The Japanese Obon Festival is an annual event held at the Monterey Buddhist Temple in Seaside. The small festival is held in and around a beautiful temple, and it offers a variety of simple Japanese foods (such as teriyaki and odon), free Japanese tea, children's activities, a bookstore, flower arrangements, and more. Guest may wander though the traditional Japanese temple and see the beautifully landscaped grounds. The centerpiece of the festival is an outdoor stage with taiko drums, dance, katana sword fighting demonstrations, and much more. Entrance and parking for this great little event are free, but donations are accepted.
Obon Festivals are a traditional Japanese festival meant to honor ancestors.
There is a giant sand dune in Seaside right at the Highway 1 exit for Fremont and Del Monte Boulevards. This landmark is not only spectacular in its size, but also for the unique messages that people create out of the local ice plant. The 12 August 2007 Monterey Herald had a great article by Clarissa Aljentera, called "With kelp and ice plant, 'text messages' to all" that described the dune and its local significance. This area used to be a sand mining operation, now it's a message board for the county.
The city of Marina stretches 5 miles along the Monterey Bay and was incorporated in 1975. This town has a large Asian population, meaning numerous great Korean restaurants and shops that many locals visit. I also enjoy traveling to Marina for the great beach called Marina State Beach, and for the fabulous local microbrewery called English Ales on the greatly named Reindollar Street. What is a Reindollar? Its a dollar for a reindeer of course.
Marina State Beach is just up Highway 1 from Seaside and is one of the more popular beaches in the area for surfing and hang-gliding, but the beach is known for its strong rip currents. It's wide sandy beach stretches almost as far as the eye can see to the north and the south (it and connecting beaches run from Monterey to Moss Landing--some 16 miles, then continues on in a similar stretch to Capitola near Santa Cruz. Most of the beach is backed by towering 100 foot+ dunes with a boardwalk and picnic areas.
In August 2007 a shark, believed to be a great white, attacked a surfer on this beach, causing its closure for a week.
I finally found a nice quiet area around Monterey where I can go during my lunch break to eat, relax, and read. Roberts Lake is located in the middle of it all in Seaside...Highway One to the north, the La Quinta to the southwest, the Embassy Suites to the southeast, Home Depot & McDonald's to the northeast, this small lake is surrounded by modern development. But...at the same time, it is quiet, lightly visited, with plenty of parking and a few picnic tables. This is a rare combination in the Monterey area. Not really a family area, but ideal for local workers on lunch break!
Webcam over Roberts Lake and Monterey Bay.