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

Palm Springs Life

Related Articles

Labor Day Vacation: Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands, California

Santa Cruz Island is a hiker’s haven, offering diverse terrain and trails that wind through the interior grasslands and along scenic coastal cliffs.

Midcentury Design Upgrade Creates New Look for Palm Springs Home

Bringing the outdoors inside literally took on a new meaning in this breakfast room and kitchen project by Dino Raimondi of Dino Designs in Palm Springs.

Villa Royale Inn Reflects Palm Springs History, Ambiance

What began as film star and Olympic figure skater Sonja Henie’s estate in the 1940s has been preserved and developed into a hidden gem as Villa Royale Inn.

Desert Staycations

The Palm Springs area is filled with resorts offering packages in the summer months to help people unwind and have fun.

Revelle at Clancy Lane Adapts Houses to Your Life

Some of the new homes at the Revelle at Clancy Lane in Rancho Mirage may look the same on the exterior, but these houses are the antithesis of cookie-cutter.

Promotions + Contests

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couple’s getaway
90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Each month, a first place winner will be selected to win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!And, each month, three additional runners up will be selected to win a wonderful Palm Springs area Dining certificate!
2013/14 Best of the Best

2013/14 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.
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.
Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter just once for a chance to win tickets to one of the second annual Palm Desert International Dance Festival performances.