Highlights & Pics of George Sokol's Annual Trip to Carmel to the Gilroy Garlic Festival

Over the years I have been a bit disappointed with the lack of sharing
experiences on our website.  But then I have been guilty too, so here it

Almost every year my wife Sue and I head up to
Carmel the last full
weekend in July, for the "Gilroy Garlic Festival".

We have gone with friends and met friends, this year it was both.

Sometimes it's a stop overnight in
Cambria and a tour of Hearst Castle
the next morning before heading up Hwy.1 and having lunch at Nepenthe in
Sur.  This year we stopped at the Cold Springs Tavern in the
mountains above
Santa Barbara for lunch.  It was a stop on a stage coach
route dating back to the 1800's and even has its own jail for those
unruly on the trail.

Carmel is as nice a little town as you can imagine.  All the shop
keepers as well as homeowners love their flowers and they are everywhere.

Gilroy is about a 45 minute drive and we always go early as the weather
can get oppressive later in the day.  One year the boys left one-ish for
some golf in
Monterey.  We left Gilroy with a temp. of 96 degrees and
when we got to the courses at
Ft. Ord it was 54 degrees.  That is less
than a 45 minute drive!  At the Festival you can have your choice of
items made with garlic: scampi, mushrooms, zucchini, alligator, popcorn,
ICE CREAM (not bad, but it does have an after-taste), and wine (also an
after-taste).  Because we have done the Festival so often we only spend
a few hours there but you can make it a whole day affair.  Music plays
at some venue all day and into the evening.  Senior rates for 55+,  we
should all qualify.

A couple of musts if you are in the area.

1. Dinner in the Observatory at the Sardine Factory on Cannery Row.  Do
figure $$$$$, but if you only do it once I think you will love the
atmosphere and the food.  Best halibut I've ever had, at any price.

2. Lodge at
Pebble Beach.  Not to play golf unless you have the $500+
and another $90 for a caddy, but to have a drink outside watching
golfers play the 18th along the ocean.

Inn at Spanish Bay.  Go for the sunset (all year) as they have a
bagpiper playing, rain or shine,  while walking up the 18th fairway. He
stops in front of the patio and plays for another half hour.

17 Mile Drive.  Both the Lodge and the Inn are part of this but you
shouldn't miss the Lone Cypress.

5.  Monterey Bay Aquarium on Cannery Row, certainly one of the best
around.  You'll love the otters and petting the stingrays.

If you have a choice, the weather in
Carmel is generally better in
October than the summer.