Wacky Steinbeck Statue on Central Ave
On Central Avenue you might notice an odd-looking 8 foot tall golden statue of local author John Steinbeck in front of an overgrown, run down shack of a mansion. This is a notorious local icon known by some as the Steinbeck Statue, and known by others as the Colossus of Gold.
What the odd statue officially marked was the John Steinbeck Arthurian Society Museum in the old Elizabeth Hamilton House. Attached to the house is a cottage built by Steinbeck himself, and what became Steinbeck's grandmother's summer cottage. It was here that PG resident Richard Andolsen created a unique museum dedicated to the study of Steinbeck's fondness for King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Andolsen died in June 2007 and the house looks like it has hardly been touched since. At least the bushes around the statue were finally trimmed in April 2008.
A PG resident named Snick Farkas writes a frequent comic about a seaside town called Specific Groove featuring a fictional Colossus of Gold that was struck by lightning and comes to life to protect this troubled town. His comics are somewhat entertaining for us locals, as they always poke fun at local politics.
Its location is 222 Central Avenue in PG, near the Monterey line.
Pacific Grove Triathlon
To me, Pacific Grove is a surprising place for a big event like a triathlon, but this quiet little town has been if full support of this significant event since 1995. Each year about 2000 competitors converge on this little town for the three-day event that is centered around Lovers Point.
On Friday you will find an expo set up in the parking lot at Lover's Point. Saturday you will find the elite triathlons and Sunday are the sprint triathlons. The long course includes a 1.5 km swim in the kelp at Lovers Point, a 40 km bike race along the coast, and a 10 km run. The sprint course competitors have to swim only 1/4 mile, bike 12.4 miles, and run 2 miles.
The elite race has a total purse of $20,000 for males and another $20,000 for females with $2,500 going to the winners.
For spectators, the race is free and fun.
Harbor Seal "Pupping" Area
The harbor seals raise their young in a "pupping area" with small beaches and shallow water. One of these areas exists in Pacific Grove for the local harbor seals. Along Ocean View Blvd, there is a small section of the coastal trail lined with a temporary white fence each year from March to June. This area is on the Bay across from Jacobson Park between 5th and 7th Street.
If you are just walking through you might not immediately notice the seals as they look like rocks along the beach, and the pups are so small when they duck underwater they are nearly invisible. If you stop and look you will see maybe a dozen mothers with their young teaching them to swim while keeping a close eye on the pups!
Pacific Grove's newest restaurant (summer 2008) is Pacific Thai. It occupies the spot that was briefly The Cellar Door Chop Shop, and many of the old Cellar Door decorations such as grapes and grape leaves are still on the walls. The old wine rack is still in place and fully stocked, making Pacific Thai a unique place for Thai.
We were in town for the farmers market and when we saw Thai food we quickly decided to stop in for dinner. The staff was very friendly and they promptly seated us in one of the two window tables. Our meals started with the fresh and tasty spring rolls (which could have used some shrimp or something to go with the veggies and tofu). My meal was a spicy dish with carrots, celery, and a few other vegetables with a side of rice. Laura had the fried noodles with veggies drowned in peanut sauce.
Our meal was good (but I'd get the peanut sauce on the side!), service was great, and the atmosphere good, despite the old decorations. This is a nice addition to downtown Pacific Grove, as it is the Lighthouse Avenue area's only Asian food, other than Takara Sushi.
Monterey Bay Coastal Trail
There is a nice, wide, paved recreation trail along Monterey Bay. In Pacific Grove, the path is separated into a paved bicycle-only path and an adjacent packed-dirt trail for walking, jogging, strolling, strollering, crutching, or just general BSing. Unlike the trial through Monterey, here there are no bums, but they are replaced by an even greater number of old people. From Lover's Point to Asilomar State Beach, the paved bike path becomes part of the road and the dirt trail follows the cliffs on the edge of the water. This stretch is narrow and often close to the cliffs, so not as good for jogging.
In Monterey, just east of Pacific Grove, the trail runs through Cannery Row then follows Del Monte Ave along the beach, dunes, and an old railroad grade. The foundations of some of the old train depots are still visible in some locations. Near the Naval Postgraduate School, the trail passes through an impressive old grove of eucalyptus trees which were imported from Australia. The path is very popular for joggers, bikers, walkers, and bums/bag ladies.
From Asilomar Beach you can jog or bike into Pebble Beach without paying the outrageous $9 vehicle entry fee!
BTW, this trail is part of the California Coastal Trail, a work in progress that will eventually consist of a trail along the entire 1,100-mile California coast from the border of Oregon to the border of Mexico. Today about 50% of the coastal trail is open and accessible to the public.
The Monterey County Weekly "Best Of 2006 Readers' Picks" named the Coastal Trail from Pacific Grove to Marina as the best Place to Bike in Monterey County!