Ketcham's Barn -- small museum and relaxing well
Ketcham's Barn was built in downtown PG some hundred years ago. The barn itself is not much these days, but there is a nice little open area adjacent, which contains a nice fountain, several benches, and some beautiful plants.
Since 1982 the Pacific Grove Heritage Society has been housed in this old barn. Inside you will often find a cheerful volunteer who can tell you about PG's past, or you can just wander around the small interior looking at old items such as 100 year old photos, a player piano, various pieces of furniture, and artifacts from the old religious retreat days.
The barn is located at Laural and 17th Streets, and is only open Saturdays from 1pm until 4pm. Entrance is free.
Golf at Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Links
Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Links is one of America's top public courses. It is comprised of the first nine holes in the town of Pacific Grove and nine holes along the water surrounding picturesque Point Pinos Lighthouse. The course was established in 1932.
The course is also a good deal at $40 on Weekdays and $45 on weekends for non-residents. The course is open every day of the year.
The Point Pinos Grill is located at the course and is open to the public. All meals are $10 or less, and they consist of breakfasts, sandwiches, and a few light entrees such as fish and chips.
California ground squirrel
The California ground squirrels hang around some of the rocky coastal areas along Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, and Point Lobos. They tend to stick close by some of the picnic areas looking for scraps and handouts, but I'd be leery of feeding them by hand. I got bit by an eastern gray squirrel once, and he took a big chunk out my my little finger, biting clear through my glove.
Other then people flesh, these squirrels tend to eat seeds, berries, roots, and leaves of various plants. I watched one of these little guys pull some ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis) right out of the ground and nibble on it a little bit.
A note on ice plant... it is also called Pigface or Hottentot Fig, and used to be known by the scientific name Mesembryanthemum until it was reclassified by those all-knowing scientists (maybe the same guys who declared Pluto not a planet?). Ice plant has a beautiful purplish-pink flower, but it's an invasive plant that grows quickly, spreads rapidly, and pushes out native plant species.
Old Monterey-PG Railway Grade Trail
Monterey's first train, which began in 1880, was Southern Pacific's Del Monte Express. It operated from San Francisco to Pacific Grove's Lover's Point until it was disbanded in 1971. While the train originally stopped at Lover's point, it later was extended a few miles around the bend at Point Pinos and to the edge of Pebble Beach, mainly for the purpose of hauling sand from Spanish Bay to glass blowers. This is actually the train that struck and killed Doc Rickets along Cannery Row in Monterey.
A second railway along a similar route was the Monterey and Pacific Grove Railway. It ran from 1891 until its abandonment in 1923. This was originally operated by 10 horse-pulled cars on rails, which traveled from Monterey' Old Del Monte Hotel (now part of the Naval Postgraduate School) past Lovers Point. This method of transport was so famous, even President Benjamin Harrison visited Pacific Grove on April 1st, 1891, and he rode on the railroad's very first trip. While the railway was never extended past Lovers Point, there were plans drawn up in 1904 to extend the railway all the way past Spanish Bay, through Pebble Beach and Carmel to the Carmel Mission. This same year, the route was electrified, eliminating the need for the horses. Unfortunately after World War I, automobiles grew in popularity and the last train trip on this route was conducted in 1923.
Today the stretch of trail from Monterey to Lovers Point forms a short stretch of the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. However, few people use or even know about the rest of the old rail route from Lovers Point to Spanish Bay. From Lover's Point the first leg of the railroad grade is actually blocked by a gate, then is quickly opens up as part of the Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Course. Behind the Cemetery at Point Pinos, the trail opens up for Public use, though it is still owned by Southern Pacific Rail. This length of trail to Spanish Bay is a beautiful, flat, wide trail that is used only by locals. The trail is owned and maintained by Union Pacific Railroad.
Mandarin Gourmet ... or not so gourmet?
Honestly one of the worst Chinese meals I've had in a while or maybe ever. Maybe I should have known better than to try Szechuan at a Mandarin place... the Szechuan beef was so overcooked it tasted like beef jerky with hot sauce on top. At least the rice was good. We also had the big house special wonton soup with pork, shrimp, and chicken which was excellent and really made the meal enjoyable for us.
The restaurant is clean but kind of a dump... it reminds me of someone's garage that was fixed up and converted into a restaurant. Exposed beams, threadbare gray carpet, painted over brick walls. The paint is fresh, but the restaurant could really use an overhaul.
Mandarin Gourmet also delivers, and during our meal several calls for delivery were made, so many people obviously enjoy this restaurant and have a higher opinion of the place than I do.
Open 11:00am to 9:30pm. Closed Tuesdays.