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Mission San Antonio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildlife in San Simeon

Once thought extinct, Elephant Seals have made a resounding comeback. Go to the scene of some real wildlife excitement. Hearst would have loved it, right there in his front yard!

 

Cambria

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Pacific Grove - California Central Coast

Central Coast Activities

New A Prome by Karen Cotter Pacific Grove 1940

What could you call a place that has a 5,000 acre forest in the back, and a ten mile wide ocean garden park in front. Surely, this place can not be real.

To make it easier to guess, but really more unbelievable, consider this: Pebble Beach is on one side, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium on the other.

More clues? Here you find the world's most photographed lighthouse, a parade for butterflies, even a holiday for the heroic little insects.

 

What to see on this page
Art Center
Aquarium
Butterflies
Julia Morgan
Natural History
Restaurants
Steinbeck

Amazing other things, too, like deer roam free in the cemetery, and you say ... This must be a fictional place.
It has to be experienced to be believed. After spending a while in Pacific Grove, getting to know some about these folks, in this outrageous setting, a riddle emerges.
Did Pacific Grove become so well preserved in such harmony with humans because of the insight and will of a special people who chose here to live?
Or, did this place make them so? Do eggs lay chickens? Are there lessons here?

Folks here call this town, in spite of all its superlatives, just Home. As in Hometown.
The level of civic participation here is so high, that it's called "Hometown USA." A nice little understatement for such an extraordinary place. It is as if they said, "what is the very best thing that could be said of us here in Pacific Grove?"

And, in the midst of all this natural marvel, they decided that all of the best ideals of an American community was what they could aspire to.

All the front of Pacific Grove, along the ocean, is a grand natural esplanade of a park. The City owns the beaches from Lovers Point to Asilomar. Also, the waters are a city park, Pacific Grove Marine Gardens. This could have been a row of big hotels, instead it is a natural treasure.

Pacific Grove was founded as a summer health camp, and a religious retreat. Both motivations contributed to the present civic mentality. Boozing was distinctly discouraged in the early days, and today, you won't find bars and cocktail lounges along the whole waterfront from Lovers' Point to Asilomar.

The village is good for walking. More than 500 Victorians have been restored, many ethnic neighborhood shops has special appeal, bookstores, coffee shops, bakeries, galleries make a hike rewarding.

For meals there's an great variety; including outstanding French, California, Austrian and Basque-Early California. This last mention is the creation of Pierre Bain, a nouveau California Cuisine genius, whose Fandango will likely start a new restaurant trend. Another great culinary talent, this one from El Salvador, has an outstanding seafood favorite, the Fish Wife. These unique restaurants help PG earn high marks as a dining destination.

Two, different, equally distinctive French restaurants are specially praiseworthy. Melac's (from the same famous Paris bistro family)- well, maybe that's gone for now, and Fifi's Cafe & Bakery, which for sure is still going as beautiful as ever.
The whole western front of Pacific Grove is a marine park. For 8 miles one can hike unobstructed along a very fascinating coast. It is very heartening to experience this wilderness setting in what actually an urban environment. This is a tide pool bonanza. Seals, otters, anemone, shore birds.
Go to the Aquarium

Tide pools brimming with sea life are prevalent along the walk. Steinbeck and Doc Ricketts spent much time here. The writer studied at the Hopkins Marine Station while a student at Stanford. Chin Kee's Squid Yard - depicted in Sweet Thursday- was here, too.

Top notch marine scientists and children mutually delight, virtually shoulder to shoulder here. These are the tide pools that inspired Ricketts and Steinbeck to create the epic Between Pacific Tides- a scientific work that is still preeminent in its field.

Pacific Grove is not just a great hometown, but has made itself home for one of Nature's most stirring nature stories. Monarch butterflies arrive each fall, worn and weary from an incredible journey.

They come with the same great purpose, to mate so there could be another flight the next year by their offspring. They stop in Santa Cruz in a eucalyptus grove to get their wind, and fuel up for the last leg of the trip --25 miles across open sea to get to the trees in Pacific Grove. Then, after this trip of a thousand miles, which took 30 days, they cluster in trees, resting. The whole Monarch story

Beach cottages and grand Victorians prevail in PG. Out by Pebble Beach, Asilomar and the Lighthouse, some homes seem to be built right into the sand dunes. This area was tramped over by almost every notable literary figure of the past century and a half. The natural state of this exquisite wildness has remained virtually intact.

This fact is in spite of eight golf course adjacent, a world renowned conference center and three major hotels practically within spitting distance. The reason this has happened must be that the people who live here care a lot about it characteristics of nature and have striven arduously to preserve them.

Sanctuary by the sea

Asilomar is a perfect statement of the best the Monterey Peninsula region offers a visitor. Created in 1913 as a retreat for the YWCA, the center has become a state park conference center.

The setting is sublime. The coast, dunes, and forest are excellent examples of the nature in the area. Great care has been taken recently by the California Park Service to restore the 103 acre setting.

Asilomar has been interpreted many ways by English speaking people. It is a linguistic contrivance meaning Asylum by the Sea. Most people call it a Sanctuary, or Refuge, or Haven by -or, of the sea. They all mean the same thing. The YWCA created the term, and it has come to mean one place. Here.

Asilomar is at the southern end of Pacific Grove, next to Pebble Beach.

"nature was something to be lived in, not conquered."
Julia Morgan, Architect

At Asilomar, Julia Morgan designed bold Art Craftsmanship buildings. Her architectural style was a naturalistic reaction to the trendy Industrialism movement. Although she later capitulated all artistic principles with her design work for the Hearst castle, she did much to advance a California look to architecture.

Julia Morgan and one her designs, Merrill Hall.

California State Parks photographs

More about Morgan and Asilomar

Places to Visit

Natural History Museum Corner of Forest and Central - Outstanding exhibits of regional native inhabitants, Huge collection of shorebirds Seaweed exhibit Relief map of Monterey Bay Facsimile butterfly tree Native Plant Garden Wildflower Show in late April

Open daily 10 - 5 except Monday and Holiday
No charge, donations accepted

 

Pacific Grove Art Center 568 Lighthouse Ave
4 very large galleries
Emphasis on local artists

Peninsula Potters Gallery 2078 Sunset Drive

Place to Buy Good Stuff and Find Out What's Going On In Pacific Grove
Grove Market 242 Forest Ave. Deli for picnic take out Well informed staff

Point Lobos

Pelican Getaways

Santa Cruz Redwoods

Big Sur Story

Pacific Grove

Steinbeck Center

Big Basin Creation

Big Sur Eco Guide

Monterey

Central Coast Guide

C. Coast Activities

Big Sur Lodge

Elkhorn Slough

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

Central Coast Events

Big Sur Campgrounds

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Calif. Back Country

Central Coast Map

Big Sur Coast

Sandpiper Inn

Monterey Peninsula

San Juan Bautista

Ventana Wilderness

Carmel Hiking

Bygone Towns

Pelican Protectin Alliance

Molera State Park

Pebble Beach

Castroville

Monarchs in Pacific Grove

Big Sur People & Places

Santa Cruz

Cambria

Natural Bridges - Butterfly

Big Sur Watercolors

Monterey Bay Volunteer

San Simeon-Piedras Blancas

Big Sur Hiking

Marine Sanctuary

Elephant Seal Notes

Artichoke Store

Big Sur Lodging

Moss Landing

Pinnacles

Garden Art

Hwy One - Big Sur Road

Carmel Valley

Mission San Antonio

Flowers

Big Sur Cabins

Carmel Birding

Hearst Hacienda

Birding Places

Santa Lucia Reserve

Carmel Lodging

Elephant Seals

Artichokes

Point Sur Historical Park

Morro Bay

Montaña de Oro

Nature Guide

Partington Cove & Canyon

Hecker Pass

Cayucos

Member Comments

Nacimiento Road

Pinnacles Monument

Harmony

PelicanNetwork Links

Old Coast Road - Big Sur

Kayak Central Coast

Salinan Nation

PelicanNetwork Home

Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Bixby Bridge

Rock Art Site Steward

About Pelican Network

Big Sur Diving

Aquarium

Member's Comments

Pelican Member

Big Sur Birding

Big Sur Sanctuary

Voices of the Wetlands

Books

 


Steinbeck Cottage - where John wrote Of Mice And Men

 

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