Driving Tour 17-Mile Drive Pebble Beach California


Fan Shell Beach


If you are interested in this driving tour as an audio tour, our companion audio tour is available on VoiceMap here. Our tours are listed under Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea and Santa Cruz.  To use VoiceMap, you will need to download the VoiceMap app from Apple Store or Google Play.  This app is free, there is a charge for the audio driving tour.  

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On today’s driving tour we will follow one of the most scenic drives in the world, the 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, where you will experience an enchanting world full of dramatic coastal cliffs, white sand beaches, iconic golf courses, and cypress forests. Along the way we will visit Bird Rock, Crocker Grove and the Lone Cypress.  There will be many opportunities to get out and explore different areas from the Restless Sea at Point Joe, the boardwalk above the beach at Spanish Bay, or the 18th Green at Pebble Beach Golf Links.  

At the time of this writing, admission to 17-Mile Drive is $11.25 per vehicle. This price is not included in the cost of the VoiceMap audio tour, however the gate fee is reimbursable  with a purchase of $35 or more at all Pebble Beach Resorts restaurants, excluding Pebble Beach Market.  

On this driving  tour you'll have the chance to:  


Learn the history of Pebble Beach
Visit or drive by all 8 golf courses in Pebble Beach
Explore the shops at the Inn at Spanish Bay and Pebble Beach Lodge
Learn the history of the Crosby Clambake & its connection to the Pebble Beach AT&T Pro Am
Visit the Iconic Lone Cypress
Visit Crocker Grove and view the oldest Monterey cypress trees in existence
View some architecturally significant homes in Pebble Beach
Observe wildlife at Bird Rock
Learn the backstory of all the viewpoints we stop at in Pebble Beach
Hear the story of the Pebble Beach Road Race
Discover what Pebble Beach golf course is connected to writer Robert Louis Stevenson
And much more

This tour covers approximately 23 miles. We will stop at a number of viewpoints along the way. If you take your time and get out at each of the stops on this tour, it will probably take you 3 to 4 hours to complete. Of course this will depend upon what your schedule includes such as, hiking, shopping or dining. If you prefer not to get out of your car at any of the viewpoints or golf courses, this tour may be completed in about 90 minutes to 2 hours. But this is your adventure, it is up to you where you stop and for how long you stop along the way. 


Whole Foods Parking Lot


This tour begins in the parking lot outside the Whole Foods Market located in the Del Monte Shopping Center in Monterey, California.  The address is 800 Del Monte Center, Monterey.  

Before we set out on our drive, I always think it is important to have a little back history of the area we will be exploring. Here is the pre-history of Pebble Beach to 1880. 



Tile Monterey State Historic Park 


NATIVE AMERICAN PERIOD PRE-1542

The Rumsien Native American’s settled this area thousands of years before Pebble Beach was developed.  As they lived along the coast, their lives revolving around the seasons.  They fished from the abundant harvest available along Carmel and Monterey Bay as well as the inland rivers.  They gathered acorns, seeds and berries in the forests and hunted wild game.


Native American Men Fishing 
(Ludwid Choris - UC Berkeley Bancroft Library

These peaceful people made their homes in dwellings of tule reeds and rushes and left behind deposits of arrowheads, scrapers, mortar and pestle fragments throughout the peninsula, some along the Pebble Beach coastline.  The most prominent archeological deposits were left  near Bird Rock and Dunes Road, Pescadero Point, and Stillwater Cove.    



Native American Women Fancy Dress 
(Ludwid Choris - UC Berkeley Bancroft Library


FIRST EUROPEANS 1542

Sailing under the Spanish crown, the first European to enter Monterey Bay was Portuguese explorer, Juan Rodrigues Cabrillo in 1542.  As he passed Monterey Bay in mid November of that year, he named it Bahia de los Pinos or “Bay of the Pines.”

Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (1499 – 1543) Wikipedia


SPANISH PERIOD to 1821

60 years later, commissioned by the Spanish Viceroy in Mexico, Sebastian Vizcaino's fleet entered the bay December 16, 1602 and named it in honor of the Viceroy of New Spain, the Count of Monterrey.  


Sebastian Vizcaino (1548 - 1624) Wikipedia

Besides discovering a bay teaming with fish, land filled with an abundance of wildlife, and trees suitable for making masts for ships, Vizcaino’s men discovered they were not alone.  Someone was there before them.  


Pacific House Museum Monterey 


In Spanish Voyages to the Northwest Coast in the Sixteenth Century, Father Antonio de la Ascension's account of his experience on the Vizcaino expedition is summarized: “The port is all surrounded by settlements of affable Indians of good disposition and well built, very willing to give what they have.  They brought us some of the skins of bears, lions and deer.  They use bows and arrows and have their own form of government. They were naked.  They would have much pleasure in seeing us make a settlement here.” 

Though Vizcaino recommended that Monterey be used as a port for Manila Galleons, the Spanish did not return to Monterey until 1769 when Gaspar de Portola was commissioned to colonize Alta California for Spain. 

Tile in patio Monterey State Historic Park 

Portola would make two trips overland in search of Monterey Bay. The first one from July 1769 to January 1770 proved unsuccessful. Though diary entries by the exploring party reveal that they must have been near what is now called Cypress Point in Pebble Beach. 

Fr. Zephyrin Engelhardt, who is known as the "Father of Mission History," complied extensive histories of the twenty-one Spanish mission in Alta California.  In his book Mission San Carlos Borromeo he wrote "Around October 2, 1769, Captain Rivera of the Portola Expedition with eight of his men marched southward along the shore of the bay.  They crossed Point Pinos, and on the other side discovered...an arroyo flowing down from the mountains, well wooded...They had discovered Carmelo Bay and Carmelo River and Cypress Point."  (2) 

But Portola did not recognize this as Monterey Bay and continued marching northward. On October 31 the expedition records that they arrived at what they recognized as San Francisco Bay. Realizing they must have passed Monterey, Portola's group retraced their steps and arrived back on the Monterey Peninsula November 28.  But alas they again decided that this was not Monterey. After erecting two crosses to mark the spot, they returned to San Diego, arriving January 24, 1770. 



If at first you don't succeed...(well you know the saying) Portola set out again from San Diego. Leaving on April 17, and following the same inland route, he arrived at Monterey Bay May 2, 1770.

Close Up of Monterey Area Map 1787

The Presidio of Monterey was established June 3, 1770 and would serve as Spain’s initial military post in Alta California.  On the same day, Fr. Junipero Serra founded the Royal Presidio Chapel San Carlos Cathedral, inside the walls of the presidio.  This would become California’s first Cathedral and its oldest continuously functioning house of worship in the State of California. Monterey was declared the capital of Alta California in 1775.   


Tile Monterey State Historic Park 



MEXICAN RULE 1821-1846 

After a decades long conflict, Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821.  Under the terms of the treaty, all former Spanish territory in California was placed under Mexican jurisdiction and Monterey was established as the capital of the new Mexican Alta California territory.  During the time of Mexican rule, the government redistributed the land of Alta California as large land grants to powerful local families, basically those who had won favor of Mexican officials during the bid for independence.  These land grants became primarily cattle ranches with the cattle hides and tallow the basis of California’s economy under Mexican rule. 

In 1836, Monterey resident Fabian Barretto was grated the Rancho El Pescadero (“Fisherman’s Ranch”) a 4,426 acre parcel that included ports of Del Monte Forest, Cypress Point and what is today Pebble Beach.  In 1846, war broke out between Mexico and the United States. 



AMERICAN RULE 1846 

On July 7, 1846 Commodore John Sloat peacefully captured Monterey and raised the American flag at Custom House Plaza.  Mexico ceded California to the United States in 1848 and two years later on September 9, 1850 California became the 31st state of the Union. 

That same year Scottish businessman, David Jacks arrived in Monterey and began purchasing land in the area. But it would be his involvement in the settlement of Mexican land claims in the new State of California that would lead to his becoming Monterey's dominant landowner.



Rancho El Pescadero confirmed to David Jacks 1864 (Calisphere University of California

After California was admitted into the Union, land grant owners were required to authenticate their claims. This was a difficult task, many land grants ended up sold for pennies on the dollar.  And David Jacks took full advantage of this opportunity.

                                          David Jacks 1822 - 1909 (Jack) Wikipedia 

By 1864 Jacks had acquired Rancho El Pescadero and the majority of what would become Pebble Beach, from the vicinity of Bird Rock to Stillwater Cove. In 1864 he acquired the Punta de los Pinos Rancho which gave him the rest of the Pebble Beach north to Pacific Grove. 


Alright that brings us to the edge of modern Pebble Beach history, so now it is time to get going.

We will be exiting the Del Monte Shopping Center onto Munras Avenue making our way to Highway 1.   To exit  this parking area you will be making two left turns at two stop signs.  The first will be between PetCo and RiteAid.  So with Whole Foods behind you, stay to the right along the perimeter of the parking lot. When you get to the stop sign near PetCo turn left.  Continue straight.  At the next stop sign turn left again. Then use the left lane to turn left onto Munras Avenue. 


Stay in the middle lane. Continue through the next stop light  and enter Highway 1 South.


After you enter Highway 1 South, stay to the right and follow the sign to Pebble Beach.  Then take the first exit, 399A for Highway 68 West toward Pebble Beach. On the exit ramp stay to the left following the signs for 17-Mile Drive Pebble Beach. 



At the Yield enter the round-about. Stay to the right and exit the round-about on Highway 1 South Pebble Beach 17-Mile Drive.  Do not get back onto Highway 1 (as the car in the picture below is doing) but rather stay to the far right and follow the sign for 17-Mile Drive Pebble Beach.



Stay to the right at the Ranger Kiosk, pay your entrance fee, and get a map.


After the Guard Gate, take the first right and continue up the hill along Sunridge Road.   

  


We have entered the Del Monte Forest of Pebble Beach which is dominated by Monterey pine and cypress. 



Right onto Scenic Drive


Turn right ahead onto Scenic Drive.  Stay on this road as it circles around the Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula. Shortly, we will arrive at Stop 1 on the Pebble Beach Map you received at the entrance gate.  Stop 1 is Shepherd's Knoll.


Interesting name, "Shepherd's Knoll," but you will not find any sheep here. This area was named after Abraham D. Shepard (completely different spelling) who was responsible for carving out this portion of the 17-Mile Drive in the upper forest of Pebble Beach.  In 1927 a map complete with a cartoon shepherd and sheep marked the spot and the name stuck.  

Pebble Beach Golf Links with Sheep Grazing - Photo 1918 by L. S. Slevin
(Monterey Free Library via Calishere

But at one time sheep did have a purpose in Pebble Beach.  In 1919 flocks of sheep were used to keep the greens at the Pebble Beach Golf Links groomed.  They were cheep labor, however they left behind hoof prints in the greens as well as their own form of fertilizer.  After the golfers complained, lamb chops became a featured item on the Pebble Beach Lodge menu. 


If it is a clear day you may have a filtered view of Monterey Bay from this stop.  But there are far better views at other stops along this driving tour.  If you do get out of your car at any time along this tour remember to cover all your valuables, lock the doors, and take your keys. 


Our next stop is in 1.3 miles.  Continue along Scenic Drive.  Cross Skyline Forest Drive and continue along Scenic.  This road will cross over Highway 68.  Just past the bridge over Highway 68, stay to your right onto Los Altos Drive. 

As you drive I will continue with the history of Pebble Beach. We left off after businessman David Jacks sold the land that would become Pebble Beach to the Pacific Improvement Company, or PIC for short, in 1880.   

The PIC was formed in 1878. By the 1880s it was one of the largest corporations in the Western United States, with subsidiary companies that conducted shipping, mining, land development, resort hotels and more.  The PIC was an affiliate of the Southern Pacific Railroad which was owned by Leland Stanford, Collis Potter Huntington, Mark Hopkins and Charles Crocker (1822-1888). All big names in history, but Crocker is who we will focus on. 

Hotel Del Monte 1883 Wikipedia 

On June 3rd 1880, Charles Crocker established the Del Monte Hotel in Monterey under the PIC property division. This would be their first hotel. Skeptics called the project "Crocker's Folly" and predicted that it was fail.  Beating the odds, the Del Monte became a favorite of the rich and famous, gaining and international reputation as the "Queen of American Watering Places," and "The most Elegant Seaside Resort in the World." 

Crocker's 7,000-acre resort was named Del Monte Forest.  It featured a botanical garden, polo grounds, race track, golf course and a scenic carriage ride through the Del Monte Forest of Pebble Beach.  For several years, this ride was called either the Scenic Drive or the 18 Mile Drive. The famous Lone Cypress tree, was the midway point on this excursion. Early in the 1900's as the automobile emerged, horsedrawn carriages and horseless carriages competed to take guests on this tour.


The PIC would own Pebble Beach from 1880 to 1919 when Samuel Finley Brown Morse and his company Del Monte Properties arrived on the scene. I will save that story for later. Continue along Scenic and watch for a sign for for Huckleberry Hill on your right.   


 

Pull into this viewpoint and park. This is the second of 17 markers that correspond to the map you were given at the Pebble Beach Gate. It was named Huckleberry Hill after the abundance of native huckleberry bushes that abound in the area.  It is also one of the highest elevations in the forest.  On a clear day this stop offers filtered views of the bay.



A placard at this stop tells of Pebble Beach lore that the area was frequented by authors Robert Louis Stevenson and John Steinbeck.   If you want to get out of your car and explore this area, there are a few paths cut in between a thick growth of huckleberry.  Some of the paths are a bit rutted and hard to navigate. 



From Huckleberry Hill, continue straight along Los Altos Drive this will turn into Costanilla Way. We are less than two miles from our next stop, Poppy Hills Golf Course.  



Pebble Beach is home to eight golf courses. All are 18-hole courses except for 9-hole Peter Hay. Pebble Beach Golf Links opened in 1919,  Spyglass Hill in 1966, Poppy Hills in 1986,  and The Links at Spanish Bay in 1987. These are all public courses. Cypress Point Club which opened in 1929 and the Monterey Peninsula Country Club's two courses, the Dunes Course opened in 1926 and the Shore Course in 1959 are private. We will be stopping at or driving by all courses on this tour. 



On the road way the arrows will point to the left. Ignore this and turn right onto Ronda Road. Follow the sign toward Resource Management.  


Following the sign that points right toward Poppy Hills, slow, and turn right using the yield lane onto Sunridge Road. 


Follow this road to the left and it becomes Lopez Road.  Turn left into the Poppy Hills Golf Course and park in the parking lot in front of the NCGA Golf Course Building.  

  
The next important era in Pebble Beach history revolves around Samuel Finley Brown Morse. 
Samuel Finley Brown Morse was born in Massachusetts and is a distant cousin to Samuel Morse the inventor of the telegraph and Morse Code.  Morse attended Yale where he was the captain of the undefeated 1906 football team. In 1915, at the age of 30, he  was hired by the PIC to liquidate many of their assets. Seeing value in these assets, Morse formed the Del Monte Properties Company in 1919 and purchased many of the holdings including the Hotel Del Monte, the Del Monte Lodge (now known as the Lodge at Pebble Beach) and Del Monte Forest. He 
planned on using this land to develop a community within the forest centered around the Del Monte Lodge. 


Samuel Finley Brown Morse (1885-1969) Wikipedia 

Interested in conservation Morse banned needless land clearing and set aside greenbelts to be reserved for preservation of wildlife, forests, and coastline.  He also set aside some of this land for a golf course and a housing subdivision. The first golf course would become the Pebble Beach Golf Links.  Eventually he would set aside more land for more golf courses.  One of those golf courses was Poppy Hills. 


Poppy Hills

Under the leadership of Samuel Morse, and the newly formed Del Monte Properties Company, Pebble Beach became known as a renowned recreational resort for the wealthy and earned the title of California Riviera.  

Though Morse set aside this 164 acre parcel around Poppy Hills for a golf course in 1919, the site would not be developed until 1977 when the parcel was sold to the Northern California Golf Association, the NCGA. Robert Trent Jones Jr., who designed or remodeled more than 250 courses during his career would design the course. Poppy Hills opened in 1986, it is owned and operated by the NCGA, and from 1991 through 2009 it was part of the PGA Tour's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.  It is the only course of the seven in Pebble Beach that plays exclusively in the forest. 

In 2014 the course underwent a 13-month renovation facilitated by Robert Jones Jr. II Golf Course Architects.  This group founded by Robert Jr. is run by his son Robert III.  During the renovation the par was reduced from 72 to 71 but the yardage increased from 6,863 to 7,002.

ProVisualizer.com Poppy Hills 
 

The Jones group reinvented the course, restoring each hole to its natural elevation along the forest floor, rebuilding all 18 greens with bentgrass.  It is said to be the closest experience in golf to a round in a national park which each hole chiseled through the towering Monterey pines. It is recognized by Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses You Can Play and enjoyed as by golfers of all abilities. If you would like to play Poppy, as of this writing NCGA member fees for a weekend round are $120, non-member fees are $300. 


Poppy Hills Snack Shack

Take some time to explore the area around the club house. If you walk behind the club house you will find the tee for Hole 1 and the green for the 18th. There is also a public restroom near the snack shack. You might also want to check out the restaurant here at Poppy Hills, Porter’s Grill & Pub.  You can't go wrong with their Monterey Bay Calamari with garlic and mustard seed aioli. You will also find the regular chili dog, shredded steak sandwich or cheeseburger. 

Just as a reminder, a $35 receipt from dining at Porter's will not get you reimbursement for your gate fee. Only dining at Pebble Beach Resort restaurants, excluding Pebble Beach Market work toward gate fee reimbursement. These will all be located at either the Inn at Spanish Bay or Pebble Beach Lodge. I will remind you when we visit these resorts. 

Once you are finished exploring the area around Poppy Hills, exit the parking lot and turn left back on to Lopez.   



Red-dotted line


Periodically on this drive, you will notice a red-dotted line in the center of the highway. This let's you know that you are following the 17-Mile Drive. As we continue along this tour though, we will not always be on the 17-Mile Drive, so don't be concerned if you do not see that red-dotted line at times on the highway. 



Follow the sign pointing toward 17-Mile Drive and Spanish Bay. The Pebble Beach Services District, which includes the Pebble Beach fire station, wastewater management and forest conservancy department, will be on your left.  

We are on our way to the Inn at Spanish Bay. On the way we will drive by the Olivida Penas House, one of only two homes in Pebble Beach listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Monterey County. Having served on the Carmel Historic Resources Board where we had nearly 300 historic structures in 1-square mile, this seems odd. There are many homes built in the early 1920's that could possibly qualify for this designation in Pebble Beach. 

Turn right onto Sloat Road



At the stop sign ahead turn right onto Sloat Road. Follow the sign pointing to 17-Mile Drive, MPCC and Spanish Bay.  
While you drive I will tell you a little more about the subdivision Morse planned for Pebble Beach. The pictures below are some of the homes that were built in Pebble Beach between 1910 and 1926.  


As president of the Del Monte Property Company, Samuel Morse planned on turning Pebble Beach into a unique country club community catering to the rich and social elite. In 1924, he set aside 1,600 acres between Bird Rock and Point Joe, the coast, and the timberline, for his golf courses, 2,000 parcels for housing development, and undeveloped park land.

Charles Dillman House 1921
Designed by Lewis Hobart 
(Pebble Beach Historic Context Statement pg 78)

In order to conserve the natural setting from over development Morse exercised near complete control over development of the area, including the establishment of architectural controls to ensure a harmonious blend of Mediterranean Revival style architecture. During the 1920s, 84 homes were built in Pebble Beach by some of California’s most promising architects.

Harriet Moores House 1921
Designed by Pierpont Walter and Davis
(Pebble Beach Historic Context Statement pg 78)


Olivida Penas 1926 
Designed by Frederick Reimers 

As you continue straight on Forest Lodge Road, slow and watch for Majella Road on your left.  We are on our way for a drive by of Olivida Penas. This means forget sorrow in Spanish. Built in 1926 it was designed by architect Frederick Reimers in the style of a Mexican wayside inn.  Considered an exemplary example of Mexican rural vernacular architecture, it is one of only two homes in Pebble Beach on the National Register of Historic Places. 


Olivida Penas


Turn left onto Majella Road.  Olivida Penas is the first house at the corner behind the adobe wall.  The address is 1061 Majella Road. Just over the adobe and mission tile wall you can see the two parallel wings built in 1926 and styled after wayside inns found in Mexico. 



Olivida Penas

Continue past Olivida Penas along Majella Road.  This road was named after nearby Lake Majella.


Lake Majella, Pebble Beach (February 1911 -
photograph L. S. Slevin - Online Archive of California)

Around 1890 this lake,(it was more like a pond) supported a sand plant making high-grade quartz crystals. After its closure, the Inn at Spanish Bay was built over the lake. The Inn at Spanish Bay is our next destination.   


Turn right onto 17-Mile Drive

At the stop sign, turn right onto 17-Mile Drive. Then prepare to make a left into the Inn at Spanish Bay.



Follow the sign for Inn and Links at Spanish Bay. At the stop sign use the left turn lane to turn left into the entrance of Inn at Spanish Bay.  




Ahead you will see a covered stop for visitors to drop their golf bags. Turn left here into the Self-Parking area (just as the car in the picture above is doing). Drive past the first two driveways on your right. They are for Valet Parking. Turn right into the third driveway this is for self-parking.  Find a place to park and stop for a moment.


In the early 1980s, Robert Trent Jones Jr. (the same architect who designed Poppy Hills) was called on to design the golf course at Spanish Bay.  Jones teamed up with five-time British Open Champion Tom Watson and former USGA President Frank “Sandy” Tatum on the project, which would also include the Inn at Spanish Bay.


Green at Hole #2 Spanish Bay Golf Links

The links-style golf course, which snakes through the sand dunes, was developed and planned from the beginning to protect the native dunes habitat and recreate the natural dune area around the course. This endeavor was massive, requiring planting of more than 100,000 native species. 


Links at Spanish Bay 

The Links at Spanish Bay unveils some of the most spectacular seaside views in Pebble Beach. 



Tom Watson played the inaugural round on November 5th, 1987.  When he came off the course, after shooting a 67 on this par-72 course, he declared, “It’s so much like Scotland, you can almost hear the bagpipes playing.”  Well with this a tradition was born. 


Firepit Inn at Spanish Bay 

Each evening at twilight, a bagpiper performance begins on the first tee at The Links at Spanish Bay in front of STICKS, and finishes 45 minutes later at the Inn and Spanish Bay fire pits by the second green.  We love to find a cozy spot by the fire pit, with drink in hand, and watch as the sunsets behind the bagpiper as he comes over the knoll.  Amazing way to end a day.

                                               ProVisualizer.com Spanish Bay

Green fees for Links and Spanish Bay at the time of this writing are $315 for a resort guest and $315 plus cart fee for Non-Resort Guest. 


Lobby Inn at Spanish Bay

Take some time to explore the shops and the lobby here at the Inn at Spanish Bay.  If time permits have a drink or a snack on the patio by the fire pit.  If you are really adventurous, take a stroll along the seaside boardwalk.


If a luxury meal is what you have in mind try Roy's, you won't be disappointed. Start your meal with the Lakanilau Roll filled with spicy Dungeness crab and topped with wagyu beef, or just go right to the Thai-style Rack of Lamb! Remember to present the receipt for your Gate Fee to your server to get a reimbursement.  

When you are ready to continue.  Exit the Spanish Bay parking area the way your arrived and then you come to the entrance of the Inn at Spanish Bay turn right back onto the 17-Mile Drive. Our next stop is in 1 mile, the pullout for Spanish Bay viewpoint. 

While you drive I will fill you in on the story of the Crosby Clambake. In 1937, Hollywood celebrity and avid golfer Bing Crosby decided to start his own golf tournament. He brought his Hollywood buddies to the Rancho Santa Fe Country Club near his home in San Diego. The goal, comradery, maybe some shenanigans, and then when the tournament was over, have a clambake.

Bing Crosby and George Coleman at Cypress Point
15th Annual Clambake 
Game and Gossip February 15, 1955

The event was an instant hit. In 1947, Crosby moved this tournament to the Monterey Peninsula, where it was played at Cypress Point, The Dunes at Monterey Peninsula Country Club and Pebble Beach. With Hollywood A-list stars like Jack Lemon, Dean Martin, and Clint Eastwood, the Crosby Clambake drew large galleries on the course as well as big television audiences. 

Gallery at the 18th green at Pebble Beach Crosby Clambake
Game and Gossip February 1951 

Bing Crosby died in 1977 and the Clambake continued until 1985. AT&T became the sponsor for this annual tournament in 1986, which is one of the most exciting competitions on the PGA tour. The current courses on this tournament are Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore Course. All tournament proceeds benefit local charities.

Clint Eastwood 2016 Celebrity Challenge AT&T Pro-Am
and that is Huey Lewis on the left


Slow and turn right ahead following the sign pointing right toward 17-Mile Drive and Beach and Picnic Areas.

 

Continue toward the coast and slow and watch for the signs on your right to Beach and Spanish Bay. Turn right into the parking lot and park for a moment. 


Spanish Bay Beach is Stop 3 on your Pebble Beach map.  It was named after the Spanish expedition headed by Gaspar de Portola.  Portola and his men are said to have camped here in the winter of 1769.  

The name also comes from the Spanish galleons, which were ordered to stop here in Monterey Bay for 40 days between 1777 and 1794, as they traveled between Manila and Acapulco.  The branchless trunks of the Monterey pine trees that dominated the coastline here were used to mend the masts of the galleons.   
 


Spanish Galleon by Cornelis Verbeeck
 (National Gallery of Art Washington, D.C)

At the end of this parking area there is a boardwalk path that leads back to the Inn at Spanish Bay. It meanders through the dunes along the beautiful coastline. If you are interested in exploring this area, I have put a map of the area below. 



Boardwalk to Inn at Spanish Bay

When you have finished exploring the area around Spanish Bay Beach, drive to the end of the parking lot, make a U-turn and drive back to the entrance. Then turn right back onto the 17-Mile Drive.  

Continue straight.  The ocean will be on your right and the Monterey Peninsula Country Club Dunes golf course will be on your left.  


Follow the arrows to the right to stay on 17-Mile Drive

Watch for the sign for the Restless Sea Stop 4.  Turn right into this parking area and park for a moment. We will be parking here to explore both the Restless Sea and Point Joe, stops 4 and 5 on your Pebble Beach map.  


The Restless Sea is considered one of the most turbulent spots along this section of coastline. Why is the sea so restless here? There is an interpretive plaque at this stop that helps to explain this phenomenon.  


Some say ocean currents collide here to create the restless nature of the current. But it is more likely submerged rocks that cause the waves to break further from shore, making the sea look restless, hence the name of the stop. 

 

 

Countless photographers, myself included, have attempted to capture the power of the waves as they crash against the rocks and coastline.  But nothing quite compares to just standing here, physically watching the waves, feeling the ocean mist, and listening the roar of the surf.  Explore the area, but stay back from the waters edge.


A short walking path connects the Restless Sea stop to Point Joe. Now you are probably wondering, who is Joe?  Well Joe lived in a driftwood home near this spot in the early 1900s, and made his living selling shells to anyone who happened by. 

Steamer St. Paul stranded on the rocks at Point Joe (1896)
 (photograph by Arthur Bolton - Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary)

But Point Joe, being right off the Restless Sea, is also known for shipwrecks, when mariners mistook this area as the entrance to Monterey Bay and ended up crashing on the rocks. Heavy fog also made navigation problematic.

On August 8, 1896 the passenger cargo steamer St. Paul was enroute from San Simeon to San Francisco.  Heavy fog forced her into the rocks. All passengers and crew were able to make it to shore on life boats but most of the cargo of grain, butter, cheese and cattle were lost at sea. 


S.S. Celia is stranded at Point Joe. Courtesy of Robert Schwemmer Maritime Library
(Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary


August 28, 1906 the S.S. Celia also succumbed to the fog.  It was enroute from Santa Cruz to Monterey with 160,000 board feet of lumber.  Passengers and crew took lifeboats, but the cargo and ship were a complete loss.  Pieces of both the St. Paul and the S.S. Celia lie on the floor of the bay here and are frequently enjoyed by scuba divers.  

 
Today Point Joe overlooks the 14th tee on the Monterey Peninsula Country Club Dunes course. Across the street are the 13th and 15th hole of the Dunes course.   


ProVisualizer.com Dunes 

The Monterey Peninsula Country Club (MPCC) has two 18 hole golf courses in Pebble Beach, the Dunes and the Shore.  On January 19, 1925 Samuel Morse set aside four hundred acres for the Monterey Peninsula Country Club.  Morse was elected president of the club and a year later the MPCC opened the 18 hole Dunes golf course.  It would be thirty-three more years before the MPCC opened their second planned golf course for this area, the Shore course.  The land along the fairways of these courses was subdivided into lots of a quarter-acre to three acres.  They were sold for $1,500 and included membership to the club.  

The Dunes course is longer and considered more difficult than the Shore course.  The Dunes starts inland and weaves through the pine forest to the coast with hole #14 positioned on the edge of the Pacific tucked into granite boulders.   


#14th tee MPCC Dunes

The MPCC courses are private courses, so you are not able to go past the sign for the tee, but you might get lucky and watch a member tee off. 



Take some time, if you like to get out of your car and explore both stops. Make sure to look out to sea to the rocks where you will find the Brant's Cormorants who like to hang out there.


Also check out the informational panels that explain other interesting tidbits, like did you know that ice plant is non-native to the area? 

 
When you are finished taking in the beauty of this stop, exit the parking area and turn right back on to 17-Mile Drive.  We are 1/2 mile from our next turn out, China Rock.  

Chinese immigrants settled this area between 1850 and 1912. They came initially to harvest abalone. The abalone rush of 1853 found over 500 Chinese fishermen working the area. By 1856 they had removed much of the easy to harvest abalone. While some Chinese families moved on, others stayed here on the coast homesteading fishing villages.  


Jung family shell stand at Stillwater Cove c. 1890
(Chinese Gold: The Chinese in the Monterey Bay Region by Sandy Lydon, page 145) 

Those that stayed behind expanded their catch to rock fish, sharks, cod, halibut, mackerel and flounder. 


Detail of U.S. Coast Survey Map for Pescadero Point, 1876 with Chinese Fishery and house marked David Jacks. (Chinese Gold: The Chinese in the Monterey Bay Region by Sandy Lydon, page 143) 

The first documented Chinese fishing village in Pebble Beach was an 1868 lease signed between David Jacks and the China Hop Company.   The lease stipulated the China Hop Company pay Jacks $6 and two dozen abalone monthly.  


Chinese Fishing Village along 17-Mile Drive near Stillwater Cove c. 1890 (Chinese Gold: The Chinese in the Monterey Bay Region by Sandy Lydon, page 144) 

Slow and watch for the China Rock sign.  Turn right after the sign into the parking lot.  This is stop number  6 on your Pebble Beach map.  


At China Rock a small collection of Chinese families set up lean-to shelters which slanted into the rock.  Smoke from their cooking fires can still be seen caked into the rock.  

 Across the road from this parking area is the 8th and 9th green of the Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore Course.  
 

ProVisualizer.com Shore

Alright, it is time to get going again. Exit and turn right back on to 17-Mile Drive. You will be driving alongside the Shore Course. 


The Shore Course was designed by Bob E. Baldock and Jack Neville in 1959. In 2003, Mike Strantz was hired to redesign the course layout. He stated, "I wanted to shape the course to sweep with the natural terrain - the rocks, the trees and grasses, the ocean.  I dreamed that the course would appear to dance among the cypress trees on this coastline forever." Those who play this course believe Strantz achieved his goal. 


The MPCC Shore course will be one of the three exceptional courses where professionals and celebrities compete during the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2023. Its proximity to the open ocean means wind is a major factor when playing this course. The par-3 11th is the signature hole.  It features an elevated tee that sits on a natural granite rock outcropping overlooking the green and costal vistas beyond.



11th (lower) tee MPCC Shore (along Ocean Road)

Slow and turn right into this unmarked turnout and park for a moment.  Across the street from this turnout is Ocean Road. If you were to walk 1 mile up Ocean Road you would come to the tee for the signature hole of the MPCC Shore course, the par-3 11th.  



Though the course is private, the street is public, so if you have any interest in visiting this area, this is the time to do it. Otherwise exit this turnout and turn right back onto 17-Mile Drive. Our next stop, Bird Rock, is in less than 1/4 mile. 


7th green MPCC Shore  

As you drive, the back nine of the MPCC Shore course will be on your left.  Before this course was built this was a popular stop for equestrian hunt and steeplechase competitions.  It also had a military purpose. During the early years of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, the grounds keepers had a difficult time keeping the grass well groomed.  So they set up a trade with the 11th U.S. Cavalry division that was stationed at the Monterey Presidio from 1919 to 1940.  The Cavalry allowed the grounds keepers to clean out the Presidio stables and use the manure to fertilize the turf.  In exchange the Cavalry was allowed to use the beach along this stretch of coast as a riding and saber practice area. 


Slow and turn right into the Bird Rock Vista Point and park for a moment.   This is number 7 on your Pebble Beach Map. 


As you exit your car to explore this stop you will probably be hit by the sound of the noisy sea lions that have taken to hanging out at this spot.  The large rock off shore also attracts cormorants, gulls and pelicans.  It may have a "snow-capped" look to it, that is bird excrement, or what is commonly known as bird poop.   Up until the 1930s the poop was allowed to accumulate. And the birds loved it! Then someone in park maintenance got the bright idea to harvest the poop for fertilizer.  



As soon as this harvesting began to happen on a regular basis, the sea lions, who had their own rock just south of here, began moving in.  Now the birds and sea lions live harmoniously together, for the most part.  


During the spring the western gull and Brandt's Cormorant will build nests here. During the summer the Brown pelican will arrive and share space on the rock.  In August and September those noisy male sea lions head back to the rock after mating season along the southern coast.  Occasionally you might catch a glimpse of a sea otter.  



From November through March, migrating grey whales will pass along this coast.  Keep a sharp eye out for their flukes, commonly known as their tails, as they dive deep for food.  From April to December the Humpback and Blue whales will migrate through these waters.  




Use the pay-telescopes here at this stop to get a close up view of the sea lions hoisting their 600 pound bodies up the side of Bird Rock for some sun. I find it an amazing feat. 





As you exit this parking area turn right back onto the 17-Mile Drive. In less than .2 mile, make a right into the Seal Rock Vista Point, which is s
top 8 on your Pebble Beach map.


As you look out to sea you will look over Seal Beach to Seal Rock. I don't find it nearly as exciting as Bird Rock. But if you are interested there is a wooden staircase down to the beach.

 

The reason I stopped you here is across the highway. Do you see the house in the distance with the multicolored roof? The picture below is a close up of the house.  


This is Casita de Lemos, but locals call it the Gingerbread House. It was built between 1941 and 1944 by Professor Pedro de Lemos in the Storybook-style. To my knowledge  it is the only Storybook-style home in Pebble Beach, which is why it really stands out. 


Lemos was a painter, architect, illustrator, lecturer and longtime director of the Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery, now known as the Stanford Art Gallery. Lemos never finished building his home and over the years it fell into disrepair.  It was acquired by the Pebble Beach Company in 1991, and  restored. That high-pitched roof may look like tile, but it is actually poured concrete, hand formed to create the appearance of individually colored tiles. 

Professor de Lemos (1882-1954)
 (Photograph by 
Johan Hagemeyer - Wikipedia)

Lemos also has ties to Carmel-by-the-Sea. Besides being a founding member of the Carmel Art Association, Lemos designed the Storybook-style cottage on Dolores Street near 7th Avenue in 1929. He designed it after Carmel's iconic Tuck Box which resides next door. Over the years this little cottage next to the Tuck Box was used as a garden shop, jam shop, wine room, and today, well it is Carmel Groomers Pet Salon. 


If you are really adventurous and would like a closer look at the Gingerbread house, there is a boardwalk path directly across the highway from this parking area. Just be careful crossing the highway if you decide you want a closer look. 

When you are ready to continue, exit and turn right on to 17-Mile Drive then take the second left onto Spyglass Hill Road. We are on our way to the Spyglass Hill golf course.  

Spyglass Hill Golf Course

 

As you continue along Spyglass Hill Road. You will be driving between the holes of the Spyglass Hill front 9. 

ProVisualizer.com Spyglass Hill 

According to Pebble Beach lore, writer Robert Louis Stevenson traversed the dunes that would years later become Spyglass Hills Golf course during his short stay in Monterey. 


Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
(Photo by Henry Walter Barnett 1893 Wikipedia

Stevenson was born in 1850 in Edinburgh.  He met Mrs. Fanny Osbourne in Paris in 1876, fell in love and followed her to Monterey in 1879 where she had gone to reconcile with her husband.  Stevenson would eventually win the love of Fanny, but his total time in Monterey was only four months.  It is said that the fog covered sand dunes inspired him to write the novel Treasure Island in 1881. Whether this area was the muse for Stevenson's novel or not, is still up for debate. But it makes for a nice story.



Turn left onto Stevenson Drive.  Then make a right into the parking area for Spyglass Hill Golf course and park for a moment. 


This magnificent course was designed by British–American golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. in 1966. Jones Sr., was also the father of Jones Jr. who designed Poppy Hills and Spanish Bay. Jones, Sr. designed or re-designed more than 500 golf courses during the course of his career. 

This course was originally called the Pebble Beach Pines Golf Club. Yet Samuel Morse was intrigued by the legend of Robert Louis Stevenson roaming the hills of these sandy dunes and renamed the course, Spyglass Hill. Many of the holes have also been named with a Treasure Island theme. On the front nine there are the Billy Bones, the Black Spot and the Blind Pew. On the back nine one will find the Captain Flint, Long John Silver, and the novels protagonist, Jim Hawkins. One year after Spyglass opened in 1966 it joined the rotation on the Crosby Pro-Am Clambake. It continues to be featured on the AT&T Pro-Am. 


Take some time here if you like to explore the grounds. Behind the parking lot you will find the 9th tee and Spyglass Grill. Though it doesn't count toward gate fee reimbursement, the BBQ Pulled Pork Bogey Hoagie or Eagle Quarter-Pounder are both nice sharable snack options.  

When you are ready we are going to return to 17-Mile Drive the way we arrived. Exit the parking lot and turn left then make a quick right onto Spyglass Hill Road, the same way you came in.



At the stop sign ahead, turn left back onto the 17-Mile Drive.  Once we are back on the 17-Mile Drive we will pass the Fan Shell House designed by Mark Mills in 1972.  

Born in 1921, Mark Mills was an American architect who apprenticed for Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West from 1944 to 1948.  It was here that Mills adapted Wright's ideas using free-form organic design.  Mills came to Carmel in the 1950s to help with the construction of Mrs. Clinton Walker's house on Scenic.  Mrs. Walker's house was the only home in Carmel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  

Mrs. Clinton Walker House (Scenic Road, Carmel, CA - Frank Lloyd Wright) 

Mrs. Walker was so impressed with Mills' work that she offered him the opportunity to plan and build two more houses in Carmel.  They are both located side by side on Mission Street, near Rio Road.  Mark Mills spent 52 years working in Carmel. He died in 2007.


            Banyan Hideaway (Mission Street, Carmel, CA - Mark Mills)  


Watch on your left for the Fan Shell house. It features a distinctive scalloped roofline, similar to the lip of a seashell and floor to ceiling windows.  


Fan Shell House designed by Mark Mills 

After you pass the Fan Shell house, turn left onto Signal Hill Road.  Continue to the end of the road.  

We are on our way to view the Arthur Connell House at 1170 Signal Road. 
The last time I was there in 2022 the address had been removed from the front of the house. 


Connell house designed by Richard Neutra

The Arthur Connell house was built in 1958 by architect Richard Neutra and is an extremely rare example of the International-style in Pebble Beach.  


Richard Neutra (1892 - 1970) Wikipedia 

Richard Neutra was an Austrian-American architect.  He spent the majority of his career in Southern California and was considered an important modernist architect.  

Neutra designed this home for commercial photographer Arthur Connell and his family.  Connell was a good friend of Brett Weston, son of one of the masters of 20th century photography, Edward Weston.  The Connell's were active in the Monterey Peninsula arts community for 15 years before selling the house and moving abroad.  


In 2004 the home was purchased by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Massy Mehdipur. Her plan was to tear down the house and built a bigger home.  Then the fireworks started. Mehdipur, who claimed that when she purchased the home, she did not know that it was designed by Neutra submitted plans for a demo and new construction, neighbors got up in arms, and historic preservationists became involved. Years went by, Mehdipur rented out the home and it fell into disrepair. 

Mehdipur may have hoped that this would allow for her to demo the home, but alas this was not to be.  A structural engineer hired by Mehdipour claimed that vandals must have sawed through the structural support and beams of the building making it unsalvageable.  Monterey county required Mehdipur to shore up the building and hire a guard to protect it.  In 2014 the home became the second property listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Pebble Beach. 

In 2019 an environmental impact report concluded that the Neutra house should be restored as currently it is one of only thirteen of Neutra's twenty extant projects in Northern California that have retained some sort of architectural integrity.  Today the jury is still out and the home remains in disrepair.   If you would like to read more about this property and its Environmental Impact Analysis, visit this resource


Back of the Fan Shell House

Follow  Signal Hill Road back to 17-Mile Drive and turn left.  You will have a nice view of the back of the Fan Shell house.  Our next stop is in less than a mile, Fanshell Overlook. 

The last time I took this drive I happened by an equestrian tour being given by the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center.  


With more than 27 miles of marked equestrian trails that run deep in the beautiful Del Monte Forest, Pebble Beach Equestrian Center offers a memorable horseback riding experience.  Including this one, near Fan Beach.  We will be visiting the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center later on this tour.  

As you continue along the 17-Mile Drive, ahead and to your right is Fanshell Beach.  This is an irresistible spot for harbor seals, who return here each spring from April to June for pupping season. If the seals are beached there will be a fence along the highway to keep people away.  Straight ahead is the Cypress Point golf course.  I will tell you more about the course later on the tour.  


Fanshell Beach 

Turn right into the parking area for Fanshell Beach Overlook ahead on your right. This will be stop number 9 on your Pebble Beach map. 



If you do arrive here during pupping season from April through June, this is the best spot for observing the moms and their pups.


Harbor Seals (Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary - photo by Dan Linehan) 

Harbor seals are one of the most common marine mammals here in Monterey Bay. They have spotted coats in a variety of shades ranging from silvery-gray to dark brown. They are smaller than the California sea lions you saw at Bird Rock.  

Cove at Fanshell Beach 

You might notice harbor seal pups all alone on the beach. They have not been abandoned, their moms are out in the ocean foraging for food to sustain them while nursing. Within three to four weeks of birth, the harbor seal pups are weaned and are then left to fend for themselves. This is the most challenging time for the new pup as they must learn to catch food for themselves, by going back and forth to the sea. This enclosed cove gives them a pretty good chance of survival. 

When you are finished taking in the view, exit and turn right back onto 17-Mile Drive. You will be driving between holes of the Cypress Point Golf Course.   This road is as far west at 17-Mile Drive will take us.  It used to go out a bit farther around Cypress Point, but this is now the location of the par-3 No. 16 at Cypress Point.  


ProVisualizer.com Cypress Point 


Crosswalk leads to the last 4 holes on the Cypress Point course. 




As you come around the point, the crosswalk ahead is for golfers on their way to one of the most famous holes on the course, sitting on the edge of the jagged Pacific coastline, the #15, a par-3, is only 143 yards.  A short shot over a cove onto the green, puts you near the hole which is surrounded by 6 bunkers.  

The following two photos by JoAnne Dost are available at Gallery Sur on 6th Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea.   We visit Gallery Sur on our VoiceMap Carmel-by-the-Sea's Bohemian Art Scene walking tour. 


Cypress Point 15th Hole (Photo by by JoAnne Dost)

Cypress Point Holes 15, 16 and 17 (Photo by by JoAnne Dost)

Continue driving and up ahead watch for the tall hedge on your right.  This hedge actually hides the tee shot for hole #1 at Cypress Point.  Players drive their ball over the 17-Mile Drive to the hole 417 yards away.  Just past the hedge you will get a glimpse of the club house to this private club.  The driveway is also marked private.  



Hedge Covering Hole #1 tee Cypress Point 


Designed in 1928 by Alister Mackenzie, the front nine meander through the coastal dunes into the Del Monte forest then the back nine reemerges to the rocky coastline for some visually stunning finishing holes.

When asked about the design of Cypress Point in 1932 Alister Mackenzie responded, “I do not expect anyone will ever have the opportunity of constructing another course like Cypress Point as I do not suppose anywhere in the world is there such a glorious combination of rocky coast, sandy dunes, pine woods, and cypress trees.”   

Cypress Point is probably one of the most exclusive golf courses in the world, as it is virtually impossible to play a round here unless you are invited by a member.  I had the opportunity to watch the pros play here during the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am until 1990 when Cypress Point was removed from tournament rotation.  If you want to see every hole on this course by drone, take at the look at the video imbedded in this article from Golf Digest, December 2021.



Just past the hedge you will see arrows in the road pointing right.  Follow the road to the right to stay on the 17-Mile Drive. Continue through the majestic grove of Monterey cypress. These cypress trees are found naturally in only in two places.  Here in Del Monte Forest and just south of Carmel in Point Lobos State Reserve. If you are interested in touring Point Lobos, Our California Coast Driving Tour from Carmel and Point Lobos to Big Sur is a great option. 

These trees can live up to 300 years.  Their gnarled shapes sculpted by the wind have been planted widely elsewhere, but they prefer the harsh conditions along this coast, especially the cool moist summers, and sea fog.   




Continue slowly.  Watch for a sign on your right pointing right to Cypress Point Lookout.  Then continue through a wooden gate into a parking area.  Cypress Point Lookout is stop 10 on your Pebble Beach map. 



Take some time to enjoy the views up the coast here, they are spectacular.
Unfortunately views of Cypress Point Golf Course have been blocked off. 


When you are ready, exit the parking lot. Follow the road to the right to return to the 17-Mile Drive. We are on our way to Crocker Grove, a 13 acre nature preserve. 


Ahead on your left is the parking area for Crocker Grove. Pull off into the parking area and stop for a moment.  Crocker Grove is number 11 on the Pebble Beach map.

In this natural preserve you will find the largest Monterey cypress trees in existence. They are also the oldest, with some nearly 300 years old.  This grove gets its name from Charles Crocker, the railroad baron who, as I stated before, was responsible for building the Hotel Del Monte as well as the original 17-Mile Drive in 1881. 






Once you are ready to continue, carefully pull back out onto the highway and continue in the direction you were previously headed. Our next stop is in less than one mile, the iconic Lone Cypress.


The Lone Cypress (2005) Wikipedia 

Possibly the most recognized stop on this driving tour, and certainly the most photographed, the Lone Cypress has survived on this rocky perch for more than 250 years. Though it has had a bit of help. In 1941 a retaining wall was constructed around its base. In 1948 cables were installed to ensure its upright position.  In 1969, the tree was fenced off to the public in order to protect its roots. In 1984, an unknown arsonist attempted to set fire to the tree. The tree survived with minor fire scarring. And in 2019 a wind storm took off one of its limbs. So it looks a bit different than it did in the past, though it is no less impressive.  


Slow and pull into the parking area on your right for the Lone Cypress. The Lone Cypress is stop 12 on the Pebble Beach map. If you are interested, there is a set of stairs at this stop that will take you down closer to the tree. 






Continue along the 17-Mile Drive.  Over the course of the next 1/2 mile if you look off to your right you will get a glimpse of a few homes that were built on the edge of the cliff overlooking the ocean.  Two of these were built in 1925.  I will point them out.  


Tobin Clark (Villa Felice) house under construction
(Monterey County Planning Department Collections)

As you drive along this section, watch for the stone wall, this is 3252 17-Mile Drive.  Over this wall you may get a glimpse of the Mediterranean Revival-style Villa Felice. 


It was designed by San Francisco architect firm Bakewell and Brown and  built in 1925 for Celia Tobin (1875-1965) and her first husband, copper king heir Charles Clark (1871-1931).  Celia's father was a San Francisco financier and founder of the Hibernia Bank.  



This home is currently (2022) undergoing renovations with a design by Jun A. Sillano and construction by Harvest Construction.  




Next door is Villa Eden Del Mar.  This Spanish Eclectic-style homes was also built in 1925.  






Behind the white stucco wall Villa Eden Del Mar is easily visible from the road. This white stucco Spanish eclectic-style home with tile roof was designed by architect George Washington Smith. It was a gift from gold mining entrepreneur William Bowers Bourn II to his daughter Maud Bowers Bourn and son-in-law Arthur Rose Vincent.  

As you continue driving, stay to the right.  When the road forks veer right to stay on 17-Mile Drive.  


Gate for Crocker-Irwin Mansion



Right before you get to the next stop, Ghost Tree, you will pass a stone wall with a wooden gate.  This is 3283 17-Mile Drive and the location of the historic Crocker-Irwin Mansion.  Designed by Santa Barbara architect George Washington Smith and completed in 1929, this Byzantine-style home was built for Helene Irwin (1887-1966). 

This home is also commonly called the Crocker Mansion, yet no Crocker actually ever lived in the home.  Let me explain.  Helene Irwin was the daughter of William G. Irwin (1843-1914) who made his fortune in sugar.  In fact at one time William owned the entire island of Lanai.  In 1909 he sold his empire in Hawaii and moved the family to San Francisco.  It was here that Helene met Charles Templeton Crocker (1884-1948).  Templeton was the eldest son of Charles Frederick Crocker (1854-1897) and grandson of, you guessed it, Charles Crocker (1822-1888).  Templeton also happened to be a classmate of Samuel Morse at Yale in 1905, so there are a lot of Pebble Beach connections here. 

Helene and Templeton married in 1911.  Both had significant financial assets on their own. But it was Helene who purchased the lot  in 1923 for $20,000.  With this new community being developed in Del Monte Forest for the rich and famous, Helene and Templeton wanted to be a part of it.  They held a big party at the site of their new property just north of Pescadero Point in 1926 to lay the cornerstone.  The couple then went back to their home in Hillsborough, while three dozen craftsmen labored on every detail of their palatial coastal estate.  

Crocker-Irwin Mansion (Del Monte Forest New 2012)


Helene and Templeton's romance waned and they divorced in 1928.  Helene traveled to the east coast and met Paul I. Fagan (1893 - 1960). Paul was a successful import and export entrepreneur. Helene and Paul fell in love and married March 15, 1929.  After the newlyweds returned to California, they purchased a home in Hillsborough and lived there while they waited for their Pebble Beach getaway to be finished later that year. The total price tag on Helene and Paul's castle in Pebble, $2.1 million.  So you see no Crocker actually ever lived in the home when it was completed.  



Cypress "Ghost Tree"

Just after the gate to this mansion is the parking area for Ghost Tree at Pescadero Point.  This will be stop 13 on your Pebble Beach map.  Pescadero Point, which was a frequent fishing location for the Ramsien Native American's, was named by the Spanish explorers Pescadero which means fishing place.  


Walk over to the Ghost Tree, the trunk has been bleached white from the wind.  From this area you should be able to get a glimpse of the Crocker Irwin Mansion.  

Walking back over to the over side of this stop, or Pescadero Point, look south to see views of Carmel Bay, Stillwater Cove, and Point Lobos.   


Alight, our next stop is in less than 1 mile, The Pebble Beach Equestrian Center. As you drive, I will tell you the story of the Del Monte Trophy, an auto road race held from 1950 to 1956 in Pebble Beach.  

1953 Road Race (Game and Gossip March 1954)


This race, paired with a car show called the Concourse d'Elegance, was managed by the Sports Car Club of America. The route traveled 2.1 miles on paved and dirt sections of road around the Equestrian Center. In the Del Monte Trophy road race, the Jaguar XK120 faced off with the Aardvark, Morgan Roadster, and Ferrari Sport Spider on the twisty narrow roads, through tall Cypress trees, and around sharp hair-pin turns.  During the Del Monte Trophy race, accidents were scarce and relatively uneventful. Until 1956 when Ernie McAfee fatally slammed his Ferrari into a cypress tree. Although the Concourse car show event continues to this day, this was the end of the Del Monte Trophy race.



Continue along the 17-Mile Drive, at the stop sign, do not follow the arrows to the right, but 
instead continue straight across the intersection onto Stevenson Drive. Continue along Stevenson and at the stop sign, veer left onto Alva Lane. Then continue along Alva.
  



At the next stop sign, turn right onto Portola Road. As you drive the Equestrian Center grounds will be to your left.  




Turn left into the Equestrian Center parking lot and park out in front of the barn. There is a welcome sign in front.  This is stop 21 on your Pebble Beach map.  



In 1920, Samuel Morse cleared a field near the Equestrian Center for an airstrip to be used by his resort visitors. Many of the early Pebble Beach residents were into the newest fad, aviation, and flew their own small planes. At the same time there was a growing number of homeowners who needed boarding stables for their horses. In 1924, Morse had a small stable built near the airfield. 

The airfield is gone but the equestrian center has grown. There are currently about 90 horses at the stables, with half being privately owned and the others used for lessons and trail excursions. If you are interested in taking one of these guided tours, you may choose a coast or forest ride, or create your own adventure. Tours range from $50 to $300. 



You will need to have a reservation to explore the grounds here at the Equestrian Center. So when you are ready, exit the parking area and turn left back onto Portola Road. To your right is the Peter Hay 9-hole golf course.
 


For 12 years, the area to your left was the site of the Lexus Grand Tasting Tent for Pebble Beach Food and Wine a premier epicurean event. Canceled in 2020 due to COVID and has not returned. We had the opportunity to cover this event in 2017.  It was an experience we will not soon forget. 


GuyFieri (Hunt & Ryde Wines) and his winemaker Guy Davis (Davis Family Vineyards)


Zacapa Signature Old Fashioned


Glass of bubbly as the sun sets over Inn at Spanish Bay at PBFW 2017

At the stop sign, turn right to stay on Portola Road.  We are on our way to the Pebble Beach Golf Academy & Practice Facility which opened in 2014.  Up ahead make the next right (this is Ondulado Road but it is not marked), then make an immediate right into the Golf Academy Driveway.  The outdoor driving range is reserved for Pebble Beach resort guests, but the indoor instruction studios are open to the public. 






Park for a moment in this parking lot at the Pebble Beach Golf Academy. Take notice of the bronze statue at the entrance to the lot. This 15-foot bronze encompasses the energy of the golf swing. Titled Momentum, it was created by Richard MacDonald in 2000 for the U.S. Open that was held at the Pebble Beach Golf Links that year. MacDonald is considered by many to be the world’s preeminent living figurative sculpture artist. The statue is inscribed with the first 100 winners of the U.S. Open, culminating with the victory of Tiger Woods in 2000.  Tiger would go on to win the U.S. Open two more times, once in 2002 and again in 2008.  



There are three instructional studios open to the public at the Golf Academy. One is geared to help improve your putting skills, another to perfectly fit your clubs, and lastly one uses state-of-the-art technology to analyze your full swing for a better long game. If you are interested in making an appointment for any of these instructional opportunities, just pop into the lobby, someone will be happy to assist you with a reservation.


Outdoor Range 

Time to continue through this circular driveway, exit and turn back onto Ondulado Road. Then turn left at the next corner onto Stevenson Drive. We are on our way to the Pebble Beach Resort and Golf Links. 

At the stop sign turn left onto Alva Lane. Then left onto Cypress Drive and left into the Pebble Beach Market Parking lot.  



Park here near the Pebble Beach Market. We will be using this as home base for visiting the Pebble Beach Lodge, Visitors Center, and Golf Links, which are stops 14 and 15 on your Pebble Beach map.

If this parking lot is full there is additional parking behind the market and near the Visitor Center. Before you get out and explore this area, take a look at the map below.



#1 is the Pebble Beach Market with parking between the market and the post office.   The first place you will want to visit is #2 on this map, the Pebble Beach Visitor Center.



At this center you will learn the rich history of Pebble Beach from its early days as a simple stopping point on a scenic carriage ride, to its emergence as the Golf Capital of the World. There is a public restroom at the Visitor Center a well as one near the Pebble Beach shops. 







From here cross the street to #3 on this map which is the Pebble Beach Lodge, shops and numerous world class restaurants.  A dining tab of $35 at any of these will validate reimbursement of your Pebble Beach gate fees. 



Samuel Morse contracted Jack Neville and Douglas Grant to design the golf course at Pebble Beach in 1916. This course was ready for trail play in April 1918. At the same time, the 17-Mile Drive was moved to be entirely inside the gates of Pebble Beach.  Tolls were set at .25 cents for motorcycles and 2-3 seat autos and .50 cents for 4 - 6 seat autos.   

Bust of Samuel Morse

In his book Pebble Beach Golf Links: The Official History, author Neal Hotelling writes:  "The rocky coastline in 1916 was also scattered with sand dunes.  To some extent these could be incorporated as bunkers, but some adaptation was necessary.  However, the coastal meadow was for the most part absent of trees so visualization of the terrain was not a problem.  The existing terrain, in fact, formed the focus of the design.  Not only did they not have to clear, they did minimal grading during the construction of the course.  The most difficult challenge was the installation of an underground irrigation system that would help maintain the course from tee to green during the long dry periods between the winter rains...Pebble Beach became the first championship course in the country to be constructed with underground irrigation from tee to green."  (3)


ProVisualizer.com Pebble 

Pebble Beach Golf Course is open to the public.  At the time of this writing the fee for a non-resort guest is $645.  If you are a resort guest the green fee is $595. If you don't have time to play a round, you can go down to the first hole and watch the golfers tee off, or head down to the lawn behind the 18th green and catch them finishing up their day.   


Practice Green front of Lodge




 
The Lodge at Pebble Beach dates to 1908 when San Mateo architect Lewis P. Hobart was hired by the PIC to design the building.  The rustic log-cabin style was built of timbers cut from the nearby forest and opened in 1909. Its main purpose was to serve meals to travelers taking the carriage ride along the 17-Mile Drive. 


The Pebble Beach Lodge, c 1908 (Bancroft Library, U.C. Berkeley via Calisphere)

The Pebble Beach Lodge, c 1912 (Bancroft Library, U.C. Berkeley via Calisphere)

Lodge at Pebble Beach c 1915 (Berkeley Library Digital Collection

In December 1917 the lodge burned to the ground.  Its replacement didn't open until 1919, when Hobart worked with architect Clarence A. Tantau to create a luxurious multi-story hotel with a Roman plunge pool. 

Pebble Beach Lodge c. 1920 (Calisphere



Be sure to take some time to visit this area, enjoy a drink, appetizer or a special meal.  When you visit the Lodge, make sure to take the stairs off the hotel lobby down to The Bench restaurant. 



The walkway around the patio of the Bench is open to the public and will take you out to the 18th green and stunning bay views.  This is sacred ground for golfers but is also a place which will generate lifelong memories for any visitor. Maybe a nice background for a Christmas Card?





When you are ready exit the parking area and turn left onto Cypress Drive. 


Coming up on your left is the Peter Hay 9-hole course, designed by professional golfer Peter Hay in 1957 and redesigned in 2021 by Tiger Woods. Here all skill levels may enjoy a round of golf together. Current green fees are $65. 


Hay Place Restaurant at The Hay


Veer to your right and follow arrow pointing right toward Highway 1 and Carmel. At the stop sign turn right to continue along 17-Mile Drive. 

In less than one mile we will be turning right and heading toward  the coast for one last stop, a coastal viewpoint for Stillwater Cove. Before we get there, we will be driving between Holes 2 and 3 of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, past the Pebble Beach Tennis courts and by Casa Palermo Inn and Spa. Casa Palermo was originally built around 1927 as a private residence off the 1st Hole of the Pebble Beach Golf Links. Today this Mediterranean-style villa is a luxury hotel and spa.


Follow the signs for Casa Palermo and Coastal Access. Then turn right ahead. The sign will read Hotel Guests, Casa Palermo, The Lodge and Coastal Access.  

Continue straight about 1/2 mile. This part of the road is a 15 mile per hour zone as you are on resort property. On your right and left will be holes for the Pebble Beach Golf Links. You may also notice a number of luxury estates built on the golf course. Some of these, such as Casa Palermo date back to the 1920's.  




Just past the Guard Shack you will come to Casa Palermo Inn and Spa. We are on our way to our last stop, the Coastal Access near Stillwater Cove, where you will have views of holes 17 and 18 of Pebble Beach Golf Links as well as stunning bay views.  


Casa Palermo Spa


At the stop sign, turn left onto Cypress Drive toward the Coastal Access and Beach Club.  Continue for .2 miles, past driveways to private residences. Before you enter the Tennis and Beach Club, which is private and for members only, turn right into a parking area. There will be a high hedge on one side of this narrow lot. This is the parking for coastal access. Turn right into this narrow lot and park.


If you like, get out of your car here. You will be rewarded with stunning views of the 18th tee, Stillwater Cove as well as Point Lobos in the distance.




Once you are finished, drive to the end of this narrow lot and make a U-turn and take the very narrow road back to the road you came in on.  Turn left and proceed back in the direction from which you arrived.  

At the stop sign turn right back onto Palermo Way as we make our way back to the 17-Mile Drive.  We are about 1 mile for the Carmel Gate of Pebble Beach. 

While you drive I will finish the story of the history of Pebble Beach. 

Samuel Morse died in 1969. In 1977, his Del Monte Properties Company was reincorporated as the Pebble Beach Corporation. Twentieth Century-Fox used its profits from its film Star Wars to buy the Pebble Beach Corporation in 1979. In 1981, American industrialists, Marvin Davis purchased Twentieth Century-Fox which included the Pebble Beach Corporation. In 1990 Davis sold the Pebble Beach Company to  Japanese businessman, Minoru Isutani, who later sold the company to the Taiheiyo Golf Club in 1992.  

In 1999, former Major League Baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth assembled a high-powered group of investors to take Pebble Beach permanently off the market. This group included actor and director Clint Eastwood, the late, great Arnold Palmer, and a former United Airlines chief executive, Richard Ferris. Together, they amassed an $820 million offer, which was lower than the other figures offered for the land. It was accepted! Over the years, this ownership group has sold limited partnership interests, with the explicit understanding that the Pebble Beach Company would never again be sold to another ownership group. 
 
Alright that brings up to present day Pebble Beach.  Follow the road to the right toward Carmel and continue past the Carmel Gate.  We are on our way to Carmel-by-the Sea where we end this driving tour.

At the stop sign turn right onto San Antonio toward Ocean Avenue and Carmel-by-the-Sea. When you come to the end of this block you may turn right to visit Carmel Beach or left to drive up Ocean Avenue and visit downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea. We have VoiceMap walking tours for both areas listed under Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea.   

Until next time, Happy Adventures!

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Pictures and video are by L.A. Momboisse unless listed otherwise. 

(1)  Antonio de la Ascension and Henry R Wagner, “Spanish Voyages to the Northwest Coast in the Sixteenth Century. Chapter XI: Father Antonio de la Ascension’s Account of the Voyage of Sebastian Vizcaino,” in California Historical Society Quarterly 7, no. 4 (December 1928): 358.

(2) Mission San Carlos Borromeo by Fr Zephyrin Engelhardt page 15

(3) Pebble Beach Golf Links:  The Official History by Neal Hotelling page 35 - 36.



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