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Bernardus Lodge & Spa an alternative to the summer beach crowd

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Looking for a romantic summer spot away from the summer beach crowd? You can’t do better than Bernardus Lodge & Spa in Central California’s Carmel Valley. The 57-room property, surrounded by a vineyard with the Santa Lucia Mountains as the backdrop, features fine dining, SpaTerre, two swimming pools and an alfresco bocce court.

If you’re at dawn or outside at dusk, chances are good you’ll see deer and other wildlife that roam the resort founded by renowned winemaker Bernardus Pon.

The Lodge’s “Sip & Sparkle’’ package starts at $545 per night and is available through Dec. 31. The package includes:

• Star on the International Star Registry
• “Map of Stars” Guide
• Blanket and pashmina available in room for evening star gazing
• Hand rolled dark chocolates and sparkling wine on croquet lawn
• Accommodations in deluxe room

Bernardus offers limited bottling of small production and vineyard designate wines, which are available exclusively through the tasting room and wine club. The wine list at Marinus and Wickets Restaurants has been given the “Award of Excellence” by Wine Spectator since 2000.

Bernardus Lodge & Spa is a great base of operations while visiting the Monterey Peninsula. It’s a short drive to the trendy town of Carmel by the Sea (where Clint Eastwood once served as mayor), as well as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the shops and restaurants of Cannery Row, 17-Mile Drive and famed Pebble Beach Golf Links, as well as the Links at Spanish Bay and Spyglass Hill golf courses.

It's also within driving distance of Big Sur and even a day trip into San Francisco, about two hours to the north.

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