Cleaved through the tall pines of the Del Monte Forest, Poppy Hills Golf Course's 18-hole layout blankets the scenic terrain of the Monterey Peninsula with a 6,857 trail of meticulously manicured fairways and greens. Designed by renowned course architect Robert Trent Jones II, Poppy Hills has hosted many high-profile golf events, including co-hosting the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am from 1991 to 2009, a 19-year span during which Bill Murray never left.
Named one of California's Top 10 Courses You Can Play, Poppy Hills gives casual golfers a chance to test their mettle on a world-class course—the 426-yard fifth hole was rated the most difficult par four in PGA Tour play in 2006—with four tee options that make it surmountable for golfers of all stripes. Though its known for its woodland scenery and large, undulating greens, the par 72 course also features water hazards that come into play on two holes, gobbling up golf balls and serving as a convenient vacation spot for fish trying to spend a weekend away from the Pacific.
Course at a Glance:
With a client list that includes the likes of Dennis Quaid and Harry Connick, Jr. as well as 7-time LPGA Tour winner Danielle Ammaccapane, it’s safe to say PGA pro Ben Alexander has coached the best of the best. But his rarefied students need not speak for themselves; a contributor to Golf Digest, Golf Tips, and PGA Magazine, Ben was named Northern California PGA’s Teacher of the Year in 2004 and nominated for the same distinction on a national scale in 2008. In addition, Ben has released multiple instructional DVD’s, which showcase the uncanny ability to help golfers improve their game without abandoning their natural swing that drives every one of his lessons. Ben imparts his golf knowledge from Poppy Hills Golf Course, a scenic club set on the Monterey Peninsula famous for co-hosting the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am from 1991–2009.
If you ask the team at Tri-California Events what a triathlon is all about, you might hear about swimming, biking and running, but what you’ll hear the most about is how fun they are. As each racing season emerges, the team gets to work running fun races from the mud-filled MORE Obstacle Course in the spring to Scott Tinley’s Triathlon in fall, replete with on-road and off-road options. One of their most popular events is the Wildflower Triathlon, now one of the largest triathlons in the world. During this packed event many athletes camp out for the weekend to ensure a memorable experience and to make s'mores as race fuel.
Led by Kate Hardy and Madalynna Aliotti, the staff of Harmony Body Kinetics works to help guests feel stronger and more flexible through Pilates and Gyrotonic classes. They lead students through intense classes, helping them perfect the postures while also learning how to apply the moves to everyday life.
Adventures by the Sea is owner Frank Knight’s love letter to Monterey Bay. As an avid cyclist, kayaker, and surfer in his youth, Frank decided to share the gift of the bay by providing land- and sea-activity rentals for tourists. But, what started out as a small bike-rental shop frequented by local hotel guests eventually transformed into a four-location recreational company that now offers kayaking, bicycling, SUP paddling, and surrey-carriage rentals and tours.
Bicycle renters can cruise along 17-Mile Drive and the rocky shorelines of Pacific Grove, while surrey-carriage rentals provide a low-key communal pedaling adventure for up to four riders. Patrons can also enjoy the serene environment of Monterey Peninsula as they glide through the waters of Cannery Row and Stillwater Cove—both part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary—on the company’s kayaks and standup paddleboards (SUP). During tours, knowledgeable guides rattle off facts about the area while pointing out its wildlife, such as harbor seals lounging on the rocks and otters snapping pictures of kayakers.
Along with providing land and water activities, Adventures by the Sea helps guests build stronger relationships with one another through their local group adventures, which include scavenger hunts. When customers are ready to invest in their own trustworthy gear, the company’s pro shop helps them stock up on boogie boards, snorkeling equipment, and paddleboards from brands such as Surftech, Naish Hawaii, and Paddle Surf Hawaii.
1933 was a banner year for Phillip and John Bargetto. Prohibition finally ended, and the brothers were able to reopen their winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Originally from Piedmont, Italy, Phillip and John embraced their passion for growing northern-Italian varietals, twining their hillsides with vines of dolcetto, nebbiolo, and refosco grapes.
Now run by the Bargetto family's third generation, the winery continues to cultivate these same grapes as well as two of Santa Cruz's more well-known varietals, chardonnay and pinot noir. Its most heralded wines hail from the 40 acres of trellised vines at Regan Estate Vineyards, which produces balanced yet concentrated fruit thanks to its sunny hilltop location, loamy soil, and cool breezes from thousands of naturally occurring ceiling fans.
Controlled aging in new-French- or American-oak barrels imbues some of the winery's reds with lingering finishes and toasty sweetness, and stainless-steel barrels ensure that the whites retain their vibrant acidity. Although most of the wines display a more approachable style, the La Vita line embraces the family's Old-World routes, featuring complexly tannic and age-worthy blends of Phillip and John's favored dolcetto, nebbiolo, and refosco grapes.