Carmel by the Sea: Carmel Point Walking Tour

If you are interested in this walking tour as an audio tour, our companion audio tour is available now on VoiceMap.  Tours are listed under Monterey Peninsula.  To use VoiceMap, you will need to download the VoiceMap app from the Apple Store or Google Play.  The app is free, there is a cost for the tour. Happy Adventures and enjoy the tour! 

This Carmel-by-the-Sea Carmel Point Walking Tour is a collaboration by Carmel Residents Association members Lynn Momboisse and Dale Byrne.  As members of the Carmel Residents Association, we are both dedicated to keeping Carmel-by-the-Sea a unique Village in a Forest and excited to share our knowledge of its history and illustrious past with visitors and residents alike.

On this tour we will explore the rugged Carmel coastline where we will have stunning views of Point Lobos and Carmel River Beach. Our walk will wind its way through the charming tree-lined streets of Carmel Point where we will have the opportunity to view a number of the first homes built along this at one-time windswept treeless bluff at the turn of the 20th century. Along the way you will hear stories about these early residents and learn about Carmel’s first golf course and community softball league. This tour is about 2 ½ miles and should take about 2 hours to walk. 

On this tour you will pass by the Robinson Jeffers Tor House and Hawk Tower.  If you want to tour this residence, it is open to the public Friday and Saturday between 10am and 3pm.  This is a separate tour from this VoiceMap tour and takes about one hour.  At the time of this writing, the cost for the tour is $12 per adult.  Advanced reservation are suggested by calling (831 624-1813).

This tour begins and ends at the Walker House/Cabin on the Rocks designed by Frank Lloyd Wright so try and park your car as close as possible to this location near the intersection of Martin Way and Scenic Road. In the residential area there are no parking time limits, but make sure to look for signs that say otherwise.  

Depending on the time of year you are taking this tour you will have different kinds of weather and different kinds of views and experiences.  During our summer months of May through August the weather can be quite foggy.  This means that you may not see as far along the coast as you would on clear days.  During the early spring, March to April and fall, September to October, the weather here is often crystal clear.  At this time you will most certainly have a stellar view just about everywhere on the coast.  Both foggy days and clear days are quite fantastic, each in their own way.  

Okay it is time to get underway. Walk from your car to the intersection of Scenic Road and Martin Way and stand on the walking path on the beach side.  Face Carmel Beach and turn left and continue walking.  Up ahead will be a wooden gate that slants downward and to the right.  This is the private driveway to the Walker House and the beginning of our tour. 

The Walker House is one of only five homes built on the beach side of this section of Scenic Road.

If you look over the gate you will see the Carmel stone carport that is attached to the home on the left. The room to the right is the master bedroom. 

That red tile near the base of the wall is Frank Lloyd Wright's signature indicating this is a Wright original. 

Now, let’s get going. Continue walking along Scenic Road. It is one-way here and cars will be approaching you from behind and passing on your left, so stay as far to the right of the road as possible.

To your right will be a wood fence with horizontal slats. The name on the fence is Henderson. 

These are the descendants of Mrs. Walker who built this world-famous house and lived here.  The Henderson’s own, maintain and stay here part-time.  

When you come to the end of the fence, you’ll encounter a lot of ice plant that covers the hillside. Stay off this as it can be slippery and unstable. 

About 15 feet ahead there is a clearing in the ice plant and a dirt path that leads to the beach below. I don’t suggest taking this as it requires a bit of effort and skill to navigate the path. Stand at the side of the road where the path begins and you will have a great view of the south side of the Mrs. Walker's  magnificent home Cabin on the Rocks.

If you look at the house from where you are standing you can see that Frank Lloyd Wright designed the home to appear as if it were an ocean liner with the point of the stone patio deck acting as the bow of the ship, perpetually facing the tireless sea off Carmel Point.

Carmel Pacific Spectator Journal, September 1957 

In this design, Wright departed from the concept of conventional four-cornered rooms. In fact there isn’t a square corner in the entire construction of the house! 

The living room, which is visible from where you are standing, is hexagonal in shape and the windows surrounding this room are inversely stepped out and framed in red painted steel.

The walls of the home as well as the retaining walls along the deck are native Carmel stone from nearby Carmel Valley and the redwood and the Douglas fir used in the structure came from Mrs. Walker’s son's timber property in Susanville, California.

For movie buffs, scenes from A Summer Place staring Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue was filmed in this home and surrounding area in 1959. The stone sculpture on the deck, called Undine, is by Robert Howard and was installed in 1964.

Mrs. Walker siting in her living room 

This home, which was completed in 1952, is listed as a Carmel City Historic Resource as well as a State Historical and the National Historic Resource. It is truly a Carmel treasure.

From the Walker House, continue walking along Scenic. 

At the turn of the 20th century, Carmel Point, which lies just outside the village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, was a treeless headland almost devoid of buildings.  Not anymore,  most of the homes you find here on the point are larger and even pricier than their counterpart in Carmel-by-the-Sea.  

Take for instance the two rock homes to your left as you approach the bend in the street.  The first one (shown in the picture above) is 2-bedroom, 2-bath.  Built in 2003, it sold the following year for a little under $12 million dollars.

Next door, the house with the shake roof is named Pack’s Point of View.  Everyone figures that must be Pack peaking over the front fence.  This home built in 2001 has 4-bedrooms and 3-baths, and sold in 2003 for $7 million.  

Keep walking along Scenic Road and next you will come to a low Carmel stone wall that stretches along the coast, separating Scenic Road from a large outcropping of rocks. 

This is another great view spot and photo opportunity.  But don’t climb out on the rocks.  It really isn’t safe to do so.  You can get just as good a picture from the street side.    

From here if you face the wall and turn to your right, you will see the Walker House, the entire stretch of Carmel Beach, the Carmel Dunes, Pebble Beach and Pescadero Point.

Directly in front of you, behind this stone wall is a stairway that leads down to the Bay and Scenic Station for Carmel Area Wastewater District. I know, not really that exciting, but definitely vital to the City of Carmel. 

What is kind of intriguing about this area is its tie to Carmel lore and the area’s nickname, Bootleg Point. It is said, that during Prohibition dinghy’s full of liqueur would pull into this cove during the dark of night and unload their goods, which would then be transported by tunnel from the base of this wall to the basement of the three-story rock castle-like house directly behind you, the Edward Kuster House. Now this could be plausible, as the land on the outcropping at one time was owned by Kuster.  It was not sold to the Big Sur Land Trust for preservation as an open space until 1996.

Kuster House 

From the wall, if you turn around you will see the Kuster House. Edward was the first husband of Una Jeffers. 

Una Call Kuster Jeffers

Una Call met Edward Kuster while she was attending undergraduate school at the University of California at Berkeley.  Within a year they were married and moved to Los Angeles where Kuster would start his law practice and go on to have a prosperous 21 year career as an attorney.
Robinson Jeffers photograph by Edward Weston

In 1905 Una went back to school at the University of Southern California.  It was there,  in an Advanced German class that Una Call Kuster met Robinson Jeffers. 

Well one thing led to another and Una and Edward were divorced August 1, 1913.  The following day Una married Robinson Jeffers and the couple moved to Carmel a year later.

Over the years Una and Edward remained good friends and in 1921 Edward, who was then married to Edith June Emmons, decided to give up his law career and follow his true passion, theater.  He founded Carmel’s Golden Bough Theater in 1924 and had his home, the one here at Bootleg Point, built just down the road from Una and Robin’s Tor House.  

There is more to the story but for now let’s continue walking.  Follow Scenic Road as it curves to your left.  Stay to the right side of the road.

Our next house is also one of the 5 homes built on the coast side of Scenic. It is just after Bootleg Point, the two-story stone and stucco  home with the flat roof slanting toward the sea. 

This is one of two homes built on the Carmel coastline by architect and engineer Frank Wynkoop.  The first one is the legendary Butterfly House, we will pass shortly.  This one, a mid-century modern home was built in 1952.
Continue walking along the right side of Scenic Road, but pay close attention to your surroundings, as the next quarter mile of coast along Carmel Point is quite rocky and the surf wild.  

This area of the coast is a great place to spot some of our more common birds.  The snowy egret has been known to nest in the Monterey cypress trees to your left.  

The brown pelican is frequently seen gliding here along the surface of the water to your right.  Just ahead in the ocean directly in front of the Butterfly House, the house with a roof that looks like the wings of a butterfly, is a large rock. 

Many times during the year it is covered in white. This is bird excrement, most likely of the Brandt’s cormorant or the brown pelican.   

Continue walking straight along Scenic Road and enjoy the rugged beauty of the coastline. That is Point Lobos State Natural Preserve in the distance off to your right. If you are interested, our VoiceMap driving tour California Coast: Carmel to Southern Big Sur visits Point Lobos and is scheduled to be available in July 2020.

Look to your left at the two stone buildings. The one to the right looks like a tower.  These two structures are Robinson and Una Jeffers Tor House and Hawk Tower.  
In the fall of 1914, one year after Robin and Una married, they traveled to Carmel. When their stagecoach topped Monterey Hill and they looked down through the fog that drifted through the Monterey pine trees, they felt that they had come, as Robin put it, “to their inevitable place.” The Jeffers rented two homes in the village of Carmel from 1914 to 1919.  

During that time they explored the town from one end to the other. It was here out on what was, at the time, a desolate treeless moor, that the two found the place they would build their family home. In 1919 the Jeffers purchased sixteen lots on Carmel Point for $200 each.

Tor House

Una had a very specific idea for the design of their home; she wanted it to be small, built of stone and resemble a Tudor tower, just like ones she had seen on her trip to England.

They hired M. J. Murphy to do the initial design and construction. Probably for economical reasons, Robin and M. J. decided to use granite to construct the home. 

They brought the granite from the beach below the house. M. J. constructed a wooden railway from the beach to the top of this bluff.  A cart pulled by horses would bring the heavy granite boulders up from the beach to the construction site.  Robin trained under M.J. to become his apprentice stone mason and with this skill contributed greatly to the construction of his home.  
The stone Tor House sits to the left side of this property.  That is the living room window that faces the ocean.  

Una’s Steinway piano, the only possession she kept from her first marriage to Edward Kuster, was placed in this room and still sits there by the large living room window to this day.  

Una's Steinway by the window 

The smaller windows you see just under the roof line are for light and air for the sleeping quarter which was built for the family in the ceiling space over the living room. On the first floor there was also a small guest room and kitchen. The house had running water, but no electricity, gas, or telephone.  None of these features were available at that time here on Carmel Point. The Jeffers family moved into this house in August of 1919. 

The following is a video of the Tor House garden.  I took the pictures during the 2013 Garden Party. 

Okay, carry on walking along Scenic Road, our next stop of the iconic Butterfly House.

Butterfly House during renovations 2013

Built in 1950 for $135,000 by Frank Wynkoop, this would be the Wynkoop family home until 1956. This mid-century architecture style house was designed around an open courtyard with a pool of all things, and wrap-around windows oriented toward the breathtaking coastline.  In 2013, this 2,800 square foot house sold to a London-based venture capitalist for $16.5 million dollars. 

Gate to the Butterfly House 

The next two houses on your right  are the last of the five properties build on the coast side of Scenic. 
Fishermen in the cove near Butterfly House

This section of Scenic Road is lined with the non-native ice plant, a succulent shrub that has its origin in South Africa.  Ice plant was introduced to California in the early 1900s as an erosion stabilization tool. 

In Carmel it has proven to be quite invasive, taking over large patches of ground and choking out native plants. Currently, the only area where ice plant is being removed to allow for re-establishment of the native dune habitat is the North Dune Habitat Restoration Area located at the end of Ocean Avenue at Carmel Beach.

Another non-native plant species from South Africa is the showy candelabra or torch aloe.  If you are taking this walking tour during the winter months, you won’t be able to miss this large succulent shrub, sometimes as tall as 6 feet, it has a long coral-red flower that shoots out of a base of soft-toothed margined green leaves.  

At the corner you will find branches of the candelabra aloe poking through an uneven grape steak fence.  At one time this was the home of actress Jean Arthur.   

It is hard to believe, but at one time, Scenic Road was two way.  In 1965, my brother Dana learned to drive our station wagon on this road.  He took the curve wide hugging the edge around the point every time just to scare my mom and I.  

Up ahead where you see the yellow road sign with the one direction arrow pointing to the left take a look out toward the water and enjoy this spectacular view.

From this location, starting on your right and moving left you are viewing Point Lobos, Highway 1 at Monastery Beach, Carmel Meadows and Carmel River State Beach. 

Staying to the right side of the street, continue walking along Scenic Road around this point.  To your right will be the crescent shaped Carmel River State Beach and the only stairway that leads directly to the beach itself.

In 1769 Gaspar de Portola and Franciscan Father Juan Crespi set out by land from San Diego in search of the bay in Monterey that was described by Sebastian Vizciano in 1602.  After overshooting and ending up in San Francisco, the group doubled back and successfully located Monterey Bay. 

 Stone marking the location of the  Crespi Cross in Carmel Meadows

In December of 1769, before returning to San Diego, they erected two wooden crosses, one near Pacific Grove on Monterey Bay, and one on the bluff overlooking Carmel River State Beach. 

Location of Crespi Cross on bluff overlooking River Beach

The following year Portola would return to this location with Fr. Crespi and Fr. Junipero Serra.  They found their cross high on the bluff surrounded by food, arrows and shells which had been left by the Native Americans who lived in this region. Shortly thereafter, Carmel Mission would be established within a mile of this location.  A cross is still present in the distance, on the bluff above Carmel River State Beach. 
If you visit the Carmel River State Beach you may use these stairs.  But mind this word of caution and stay out of the water as the undertow is extremely dangerous here. 

From the stairs, turn around and carefully cross Scenic Road then continue walking straight on Ocean View Avenue. 

At the corner of Ocean View and Scenic is a weather worn gray wood sided home. The latch on the front gate is a Japanese bronze dragon. Built in 1908, this was the home of Jean Arthur from the late 1940s to 1977. 

Jean Arthur c. 1930's (Wikipedia)

Jean was born Gladys Georgianne Greene in 1900.  She was discovered by Fox Film Studio while modeling in New York City in the early 1920s and was cast in the silent film Cameo Kirby in 1923.  She reputedly took her stage name from her greatest heroes Joan of Arc, or Jeanne d’Arc in French, and King Arthur. 

Movie Poster Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Wikipedia)

Jean was in many films and played opposite many Hollywood stars, most notably, Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Gary Cooper in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. 

Driftwood Cottage interior Architectural Digest May/June 1976

Jean named her cottage Driftwood Cottage and it was featured in a multi-page spread in Architectural Digest in the May/June 1976 issue. 

Driftwood Cottage interior Architectural Digest May/June 1976

Jean suffered from stage fright and after a severe bought during her 1975 run of the Broadway play First Monday in October, Jean retired for good and sold Driftwood Cottage in 1977 for $425,000 and purchased Bay Cottage located at 2313 Bay View, where she lived until she died in 1991.   

Continue walking straight on Ocean View. Our next stop is further up the street at 26350 Ocean View. 

This brown stucco English Tudor-style home with a tall stone fence in front was built by Hugh Comstock.  The steep sloping roof and wood half-timbering are some of his signature features.

HughComstock came to Carmel at the age of 31 in 1924.  Although he had only planned on staying a short while visiting his sister, he fell in love and married Mayotta Browne in April of 1924.

Hugh and Mayotta in front of Hansel (Doll House) 1924

Mayotta was a doll maker and asked her new husband if he would build her a home for her to display her dolls.  Not wanting to disappoint Hugh built his first house for $100 at the north end of town.

With no architectural training the tiny 244 square foot house was patterned in a storybook style with hand whittled trim framing the doors and windows.  Called Doll House, and later renamed Hansel, it was the first of 12 homes that Hugh would go on to build between 1924 and 1927.  They are known as the Fairy Tale Homes of Carmel.  You may visit them and learn more about Hugh Comstock by taking our VoiceMap walking tour Carmel-by-the-Sea Fairy Tale Houses. 

Built in 1932, this home was one of only four homes built by Comstock on Carmel Point. After undergoing a major renovation this 4 bedroom, 4 ½ bath home sold with multiple offers for almost $5.5 million dollars in 2018.  

Our next stop is just a few houses down on Ocean View.  A picture of the area is shown above.  Years ago this was the location of the Carmelite Monastery.  A picture of the monastery is shown below.   

Carmelite Monastery Ocean View Avenue (1925-1931) Harrison Memorial Library 

Here is a little background on this monastery.  The year was 1925, Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, a Carmelite nun, had just been canonized in Rome.  Bishop MacGinley of the new diocese of Monterey-Fresno was in Rome for the canonization.  He petitioned the Holy Father, Pope Pius XI, for permission to found a Carmelite Monastery in Carmel in honor of St. Therese.

The building that formerly occupied these lots would be the temporary home of the five nuns that made up this monastery.  The nuns were from the Santa Clara carmel and volunteered to move to Carmel.  They lived in this building here on the point from 1925 to 1931 when they moved into their current monastery now located on Highway 1.

Continue walking straight.  At the intersection, cross Stewart and stay on on Ocean View.

Up ahead on the left at the end of the driveway is an iron gate.  The address 26304 Ocean View.  It is our next stop. 

This is the front entrance to Tor House and Hawk Tower. This historic home of Robinson and Una Jeffers is maintained by the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation.

If you are interested in a tour of both the house and the tower, they are given Friday and Saturday between 10am and 3pm for $12 per person. Since these are quite popular, I suggest calling ahead and making reservations.  The Tor House website will have more information.

Now from the driveway look straight ahead to Hawk Tower. Una Jeffers was captivated with the round towers of Ireland and England, and Robin was captivated by his muse, Una.  So around 1921, Robin began work building Una a tower.  It took him, along with his twin sons, Garth and Donnan, about five years to complete.  

Climbing Hawk Tower 
Hawk Tower was built on a foundation of bedrock.  For the first two stories, Robin rolled the granite stones up from the cove we saw earlier on this tour.  He used a series of inclined planks to move the stone.

View from top of Hawk Tower

For the third and fourth stories of the tower, he installed a block-and-tackle system to hoist the heavy rocks up the side of the tower.  When completed the walls were forty feet high and six feet thick. 

The following is a video of the interior of Tor House.  These pictures were taken during the 2013 Garden Party. 
The following is a video of the interior of Hawk Tower.  These pictures were taken during the 2013 Garden Party. 

Now continue walking along Ocean View Avenue. The area will be lined with old cypress trees.  

When Robin and Una purchased these lots on Carmel Point the area was treeless, which made for fierce wind conditions at Tor House. The windows never broke, but one winter in the early 1920’s the wind was so powerful it lifted the roof off part of the house. In order to shelter their home from the winds, Robin bought and planted about 2,000 Monterey pine, Monterey cypress and eucalyptus trees. It took years of hand watering them until they could survive on their own.

The Monterey cypress which line this street are the fruit of Robin’s labor.  He single handedly transformed Carmel Point from a barren sand dune into an urban forest. 

Up ahead as we get to the end of Ocean View Avenue is Edward Kuster's stone house.  Remember, Edward Kuster was the ex-husband of Una Jeffers. 

Edward Kuster (1949)
The Jeffers’ moved into the stone Tor House in August of 1919 and the Kuster’s moved into their stone house one block down the street a year later.

Edward Kuster, was captivated by the turreted castles of Germany, and enlisted the help of general contractor Lee Gottfried who had just arrived in Carmel in 1920. Kuster and Gottfried collaborated on a medieval European architectural design for the castle and brought granite stones up from the beach below, just as Jeffers had.  Kuster was so pleased with the outcome of his castle, that he hired Gottfried to design a charming European village courtyard, which still exists today, around his Golden Bough Theater in the downtown business district of Carmel. 

Courtyard of the Golden Bough Downtown Carmel 

You can learn more about this on our Downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea in One Hour Walking Tour.

At the end of Ocean View Avenue, turn right Bay View Avenue and continue walking straight. The next house I want to call your attention to is across from the Kuster House behind the white picket fence.  

The white house with the green shutters was built by Hugh Comstock in 1936.  By this time Hugh had been successfully building homes for happy Carmelites for twelve years.  He had moved on from his signature Fairy Tale-style to become proficient in other styles, Cotswold, English Tudor, French Norman and the Arts and Crafts-style.  This client requested a Cape Cod, and that is what Hugh delivered with this charming one story stone and shingle sided house. 
Now keep walking straight along Bay View to 2313.  

Behind the short wooden gate under the rose covered arched arbor is Bay Cottage, the house Jean Arthur lived in from 1977 until her death in 1991.  This house recently sold in 2017 for $4,500,000.

At the intersection turn right on Inspiration and continue walking straight along the right side of the street. Our next stop is 26218 Inspiration Avenue.  It is the two-story Spanish Eclectic-style stucco home with red tile roof to your right.

Built in 1934, at one time this was the home of General Stilwell.   

General Stilwell (Wikipedia)

Born in 1883, Joseph Warren Stilwell was a U.S. Fourth Corps intelligence officer during World War I. Under the command of General Pershing, Stilwell helped plan the successful Battle of St. Mihiel against in the German’s in September 1918.

Between wars he served three tours in China where he mastered the spoken and written Chinese language and from 1940 to 1941 he organized and trained the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California. 

Promoted to lieutenant general in 1942, General Stilwell was assigned to the China-Burma-India Theater as commander of all U.S. forces as well as military advisor to Chiang Kai-shek, commander of the Chinese Nationalist forces.

In 1944, General Stilwell was promoted to 4 star and was in command of the 6th Army Division at the Presidio of San Francisco when he died in 1946. 

From the Stilwell house walk straight on to San Antonio. Stay to the right side of the street.

At the T intersection, turn right  on to Hilltop Place and continue walking straight keeping to the left side of the street.  As you walk take a look to your left at the stone and decorative metal wall.
26224 Hilltop Place
On the wall is a historic plaque. You will find this just past the telephone pole behind two cypress trees and directly across the street from the driveway of 26224 Hilltop Place. 

Historic Plaque for Abalone League

The plaque reads: "This was the site of the Charles and Helen van Riper house and the site of the baseball diamond for the Abalone League.  The Carmel Cymbal newspaper described the Carmel’s community obsession this way:
There is, in this seaside town of Carmel, a baseball league the like of which does not exist in the rest of America.  Six teams make it up, the indoor bat and ball are used, the players are a cross-section of present-day society – bankers, carpenters, artists, delivery boys, truck drivers, school teachers, housewife’s (for the women and girls play along with the men)  running in ages from twelve to seventy years and with this so-called baseball played on a diminutive side-hill diamond among the pine trees overlooking the sea, with broomstick-like bat and grape-fruit like ball. There is seriousness, and at times a cave-man savagery, that causes the hair of those in control of the league to curl violently from the roots outward. One would think that the fate of the nation depended on the way in which the abalone league games are run and that the business of life consisted not in running grocery stores or selling real estate, but in winning one’s game on Sunday afternoon.”

Founded by Charles van Riper and friends Thorne Taylor and Tal Josselyn, the Abalone League began as a purely social affair.  It went on to became the first organized softball league in the Western United States. After a home run ball went through a house window the league moved from Carmel Point to Carmel Woods.  The leagues last year was 1938.   

Continue walking along Hilltop and turn left on Inspiration.  Take notice of the house names such as Goldilocks on the gate to your right. Though houses out here on the Point have addresses and postal delivery, they are still fond of naming their homes just like they do in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Keep walking straight and cross Steward Way and continue straight on Inspiration.
At the intersection turn right on Isabella and continue straight.  Keep to the left side of the street.  We are headed to 26363 Isabella, the two-story gray wood home with sloping shake roof. 

This was the home of the Dickinson family.  Born in 1873, Henry F. Dickinson earned his law degree from Harvard and practiced law in Chicago until 1922.  The following year he moved his family to Carmel, where he purchased this large piece of land on Carmel Point.  M. J. Murphy, who you may learn more about on our Carmel-by-the-Sea: Off the Beaten Track walking tour, was hired to build the Dickinson home. 

Henry and his wife Edith became an integral part of early Carmel.  They helped organize the Carmel Music Society and the children’s orchestra.
Now continue walking straight along Isabella.At the corner turn left on to Scenic and stay to the right side of the road. 

Cross the street in front of you, Valley View, and continue straight on Scenic Road.

Our next stop is 26443 Scenic Road the contemporary home with a two-story wall of glass in the front.

Built in the early 1960’s this was  home to the artist Thomas Kinkade from 1980 to 2011.  Known as the “Painter of Light” for his very “Carmelly” scenes that included gardens, streams and stone cottages, Kinkade became one of the most collected artists of his time. 

Der Ling Lane

He opened his first signature gallery in 1992, at the back of Der Ling Lane off Ocean Avenue in Carmel.   Kinkade died in 2012 at the age of 54.  This home last sold in 2017 for $8 million dollars. 

Continue walking on Scenic, staying to the right side of the road. While you walk, I will tell you a little about Carmel River Lagoon and Wetlands.

Mouth of Carmel River Summer 

Mouth of Carmel River during Winter

The area ahead and off to your right is where the mouth of the Carmel River empties into the ocean.

In the summer and fall a sand dune builds across the mouth and the area behind the dune becomes a brackish lagoon and marshy wetland. 

This area is a bird-watcher paradise, with an abundance of migratory and resident waterfowl,

ducks, mallards and coots patrolling the lagoon, egrets and herons stand amongst the reeds, hawks soar above and the snowy plovers and sandpipers dart along the sand. 

snowy plover 

The Carmel River Steelhead Association has been working since 1974 to restore the Carmel River watershed to its natural state and increase the run of adult steelhead. 

 California Department of Fish and Wildlife  and Monterey Peninsula Water Management 2017 

Every summer volunteers rescue thousands of tiny fingerlings from the upper and lower tributaries of Carmel River where they are trapped, and relocate them to the lagoon or other areas of the river where they have a chance for survival.  The juvenile steelhead typically spends one to two years in the freshwater river before migrating to the ocean. 

They then remain at sea for up to three years before returning to Carmel River to spawn upstream. After years of single digit steelhead trout returning to Carmel River to spawn, conservationists rejoiced at  2019’s count of 126!

To your right is the entrance to the parking area for the Carmel River State Park. 

The only public restroom on this walk is located off the parking area.  

There are also a number of informational plaques near the restroom and around the parking lot that you might want to take a look at.  

From Carmel River State Beach walk straight out of the parking lot on to Carmelo Street take a look off to your right over the cattails that line the lagoon to the historic white farmhouse of Carmel Mission Ranch.

Originally the location of the Martin Family dairy ranch in the late 1800’s, the area was slated for a condominium complex in the early 1980’s.

Scottish Blackface Sheep at Mission Ranch 

Mayor Clint Eastwood purchased the property in 1986 and vowed to keep the buildings and grounds as they were, except for the upgrading of the plumbing and electrical and the eviction of the termite population.  Which according to Eastwood, were keeping some “buildings standing by holding hands.”  

At the intersection turn left onto 17th Avenue and continue walking straight, staying to the right side of the street. Cross Rio Street and continue straight on 17th Avenue. 

At the corner turn right on to Valley View. We are headed to the two-story green wood-shingled Craftsman-style house on the corner.   The sign out front reads, Cypress House.  

Getting its name from the abundance of crooked Monterey cypress trees on the property, Cypress House was originally built in 1926 for Ralph Fletcher Seymour, a Chicago based artist, author and publisher. 

Ralph Fletcher Seymour (Wikipedia)

Seymour’s interest in Carmel, specifically Carmel Point stemmed from his association with Chicago lawyer Henry F. Dickinson who had retired to Carmel in 1922.  We saw his house earlier on this tour. 
Seymour enlisted the help of  southern California architect Rudolph Schindler.  In March of 1924 he wrote to Schindler, “We are going to try to build a house in Carmel this summer, and I wonder if you can help us...If the case cost $2,000 it would be about all I could stand."

Records do not reveal who did build the Seymour house, but it appears that Schindler, who was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and designed in a more modern style, did not build this redwood Craftsman.  Possibly he wasn't able to keep within Seymour's budget.
Just before the home was completed, Mrs.  Seymour arrived on Carmel Point to inspect the progress, and announced after a short visit that she could never live in such a cold, foggy and inhospitable place.  The home was sold before completion and the Seymour’s returned to Chicago. 

Continue walking straight on Valley View. Two houses down from Cypress House is a brown wooden home with gray trim.  During the spring the arched trellis is covered with climbing Cecile roses in full bloom.
This home was built in 1937 with beams salvaged from the Carmelite Monastery that was located a few blocks away.

26317 Valley View
Continue walking along Valley View.  Our next stop is 26317 which has an unusual gate in front.  

Depending upon the season, the gate arbor will be covered with the climbing coral seas passion flower and the ground, a mat of yellow African daisies. 

This gate is made from re-purposed ridding racks used to store and turn champagne bottles. Pretty creative, right?

Remsen Bird (Wikipedia)

This home has had a few interesting residents.  It was built in 1932 for Remsen Bird who had served as president of Occidental College in Los Angeles from 1921 to 1946.

In 1975 the property was purchased by Carmel Martin, the grandson of John and Elizabeth Martin who actually owned this land as well as almost 160 acres of property surrounding the Carmel Mission in the 1880’s. 

Cappy's white wisteria 

Carmel Martin, who went by Cappy, was a officer in the United States Army in the Pacific Theater during World War II, he practiced law in Monterey from 1950 to 2005 and was a former mayor of the City of Monterey. One of his prize white wisteria still blooms on the property.  

Currently the home is owned by a landscape designer and owner of Blue Door Garden Design. They specialize in the Watershed Approach to landscaping which creates sustainable gardens by capturing the natural flow of water by utilizing the existing habitat.  Probably the reason their garden is so attractive throughout the year. 

Continue walking straight and turn left at the next corner onto 16th Avenue. At the corner turn right on Isabella and continue walking along the left side of the street. 

Our next stop is 26262 Isabella. Look for the metal gate flanked by two gargoyles sitting atop stone pillars. 

van Riper house now named The Grey Havens for Lord of the Rings
This large home was built for Charles and Helen van Riper.  The same van Riper’s who organized the Abalone League softballs teams which played on an open field just south of their home.

Chimney Cap The Grey Havens

The couple’s home built in 1920 was one of the first homes built out on the Point. Their lovely native stone residence was a gathering place for their friends and neighbors.   Charles wrote, directed and acted in a number of plays, he and his wife were also very active in a variety of Carmel community affairs.  In 1933 the Van Riper’s along with their son Anthony moved to Martha’s Vineyard where Charles opened a shipyard built full scale-model ship replicas. 

The Grey Havens 

The house was last purchased for $2.9 million and, because the wife loved Lord of the Rings, they remodeled it with this theme inside an out.  They listed this for sale in 2018 for about $13.5 million.  It did not sell and was taken off the market.  It now sits idle much of the time.  

Continue straight along Valley View.  As you approach the corner look for the mail box sitting on top of a piece of Monterey cypress wood.  The address is 26226.  

This property was also part of the van Ripper compound.  Around 1930, they built an English country style cottage on the left side of the property.

In 2001 another cottage was built on the right side of the property.   It too was built in the English country style.  In January 2020, the Monterey County Planning Commission deemed the 1930’s cottage non-historic and it will soon be demolished to build a new 3,218 square foot single-family dwelling.  
Though Carmel Point has local standards and ordinances intended to preserve the natural coastal environment and residential setting, their historic resource standards are lower than that of their neighbor Carmel-by-the-Sea and many of the older homes here are being demolished in favor of larger more modern dwellings. 
Continue walking straight on San Antonio staying to the right side of the street. At the corner turn right onto Valley View.

Our next stop is 26212 Valley View. The name on the gate is Rosebud.  

Rosebud (photo by: Dale Byrne)
This property was the van Riper estate stable.  In front of the gate you will see a nod to that with the two iron horse hitching posts outside the gate. 

Rosebud (photo by: Dale Byrne)

The owners of this property after the van Riper’s, converted the stable into a home in the 1930’s.   

Turn around and walk back the way you came on Valley View.  Then turn right on  15th Avenue. 

As you walk along this street take note of the second house on your right it has wood shingles and green trim.  At the corner take a right onto Carmelo Street.  

Turn right onto Carmelo and stop at the wooden sign that reads Cottage of River Winds. 

This all-heart redwood cottage was  designed by Julia Morgan and built around 1915. Architect and engineer Julia Morgan was born in 187. As well as designing two homes in Carmel, the other is on Franciscan Way, she designed the YWCA Leadership Camp now known as Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove between 1913 and 1928.  Thirteen of her original structures remain there today and constitute her largest collection of Arts & Crafts style architecture in one location. 
Julia Morgan (Wikipedia)

Ms. Morgan is best known for her work on Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. After designing more than 700 buildings in California, she died in 1957.   
Continue walking to the Lincoln Green Inn next door. 

Lincoln Green Inn
This charming property was built in the 1920’s and was the first hotel built to serve guests on Carmel Point.  The four Cotswold style cottages were inspired by the Tales of Robin Hood and are named after the main characters in the story. 

Surrounded by a lush English country garden, this inn is pet friendly and serves a continental breakfast which is brought to the individual cottages each morning. 
Now turn around and walk straight on Carmelo back in the direction you came from.  At the corner, cross 15th Avenue and keep  walking while I tell you a little more about Carmel Point.
I have already told you the story of Carmel first softball field and league.  But Carmel Point was also the home to Carmel’s first golf course and club. 

The Carmel Golf Club was organized in the early 1900’s and the course designed by Philip Wilson, Sr., the former manager of the North Berwick golf course in Scotland.  The golf course was located near the shoreline along what is today Scenic Road.  We walked along the area earlier on this tour. Mr. Wilson’s daughter described the course as “a sporty course, cluttered with gopher holes, several cows and a flock of sheep.”

Golf House (Source: Harrison Memorial Library History Department)

The nine hole course was built in front of a small cottage that Mr. Wilson purchased from newspaperman and writer John Fleming Wilson.  The two Wilson’s were of no relation.

The only course ever built in Carmel, it stayed in operation until Mr. Wilson was called off to serve in World War I.  We will be walking by the small cottage that was used as the Club House shortly.
Keep walking and turn left on to 14th Avenue. When you get to the end of the block, the house on your left at the corner is part of the Golf Club House property. 

Turn left onto San Antonio. Do you see the two-story Carmel stone and wood sided house with bright red trim? 

To the right on this house, on the same property, is a small one-story cottage also with red trim.  This is the historic Golf Club House I told you about earlier.  

Over the years the Golf Club House was added on to and then fell into disrepair. Around 2012, it was purchased by Cheryl Assemi who set about to return the house to its original glory.  With the help of Bell McBride contractors the original structure was carefully separated from all of the additions and moved to another part of the property.  Where you see it today.  

Inside Golf Club House 

Then each stone of the fireplace was meticulously removed, along with some of the dirt, and carefully moved to the new location.  It is now the guest house to the larger home next door.  Together these were sold in 2018 for $3.6 million dollars.   
Now continue walking straight staying to the right side of the street.

Our next stop is 2423 South San Antonio, the two-story Spanish Eclectic-style home with the tile roof.
This was built in 1935 and at one time, this was the home of Vilhelm Moberg.  Moberg, a Swedish author and journalist, was known for his four part novel, The Emigrants which was made into two Warner Bros movies, The Emigrants and The New Land.  

Turn right on Martin Way. Continue walking along the left side of the street.  Up ahead you will see a sign for the Sandpiper Inn. Keep walking and turn left onto Bay View Avenue.  

Sandpiper Inn (photo by: Dale Byrne) 

The two story gray building with the blue and white striped awning is the Sandpiper Inn, one of only  two hotels in Carmel Point.

In 1929, Mrs. Jesena, who had at one time been the head housekeeper at the Pine Inn downtown, bought this windswept property and had an eleven room hotel built there. She called it the Holiday Inn. In the mid seventies, so that this inn would not be confused with the hotel chain Holiday Inn, the name was changed to Sandpiper Inn. The name came from the film The Sandpiper, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.  This film was shot here on Carmel Point and in Big Sur.  
Walk back on Bay View in the direction that you came and turn left on Martin as we are coming to the end of our walking tour. 

Take a look to your right at the large Tudor style stone house on the corner.  This was  built in the 1930’s by one of Carmel’s master contractors, Ernest Bixler.
Bixler arrived on the Monterey Peninsula in 1930 and constructed homes in Carmel and Pebble Beach until 1940 when he took on the important roll of Carmel Postmaster.
This home remained vacant for many years and fell into disrepair.  In 2019 renovations began and hopefully this home, which is in a prime location on Scenic Road, will  soon be back to its former glory. 

Cross Scenic Road and turn left.  Ahead of you is this lovely view of Carmel Beach.  We are also nearby the Walker House where we began our tour.  We hope that you have enjoyed your walk around Carmel Point. 

Until next time, happy adventures.

All photographs by L. A. Momboisse unless listed below or under the photo 

Black and white photo of Walker House - Carmel Pacific Spectator Journal, September 1957

Black and white photo of Una Call Kuster 1908 - The Stone Mason of Tor House by Melba Berry Bennett 

Photograph of Robinson Jeffers - by Edward Weston 

Photograph of Jean Arthur c. 1930 - Wikipedia 

Movie Poster Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - Wikipedia 

Interior pictures of Driftwood Cottage - Architectural Digest May 1976 

Black and white photo of Hugh an Mayotta Comstock - Harrison Memorial Library Local History Room 

Carmelite Monastery Ocean View Avenue (1925 - 1931) - Harrison Memorial Library Local History Department 

Edward Kuster - Carmel Spectator, 1949 - Harrison Memorial Library Local History Room 

General Stilwell - Wikipedia 

Picture from California Department of Fish and Wildlife at Carmel River in 2017 - Facebook  

Picture of Carmel River Steelhead Association at Carmel River - website 

Ralph Fletcher Seymour - Wikipedia 

Remsen Bird - Wikipedia 

Julia Morgan - Wikipedia 

Black and white picture of the Golf House - Harrison Memorial Library Local History Department