Cutline's Krista Gray hopped on the TV streaming bandwagon and caught up on Big Little Lies. Inspired, and reminiscing on her old home town, she takes us on a journey through beautiful Monterey.
I’ve never been much of a TV person. Until recently, FRIENDS was the only show I had ever been truly hooked on. I remember when my sister and I bought a few VHS box sets on a whim at Best Buy and laughed until we cried while watching all of the early episodes in less than a week. Fast forward to today, a time when 77 percent of Netflix users and 76 percent of Hulu customers say they stream shows and movies either daily or a few times per week, and one can understand how a person who doesn’t binge-watch popular shows regularly might feel a bit out of the loop.
Tired of feeling clueless in conversations (and really curious what all the hype was about), I started streaming the shows I heard about most. I got sucked into Ozark and Mad Men first and then jumped on the Game of Thrones bandwagon just before Season 8 began. Now, I’m proud to say I’m completely caught up on Big Little Lies, a show I especially love because I spent two years living in Monterey, CA. Seeing some of my favorite places get screen time served as inspiration for this post, which outlines the peninsula’s top spots for living life like one of the Monterey Five.
Highway 1: Do the opening beach scenes shown on Big Little Lies leave you dreaming about the California coast? See the rugged shore and splashing waves for yourself with a drive down picturesque Highway 1. An hour or two is all you need to go through Monterey, the Carmel Highlands, and Big Sur. Plan time to stop and gawk at Instagram-worthy sights, such as Garrapata Beach and the iconic Bixby bridge (which is shown in the credits). Though not pictured on the show, Nepenthe is a must-visit for lunch.
Lovers Point, Pacific Grove: You might recognize Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove as the backdrop to some tension-fueled scene, like Ed and Nathan’s meetup, or where Jane told Celeste that Max, not Ziggy, had been bullying Amabella at school. But fret not, there are plenty of feel-good activities to do here. Plan to bring a picnic and a bottle of wine, or climb out onto the rocks for one of the best views of the town’s edge. Visit during springtime to catch the 4.4-acre park covered in famous pink ice plant.
Del Monte Beach, Monterey: This beach in Monterey has one best views of the entire peninsula, especially when dotted with bright lights at night. Though the weather is rarely warm enough for a refreshing dip, Del Monte Beach is the perfect place to go for a jog (as Jane does), a long walk, or to surf. This adored hidden gem also has massive sand dunes, which are fun to climb!
Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey: Celeste, Madeline, and Jane often meet on the wharf to dish the latest drama at the Blue Blues Cafe. While the coffee joint is fictional (family-owned Paluca Trattoria actually served as inspiration for the quaint cafe), the wharf is still a fun place to eat and drink while watching sea lions play. Next, pop into the nearby Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is featured in both seasons of the show. The well-known marine paradise has jellyfish, otters, an octopus, and a three-story kelp forest.
Carmel Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea: Another gorgeous beach (and in my opinion, Monterey County’s best) is a must-see on a Big Little Lies inspired tour of the central coast. Ride along Scenic Road to see the full span of the crescent-shaped white sand beach, plus bonus views of Pebble Beach Golf Links in the distance. The end of this road is just as beautiful as the beginning is, as it winds past Carmel River State Beach and its tranquil aquamarine lagoon.
Point Lobos State Reserve: I’ve been recommending Point Lobos to friends and fellow travelers since the first time I trekked through the trees to uncover secluded beaches (China Beach is my favorite). Known as the “meeting of the land and the sea”, this state park is the perfect place to see wildlife and unwind. Plus, just like her character on Big Little Lies, Reese Witherspoon loves to see the sun set here. Time your trip for sunset to catch a truly spectacular light show.
Thanks for the photo, Unsplash!