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Bella Lane, 2, of Monterey is watched by her mother, Dianna, while ice skating at the ice rink at Custom House Plaza in Monterey on Saturday.

One big difference between ice skating in November at Fisherman's Wharf and say, Frostbite Falls, Minn., is that your tears won't freeze to your face if you fall and bust your whatchamacallit.

The sun baked down Saturday in Monterey, lifting temperatures into the 70s for Ice Skating by the Bay, a man-made rink at Custom House Plaza where kids and their parents navigated perilously across the city's artificial winter wonderland.

"I fell down a little bit," explained 3-year-old Maya Merchant. "It didn't hurt, but it was cold!"

Big brother Kaiden, 8, had no such issues. He's a star hockey player on a team of 9- and 10-year-olds in the East Bay.

His position? "Defense," Kaiden said.

Favorite part about playing hockey? "Defense," he said.

John and Christine Sellers of Los Altos brought 5-year-old twins Jason and Jessica and their Colorado Springs, Colo., grandparents to the Peninsula for a dreamy Thanksgiving weekend that included some beach fun at Lovers Point in Pacific Grove, dinner on the wharf and a visit to the aquarium. But the skating rink was a highlight.

"The kids loved it. They had a great time," Christine Sellers said. "They took one round of ice-skating lessons last winter, but they haven't been on skates since, so I wasn't sure how it was going to go today. They actually did really well.

"It's so great that the city did this," she added. "What a great idea to have a place in California where we can be ice skating in the middle of November.



Another set of twins, Serena and Olivia de Ponce, traversed the ice with their mom, Deborah. Their dad, Bryan, observed safely from the perimeter.

"I don't skate — not at all. That's why I'm watching from the sidelines," declared the Santa Barbara resident with a laugh. "We have some family living close by, so we came up here for the weekend and thought we'd get in some ice skating before we drive back. We're thinking it's probably a good way to tire out the kids a little bit before the trip."

"I'm 5½," crowed the smiling Serena as Mom unlaced her skates. "My sister is 5½ , too, but I'm better."

Olivia, hanging her lower lip a bit, didn't argue.

"Did you have fun out there today?" her mother asked.


"Not so much fun to fall on your bottom," Deborah de Ponce explained.

No further comment from Olivia, who wasn't talking to the press, but Serena had more on her mind.

"I want some ice skates for Christmas now," she announced. "And I also want ... well, I forget what else I want."

Ice Skating by the Bay is open through Jan. 6 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 8 p.m. Sundays. Ticket prices, skate rental rates and other information can be found online at

Dennis Taylor can be reached at 646-4344 or