When people are headed to Monterey, most of us really mean Carmel, or Pebble Beach. Hardly anyone goes to Monterey. Even fewer actually stay in Monterey, where the charm is definitely lacking compared to her more elegant big sisters, Carmel and Pebble Beach. Yes, Monterey is an ugly duckling of sorts, but perhaps it deserves a closer look.
Monterey is home to the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. It also hosted the recent 55th Monterey Jazz Festival, known the world over.
Some hidden gems include: Dennis the Menace Park, a favorite of my kids when they were younger, the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Old Monterey (downtown), and even two golf courses.
Monterey also boasts many boring facts. The population is just under 30,000 people. Cannery Row was renamed to honor author John Steinbeck in 1953, the old name was Ocean View Boulevard. Famous residents include(d): Leon Panetta, Robert Louis Stevenson, Frank Zappa, John Steinbeck, Herm Edwards, Pete Cutino, and Mike Aldrete (former SF Giant).
The famous Jazz Festival, started in 1958, has hosted great performers such as Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck, Billie Holliday, and Louis Armstrong. The Festival was the brain child of San Francisco disc jockey Jimmy Lyons.
And perhaps the world’s most famous tree, the Monterey Cypress stands guard on Seventeen Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, just a seven iron away. But Monterey Jack Cheese was actually originated in nearby Carmel Valley.
Another famous inhabitant, the California sea otter has become a threatened subspecies. Monterey was established by none other than Father Junipero Serra and the explorer, Gaspar de
in 1770. Even fewer people know that Monterey was the capital of Alta California from 1777 to 1846 under both Spain and Mexico.
Have I sufficiently bored you to tears? Monterey will just always be the poor little sister to glamorous Pebble Beach and romantic Carmel by the bay. Nothing you and me can do will ever change that.