Detours: Monterey Peninsula



The Monterey Peninsula — that mitten of land jutting into the Pacific Ocean — holds Monterey Bay’s perfect crescent on its north end and the compact Carmel Bay on its base. A landscape of ancient forest, picturesque boat harbors, early architecture, and plenty of walk-through California history weaves between those scenic waters.

In his 1835 classic Two Years Before the Mast, Richard Henry Dana called Monterey the “pleasantest and most civilized place in California.” As the state’s first capital, the town is certainly a historical centerpiece with well-preserved Old Spanish and Mexican adobes.

DON’T MISS

The Path of History walking tour through downtown Monterey presents a modern tourist experience shrouded in history. Start at Custom House Plaza, where buildings cluster around the waterfront near Fisherman’s Wharf and its jumble of gift shops, kiosks, and seafood restaurants.

Built in 1827, the adobe Custom House, California’s oldest building, once served as the state’s only port of entry. The two-story Thomas Larkin House melds elements of New England architecture with the adobe motif to represent a new architectural style: Monterey Colonial.

California’s First Theatre, constructed in the 1840s as a saloon, still stages performances in its adobe wing, adjacent to the original redwood tavern. Monterey’s first Anglo mayor, the Rev. Walter Colton (who also published the area’s first newspaper), built Colton Hall, where California’s Constitutional Convention first met in 1849. After 1850, the Stevenson House adobe expanded to become a boarding house. Robert Louis Stevenson lived here in 1879 while courting his California
sweetheart.

Cannery Row (www.canneryrow.com) sardine factories first appeared in the early 20th century. John Steinbeck called it “a poem, a stink, a grating noise” in his 1945 literary classic of the same name. By World War I, Monterey sardines were in demand worldwide. In 1950, the fish abruptly disappeared and most canneries closed. Today, the area’s former bars and brothels live on as shops and restaurants.

The glassed-in, three-story living kelp forest astounds visitors to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Ditto a graphic exhibit re-creating the submerged 60-mile Monterey Canyon, whose upwelling waters support a wealth of marine life. And a walk-through aviary houses birds native to nearby shores and marshlands.



LUXURY LODGING


Stay at a classy lodging along 17-Mile Drive — that roadside symphony of primordial nature and palatial homes. Rare, gnarled Monterey cypress trees hug rocky crevices in this stunning coastal landscape.

Luxurious rooms with fireplaces and sea views set the tone at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, built in 1919. In addition to the legendary golf course, tennis club, and equestrian center, guests enjoy privileges at The Inn at Spanish Bay, a newer, beachfront luxury hotel under the same management
as The Lodge at Pebble Beach. Visit both properties online at www.pebblebeach.com.

Highlands Inn, Park Hyatt Carmel (www.highlandsinn.hyatt.com) is perched above the rocky coastline, offering spectacular ocean views that often include whales and sea otters, as well as amazing sunsets.

FINE DINING

For French cuisine with a dash of California and outstanding views, try Fresh Cream (831-375-9798, www.freshcream.com). We also recommend Club XIX at The Lodge at Pebble Beach (831-625-8519), Hog’s Breath Inn (831-625-1044), Isabella’s on the Wharf (831-375-3956), and Monterey’s Fish House (831-373-4647).

For more visitor information, visit GuestLife Monterey Bay

Edit Module
Palm Springs Life
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

On the Edge of Tomorrow

Perched high over the valley adjacent to The Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, this Mirada Estates home epitomizes open-space luxury living.

Palm Springs Regional Association of Realtors Forges Partnership With Palm Springs Life

The Palm Springs Regional Association of Realtors announces the formation of an exclusive partnership with Palm Springs Life Magazine.

Gray Malin Photos Bring Out Playfulness of Parker Palm Springs

Photographer Gray Malin has created a series of 14 images featuring a variety of wild animals in playful settings at the Parker Palm Springs.

Rancho Las Palmas Shopping Center Takes on New Look

Despite its prime location just behind The River in Rancho Mirage, the Rancho Las Palmas Shopping Center may be the city’s best kept secret.

Sophisticated Sanctuary

This four-bedroom, 4.5-bath, 6,040-square-foot estate welcomes guests with an impressive entry drive and tower, complete with a large courtyard, fire pit, and custom fountain.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Romantic Palm Springs Getaway

Romantic Palm Springs Getaway

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couples getaway
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.