Pebble Beach is a dramatic and captivating setting. It is so deeply satisfying and inspiring to gaze for hours at the views or to watch golfers on the pristine greens. Its stunning coastline includes Cypress Rock, Bird Rock, and the Lone Cypress, one of the most photographed landmarks on the California coast. The renowned 17-Mile Drive meanders along the ocean and through the forest passing championship golf courses and the finest resorts.
Days are glorious along the coast, but many residents and visitors can’t wait until the sun starts its elegant trajectory toward the horizon. In the late afternoon, golden ribbons blaze across the azure sky with frothy white clouds tie-dyed pink, crimson, and magenta. Some sunsets are as romantic as a painting by Monet, with splashes of pastel hues coloring the Western sky and dashing reflections across the ocean. Other twilights are breathlessly swift with the sun floating like a golden bauble on the horizon line then disappearing in a flash. Half an hour before sunset, a bagpiper starts playing traditional Scottish music from the first tee at Spanish Bay then walks to the patio in front of the lobby where he continues to entertain for another half hour. It sets a serene, mellow mood at the end of a day of golf or exploring.
Pebble Beach is synonymous with “golf” in most minds. Not just run-of-the-mill golf but world-class, star-studded, just-this-side-of-heaven golf. It’s been that way since founder Samuel F.B. Morse envisioned a place where the people could live and play.He designed the exclusive, gated development around the game of golf. Pebble Beach is home to seven spectacular public and private golf courses, the most famous being the Pebble Beach Golf Links.Pebble Beach hosts a variety of world class golf tournaments, including the U.S. Open and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. It is also home to the annual Concours d’ Elegance considered to be one of the most prestigious showcases of the world’s finest classic automobiles.
Samuel F.B. Morse died in 1969 but not before he saw the realization of his dream. Pebble Beach did indeed become one of the most highly acclaimed resorts in the world. The beautiful scenery that first attracted the wealthy to Pebble Beach continues to draw visitors from the entire globe. The area is also a magnet for movie directors who use Pebble Beach as a backdrop for films set in the French or Italian Riviera, Isle of Capri or parts of Britain. Several famous residents, including the former Mayor of Carmel Clint Eastwood, purchased the Pebble Beach Company returning it once again to local ownership.
The Lodge at Pebble Beach is home to The Tap Room (which has become a favorite gathering place for locals), Stillwater Bar & Grill, The Bench, and The Terrace Lounge where you can enjoy a drink while looking out over the famous Pebble Beach Links 18th hole. It also has a world-class luxurious spa, The Spa at Pebble Beach.
Down the same driveway to The Lodge at Pebbe Beach is Casa Palmero with 24 exclusive suites which come with a private coordinator who will attend to your every need.
The Inn at Spanish Bay has a wide variety of dining and drinking experiences in addition to golf, tennis, and swimming. There is Peppoli specializing in Northern Italian, Hawaiian fusion cuisine at Roy’s, and Sticks a popular sports-bar.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is located in a forested setting just off Highway one, five miles south of Monterey and 26 miles north of Big Sur. Known throughout the world for its pristine beach, charming shops and cozy cottages, Carmel-by-the-Sea is situated in an unusual setting of scenic and distinctive beauty. The white sand beaches have been kept free of commercial enterprises, just as stop lights, neon signs and live music in bars have all been prohibited here. The delightful business section, located about a half mile from the beach, is full of English, Spanish, and storybook architectural styles.
There are no street addresses – properties are identified as “west side of San Antonio Street three houses south of 12th Avenue.” In addition, Carmel cottages often are given names such as “Tinker Bell” and “The Doll House.” Carmel-by-the-Sea is known for its silence – natural sounds of surf, birds, and breezes are preferred to man-made noise.
Carmel also loves its canine companions and is gaining popularity as a dog-friendly destination. Dogs are allowed (on leashes) throughout the village and they run free on Carmel’s famous white-sand beach. Some hotels and restaurants even provide special canine accommodations or serve doggie treats.
With its winding tree-lined streets, the village is home to over 50 inns, 60 restaurants and hundreds of unique boutiques and shops. Once a haven for artists, Carmel-by-the-Sea reflects its artistic heritage in the nearly 90 art galleries throughout the village.
There are many historic places to stay as well as a wide variety of bed and breakfast choices. Historic hotels over 100 years old include La Playa Hotel, and Pine Inn which was built in 1889. For a location a bit removed from the downtown area, there is Mission Ranch which was rescued from condo developers by Clint Eastwood who renovated the entire property. It has views of Point Lobos, Carmel River Beach, and the Pacific Ocean.
Carmel Valley is a distinctive area of great beauty hemmed in steep and rugged mountains on the south and the high ridge the Peninsula on the north. This charming area is quickly becoming the epicenter of Monterey County’s wine country with several newly opened tasting rooms, four championship golf courses, award-winning resorts, and fine tennis facilities.
With an average of 283 sunny days a year, Carmel Valley has gained the reputation of being the “sunbelt” of the Monterey Peninsula. In general, the weather is sunnier and warmer in Carmel Valley than it is in the rest of Monterey County’s coastal region.
Carmel Valley is home to the Carmel River. This lovely little river isn’t very long but its course has everything a river should have. It rises in the mountains and tumbles down, runs through shallows, is dammed to make a lake, spills over the dam, crackles among round boulders, wanders lazily under sycamores, spills into pools where trout live, drops in against the banks where crayfish live, then runs out into the Pacific Ocean in a wonderful area for bird watchers.
Midway in the valley is Carmel Valley Village. This small, friendly “downtown” country hamlet is situated in a pastroal setting and offers shopping, dining, lodging and wine tasting. If you’re looking for someone in Carmel Valley, chances are you’ll find him or her at the Running Iron in Carmel Valley Village. By day the Running Iron is a rustic restaurant serving good ol’ boy food in the cool dim of a dining room lined with the trophy heads of deer and the wild boar, for which Carmel Valleyis famous, or on a sunlit patio. On weekend nights, the restaurant turns into the village’s hot nightspot. Once called the Stirrup Cup – and still referred to as “the Cup” by locals – the bar has long had a whiff of outlaw country-western ambience, never more so than on a Saturday night.
Garland Ranch Regional Park is nestled in a lovely meadow alongside the Carmel River. The park offers stream side habitats, rolling grassland, dense oak woodlands, and trails for hikers and horseback riders.
Bernardus Lodge is a perfect combination of resort atmosphere and epicurean flair. You are welcomed with wine and cheese, can soothe yourself at the spa and soaking pool, then savor the food at Lucia Restaurant and Bar.
There is nothing more spectacular than the breathtaking views overlooking cliffs out to the Pacific Ocean on the drive south from Carmel to Big Sur on Highway 1. The Big Sur area is home to several popular places to stay and dine. There is Nepenthe restaurant for those who want to relax over a hamburger while gazing out over the ocean.
Nestled on a hillside overlooking the dramatic Pacific coastline, Ventana Inn & Spa is a luxurious Big Sur resort offering the ultimate in accommodations for those seeking a romantic getaway, luxurious escape or a relaxing vacation. Located on 243 acres in the heart of Big Sur, the Inn’s unique one-and two-story buildings blend seamlessly into their natural surroundings. Relax poolside, soak in Japanese hot baths, dine at The Restaurant at Ventana, rejuvenate at The Spa at Ventana or just contemplate the sky from your own private hammock.
Another option for those seeking luxury accomodations is Post Ranch Inn which is almost across the highway from Ventana Inn. For those campers, there are many excellent camping areas in the Big Sur area.
Pacific Grove is both a tourist destination and a family town. Pacific Grove calls itself “America’s Last Hometown” and is known as “Butterfly Town USA” because of the Monarch butterflies that winter in P.G. during their migration. In 1875, the Methodist Episcopal Church established the Pacific Grove Retreat on 100 acres of land donated by David Jacks, who owned nearly the entire peninsula. Hence, “Lovers of Jesus Point” now known as Lovers Point.
Perhaps it’s a stretch to describe a seafront municipal golf links as “hidden” but Pacific Grove’s is very likely underappreciated as a bargain – and many city duffers probably want to keep it that way. It’s been described as the “poor man’s Pebble Beach”. At less than a tenth the price of that Peninsula mecca, P.G. links’ back nine “looks like a slice of Scotland, running along the coast and complete with a lighthouse” according to Sports Illustrated golf columnist Gary Van Sickle who rated the links his second-favorite public golf course anywhere. Golf publications have rated it among the top bargains in the United States. The back nine was designed in 1960 by Jack Neville, the original designer of The Links at Pebble Beach (the front nine dates to 1932). The centerpiece Point Pinos Lighthouse is the state’s oldest and has been operating continuously since 1855. Acres of restored dune habitat, placid blacktail deer, wind-bent cypress trees and gently undulating fairways complete the scene.
Lodging in Pacific Grove is more about cozy cottages and rustic lodges than the resort atmosphere. It is home to the 107-acre Asilomar which is both a conference center for large gatherings and an escape for “leisure guests”. Nearby is Andril Cottages where each cottage has a kitchen and private deck or enclosed patio. Adjacent to the Pacific Grove Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary sits Butterfly Grove Inn.