Magazine article Sunset

Northern California Weekend

Magazine article Sunset

Northern California Weekend

Article excerpt

START Hop on to bike the coast

Pacific Grove's rocky edge is made for cyclists. From Lovers Point, riding west threads you along a designated bike lane on the beachside road for a nice, easy 4.7-mile ride. Stop often to watch foamy waves crashing over the rocks and sea otters at play. BYOB (bring your own bike) or rent one from Adventures by the Sea (from $7 per hour; 831/372-1807).

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Day trip Pacific Grove

Why go now: Mild weather and a spectacular seaside bike route make this low-key, lost-in-time town ideal for a springtime pedal. Locals call it: P.G. It's so not: Its famous neighbors, Monterey and Pebble Beach. Population: 15,545 Buildings on the city's historic register: 1,303 Dress code: Bike shorts and windbreakers Local legend: John Steinbeck wrote part of Of Mice and Men here. Most scenic workout: Velo Club Monterey has regular Saturday rides, geared toward fit cyclists, out along 17-Mile Drive (meet at 8:30 a.m. behind Lighthouse Cinemas, 525 Lighthouse Ave.; vcmonterey.org). Fuel up first: Grab a giant chocolate croissant from Pavel's Backerei (closed Sun; $2.50; 219 Forest Ave.; 831/643-2636). Rehydrate with a local brew: The ubiquitous Sparky's Root Beer. Ride your bike to lunch: Fishwife ($$; 19961/2 Sunset Dr.; 831/375-7107) at Asilomar Beach is casual--bike shorts are fine--and serves reliably good seafood staples. Make it a weekend: Check in at Anton Inn (from $109; antoninn.com), recently remodeled into a chic, contemporary motel.

1.5 MILES Peer into a tidepool

Pull off at Point Pinos, where kids look for seastars, hermit crabs, and turban snails in one of the world's richest tidepool habitats. Afterward, take a quick detour down Lighthouse Avenue to visit the circa-1855 Point Pinos Lighthouse (free; on Asilomar Ave. between Lighthouse Ave. and Del Monte Blvd.; 831/648-5716).

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Getting there

From State 1 south, take State 68 west to Pacific Grove. INFO Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau (montereyinfo.org)

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2.5 MILES Wander a wild beach

Asilomar State Beach is a mile-long stretch of powdery sand and rocky coves backed by 26 acres of dunes. Surfers flock here; so do waterfowl, seals, and sea otters. Stretch your legs with a trek up the rickety board-walk into the succulent-covered dunes.

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