When good weather and your urge to pack your bags arrive – give in to your wanderlust and go.

Bed and breakfasts provide a quaint base for vacationing whether for an overnight or a long weekend stay.

Although separated by a continent, and two degrees of latitude, Wilmington, North Carolina and Monterey, California each present B&B devotees perfect, and often similar, getaways. Thanks to their respective proximities to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans both locations blend coastal relaxation with city amenities.

In Wilmington drop your luggage in your room and head for the wide and inviting veranda of the Camellia Cottage. Settle down and breathe deep. Their garden’s bouquet of jasmine, magnolias and of course camellias soothes the mind and soul.

Built in 1848 the Rosehill Inn was once the home of Henry Bacon, the architect of the Lincoln Memorial. The Inn’s Victorian splendor is located in Wilmington’s Historic District.  The District features four centuries of architecture starting with the pre-Colonial period.

In Pacific Grove the Centrella Inn’s history began in 1889. Its legendary hospitality has made it a National Historic Landmark.  Romantics especially enjoy the ocean views from the Lovers Lofts or the intimate privacy offered by the five garden cottages.

Embrace the cozy side of Monterey with a stay at the Jabberwock.  The Craftsman style former convent welcomes you with afternoon sips of sherry and hors d’oeuvres and guarantees sweet dreams with cold milk and freshly made cookies.  Feel free to store your bags with the front desk after checking out to continue your Central Coast adventure.

Kudos abounds for the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Waves crash below the structure and in this natural setting sea otters and black-footed penguins are protected. Their multiple feedings are among the most popular daily events.

Herring canneries inspired Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck to write a book of the same name.  Seven decades later the fish, and their stench, are gone.  Now the former canneries have morphed into a major visitor Monterey attraction with restaurants and shopping for every taste and budget.

Pack your flip flops and sunscreen into a tote bag and get ready for some sun-filled fun in Wilmington. Just minutes away from downtown you will find three distinctively different beaches – Wrightsville, Carolina and Kure.

On these sands the famed 60s dance the “shag” was first invented.  Wrightsville is known for its good surfing while the skies over Carolina beach are often dotted by colorful kites.  Nature and history lovers flock to Kure Beach as it extends to Fort Fisher.

Now where ocean breezes whip through gnarled live oak trees the last Confederate fort to fall during the Civil War once stood.  A small and highly informative museum offers insight to regional history and the admission is free.

A mile away the wonders of the sea is found at the North Carolina Aquarium.  Located near where the Cape Fear River flows into the Atlantic the award-winning museum highlights not only the wonders of the ocean, but also fresh water creatures. Expect crowds by the alligator exhibit and two-story shark tank as they are among visitors’ favorites.

Wearing a backpack and with a bicycle underneath you Monterey’s bike trails provide free-wheeling fun. The 29 mile Monterey Bay Coastal Trail is mostly paved and level.  Head north and go across the Salinas River.  The topography leaves the coast and becomes the black fertile fields of Castroville renowned for their artichokes.

Downtown Wilmington is picturesque, and with a small sketch pad and pencils in your waist pack you will find plenty of inspiration. Pedal to the city’s acclaimed railroad and children’s museums or have lunch at the former Cotton Exchange.  Cross the Cape Fear River to tour the USS North Carolina – the most decorated battleship during World War II.

Whichever coastal city you visit memories of a relaxed time will be your best souvenir.

Next week we leave sandy beaches and pick up some Sacher Torte in Vienna.