Unique Places in Monterey

  • Coastal Views / Beaches
    by machomikemd
  • Coastal Views / Beaches
    by machomikemd
  • Coastal Views / Beaches
    by machomikemd

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Monterey

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    The Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum

    by machomikemd Written May 6, 2012

    The Spirit of Monterey Wax Musuem is an off the beaten path activity for history buffs and people who love to see wax figures hehehe. Located inside this small museum are assorted wax figures of the historical people of the town. There are more than hundred figures which portray four hundred years of Californian history. This wax museum holds community heritage programs, horror shows, fundraising events, exhibitions and guided tours.

    Admissions
    Adults: $6.95; Children: $2.95; Under 6yr:s free; Seniors: $5.95; Students: $4.95

    Opens: 10:00 am to 8:30 pm everyday

    Address is:700 Cannery Row, Ste II, Monterey, CA 93940

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

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    Go to Hearst Castle

    by machomikemd Written May 3, 2012

    Driving up to the Highway 1 for 99 miles from monterey will lead you to Hearst Castle, It is a 2/12 hour drive along the scenic and winding roads of CA Route One where you can do several photo stops along the many points of Interests along the Route. In the Hearst Castle, there is no single grand tour of the complex, what the administrators did is to split the tours of the Hearst Castle into 4 kinds of tours (to be able to make more money?) and you can do all of them if you have a whole day and part of the night free time ok.

    according to their website:

    All tours view the Castle’s two spectacular swimming pools—the outdoor Neptune Pool and the indoor Roman Pool. All visitors will also receive a ticket for our exclusive 40-minute film Hearst Castle – Building the Dream, shown on a five-story screen at the Visitor Center’s Hearst Castle Theater. This fascinating glimpse behind the scenes is shown all day at forty-five minute intervals. The first screening begins at 8:15 am.

    Grand Rooms Tour
    View the magnificent ground floor rooms of La Casa Grande (big house) where Mr. Hearst's guests met their host and were entertained during their stay at La Cuesta Encantada (the Enchanted Hill). See the Assembly Room, where guests met for cocktails, the Refectory, where meals were served, the Morning Room, Billiard Room and Theater. Your knowledgeable Guide will bring this estate to life sharing stories about Mr. Hearst and his many guests who visited for nearly three decades in the early part of the last century. Stroll the grounds at your leisure at the conclusion of your guided tour inside the castle.

    Upstairs Suites Tour
    View guest quarters and Mr. Hearst's private floor as you climb high up inside the castle. Visit two libraries and learn how Mr. Hearst's art collection was utilized in the castle. Stroll the grounds at your leisure at the conclusion of your guided tour inside the castle.

    Cottages & Kitchen Tour
    Visit the Wine Cellar, two lavish guest houses (including the one Mr. Hearst used when he first stayed here), and the surprisingly modern kitchen. Stroll the grounds at your leisure at the conclusion of your guided tour.

    Fondest memory: Ticket Prices:
    Tours Adult Ages(5-12)
    Grand Rooms Tour $25 $12
    Upstairs Suites Tour $25 $12
    Cottages & Kitchen Tour $25 $12
    Evening Tour $36 $18

    Children under 5 are free when accompanied by a paying adult.
    Prices are subject to change without notice.

    I did the grand rooms tour 21 years ago and on a revisit, did the Upstairs Suites Tour.

    Address: 750 Hearst Castle Road, San Simeon, CA 93452-9740

    Phone: 800-444-4445

    Website: www.hearstcastle.org/

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • National/State Park
    • Museum Visits

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    Take a Red Trolley Tour

    by cnango Updated Aug 28, 2011

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    On a red trolley you can be given two very different tour options. A wine tour of Carmel Valley Wineries in Monterey County. Or more unique, a ninety minute Ghost Tour of Old Monterey "Haunts". Both tours are fun and educational in their own ways and are led by a long time Monterey resident and historian.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Historical Travel
    • Wine Tasting

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    Old Monterey Path of History Walking Tour

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Yes, I included the walking tour under my "things-to-do" tip, but I also include it here because the path covers many historic sites and gardens that the average visitor never visits. What tourist doesn't stop by the Custom House and Pacific House or wander down Alvarado on his way to see Colton Hall? Boring!

    The hidden spots on the path of history offer some unique history, quiet gardens, great views, and best of all--solitude. The out-of-the way spots on the path of history are at the far ends where the lazier people seldom walk, and there are no bars and restaurants to draw guests.

    My favorite hidden spot is the Lower Presidio Historic Park. Formerly part of the US Army's Presidio of Monterey, the city leases this land and is in the process of developing it into a bigger tourist draw. The main features here are the Father Serra Monument with its "million-dollar view" over Fishermans Wharf and the Bay, the Sloat Monument which honors the man who led the capture of Monterey, and the Presidio Museum. You can enter this park from downtown by taking Pacific to Artillery. From the Cannery Row area, take Lighthouse toward downtown and take the right on Private Bolio Road, then a quick left before the military gate.

    Between the Lower Presidio Park and California's First Theater are several other hidden little spots worth peaking at...The O'Donnell Library (1876), Doud House (1850s), and Perry House (1860) are at the end of Van Buren Street near the new walking bridge to the Presidio Park. Just off of Pacific, in the same area are the Vizcaino-Serra Landing Site, Old Whaling Station (1847 ... not the Cannery Row Restaurant), and the First Brick House (1847).

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    Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo - Old Town

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The smallest cathedral in the US, this is also the oldest continually operating church in America and the oldest stone building in California. In its early years, it was the Royal Chapel for the Presidio after the mission was moved to nearby Carmel. The church was first built in 1770, destroyed by fire in 1789, and the current structure was complete in 1794. The statue of Mary over the door was created in 1794 and is the oldest non-indigenous sculpture in California. President Herbert Hoover (prior to being elected president) was married in this chapel in 1899, and was the the first American president to have been married in a catholic church. The Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo is listed as a National Historic Landmark. In 2007 restoration work, including seismic retrofitting, will begin as part of a multi-million dollar renovation project.

    The blessed (and probably soon to be Saint) Junipero Serra, who originally founded this cathedral, is buried in nearby Carmel Mission.

    San Carlos Borromeo, as it turns out, is the patron saint of ulcers, intestinal disorders, apple orchards, and starch makers.

    The cathedral is located near the back corner of El Estero Park near the intersection of Fremont and Camino El Estero.

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    Point Lobos State Reserve

    by tvdandy Written May 25, 2009

    Located about 3 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1, Point Lobos State Reserve has some of the most breathtaking beauty and diverse scenery in the Central Coast. Every driving or hiking path you take, one will encounter hidden beaches, caverns and tide pools, forest areas, dramatic sea scapes with huge rock formations, every type of sealife imaginable, abundant flower life, and sweeping vistas. This is a can't miss for outdoor enthusiasts. You have to bring your camera for award winning opportunities. As I am writing this, the entrance fee for each vehicle was 10 dollars.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Mission Basilica in Carmel

    by tvdandy Written May 23, 2009

    The Carmel Mission Basilica is a beautiful mission located outside of Carmel. For photo buffs, plenty of historic architecture. Also a wonderful garden path and a historic cemetary. The church inside is gorgeous. A huge amount of religous artifacts.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Architecture

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    Cactus Garden

    by Lhenne1 Written Aug 6, 2008

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    Across the parking lot from the Del Monte Hotel is the Arizona Cactus Garden. The garden was created 1881-1882, fell into disarray and was fully restored in 1995.

    It's a peaceful little garden with unique plants. On a sunny day, there are shady areas with benches to just sit and relax. If you find yourself at the Del Monte Hotel, this is a neat spot to stop off for a few minutes.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Short Road Trip for Seafood and Antiques

    by Lhenne1 Updated Jul 20, 2008

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    There isn't really a lack of things to do in Monterey, but if you're looking to get out of town for a day, this is great place to visit. Tons of wildlife, ocean tours, antique shops, restaurants...and a large power plant (try to ignore that).

    Moss Landing is about 20 minutes north of Monterey on Rt. 1. Filled with antique shops and quaint cafes, the area is a nice spot to spend a couple hours on a rainy day. If you head up early in the morning, you can walk along the marina and purchase fresh seafood directly from the fishing boats.

    On sunny, clear days, you can whale and bird watch from the National Reserve wetlands and take a kayak out on the estuaries nearby. Sea lions, harbor seals and sea otters swim up into the marina area and are easy to watch from the road and surrounding land.

    If you're a fan of antiques, there are more shops here than you'll have time to see in one visit. The last week in July the town hosts an antique street fair (about $5 per adult). In December, the Moss Landing Holiday Crafts and Lights Festival offers holiday music, gifts and a Victorian costume contest.

    The wildlife in this area is amazing. In Monterey you'll find plenty of sea lions and a handful of harbor seals. In Moss Landing you'll see more of these creatures, plus otters and interesting birds. Various tours are available to take you to areas where the animals hang out and are fun to do with kids.

    There are some nice places to eat while you're in Moss Landing. Phil's Seafood and the Whole Enchilada are two of my favorites.

    Moss Landing is the home of the research labs associated with the Monterey Aquarium as well as the moss Landing Power Plant. Nearby, you can wander around Elk Horn Slough and get some exercise while seeing some wildlife.

    Related to:
    • Whale Watching
    • Birdwatching

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    Haunted Monterey

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Jul 13, 2008

    Monterey is one of the oldest European towns in Monterey, so it's not surprising that it has a share of so-called haunted houses and ghost stories. Some of the supposedly haunted places include:

    Stevenson House - the place where Robert Louis Steven lived for a year or so supposedly has the ghost of the owner, a sad mother who died of scarlet fever and left her children behind. The old hotel is on Houston Street.

    Stokes Adobe - this 19th Century building and modern day restaurant may be haunted by the ghosts of Mr and Mrs Stokes as well as a later owner named Hattie Gragg. Located by the Post Office on Hartnell Street.

    Lara Soto Adobe - supposedly, an owner, before Steinbeck took up residence here, buried his three-year old under the tree in front of the house. The ghost of this small child still wanders the grounds. Located next to Colton Hall.

    Casa Munras Hotel - haunted by Doña Esteban Munras Catalina Manzanelli Ponce de León, former owner and granddaughter of explorer Ponce de León.

    Underwood-Brown adobe - where owner José María Sánchez died in quicksand after being cursed; his hidden cache of gold was never discovered. This adobe is now owned by the city and houses the Monterey City Council offices and meeting rooms.

    Seventeen Mile Drive - the area known as the Ghost Tree is home to the ghost called the Lady in Lace. She may be Dona Maria del Carmen Barreto who once owned parts of this area, or she could be a bride of someone lost in a shipwreck near this location.

    Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove - The ghost of the first lightkeeper, Charles Layton, is said to roam the grounds.

    The Del Monte Hotel - still haunted by a former guest named Charles Crocker.

    The Casa Bodega Liquor Store and Deli - this deli and liquor store at the corner of Del Monte and Figueroa has beer, wine, and more than one kind of spirits. Legend tells of two ghosts who may haunt these grounds: a former worker who was murdered here and a scientist who died here in a lightening storm.

    Old Monterey Jail - what old jail isn't haunted? This one was built in 1854 and could boast the no one ever escaped its thick walls. I'm not sure if this prison has any particular ghosts of record, but it is a but creepy.... especially when someone closes the door behind you after you wander inside.


    For a guided tour of some of these haunted places in and around Monterey, check out the $28 Monterey Ghost Tour.

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  • Relax on a heated bench next to a fountain!

    by MelissaChavez Written Jul 9, 2008

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    This place is amazing its right off the rec trail and nobody seems to know about it. Even on the craziest day on Cannery Row you go on down to the tea room and get to listen to great music, enjoy the heated bench and check out the cool stuff in the boutique. and then on some nights you you can even catch a show next door at the live music venue. Everyone i have shown this place to loves it! And the staff that works there is very knowledgeable about the tea and the products. its not a stuffy tea room but more of a hip cool place to go you see a lot of the artistic people and young health conscious people there. its the place to go if you want to meet the locals in the know!

    Related to:
    • Music
    • Travel with Pets
    • Beaches

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    Monterey Fire Department Historical Museum

    by Ewingjr98 Written Jun 21, 2008

    Monterey Fire Station #2 is located at 582 Hawthorne Street New Monterey and provides first response to New Monterey, Cannery Row, and the Presidio. The station was built in 1951, but this fire department responded to Monterey's famous Associated Oil Tank Fire of 1924 and the suspicious burning of the Chinese community at China Point in 1906.

    On display at the museum are a hand-drawn hose cart from the early 1900s and the Monterey Fire Department's first motorized fire apparatus--a 1916 Seagraves nicknamed the "Old Gray Mare." These are still used in local parades. Other displays include antique equipment and photographs of the towns historic fires, and the men who put them out.

    Arrangements to view this historic equipment can be made by calling the Monterey Fire Department, Fire Administration Office Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The address is Monterey Fire Department Historic Fund, C/O Division Chief Mike Ventimiglia, City Hall, Monterey, CA. 93940.

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    Watsonville Ocean Speedway

    by Lhenne1 Written Jun 16, 2008

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    If you're looking for something to do on a Friday night (not that Monterey won't have plenty) drive north to Watsonville. About 20 minutes from Monterey is the Ocean Speedway, a dirt race track. This was my first trip (see my video!) and I had a blast. Cars of a variety of eras and drivers of all ages compete for weekly titles. The highlight when we were there was the Sprint cars, speedy little open-wheel vehicles with giant spoilers on top. They did scare me a bit when they crashed, however, as they tend to do a complete somersault in the air.

    It was chilly the night we went, so I would suggest bringing a blanket and heavy sweatshirt just in case (it got breezy). Wear sunglasses or some kind of eye protection during the races as you'll end up with dirt in your eyes - ouch! The noise wasn't bad (Nascar races are much worse) but if you travel with kids you'll probably want to give them ear plugs.

    Beer, soda, bbq, hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn and all the other kinds of carnival-type goodies are available if you want to get dinner while there. No outside alcohol is permitted inside the gates.

    Visit the track's website for race dates and times. Ticket prices vary depending on the races going on.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Adventure Travel

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    Thomas O. Larkin House

    by Ewingjr98 Updated May 12, 2008

    In 1832 Thomas O. Larkin, the half brother of John Rogers Cooper (of the Cooper-Molera Adobe), joined his brother in business in Monterey. Larkin was a New England merchant who became influential in early California politics. He served as the first and only United States consul to Mexico in Monterey working under the administration of President Polk.

    His adobe and redwood home, now called the The Larkin House, was built in 1834, and it combined Spanish building methods with New England architectural methods and features. This created a pattern for the popular "Monterey Colonial" style of architecture that was imitated throughout town. It was also one of the first two-story houses in Monterey, and it combined both home and store. Once Larkin became consul in 1844, the adobe served as governmental headquarters and the center of California's social life.

    Larkin's granddaughter, Alice Larkin Toulmin, acquired the house in 1922, and in 1957, she presented it to the State of California. It was named the Thomas Oliver Larkin State Historical Monument, and it is also a National Historic Landmark.

    Open for tours Wed 1:30pm, Fri 3pm, & Sat-Sun 2pm. The beautiful gardens on two sides of the house are open daily from about 9 to 5, and feature an amazing variety of roses, rhododendrons, and other wonderfully scented flowers. It was developed in the 1920-50s by Larkin's granddaughter, and is surrounded by stone walls that help create a secluded, peaceful garden.

    464 Calle Principal at Jefferson Street, Monterey, CA 93940

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    Cannery Row has some history!

    by Ewingjr98 Updated May 9, 2008

    Cannery Row isn't all tourist restaurants, hotels, and souvenir shops; this area actually has some real history! Starting with early Chinese immigrants and moving on to the Cannery Days of Steinbeck, the area has preserved many of the significant sites that celebrate and preserve the history of the area.

    Immigrant Chinese fisherman began Monterey's commercial fishing industry in 1853. Their original settlement was at Point Cabrillo (today's Stanford Hopkins Marine Station) and it quickly grew to over 500 people. This area was burned to the ground by a suspicious fire in 1906 and nothing open to the public remains in the Hopkins Marine Station. After the fire, however, some from the Chinese community moved to today's Cannery Row, where the history remains in such structures as the Wing Chong Building (835 Cannery Row).

    In later years sardines became king of Cannery Row. Here you will find Ed Ricketts Lab (800 Cannery Row), some Cannery Worker Houses, an old sardine reduction plant at what is now the closed Stohan Gallery, and several historic factory crossovers (there were once 16 of them on Cannery Row).

    Modern monuments include the Doc Ricketts Monument at Wave and Drake where he was killed by a train, the John Steinbeck Monument at McAbee Beach, and brand-spanking new Cannery Row Divers Monument at San Carlos Beach near the Coast Guard Wharf.

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Monterey Off The Beaten Path

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