North County CA North County encompasses horse country, a harbor, rolling farm fields and more. Moss Landing is a quaint, historic fishing village offering antiques, seaside recreation and Elkhorn Slough — a national estuarine research reserve that is home to hundreds of species of plants, animals and birds. Much of the land in Prunedale, named after a long-ago-failed plum orchard, is oak reserve protecting California's native trees. (Royal Oaks Park and Manzanita Park offer nearby recreation). Castroville is the self-proclaimed "artichoke capital of the world." Other communities include Aromas and Oak Hills.

Estimated 2010 population: 42,025 (ZIP codes 93907, 95004, 95012, 95039)
2010 median home price: $315,000

Top North County Attractions
1. Elkorn Slough
A day at Elkorn Slough, where there s great bird-watching, tranquil kayaking, and good picnicking. FULL STORY

2. Antiquing
Spending a day antiquing in Moss Landing. The annual fair is fun every July, but locals can stop by anytime.

3. Aromas Grange Hall
Most people who live in Aromas are well acquainted with the Aromas Grange hall; out-of-towners are slowly discovering it as well. It s the social center of this community at the northernmost edge of Monterey County. Here, you can go to concerts, take part in contra dances, or eat hearty at the monthly pancake breakfast. It s also the premier gathering place for local organizations. Check out the grange s busy calendar at Kathryn McKenzie Nichols, local author

4. Phil's Fish Market
Checking out the fish on ice at Phil s Fish Market in Moss Landing, then sitting down to eat some fresh catch.

5. Royal Oaks Park in Prunedale
An afternoon spent in the woodland setting of Royal Oaks Park in Prunedale, where you can toss horse shoes, knock around a tennis ball, play softball or volleyball or just relax among the oaks.

Dining in North County

413 Moss Landing Rd
Moss Landing, CA 95039

Phil's Fish Market and Eatery
7600 Sandholdt Rd
Moss Landing, CA 95039

Central Texan BBQ
10500 Merritt St
Castroville, CA

North County
Fried thistles and Ferris wheels are great, but for some, this weekend's Castroville Artichoke Festival was all about the cars. From muscle cars to low riders, there was enough chrome and metallic paint to please anyone's tastes.   READ MORE
Most of the year, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories isn't overrun with children of all ages poking and probing everything in sight.   READ MORE
Vern Fisher/The Herald

LET'S SAY YOU'RE in the Monterey Bay area and you've been bitten by the antiques bug. Lucky for you, there are plenty of shops where you can relieve that persistent itch. Here's a two-day journey that should give you plenty of relief.   READ MORE

MOST MOVIE BUFFS know that Clint Eastwood's classic creepy stalker story, "Play Misty for Me," was filmed in Monterey and Carmel in 1971, but did you know that the Marlon Brando/Karl Malden Western "One-Eyed Jacks" was filmed in Pebble Beach and Big Sur in 1961?   READ MORE
Big Sur River Inn and Restaurant. Highway 1 at Pheneger Creek, Big Sur. 667-2700, Fernwood Resort Art Gallery. 30 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1, Big Sur. 667-2130, 623-2750,   READ MORE
Lodging in North County

Sanctuary Beach Resort
3295 Dunes Rd
Marina, CA 93933
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Comfort Inn Marina
140 Reservation Rd
Marina, CA 93933
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Holiday Inn Express Marina
189 Seaside Circle
Marina, CA 93933
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The Elkhorn Slough and Moss Landing by Michael Kenna (Paperback - June 1991)