Friday, June 5, 2009

A Weekend in Monterey

We have had this "vacation" on our calendar for a few months and looked forward to going to Monterey for a fun weekend. It's only 70 miles south of us. We have been there on countless day-trip over the years... but we never really stayed there overnight. We decided to make a 4-day, 3-night stay at the plush Monterey Plaza Hotel on Cannery Row.

Well, perhaps it wasn't that plush... we had an "inland view" rather than a "bay view" but we loved it just the same. This is our room.

And this is a view from the plaza behind the hotel. A dolphin fountain on the right.

You get an interesting perspective from the side and can see how the hotel is actually built out into Monterey Bay.

Old Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey is a touristy place ...

... but there weren't a lot of people there until the weekend

It's next to the marina. Here you can see some old fisherman displaying his catch.

We checked out a number of restaurants on the wharf. This one right out on the end had an observation deck looking out over the bay. This old guy was holding up his lantern to light the way. The old Monterey Fish Company is located on the pier to the right in the background.

Well, after checking out a lot of the restaurants and trying all their clam chowder samples, we picked Old Fisherman's Grotto (you like the guy out front welcoming us in?) ...

... and ordered a bowl of their famous clam chowder ...

... and a delicious carmel apple pie with strawberries and ice cream. How is that for a presentation? We were sorry to have to destroy its appearance but the taste was out of this world.

Cannery Row is a must-visit place in Monterey. In its hey-day (1917-1950) it produced a major part of the world's supply of canned sardines. The canneries failed after the collapse of the fishing industry in Monterey Bay in the mid-1950s. Before that, the fishery was one of the most productive in the world due to the rising of cold, nutrient-rich water from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean that is funneled to the surface via the vast underwater Monterey Canyon. In 1945, John Steinbeck wrote his famous book "Cannery Row" whose characters were based on the lives of many of his acquaintances and conditions in the fishing industry. Here is a view of modern Cannery Row with the street overcrossings for the canneries now preserved but with modern markings.

Julie had to walk through a lot of the overcrossinhs just for fun.

But even though this is a touristy spot, there is a lot of history preserved in places such as this "Wax Museum" where a history is told of this part of California in a very well done presentation.

In Steinbeck's book, one of the characters was Lee Chong, a shrewed Chinese owner and operator of the neighborhood grocery store. Lee Chong and his store were modeled after the Wing Chong market. The building still exists today and is still owned by the Chong family.
Immigrants from several nations (Portugal, China, the Phillipines, and others) lived in little shacks such as these that are still preserved here. ["Future house!!!"; ... an inside joke]

Another of Steinbeck's characters was Doc. He was a marine biologist who studied and collected sea creatures from all along the California coast. Doc was based on Steinbeck's friend Ed Ricketts. Ricketts was a noted marine biologist. This is Rickett's real Pacific Biological Laboratories, which stood at 800 Cannery Row in which he lived and worked from 1928 to 1948.

Here is Ricketts' building as it appeared in the early 1940's. It looks pretty much the same.

What vacation to an old historical place is complete without a visit to an antique mall? It was fun to wander around in here for an hour or so. No... we didn't buy anything.

There is so much fun sea life to see in Monterey Bay. Here is a sea lion balancing on a rock. It stayed there for a long time without moving except to look around occasionally.

A star fish in a tide pool.

At the end of this blog is a video of some sea otters playing in the kelp beds. Good stuff.

One of our unique and fun things was to take a Hollywood Movie Tour bus around Monterey where we saw the places, heard the stories behind, and watched movie clips from movies made in the Monterey area over the years. Part of this movie tour took us on the famous 17-Mile Drive.

Of course there were the normal scenic things to stop at beside learning about the movies. This is the Lone Cypress growing out on the rocks. This tree has been around for along time. They estimate it will last for another 40 years at least and then they'll have to come up with another tree to plant in its place (maybe plastic the next time :)

By the way, this is picture of what it looked like 76 years ago. My dad, J.T. Lindsey, took this picutre in 1923 when he made a tour of California from Utah. Not much has changed.

While we were at Cypress Point we found these to crows getting rather cozy in an old dead tree. Love is blind. [I've got an 18x lens on my digital camera that makes these shots possible. Just incredible!]

This is the back of the Pebble Beach Lodge. We wanted to do this picutre especially because we had just watched scene (on the Movie Tour bus) from a 1956 movie named "Julie" (with Doris Day playing Julie). In the movie, Doris ran up these stairs and into the lodge. Here here is a modern-day Julie going up the same stairs and into the Lodge.

Just for your information, The Pebble Beach Company owns all the land within the 17 Mile Drive, in the last few years was sold by a Japanese company [who were very good stewards of the property, by the way] to three well known people (Clint Eastwood, Arnold Palmer and Peter Uberroth) and about a hundred other lesser known, but wealthy individuals.

Whike at the Lodge we ate lunch at The Tap Room. Great sandwiches!

From the back of the Lodge we have this famous view of the 18th hole at the Pebble Beach golf course. Green fees on this course are $495... but that's not all. In order to play golf here, they also require that you stay at least TWO NIGHTS at the lodge!

Don't you just love the crutch on this oak tree?

We just had to show you one more restaurant scene. This is Domenico's at Fisherman's Wharf. We loved the food there, too. Julie had a shrimp pasta and I had tilapia.

On Sunday, we decided to go to church at the Monterey Ward (real close to the 17 Mile Drive). When we got there the parking lot was just jam-packed and out onto the street. Turns out they were creating a new ward that day. Now there are the Monterey 1st and 2nd Wards. The bishop of the Monterey Ward (now 1st Ward) was retained. His name is Bishop Fazal Hussein from the Middle East. It would be interesting to hear how he joined the church and how he came to be in Monterey. A very good meeting and some very spiritual thoughts from the stake president and the two bishops. We even saw three people there we knew in San Jose.

We had a wonderful weekend.


Stefani said...

Dad, this is a great summary. I loved reading it! I love Monterey! I think the guy around the corner from us has the same dolphin fountain :( It looks much better in front of a hotel on the beach than in someone's front yard.

That Pie looks incredible! It's making my mouth water! YUM!

Great photos and virtual tour!

Stimpsons said...

I just love monterey too! There is so much neat historic stuff to see there. Plus I love any place near the ocean. Monterey is just beautiful! It's fun to see all of your pictures...thanks for sharing.