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M O N THeadings EREY COUNTY Inside Castroville

Del Rey Oaks

Beyond the sand dunes, farmland reigns supreme. The fertile soil of Castroville makes the city California’s undisputed artichoke capital. Castroville’s annual Artichoke Festival dates back to the late 1940s; the first Artichoke Queen was a Hollywood starlet named Norma Jean, who later went on to become Marilyn Monroe. Today, the festival celebrates 1,001 ways to cook the artichoke. Even the most accomplished chefs usually learn a tip or two.

Nestled among the lush hills east of Monterey and west of Salinas is Del Rey Oaks. A quiet community of less than 2,000 residents, Del Rey Oaks includes a verdant Frog Pond Preserve that invites visitors to explore its trails and discover its wildlife. The community also includes the Del Rey Oaks Golf Center, whose driving range tucked into a tranquil valley is a favorite among locals. And Stone Creek shopping center is a convenient stop at the junction of Highway 68 and Canyon Del Rey Blvd. Don’t miss an opportunity to stop in at nearby Tarpy’s Roadhouse for a succulent bite of FireRoasted Artichoke or Rock Lobster & Prawns. Next door, Ventana Vineyards’ tasting room beckons with a seemingly Del Rey Oaks Frog Pond Nature Preserve endless selection of award-winning wines.

Artichoke field in Castroville

Marina Sheltered from Monterey Bay breezes by towering sand dunes, Marina is an intimate coastal community featuring luxurious resorts with spa services and elegant accommodations, as well as clean, comfortable motels, campgrounds, and RV parks. Nature lovers enjoy Marina’s numerous parks and recreation facilities. 8,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management terrain is open to the public for mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking, while interpretive signs at Marina State Beach help visitors discover the unique plants and animals that inhabit the dunes. Marina’s skies are often filled with an array of hanggliders, paragliders, wind-sculptures, and kites of all sizes and degrees of complexity. A beachfront

Paraglider at Marina Beach


Photo courtesy Kerrick James/MCCVB

launching pad is available if you bring your own hang-glider. If you have even loftier ambitions, Marina’s municipal airport offers sightseeing, helicopter, and skydiving flights. Each fall, Marina’s municipal airport celebrates its heritage when the Marina Air Faire gathers dozens of vintage planes, experimental, contemporary aircraft and retired “warbirds” and fighter training aircraft. This display also features living history from retired soldiers, sailors and airmen, as well as games and a chili cook-off. Another popular draw in Marina is the Annual Marina Air Faire annual Festival of the Winds, a celebration of the breezes that sculpt the town’s oceanfront dunes. The celebration features kite flying, hang gliding, wind-related art and science projects, giant kite demonstrations, and kite-making workshops, as well as live music and entertainment and food and vendor booths selling local treasures and delicacies. Marina is also home to one of the newest members of the California State University system. California State University-Monterey Bay opened in the fall of 1995 between Marina and the neighboring community of Seaside and is a thriving educational community that continues to expand its programs and accolades.

Call 1-877-MONTEREY for information

Monterey: Land and See  

2008 Monterey County Official Visitors Guide, full of vacation ideas and insider planning tips. Get up to the minute information at http://w...

Monterey: Land and See  

2008 Monterey County Official Visitors Guide, full of vacation ideas and insider planning tips. Get up to the minute information at http://w...