Final yr, Alaska Airways launched a direct flight to Monterey, Calif. We now have typically visited that locale, significantly when our son attended Santa Clara College after which began to work close by for Apple. (Now, he’s been working for Apple for a dozen years, far-off in Cork Metropolis, Eire, however that’s one other story). Our prior routine was to fly to San Jose, say hello to him, then drive a rental automotive to a spot simply exterior of Carmel. We had been among the many first to register for the brand new air service. Nicely, that new possibility didn’t come to be as we cancelled due to COVID-19.
One yr later, after thankfully getting our two jabs plus two weeks’ wait, we took care of unfulfilled plans, feeling protected sufficient to undertake the 90-minute flight carrying double masks. However this journey, our last vacation spot was modified. Lengthy-term associates of ours had moved to Pacific Grove, and on our earlier go to, that they had given us a tour of the tiny, 4-square-mile city, which had opened our eyes to its lovely (protected) water views — in a league with these of Level Lobos, 17 Mile Drive and Carmel Seashore.
Equally intriguing was the intensive array of 100-year-plus Victorian houses and charming seashore cottages. Most important was the impression, quickly to be confirmed on our keep, that whereas vacationers had been welcome, these focused for enjoyment had been the fortunate inhabitants themselves. We stayed at an inn positioned in a kind of Victorian manses, and we even selected to be 4 blocks from the water, on the principle avenue. This gave us the pleasure of strolling down totally different streets to the water, seeing scores of various centenarian seashore cottages, arrayed with artwork and with colourful fauna. Our inn practiced good warning, with breakfast delivered to the room, no housekeeping entry, and no shared use of frequent areas. The various close by good eating places all had solely out of doors eating. The same old (few) non-compliers on the seashores and waterside path risked a $100 wonderful if not masked.
Pacific Grove had pretty uncommon origins. Per Wikipedia, it was based in 1875 , and named after Ocean Grove, N.J., with the land having been donated to a gaggle of Methodists to determine a western model of a summer season Chautauqua retreat. After gathering in tents for the summer season, they’d shut issues down and depart till the next yr. These tent websites led to the various seashore cottage websites. It additionally most likely had lots to do with the truth that it was the final dry city in California, ending solely in 1969!
As with its neighboring city of Monterey, there was a number of inventive involvement. John Steinbeck of “Cannery Row” fame really resided in Pacific Grove. For that matter, the great (presently closed) Monterey Aquarium is sort of in Pacific Grove. This city of simply 15,000 doesn’t want any sights past its coastal promenade and its historic buildings. But it surely is also the location of a crucial Monarch Butterfly sanctuary (migration season peaks in November), a well-known convention middle (Asilomar), a still-operating lighthouse (since 1855), a Stanford marine analysis middle full with dozens of basking harbor seals and — sadly– a plaque noting the place singer John Denver’s airplane crashed into the ocean.
Whereas there are clearly many variations, Pacific Grove offers an identical really feel to Edmonds in that it’s principally aimed toward being a pleasant place for its residents to reside. Up right here, we are able to’t match its hotter climes or rugged coast, however then Edmonds has the magnificent Olympic Mountains as a backdrop, ferries scooting by and resident eagles. Many don’t notice that Carmel is formally “Carmel-By-The-Sea,” and I’ve jokingly given Edmonds an identical appellation, however I certain wouldn’t need our city to painting such a California angle. I encourage you to get away to the extra homespun Pacific Grove, however I don’t want them undue inhabitants development.
— Story and photographs by Kevin O’Keeffe
Kevin O’Keeffe lives in Edmonds.