Pebble Beach is best known for its luxury resorts, golf
courses and stunning 17-Mile Drive tour which passes through the Del Monte
forest. To access this haven, you must enter one of five guard gates
in Carmel or Pacific Grove where you pay just less than $10 per car.
As you pass through the shady entry gates, you are also given a brochure
with extensive information and a map.
There are approximately 20 stops along the well marked
route, each with a landmark of interest and paved parking for your vehicle.
From the trademark Lone Cypress tree to the Restless Sea, Seal Rock to
Spanish Bay and Spyglass Hill, you are guaranteed to get a thrill. The
well trodden road was once a trail in which covered wagons carried guests
from a hotel to picnic grounds along Pebble Beach over 100 years ago. Though
a century has passed, some things are timeless in this enchanted forest.
Today, tourists continue to enjoy the crashing waves that hit rugged rocks
below vistas where pine trees frame each photo perfectly. Picnics
are still "in" as are strolls along the sand near Seal Rock lookout.
And golf continues to be the number one sport here for over 80 years.
The public courses include Poppy Hills, home of the Northern
California Golf Association, the Links at Spanish Bay which is accessible
when you stay at the Inn, Spyglass Hill which was designed by Robert Trent
Jones, Sr., Peter Hay Par-3 Course and famous Pebble Beach Golf Links with
the Lodge, shops and dining.
For a luxury treat, dine
at the Lodge located a short drive from the Carmel Gate. Nothing can beat a lunch on
the patio deck overlooking the 18th hole of Pebble Beach Golf Links. Next, wander behind the Lodge to the row of gift shops
where you'll find costs on clothing and souvenirs in line with prices at
nearby golf courses and resorts. You can purchase items beginning
around $5, with classic golf shirts, slacks and even spa robes available
for under $100. There's a wonderful market with a deli selling sandwiches,
sodas and wines and should you be inclined to purchase property in Pebble
Beach, a Realty office is located there, as well.
Business must be booming. Agents are all quite busy, numerous
houses are in various stages of construction along the 17-mile drive and
renovation of castles and mansions appears to be the norm. Perusal of a
couple brochures for home listings stated prices ranging from $6 million
to around $18 million. While you may think the prices seem steep, you will fall in love with incredible mansions
shrouded in trees behind stone gates. Remember that this 17-mile stretch offers a list
of who's who in the world of entertainment and wealth. In a land
where money flows as freely as the ocean waves, evidence of a recession
is not apparent.
For average folks passing through by car or riding one
of the bus tours, try not to let the cost of admission prohibit you from
exploring the 17-mile drive. It is a lifetime memory. You can see
some comparable sites and vistas at other spots along the coast such as
Big Sur, but this user-friendly drive is less intense than Coastal Highway
1. The drive can be done in under an hour but most people stop, get out
of their cars at the designated spots and spend time experiencing the joys
of nature's beauty in one of the most scenic spots on the whole planet.
Here's a partial list of highlights from the tour:
Shepherd's Knoll - provides a vista with views of the
Monterey Bay and Gabilan mountains
Point Joe - spot where many ships crashed into the rocks,
mistaking this for the Monterey Bayy
Bird Rock - thousands of birds, seals and sea lions
on towering off shore rocks. A pair of binoculars would be helpful to see
them in their off coast location.
The Lone Cypress - You probably have seen this tree before.
It is the trademark for the resort and actually exists, perched on a rock
with a supporting cable to keep it from falling.
Fanshell Overlook - provides a vista to a white sand beach
where seals moult seasonally
The Ghost Tree - A bleached white Monterey Cypress looks
dead as driftwood. Lighting to photograph it is best in the late
afternoon. But look around and notice a forest of bleached white trees
along the cliffs.
Restless Sea - powerful, crashing waves at this location
are created from the underwater rocks at Point Joe