Monterey Bay, California

40 Places That Make Me
Question Why I Left

 For the last four years I have truly been in awh at the fact that I lived in Monterey. I found myself constantly taken back by all that surrounded me and I don’t think I could have picked a better place to attend college. My only complaint? It was just too cold for this desert rat. Back in August, I made a big choice to move back to my home town in La Quinta, California. I’ve been living at home for about three months and while I find the Coachella Valley beautiful in its own, I do miss the beach views and gorgeous sunsets very much . Monterey will always hold a special place in my heart and the people and places I encountered in my four short years living there will be memories that stick with me forever. Here are just a few of the reasons  I miss Monterey Bay. 

1. Ford Ord Dunes State Park

The Dunes was probably the first place I fell in love with when I moved to Monterey. The beach was only about a mile from my dorm room. Through the old abandoned military base, and right past a creepy little graffitied tunnel, you arrive at a gorgeous mountain with a path to walk up. Once at the top, you’re exposed to a view of the ocean. Ford Ord Dunes State Park is my favorite place to sit and watch the sunset at.

Directions: Beach Range Rd, Marina, CA 93933


2. Fishermen’s Wharf

Fishermen’s Wharf is  your typical touristy destination in Monterey, filled with visitors shopping around. The cool thing about the Wharf is that almost every restaurant has clam chowder sampling; making it super fun to walk down the wharf and try every one of them. I love watching all the seals sit on the rocks down by the water and of course I’ve tried the fresh salt water taffy, the way too sweet cookie dough fudge, and the half pounder Reeses Peanut Butter cup from the Candy Factory. Fishermen’s Wharf is actually featured in one my favorite series on HBO, “Big Little Lies” staring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. For those of you who have seen it, “Blue Blue’s Cafe/Bar” where the girls meet and gossip is actually a restaurant on the Wharf called, “Palace Trattoria”. 

Directions: Fishermens Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940



3. Cannery Row

4. Lover’s Point 


5. Monterey Bay Aquarium


6. 17 Mile Drive

7. Point Lobos State Reserve

8. Garrapata Hike 

9.  Carmel Valley River

10. Ribera Beach 

11. Bixby Bridge

12. McWay Falls

13. The Gorge

14. Borchard Farms 

15. Casa Verde Beach 

16. Carmel by the sea 

17. From Scratch (Carmel, CA) 

From Scratch is one of my FAVORITE breakfast spots in Monterey. They are featured in “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” therefore, they clearly know how to make great food. If you’re ever in Carmel, I would highly recommend stopping by and having yourself a plate of their Biscuits N’ Gravy. They are to die for. My other favorites would have to be their tasty Bloody Mary’s and their giant latte’s and hot coco’s topped with whipped cream and cinnamon. SO GOOD. 

Address: 3626 The Barnyard, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923


18. Coffee Mia (Marina, CA)

Honestly, I’m not really a huge fan of the the food on the menu (but that’s because I am a very picky eater). I love Coffee Mia because of the staff and the drip coffee. It’s a little family business and the owner is so friendly and welcoming; he’ll make your morning, I promise. If its not busy, I can usually convince Horace (the owner) to let me order my own little plate of eggs over medium, two pieces toast (with the to die for jelly on the side), potatoes, and crispy crispy bacon.  

Address: 250-E Reservation Rd Marina, CA 93933

Phone Number: (831) 384-0148
Hours: Mon-Sat 5:00 A.M – 3:00 P.M.
Sun 6:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.

19. Papa Chevos 

I think I would go visit Monterey solely for a Papa Chevos burrito. There is nothing I love more than a Papa Chevos bacon breakfast burrito with green sauce. It is by far my favorite food from Monterey. There are two Papa Chevos locations; one in Marina and one in Seaside. I prefer the one in Marina personally, but both are pretty dang good. Papa Chevos in Marina is just a tiny little Mexican food shack with a drive thru open 24 hours (perfect for those college nights out). 9 times out of 10 times I go there I get a bacon breakfast burrito but every once in a while I like to switch it up and get a veggie burrito and chips with cheese and guac. Highly recommend the chips and guac!

Address: 3038 Del Monte Blvd. Marina, CA 93933

Phone Number: (831) 884-9545

Sunday: 6:00 A.M.-10:00 P.M.
Monday-Thursday: 6:00 A.M.-12:00 A.M.
Friday-Saturday: 6:00 A.M-2:00 P.M.


20. Noodle Bar

21. Cannery Row Brewery Company 

22. Field Works

23. Sovino 

24. The Breakfast Club

25. Red’s Donuts

26. First Awakenings 

27. Cafe Trieste

28. Phil’s Fish House

29. Campanos 

30. Rosines

31. Peter B’s 

32. Ikes

33. Mundos

34. Pizza My Heart

35. Wagon Wheel 

36. Marianes 

37. Gharadelli’s 

38. Bull and Bear

39. Lala’s









About Me

My name is Jayme Stark and I was raised in La Quinta, California (a city just past Palm Springs. You know, right by where Coachella Fest is). I lived in the same house for 17 years until I moved away to attend college at Cal State University, Monterey Bay. I grew up playing softball from the time my dad signed me up for tee ball at the young age of six. After signing to CSUMB my senior year of High School, I became the shortstop for the Otters and man my time there went fast. About a month ago, I had to hang up my cleats after finishing my senior season and graduating with a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. Here is a little bit about my story:

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In the past two years, I have read and reread over 40 books in search of how to reach this luxurious destination people talk about called “Happiness”. Every morning I wake up, pour myself a cup of coffee, and then sit down and read a few pages from a book and write in my journal. I spend about 30 minutes everyday working on myself and my mental health and then I feel ready to take on the day. From the book Daring Greatly by Brene Brown,

“The evidence is mounting that the act of writing about traumatic experiences for as little as fifteen or twenty minutes a day for three or four days can produce measurable changes in physical and mental health. Emotional writing can also affect people’s sleeping habits, work efficiency, and how they connect with others.”


The act of reading and writing has become a habit for me. When my team was on the road for away games, I’d room with a different teammate every trip and almost every one of them would give me a hard time about the fact that I would make myself get up an hour earlier in the hotel to get myself ready mentally. They told me I was crazy, when in reality, it is what makes me feel sane!

You see I’m what they call a perfectionist. I’ve played softball since I was six years old. I spent just about every day in a hitting facility trying to be the best, trying to look the best, trying to act the best. I like things black and white. In my head, things are either right or they are wrong. I like things to fit perfectly inside the boxes I have created for them, and when they don’t, I suffer and I struggle greatly. Growing up, if my grades weren’t perfect, I struggled. If I didn’t go three for three on the day, I struggled. Even if I hit two doubles and a triple but then struck out my last time up to bat, I struggled. What I found upon going away to college is that my life became the complete opposite of perfect. It was chaotic and unplanned and hectic and I couldn’t control situations or outcomes 99% of the time. It drove me crazy. I was in search of how to get my nice boxes back and put things back in order. So I started reading. And what I found wasn’t at all what I was in search for.

The most pivotal quote I’ve read comes from a book my former assistant coach and Psychology major from Stanford, Tori Nyberg suggested to me. The book is called The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. Achor writes,

“What I found is that most companies and schools follow a formula for success, which is this: If I work harder, I’ll be more successful. And if I’m more successful, then I’ll be happier. That undergirds most of our parenting styles, our managing styles, the way that we motivate our behavior. And the problem is it’s scientifically broken and backwards for two reasons. First, every time your brain has a success, you just changed the goalpost of what success looked like. You got good grades, now you have to get better grades, you got into a good school and after you get into a better school, you got a good job, now you have to get a better job, you hit your sales target, we’re going to change your sales target. And if happiness is on the opposite side of success, YOUR BRAIN NEVER GETS THERE. What we’ve done is we’ve pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon as a society. And that’s because we think we have to be successful, then we’ll be happier. But the real problem is our brains work in the opposite order. If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral, or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise.”

I see so much of myself in this quote to the point that it actually makes me laugh when I read it. I always thought, “If I make Varsity as a Freshman, then I’ll be happy”. “If I get a scholarship to play college ball, then I’ll be happy”. But that never seemed to be the case because like Achor says, I kept placing happiness in a place that was never attainable. Happiness is a mood you feel; it is not a destination you someday reach. I’ve learned that life is about enjoying the process. Life is about having fun while working hard. It is about experiencing moments of happiness as frequently as possible.


I started this website as a way for me to share some of my experiences and to share what I do to enjoy the daily grind. I am interested in working with athletes on not only their physical strength but their mental strength as well. I want to inspire others to enjoy the process. Working hard is where all the fun is at and inspiration is everywhere, you just have to have the right glasses on to see it. What makes you passionate? What motivates you to work harder? What drives you to get up in the morning? Follow my journey and get inspired and please feel free to Contact me with any questions, workout tips, health advice, or any inspirational stories of your own.