Thursday, March 26, 2015

The California Welcome Center—Salinas

The other day, the Husband and I dropped into the California Welcome Center in Salinas so that I could get some brochures and such about Salinas and Monterey County to inspire me with future story ideas. Sure, I could research the Internet, and I shall, but I also like to read printed materials. Call me old, I don't mind it. Besides, I love going into visitors centers. It's like going into a library, which I also love to visit, and being welcomed by books full of knowledge and entertaining stories. The California Welcome Center in Salinas certainly lived up to that. 

It's a bright and cheery place with friendly, helpful staff. That morning, the Husband and I met Inez Don Carlos, Assistant Manager, who kindly kept pulling out brochures, pamphlets, and maps of some familiar and many not-so-familiar places to check out in Monterey County. She also gave us tips of places to visit in Salinas, such as the windmill at the Harden Foundation (which I'll write about another day), and when are the best times to visit the area. For instance, in the summer, you might plan your trips around the various festivals that take place in Monterey County. 

State welcome centers are located throughout California, each covering a particular region. The California Welcome Center in Salinas is one of three centers in the California Central Coast, and it covers the Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties. Although designated by the state of California, the nonprofit welcome centers are not run by it. Some are connected with a city visitor's center or a chamber of commerce, while others, such as the Salinas center, are independent. 

The Salinas center has a plethora of brochures, pamphlets, maps, and gorgeous visitor guides to help you plan your adventures and tours for visiting families and friends, not just in our area, but also in other parts of California. You'll also find books, postcards, and souvenirs of our area for sale at the center. Be sure to check out the maps on the wall that show where visitors to the center have come. It's rather impressive. 

The center is located at 1213 North Davis Road, at the south end of the shopping complex that's on the west side of Highway 101, near the Laurel Street exit. It's open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Here is its Facebook page and website.

By the way, did you know that the artichoke has been our official state vegetable since 2013? Who knows how long I would've gone ignorant about that fact if we hadn't stepped into the California Welcome Center in Salinas the other morning. 

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