View the homes of John Steinbeck and Ed Rickets on this driving tour of Pacific Grove California

Interested in being your own tour guide? I have over 20 published GPS audio tours with VoiceMap (Carmel, Monterey, California Gold Country, Folsom, Tahoe, Sacramento) and over 40 tours published with GPSmyCity (CarmelMontereyBig Sur, Folsom, Sacramento, Pacific Grove, Cinque TerreKotor MontenegroCopenhagen). Happy Adventures!

We start our tour in the parking lot of the CVS parking lot at 686 Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey.  Park here for a moment while I tell you about this tour.  

CVS Pharmacy 686 Lighthouse Avenue, Monterey

On this tour of Pacific Grove, you will view some of the homes of John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts and learn about their connection to Pacific Grove and Monterey.  As we zigzag through the lives of John and Ed and through the streets of Pacific Grove, you will also have the opportunity to visit the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History,  Chautauqua Hall, Monarch Habitat Sanctuary, Lovers Point, and Point Pinos Lighthouse. 

Along the way I will explain the history of the area, interject some stories about some of the people who lived here and point out interesting places to explore.  But as always, this is your adventure, so make the most of it!  

Before we set off, let me tell you about the Sardine Factory.  We will be passing it early on our driving tour. 

In 1968 restaurant managers Ted Balestrei and Bert Cutino saw great potential in this, at the time, run-down industrial area on the other-side-of-the-tracks and opened their restaurant The Sardine Factory.  

Other's saw potential in this area as well.  In 1971, actor Clint Eastwood chose the bar at the Sardine Factory for several scenes from his movie Play Misty for Me, and for over 50 years, celebrities from all over the world have frequented its dining room. 

In 1976, after operating the Sardine Factory for a few years, Ted and Bert partnered with Harry Davidian and George Zarounian to form the Foursome Development Company.  This eventually became the Cannery Row Company which was the driving force behind the purchase of the crumbled remains of the abandoned canneries that lined the streets of Cannery Row in the 1970s. 

One by one, the Foursome Development Company purchased the properties, and one by one they restored burned out and dilapidated structures into what you will see along the oceanfront today - world class hotels, wine rooms, restaurants, shopping, and the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.   

InterContinental Hotel Monterey 

Alright it is time to get going, exit the parking lot and turn right onto Prescott Avenue.  Continue through the first traffic light.  On your left you will pass the Sardine Factory.  It will be the building with the Monterey clipper boat out in front.  

Continue two more blocks to the stop sign at Cannery Row. At this stop sign if you look straight ahead you will see a bronze bust of John Steinbeck. 


John was born in 1902 in Salinas, California. With much of his 33 literary works set in central California, he is a beloved local author. The plaque on the bust is a portion of the opening paragraph from his 1945 novel Cannery Row

It reads: Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses.” 

Behind John's bronze bust you will be able to see the Cannery Row Monument. This large work which features the main characters of John Steinbeck's novel Cannery Row, Ed 'Doc' Ricketts and Madam Flora Woods, is the work of figurative sculpture artist Steven Whyte (his studio is actually in the Carmel Barnyard not Carmel-by-the-Sea as his website states).  



If you are interested in an in-depth history and tour of John Steinbeck's Cannery Row check out my blog post here.  I also have an entire VoiceMap audio driving tour devoted to this subject.  You may find that here

Turn left onto Cannery Row.  This street, originally called Ocean View Avenue,  was renamed Cannery Row in 1958 in honor of John Steinbeck's novel Cannery RowAt the time though the street was in a state of complete disrepair, the burned out buildings were vandalized over the years after the collapse of the sardine industry in the 1940s. Revitalization would not begin until the 1970's with the Cannery Row Development Company.   

Continue straight and pass under two elevated crossovers.  These crossovers connect the coast to the land side of Cannery Row. 

They date back to the district's sardine-canning days when conveyor belts  transported round metal cans filled with fish, boxed and labeled for distribution, to railroad cars.

After you pass the Intercontinental Hotel and under the second elevated crossover, look to your right.  Here you will see a ramshackle wooden one-story cabin.  It looks kind of out of place as it sits wedged between two former sardine canneries.  

      Ed Ricketts Biological Laboratories (2022)


This was the location of Ed Ricketts Pacific Biological Laboratories. John Steinbeck would fictionalize Ed as Doc and his Pacific Biological Laboratories as the Western Biological Laboratories in his novel Cannery Row

Ed was born in Chicago in 1897.  After serving in the Army Medical Corp in 1917, he studied zoology at the University of Chicago, but dropped out before earning his degree. 

In 1922, he married Nan, and a year later, along with their son Ed Jr., they moved to California. Ed and college friend Albert Galigher set up a business called the Pacific Biological Laboratories. This was a biological supply house that preserved sea anemones, starfish and mollusks that were pulled from the tide pools along Monterey Bay. Biological Laboratories provided these specimens in the form of microscope slides, to universities, museums and research institutions.

Originally located in Pacific Grove, the lab was moved to this location on Cannery Row in 1930 when Ricketts became the sole owner. 

As a result of his marital problems with Nan, Pacific Biological Laboratories also became his home.  We will be driving by the location of Ed's original laboratory later on this tour.  

John Steinbeck (1939 Wikipedia

John Steinbeck was introduced to Ed by John's wife Carol who worked at the lab, and John spent quite a bit of time there. He was greatly influenced by Ed and even wrote a non-fiction book about him called The Log from the Sea of Cortez

                              Ed Ricketts "backyard" where here kept some of his specimens

Ed Ricketts is known for his work called Between Pacific Tides.  This study of intertidal ecology, is considered to be the most complete intertidal record of the west coast of North America, and still a seminal marine biology text today. 

Chasing the low tide at night Ed would leave the lab in his old Packard, head to the coast and load his car with all kinds of animals and marine life. Back in his yard, he used concrete containers to separate and store the larger animals like sharks, rays and octopus.

Ed employed the residents of Cannery Row to find various specimens that he needed to fill orders, paying five cents each for frogs.  He also bought butterflies, crayfish and cats.  

Looking at the historic pictures of Ed's Biological Laboratories above, the downstairs housed Ricketts lab and garage.  The upstairs was where he lived for 18 years. 

Since the mid 1950’s this building has served as a meeting place for a men's group. The group purchased the building in 1956 and, in 1994, it was added to the National Register of Historic places. 

The structure is now owned by the city of Monterey and can be visited four times a year when the nonprofit Cannery Row Foundation leads public tours. I highly recommend going on one of these tours.  

Across the street from Ed's laboratory was originally a vacant lot.  Today you will find a historic reproduction of a series of typical shack homes that would have been used by cannery workers. 

During the heyday of the canneries, this vacant lot was where cannery workers would hangout, smoke cigarettes and converse with their countrymen while waiting for their cannery whistle to call them to work.

  Each cannery had a distinct whistle and every worker knew their unique call.  

Cannery Workers on Break (Mural by John Cerney

Wearing rubber boots and standing in cold water, the men and women who worked in the canneries along the row made 25 cents an hour in 1936.     


The work was smelly and dirty, but it was work. Usually the men operated and maintained the machinery while the women worked on the packing lines, filling Cannery Row’s trademark one-pound oval cans with sardines or salmon.

Though the canneries prospered through WWII, the peak season from that era  was from 1941 to 1942. That season, canneries packed over 250,000 tons of fish. After 1945, the industry’s capacity to harvest was outdistanced by the sardine’s ability to reproduce. Workers were laid off and canneries began to close. When Ed Ricketts was asked in 1947 where all the sardines had gone, he replied, “there’re in cans.”

Just past Ed's Lab is a grey cement building. This is the beginning of the structure that houses the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  

This building was originally the location of the Sea Pride Packing Corporation, a company which was entirely owned and operated by Japanese-Americans. Some of its top products were abalone, filleted and kippered sardines as well as tuna and mackerel. In 1926 and 1930, the facility was severely damaged by fire.

Sea Pride was rebuilt after the fire and the grey corrugated warehouse diagonally to your right across the street was added for cannery storage and access to the Southern Pacific Railroad Monterey Branch tracks, which were behind the warehouse. Sea Pride sold their operation to Atlantic Coast Fisheries in 1945 which continued to run until the 1950’s. In 1980, the abandoned  cannery burned to the ground.

The original warehouse, however survived, and today it is used as retail space. As of the date we made this recording, it is the home of Crepes on the Row. 

In 1916, Knut Hovden opened a cannery on the site of the main portion of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  This cannery would become the largest on the row.  In 1973 following the collapse of the sardine fishery, Hovden's began to can squid.  They finally closed there operation in 1973. Five years later a group of marine scientists, local residents and members of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation formed the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation and in 1984 the Aquarium opened its doors to visitors.  Over 10,000 on the first day! 

In 1996, the Monterey Bay Aquarium opened its largest exhibit, the million-gallon Open Sea Exhibit.  This showcases a community of tunas, sardines, hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, sunfish and more.  The Aquarium was also the location of various episodes of the HBO Miniseries, Big Little Lies. You can read more about the episodes that featured the Aquarium here

Turn left in front of the Aquarium and continue on David Street. Continue through the next three traffic signals and at the stop sign turn right onto Pine Street. 

Pine becomes Spruce Avenue.  Stay to the right and at the stop turn right onto Eardley Avenue. 

(421 Eardley in 2017)

The vernacular style residence, second from the corner, is 421 Eardley.  At one time this was the Steinbeck Writer's Cottage. 

They recently cut back the hedge.  Here are some pictures from 2022. 

(421 Eardley in 2022)

John and Carol Steinbeck purchased this cottage in 1941 and lived here after they returned from the scientific expedition they made with Ed Ricketts to the Sea of Cortez.  It was in this cottage that John and Ed collaborated on their book, Sea of Cortez.  It was also at this time that John met Gwendolyn Conger which led to Carol and John separating.  Sending John to live with his sister in her guest house on Asilomar Blvd. We will see this guest house near the end of this driving tour. 

Continue straight four blocks then turn left onto Laurel Avenue.  In three blocks watch for the First Baptist Church, located at 246 Laurel Avenue.  It will be on your right.  

The First Baptist Church of Pacific Grove was built in 1909 and the Monterey Peninsula Branch of the NAACP was founded here in 1932 by Reverend Wellington Smith Sr. the churches pastor.  

Continue straight on Laurel for two blocks. Then look to your right on the corner of 6th Street  for the two-story Queen Anne Victorian.

230 6th Street (Dr. Oliver Smith Trimmer House)

Located at 230 6th Street this was built in 1893 for Dr. Oliver Smith Trimmer, a surgeon and also the first mayor of Pacific Grove.  It is a perfect example of Stick - Eastlake detailing with turret towers and arched entryway. 

Dr. Trimmer moved to Pacific Grove in 1888 from Salinas where he had a very successful medical practice.  He had intended to retire, but instead purchased the Heintz Drug Store in Pacific Grove.  Reputed to be a clandestine whisky saloon, this store was operated by Dr. Trimmer's nieces' husband, Charles K. Tuttle for decades.   

Marita's Boutique (551 Lighthouse, Pacific Grove) 

Today, this is the location of Marita's Boutique.  You can see a picture above taken in 2022. 

Continue straight and turn right onto 8th Street, and continue to the end of the block.

8th and Laurel

At the end of 8th, look to your right at the white two-story wooden house. The address of this house is 331 Lighthouse Avenue.  This home was built in 1910. In 1926 it became Ed Ricketts family's second home in Pacific Grove.

331 Lighthouse Avenue (cross street 8th)

They would reside at this location until 1930. Nan gave birth to Cornelia their third child when the Ricketts lived here, and it was a short walk to Ed's first lab on Fountain Street.  At least for a short time.  The city would demolish the building containing Ed's lab on Fountain Street later in 1926 forcing him to move his business to the wooden structure on Cannery Row that we viewed earlier on this tour. 

At the stop sign, turn right onto Lighthouse and continue four blocks to 4th Avenue.  Turn right onto 4th. 

Midway down the block look for one-story cottage where the chimney cuts through the center two windows. It will be on your left.  

219 4th Street (Joseph Campbell House) 

This is  219 4th Street.  At one time the home of Joseph Campbell, author and expert in mythology.  Campbell was born in New York in 1904, he received his Bachelors in English literature from Columbia University in 1925 and his Masters in medieval literature in 1927.

In 1932 Campbell was introduced to John and Carol Steinbeck, poet Robin Jeffers, as well as Ed Rickett's. Campbell's house was next door to Ed Rickett's third residence in Pacific Grove. 

Campbell's time living next to Ricketts was a pivotal period in his life:  "It was Ed who was especially important to me...and from our long talks about biology, I eventually came up with one of my basic viewpoints:  that myth is a function of biology; a manifestation of the human imagination stirred by the energies of the organs of the body  operating against one another.  In other words, myth is as fundamental to us as our capacity to speak and think and dream." (1)  

                                              Joseph Campbell (1970s Wikipedia

In 1934, Campbell moved to New York where he taught Literature at Sarah Lawrence College. He is best known for his work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949).  His philosophy has been summarized by the phrase: "Follow your bliss," and his work is credited with influencing George Lucas's Star Wars saga.  

                                 221 4th (Ed Ricketts 3rd residence in Pacific Grove) 

Continue to the house next door, also on your left. The address on the gate is 221.  This one-story home has a red brick chimney and oriel window. 

This was Ed Ricketts third home in Pacific Grove.  He purchased this in 1930 for his family. His wife Nan wrote in her memoir that they made numerous improvements to their comfortable home.  But marital problems would force Ed from this home and into his laboratory on Cannery Row. 

Turn left back onto Laurel, pass the First Baptist Church again and continue straight four blocks.  At the stop sign turn left back onto Eardley.   

Back of First Baptist Church

Continue through the stop sign to the yield sign.  Then turn left onto Lighthouse Avenue.  In two blocks, turn right onto 2nd Street. 

Lighthouse and 2nd 

At the "t" turn left onto Evans Avenue.  Stay to the right and at the stop sign turn right onto Central.  

On your right on the corner at 225 Central, is a three-story Italianate-style Victorian. 

This home was built in 1884 for State Senator Benjamin F. Langford.  Back in the 1880s Pacific Grove was surrounded by a fence.  There was one gate and it was locked early in the evening.  Langford was well known for arriving at the gate after it was locked and taking an axe to the lock so that he could get to his home.  

You might be wondering why there was a fence around Pacific Grove at one time.  Well that is an interesting story. 

The history of the town of Pacific Grove begins in 1874 when Reverend J. W. Ross a Methodist minister visited the area and decided it would be a perfect place for a west coast Methodist Retreat.  This retreat was patterned after the New York Chautauqua Assembly Center organized by Methodist minister John Heyl Vincent and businessman Lewis Miller on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in New York.  

In 1875 David Jacks and the Pacific Improvement Company  provided the land for the Pacific Grove Methodist Retreat. Initially, it was the founders intention that this would be an encampment of tents, not houses.  And that they would only be up for a few weeks during the summer than taken down and stored in Chautauqua Hall.  But just a year later, the area proved so popular that lots were sold for $50, 1/2 down and the balance due within one year.  

Portion of the Pacific Grove Mural along the Coastal Trail

In 1883 Pacific Grove Methodist Retreat published its rules and regulations. The following were prohibited within the fenced environment of the retreat area:  intoxicating beverages, gambling, dancing, profanity, fast buggy riding, bathing at the beach without costume, dirty outhouses, firearms, and smoking in or near buildings.  

A curfew was passed in 1885 making it unlawful for those under 18 years old to be out after 8pm in the winter and 9pm in the summer. To help attendees adhere to the rules, a fence was erected around the entire retreat area.  

By 1889 Pacific Grove already had 1300 permanent residents.  It was incorporated as a city and the majority of the tent houses had been lined on the outside with a single wall of redwood.   

Though the curfew bell sounded nightly until 1912, it was largely ignored after the first few years.  The fence, or at least portions of it, remained until the 1930s.

222 Central Avenue 

Alright, lets continue with the driving tour.  From Central Avenue, make an immediate left on to  2nd Street.  The house to your left on the corner at 222 Central Avenue was originally built in 1907.  From 1915 to 1918, this was the home of  John Steinbeck's maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Hamilton.

Lena Dinsmore House from 2nd Street 

Continue straight to the end of 2nd.  The last home on your right (The address is actually 104 1st Street)  is a brown-shingled structure, officially known as the Lena Dinsmore House.  

From 1st Street

This was designed by Julia Morgan in 1914 and construction was completed in 1916.  It is the only home in Pacific Grove designed by Morgan.  She took on this job while working on her award winning project at the nearby Asilomar Conference Grounds, where we end our driving tour. 

                                                  Julia Morgan 1926 (Wikipedia) 

Morgan was one of the United States' first female architects, she was most known for Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Morgan designed over 700 structures, many of which were homes and churches and most were in the Bay Area. 

After the stop sign, carefully cross through 1st Street and at the stop turn left onto Ocean View Blvd.  Follow the sign that reads Scenic Drive and points left. 

Martine Inn

Just past 3rd Street watch for the three-story Martine Inn. Don Martine purchased this rundown property in 1972. After conducting a total renovation he furnished the property with authentic period antiques from the 1800s to 1920s.  

This bed and breakfast overlooks the Monterey Bay. Many of the rooms have wood-burning fireplaces and ocean views.  

On the next corner look for the Green Gables Inn, which was built in 1888 for William Lacy in the Stick-Eastlake Victorian style it was originally named Ivy Terrace Hall for the large amounts of ivy that trailed from the side of the home down to the waters edge.  It was one of the first estates to be built along the oceanfront.  At the time it was built there was no road separating the home from the sea.

Today this meticulously restored Victorian is a member of the Four Sisters Inns, one of a collection of  independent small hotels. It offers guests a romantic get-away with its unparalleled location adjacent to the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreational Trail, and panoramic ocean views of Monterey Bay.   

Everett Pomeroy House 2018

At the next corner turn left onto 7th Street.  To your right will be the Everett Pomeroy House, built in 1883 it goes by the name, The CastleEverett Pomeroy, a renowned author, composer and organist, purchased this lot in 1883 and originally constructed a tent cabin here as part of the Pacific Grove Retreat community. Later that year he boarded over it and as time went on he added to the structure, with half-timbering and a crenelated battlement.  It eventually  became a reasonable facsimile of the Everett Pomeroy ancestral castle in South Devon, England, the Berry Pomeroy Castle.  

New Paint 2022

Continue to the end of this block.  To your left will be 312 Central Avenue.  It was built in 1883 for Margaret Tennant.  Margaret owned a number of the homes along 7th Street below Central.

312 Central Avenue (built 1883)

As a memorial to her brother, John Tennant, Margaret built a retirement home for Methodists & Episcopalian Ministers in 1899.  This building stood on Forest Avenue and Sinex, it was  demolished in 1964. Today you will find another retirement home at this location, Canterbury Woods .  Margaret was also instrumental in the construction of St. Mary's by-the-Sea church.  We will pass St. Mary's a bit later.  

St. Angela Inn Bed and Breakfast

At the stop sign, continue across Central Avenue.  To your right on the corner notice the Old St. Angela Inn Bed and Breakfast at 321 Central.  This Cape Cod style home was built in 1910 for Roberta and Anne Littlehale.  In 1928, Father Kerfs payed $10 for this property and used it as the rectory for the first Catholic Church in Pacific Grove, St. Angela's.  No longer a rectory, this became a bed & breakfast in 1983.  

Continue to the end of this block and turn right onto Lighthouse Avenue.  Ahead on the corner of 9th and Lighthouse, notice the statue of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal on your right.  This is the new rectory for St. Angela's which is coming up in the next block on your right.  

St. Angela Merici Parish was established in 1928 by Father Kerfs.  The original church was located next to the Old St. Angela Inn. By the 1950's the Catholic community of Pacific Grove grew out of this parish and was moved to this location on Lighthouse.  

Lighthouse and 10th

Turn right onto 10th.  As you come to the end of the church parking lot, look for  Ricketts Row and turn left. The street is unmarked.  It is at the end of the church parking lot. 

 Ricketts Row

Continue straight down this narrow street. Stay on Ricketts Row and cross Monterey Avenue and continue on Ricketts Row. 

 147 11th Street

Coming up on your left, the red house with the shingle siding is 147 11th Street. John Steinbeck brought  this home for his new bride Carol in the fall of 1930. The couple would live here until 1936.  


During this time he would write 4 novels: The Pastures of HeavenTo a God UnknownIn Dubious Battle and Tortilla Flat which was considered Steinbeck's first big success. 



Turn right on 11th, continue through Central Avenue all the way to the end of 11th. 

As you come to the stop sign at 11th and Ocean View, look to your right at the pair of whales in the park.   

In 2016 a huge windstorm hit the coast of Pacific Grove and heavily damaged two large cypress trees in Berwick Park.  The city trimmed what remained of the trees for safely reasons, but left two very unattractive tree trunks.  Local artist Jorge Rodriquez saw this as an opportunity to make something beautiful.  A few months later these unsightly trunks had been transformed into two breaching whales with the base carved to resemble splashing ocean waves.  

                                                  Josephine Ebner House (1922)

Turn left onto Ocean View Blvd.  At the corner of Carmel Avenue look to your left for the Shingle-style home built in 1922 for Josephine Ebner.  

At the next corner turn left onto 12th Street.  Continue to the stop sign at Central Avenue.  Look across Central to your right at the Gothic-style church.

This is the first church in Pacific Grove, the Episcopal Church founded in 1887.  Called St. Mary's-by-the-Sea it is modeled after a church in Bath, England. 

Stay on 12th and cross Central.  Turn right back onto Ricketts Row, and continue four blocks to Fountain Avenue.  

To your left on the corner of Ricketts Row and Fountain Avenue is Kidwell's Paint. From 1923 to 1926, this was the site of Ed Ricketts and Galigher's  first Pacific Biological Laboratories. 

Former site of Ed Ricketts Pacific Biological Laboratories

The laboratories was forced to move when the building was slanted for demolition.  A bronze plaque on the side of Kidwell's marks the location, and this street was renamed from High Street to Ricketts Row in 1994. 

Turn left onto Fountain Avenue then right onto Lighthouse Avenue.  This is the central downtown area of Pacific Grove.  

Holman's 2018 

On your right was the former location of Holman's Department Store and across the street to your left look for the colorful Victorian's which were built between 1893 and 1897.

Rensselaer Luther Holman opened his first dry goods store in Pacific Grove in 1891.  His son Wilford purchased this lot, here on Lighthouse, in 1918 and built Holman's Department Store.  Holman's grew to become the largest independently owned and operated department store between Los Angeles and San Francisco, filling mail orders from around the world.  It was also Wilford's idea to build the portion of Highway 68 from Pacific Grove over the hill to Carmel to make the department store more accessible to Carmelites.

Holeman's 2022

The structure, now known as Holman's was converted into a multiuse building with townhouses upstairs and retail downstairs in 2016.  

The Victorian block across the street from Holman's started out as an Indian trading post,  selling everything from seashells to barbed wire. On the corner, Aliotti's Victorian Corner has been in the restaurant business since 1977.  

Continue straight along Lighthouse, pass Grand and turn right onto Forest.  Continue one block to the corner of  Central and turn right.  

On your right will be the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History and across the street Jewell Park.  

Jewell Park was ground zero for the Pacific Grove Methodist Retreat in 1875.  Many tent cabins were set up just across from the park.  

The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History was established in 1883 when a group of individuals petitioned the Pacific Improvement Company for land to exhibit their natural specimens. A small structure was built on the site of the current museum to house those exhibits.  In 1932, local philanthropist Lucy Chase funded the new building that stands here today. 

Out in front of the museum notice the large sculpture.  This is Sandy the Gray Whale.  This life-sized sculpture was completed in 1974 by artist Larry Foster.  It was exhibited elsewhere before finding its forever home here at the Museum of Natural History in 1982.  

Sandy the gray whale sculpture

Gray whales are actually born black in color, but as they age, barnacles and whitish scars give them a grey appearance.  In place of a dorsal fin, common to most whales, grays have a series of bumps along their backs.  They use their downturned snout and bodies to plow along the bottom of the ocean and filter out crustaceans, mollusks, and bristle worms through the baleen, or comb-like plates, in their mouth.

Grays migrate 12,000 miles round trip between feeding grounds in the Artic to breed in Baja.  They are frequently spotted off Monterey coast as they travel north to south between December and February as well as on their return trip from Mexico between February and May.

The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History is one of the oldest natural history museums in the United States. It is open 10am to 4pm Wednesday through Sunday, and there is unlimited free parking on both sides of Jewell Park. 

This museum has a rich diversity of interactive opportunities that educate visitors on California Central Coast's, flora, and fauna as well as historical artifacts. Ask about the Scavenger Hunt or Junior Naturalist program at the front desk.  These activities are sure to keep children (and adults) engaged in this unique learning adventure.  If time permits I highly recommend a stop at this museum.  At the time of this writing, admission for adults is $8.95 and children 4 to 18, $5.95.

The original museum also contained a library.  The books for this library were moved one block to the Pacific Grove Public Library in 1908.  When you have finished visiting the museum, continue along Central.  On your left you will pass the Pacific Grove Library. 

The Pacific Grove Library Association dates from 1886 when books were originally housed in the museum down the block. In the early 1900s the city of Pacific Grove obtained a Carnegie grant of $10,000, the Pacific Improvement Company donated the lot, McDougall Bros. designed the building and Harry Chivers and the Granite Rock Company completed the California Mission-style library in 1908. 

Turn left onto 15th and continue straight to Ocean View.  At Ocean View, turn left and drive along the coast. 

Ahead and off to your right will be Seven Gables Inn, it is the yellow Victorian.  Also to your right and out to sea look for the rocky outlay of Lovers Point. 

At the next corner look to your  left to see the Seven Gables Inn.  Built in 1886 it was one of several stately Victorian mansions located along the oceanfront. This property was purchased in 1982 by the Flatley family who reimagined the mansion as a luxury inn.  Over the next few decades, the Flatley's purchased adjacent properties and grew the hotel into what you see today, a 25 room bed and breakfast.  With its unobstructed ocean views, this hotel has repeatedly won awards for being one of the more romantic inns in America. 

 Lovers Point 

Continue along Ocean View.  To your right will be Lovers Point and the back of the Beach House Restaurant. 

Beach House Restaurant and Lovers Point Beach 2017   

For over 100 years, Lovers Point Beach has been one of Pacific Grove's most popular spots for shoreline recreation. Surfers love its reliable waves, while kayakers find it a perfect launching spot from which to get out on Monterey Bay and view the coastline and native wildlife. Scuba divers frequent the kelp forests here to get a close-up view of its marine life. Lovers Point Beach is also the starting point for the infamous "Kelp Crawl" portion of the Triathlon at Pacific Grove. But this beach did not always look at it does today.  

Let's go back to the time of the Pacific Grove Methodist Retreat.  You may recall that in the 1800s the Retreat Association forbade bathing nude, wearing immodest bathing attire, or passing through the streets of Pacific Grove to or from the beach without suitable covering. This ordinance led to the first bathhouse on this beach being built in 1875.  It was described as "nothing more than a little brown wooden shack with its large tank that held the cold saltwater from the Bay before it was pumped into individual tubs for bathers.  This cramped, cold and decidedly inadequate bathhouse had a short life." (2)  A picture of this bathhouse is shown below. 

In 1882 the Pacific Improvement Company constructed another bathhouse.  This one had 22 dressing rooms and was described as "conveniently placed in a small ravine on the verge of a beautiful little bay, whose sandy floor rivals in whiteness the marble of the Roman Baths." (2) That bathhouse is shown in the picture below.  It deteriorated to nothing more than a shell by 1891. 


John Lucas Birks leased the land from the Pacific Improvement Company in 1893 and built the third bathhouse on Lovers Point Beach.  This one had 60 dressing rooms, and saltwater tubs with both hot and cold baths.  But Birks made even more improvements, he blasted out the rocks near the bathhouse to make a larger beach and built a pier.  Still the bathhouse quickly deteriorated to almost nothing more than a shack by 1900.  

In 1898 Nathaniel Sprague, one time a partner with John Birks, operated a number of glass-bottomed swan boats off Pacific Grove's waterfront.  Attached fore and aft were swan heads that Sprague had carved.  The boats were large enough to accommodate about 16 adults, seated on benches on either side of the thick plate-glass viewing area.  The swan boats continued in operation until about 1972. 

Then came William Fielding Smith who acquired a deed to 665 feet of coastal frontage, in 1903.  This deed required Smith to build a bathhouse, bathing pavilion, boat house and other resort amenities.  Quite different from what the California Coastal Commission would allow today.   

Smith opened his bathhouse July 1, 1904.  This one had 180 dressing rooms, 25 private rooms with porcelain tubs, hot and cold showers, boat storage, a Box Ball Alley court, movie theater, public platform for dances, and a Japanese Tea House.  The picture below shows the transformation Smith made to Lovers Beach and point. 

Dr. Clarendon Atwood Foster acquired Smith's enterprise in 1913.  Foster added a pool and waterslides, candy store, beach grill, shooting gallery and penny arcade. J. H. McDougall purchased the property from Foster in 1918 and held it until 1934.  Unfortunately Foster was unable to maintain of the property during the Great Depression and the area fell into disrepair. The city of Pacific Grove paid $50,000 for the property in 1934, they demolished the old bathhouse and other structures and added a large outdoor saltwater pool was in 1935, a smaller version exits today.  

Lovers Point Beach 2017   

To you right watch for the southern part of Lovers Point Park.  There are parking lots at both the southern and northern parts of this park.  But at this location you will find The Grill, which is great for a quick snack.  

Or rent a surrey from Pacific Grove Adventures and ride along the  
Monterey Coastal Trail.  

At the stop sign ahead, turn right to continue on Ocean View Blvd.  

The entrance to the parking lot is on your right if you would like to stop and explore this portion of the beach area. 

Otherwise continue straight.  

To your right will be the Beach House Restaurant at Lovers Point.
 Hands down one of our favorite restaurants in Pacific Grove.  

Continue all the way to the parking lot ahead.  This is northern parking lot for Lovers Point Beach and Park

Time to get out and explore this area and enjoy the view.  Parking is free.  If there is a spot open take it! 

According to local legend, this park was originally called "Lovers of Jesus Point," back during the time that Pacific Grove was a Methodist retreat camp.

Currently this point has become one of Pacific Grove's best-loved spots for picnics, plein air painting, scenic photography and weddings. 

Locals can always be found lounging on the grass or climbing on the rocks.  Just be very careful if you decide to explore the rocky outpoint.   

Scenes from both season 1 and 2 of  the HBO miniseries Big Little Lies' staring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley were filmed here at Lovers Point.  During Season 2 crews of Big Little Lies' transformed this park with a gazebo and pergola that served as the Blissful Drip coffee shop during filming. 

Once you have explored the area, turn around and follow Ocean View Blvd. back in the direction you came.  Then turn right onto Jewell Avenue. Then turn left onto 19th Street. 

                                                          Jewell and 19th Street

As you drive through these residential areas of Pacific Grove, you might notice small signs on the houses with a name and date.  These list the year the home was built, and the person for whom it was built. Many date back to the late 1800's.  

Continue straight on 19th and cross Union Street.  On your left the yellow two-story with the lovely oak in front is the Elihu Beard House. 

Beard House 139 19th Avenue 

Located at 139 19th Avenue, this was built in 1880.  Five generations of the Beard family have owned this home and kept it in pristine historic condition.  

150 19th Street

As you come to the stop sign at the corner look to your right at 150 19th Street.  This green wooden home with pink trim is Toad Hall

Built in 1904 for Ms. Cornelia Pierce, the name comes from the owners love of the story The Wind and the Willows.  

Centrella Hotel 2017

Turn left onto Central.  Continue two blocks to the stop sign at 17th Street.  We are going to stay on Central, but take a look to your left.  This is the Centrella Hotel a two-story Victorian constructed in 1892 as a boarding house.  

Across the street from the Centrella is Chautauqua Hall.  Built in 1881 as a permanent retreat center for the West Coast Headquarters of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, a Methodist education movement that started in Pacific Grove in 1879. 

This four-year course which featured Sunday school teacher-training classes, musical programs and lectures, was one of the only opportunities for higher education in the days before colleges reached outside large population centers. 

For years, Chautauqua Hall served a variety of uses for the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle.  This continued well into the 20th century until more conventual  opportunities for college education developed, then attendance to the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle dropped off and finally discontinued.  

Today this hall, which is a California State Historical Landmark, is used for classes, programs, concerts and dances put on by the city of Pacific Grove.  

Continue to the second stop sign.  Across the street to your left will be the Pacific Grove Visitor Center, 

and directly ahead of you the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. 

Turn right onto Forest and pass by one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, Peppers Mexicali Cafe.  

Continue to the end of the block.  At the stop sign look to your left. This two-story Romanesque-style building with sandstone veneer was designed by Watsonville architect William H. Weeks and constructed by Thomas A. Work in 1904.

It originally opened in 1905 as the Pacific Grove branch of the Bank of Monterey.  Today this is the home of Sotheby's International Realty.

Turn right onto Lighthouse and continue straight.  In two blocks as you cross 18th Street, take a look to your left across the median.  

On the corner is a two-story with shingle siding Queen Anne Victorian.  This is Gosby House Inn a charming bed and breakfast originally built in 1887.  Joseph F. Gosby was Pacific Grove's first shoemaker.  He owned the Pioneer Boot and Shoe Store on Lighthouse.  

Next door on the other corner, also to your left is the Hart House.  This Queen Anne style home was built in 1894 for Dr. Andrew Hart. He had his medical practice on the ground floor and his family lived upstairs.  This is a nice example of Stick-Eastlake with the turret, arched entry and plenty of spindles and stick work.  

Continue straight along Lighthouse, on your right you will pass the Pacific Grove Post Office. 

The historic building was constructed in 1938 with federal Treasury Department funds. Inside there is an oil-on-canvas mural called Lovers’ Point.  It is shown in the pictures below.  The work of Victor Arnautoff, it was part of the WPA New Deal project, funded by the federal Treasury Section of Fine Arts.  The piece was installed in the lobby of the Pacific Grove post office in 1940. It is still viewable there today.

In front of the Post Office notice the bronze statue called Butterfly Kids,  by Christopher Bell. 

Pacific Grove is the self proclaimed Butterfly Capital of the world.  Every year since 1939, on the first Saturday of October, Pacific Grove holds its annual Butterfly Parade. This celebrates the return of the Monarch butterfly to Pacific Grove for its annual wintering stop.  We will be visiting the Monarch Sanctuary later on this tour.   

In about half a mile turn left onto Ridge Road.  We are on our way to the Monarch Grove Sanctuary.  You should see a sign in the middle of Lighthouse pointing you straight ahead. 

Once you pass the Pacific Grove Adult Education Center get ready to make the next left turn onto Ridge Road. 

There will be  sign on the corner that reads Monarch Grove Sanctuary.  

Pass the Butterfly Grove Inn and park across the street in front of the red buildings which are part of the Pacific Grove Adult Education Center.  

The entrance to the Monarch Grove Sanctuary is at the end of the driveway to the Butterfly Grove Inn.  

The Monarch Butterfly spends its life between southern Canada and central Mexico.  They are a tropical insect, and cannot survive in freezing temperatures.  So they embark on an interesting migration traveling between 1,200 and 2,800 miles yearly.

Monarchs east of the Rocky Mountains spend the winter in the high mountains of central Mexico.  Monarchs west of the Rockies migrate to California's central coast.  One of those over wintering sites is here at the Pacific Grove Monarch Sanctuary. 

Most migrating species, such as birds and whales, are the same individuals traveling their migration route to and from every year, but migrating Monarchs have never been to their destination before. Several generations of Monarchs will have lived and died since last year's butterflies departed.  In the sanctuary, the Monarchs live up to 6 weeks, but a migrating adult can live up to 6 months giving them time to make the 1,200 mile journey.  

In 1990 the citizens of Pacific Grove authorized the City to purchase this 2.4 acre grove as a permanent Monarch sanctuary. It has become one of the most important overwintering sites for western Monarch butterflies in California. 

Monarch populations migrate in two directions, going south in the winter and returning north to breed and lay their eggs on milkweed plants in spring and summer.  Every winter they return to the sanctuary.    They can be found here from November through February. 

If you happen to be here when the Monarchs are in the sanctuary, look high into the eucalyptus.  They hang in clusters with their wings closed on the branches.  They look like bunches of brown leaves.   

In case you are wondering how to tell the difference between a female or male Monarch, here you go! 

There is no fee to explore the sanctuary, but donations are gladly accepted. Take some time to explore the area.  The best time to visit to view the butterflies - October through February. 

When you are finished, head back the way you came on Ridge Road and turn left back onto Lighthouse Avenue.

Continue about 1/2 mile then turn right at the Yield sign onto Asilomar Avenue. Follow the sign that point toward the Lighthouse. 

On your right will be the El Carmelo Cemetery.  This cemetery has been a part of Pacific Grove's history since the 1800s.  The oldest section has wooden markers.  John Steinbeck's sisters Elizabeth  Ainsworth and Esther Rogers as well as their husbands are buried there.   Across the street from the entrance to the cemetery is the parking area for Point Pinos Lighthouse

Park here in the parking lot and take some time to explore the lighthouse grounds and tour the lighthouse if they are open. 

 As of this writing the lighthouse is open Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 3pm.

  There is a $5 fee to tour building.  

When the United States acquired the Pacific Coast in 1848, there wasn't a single navigational aid from Mexico to Canada.  During the 1850s, the Treasury Department constructed lighthouses for the safely of mariners.   

Point Pinos Lighthouse is the oldest continually operating lighthouse on the West Coast and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  The building, lenses and prisms in this lighthouse are all original and still an active aid to navigation.  

When you are finished, continue along Asilomar past the Pacific Grove Golf Links to the stop sign and turn right onto Ocean View. 

Continue straight a few hundred yards and turn left into the turnout off Ocean View Avenue.  

Park here to explore this area. Besides some incredible views you will also find a memorial to singer and song writer John Denver.    

On October 12, 1997, John Denver's experimental plane, a Rutan Long-EZ, crashed into the Monterey Bay near this site . Known for his songs "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Sunshine on My Shoulders" and "Rocky Mountain High," among others, John was 53 years old when this accident occurred.   The following is an interesting YouTube of John Denver's life and his last flight.  

But for now, this is where I am leaving you.  Until next time happy adventures!  


All pictures by L. A. Momboisse