eventually hunger pangs overwhelmed our urge to buy. I’ll tell you about that next week.