What to do on a foggy Monterey day? Find the sunshine in Carmel Valley with MST’s Grapevine Express! The Grapevine Express is an inexpensive and hassle free way to truly un-WINE’d in Carmel Valley’s plentiful wine country. The Grapevine Express leaves every hour and has 13 designated stops throughout Monterey, Carmel and Carmel Valley for only $4 roundtrip.

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On a cloudy day in downtown Monterey I decided to head for the hills of Carmel Valley. I checked the MST schedule online and I took the bus that left at 10:20am to have plenty of time to enjoy the warmth of the valley. I quickly made my way to the Monterey Transit Plaza and waited for my bus to arrive. I was surprised when a mini-coach pulled up with my bus line number on the front, #24 to be exact, as I was expecting a typical public bus. I paid my $2 bus fare and off we went at exactly 10:20am. The inside of the bus was very clean and comfortable and held only 4 other passengers at the time. I thoroughly enjoyed the scenic drive with stops at Carmel’s Barnyard Shopping Village, Mid-Valley Center and Chateau Julien. I was also impressed with the punctuality of the bus and its consistent timed stops.

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After a relaxing 45 minute drive we arrived in the heart of sunny Carmel Valley village. I was like a kid in a candy store with so many wine tasting options. Luckily I had done my research beforehand and saw Parsonage received rave reviews. That day they were sampling eight different wines, all of which were fantastic, especially the Rocco Reserve Syrah.

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By now I had built up quite the appetite and headed to the Corkscrew Café for lunch. The Corkscrew Café is known for their fantastic outdoor seating area which of course I had to indulge in. The rustic yet classy patio was shaded but had plenty of space to soak up some rays.

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I opted for the fish tacos and lavender ice cream to cream finish off the meal. The extra tint of lavender made it feel as though you were eating a creamy flower, different but delicious! I can see why Rachel Ray decided to feature the quaint restaurant on Food Network’s TV show $40 a Day. I checked my bus schedule and found that I still had 30 minutes before I had to head back to misty Monterey. Delighted to have some extra time I headed to the Boekenoogen tasting room and borrowed their patio while tasting three other fabulous red wines.

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At exactly 2:15pm MST’s friendly mini-coach pulled up to the curb to officially end my day in the sun and my wonderful experience in Carmel Valley.