Magical. That’s the best word I could come up with to describe last weekend, which I spent with people from Mazda along with a handful of talented bloggers (Beatrice, Chris, John, Matt, Robert, Sarah, and Tony) in Monterey, California. The Mazda meet-up was hosted at the five-star Bernardus lodge, nestled in the scenic Carmel Valley.
I’ve been to Monterey plenty of times, having lived in the Bay Area for several wonderful years. But this visit to Monterey was like none other that I had before. Every minute was so unbelievably, pinch-me-is-this-real amazing. I knew things would be different when Mazda had a chauffeur waiting to pick up my sister and me from the airport. We were then whisked away in a new CX-7. After five hours of flying coach, the new leather seats felt — and, yes, smelled — so good.
From the moment we stepped foot on the grounds of the enchanting Bernardus Lodge, we were treated like VIP like you wouldn’t believe. (But who were we? We were just bloggers. I keep on asking that question.) A cheerful, fetching young concierge greeted us with glasses of wine. Then Melanie Froysaa, the Mazda rep behind the entire event–and one of the most warm and gracious people you’ll ever meet, greeted us, making sure to get us on time for our massages and spa treatment, all onsite. Let me just say, I now know the best way to cure the terrible feeling you get after sitting over five hours on a plane is to get an immediate massage. I felt like a new person. Rejuvenated.
I told my sister at that point, if the weekend ended then, it would have been a success. But the weekend didn’t end. It only got better and better. Unbelievably so. There were wine-tasting and bocce ball on the lawn, followed by an absolute feast prepared family-style for our group to partake on a long banquet table, sitting on the front lawn where the lodge hosts weddings, with the mountains overlooking in the background. The chef whipped up so many splendid dishes–caesar salad, mixed salad, grilled veggies, mozarella and tomatoes, prosciutto, lamb, chicken and couscous, halibut and snapper (both freshly caught)–I’m not sure I remember them all. But they all were so good. Heavenly.
Instead of babbling on about how great the weekend was, I’ve put together a short video above of some of the other highlights. If you like fast cars, you’re going to want to watch the end of this video. Trust me, that’s not me driving. Zoom. Zoom. Zoom.