Driving Tour of Pebble Beach 17-Mile Drive (Highway 1 Gate to Carmel Gate)
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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 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. After the Guard Gate, take the first right and continue up the hill along Sunridge Road.
At the Highway 1 Gate, stay to the right, pay your entrance fee, and get a map.
After the Guard Gate, take the first right and continue up the hill along Sunridge Road.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Once you are finished exploring the area around Poppy Hills, exit the parking lot and turn left back on to Lopez.
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.
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.
Continue past Olivida Penas along Majella Road. This road was named after nearby Lake Majella.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
and that is Huey Lewis on the left
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.
Slow and turn right ahead following the sign pointing right toward 17-Mile Drive and Beach and Picnic Areas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Those that stayed behind expanded their catch to rock fish, sharks, cod, halibut, mackerel and flounder.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 stop 8 on your Pebble Beach map.
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.
(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.
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
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)
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.
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.
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. 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)
The last time I was there in 2022 the address had been removed from the front of the house.
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.
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.
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)
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
Cypress Point Holes 15, 16 and 17 (Photo by by JoAnne Dost)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At the stop sign turn left onto Alva Lane. Then left onto Cypress Drive and left into the Pebble Beach Market Parking lot.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.