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20 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 around town Best Place To Drink Next To A Celebrity Mission Ranch 26270 Dolores St., Carmel (831) 624-6436, At one point in time it would have been possible to sit next to Steinbeck in a Monterey bar. Ed Ricketts—Doc from Cannery Row—liked to visit Alvarado Street establishments, but his lab was truly happening. Gabe Bicknell (famous as Mack) might have frequented La Ida. The point is, hobnobbing with celebrities is something that makes everyone a little giddy, and Monterey County is no stranger to some of the world’s more famous clientele. These days, Mission Ranch is a star in its own right among readers in the know. Maybe it’s the drool-worthy food selection for both pre and post cocktails, or maybe it’s the ever present chance that you might run into Bill Murray or Justin Timberlake. Best Hotel Bernardus Lodge & Spa 415 W. Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley (831) 658-3400, Most hotels have pools. Bernardus has an infinity jacuzzi to go along with a pool, hot tub and other pleasures. Each room has a soaking tub for two—as well as fireplaces and goose down comforters. So there’s no real need to leave your exquisite villa…except that there are gardens to roam, a bocce and croquet lawn for elevated activity, the finest craft cocktails and a memorable restaurant. And the service? Impeccable. And Bernardus is dog-friendly. So if you’ve been traveling around the country in a pickup with Charley in tow and need a respite—and you happen to be a famous author with the means, Bernardus is clearly the best. Best Local Event/ Festival AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Pebble Beach Golf Links, 1700 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach (831) 649-1533, Imagine a pairing of Rory McIlroy, Jordan Speith, Bill Murray and John Steinbeck. Yeah, yeah—couldn’t happen. Besides, Steinbeck had a wicked slice and was woeful with the putter. But the annual PGA Tour stop is unlike any other because it brings celebrity starpower together with golf’s finest, so it’s possible to see top authors playing alongside tour pros. The format changes in 2024, but the celebrity draw remains. Oh—the remarks about Steinbeck’s golf game? A bit of fiction. Best Place To See & Be Seen Best Farmers Market Old Monterey Marketplace and Farmers Market Alvarado Street, Monterey (831) 655-2607, On Tuesday afternoons, with all due respect to Soledad, it’s happening on Alvarado Street in Old Monterey. Packed with produce, flowers, cakes and crafts, this weekly event—with its three blocks of local vendors—feels more like a festival than a farmers market. And with its happy hour schedule (4-7pm every Tuesday), this market draws folks of all ages from all walks of life. It’s people watching, with a lot of distractions. Mack and the boys could have easily stocked up at a market like this. But we don’t condone five-finger discounts. Best Place to Read the Weekly Alta Bakery 502 Munras Ave., Monterey (831) 920-1018, Monterey’s Alta Bakery is very popular. It’s deserved popularity—the bakery boasts delicious baked goods and innovative coffee drinks and a hearty lunch menu. It’s also great news for the business. That said, it is slightly less good news for us patrons—Alta’s popularity leads to long lines on virtually any given day. Here’s an idea for how to make line time fly by: Read the Weekly. We’ll bet you can make a pretty good dent in the news section, or plan your weekend with our Hot Picks, while you wait. And once you place your order, head out back to the Cooper Molera Adobe gardens to enjoy the features at a more leisurely pace. Best Local Event/Festival | AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am