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VISITING FRIENDS IN THE MONTEREY PENINSULA

Pacific Grove, Monterey, Pebble Beach & Carmel-by-the-Sea

sunny 74 °F

Good Day!

The Monterey Peninsula is located about 100 miles south of San Francisco on the rugged Pacific coast. With its natural beauty and its temperate climate it has become popular with the rich & famous as a place of residence. Spanish & Mexican influence is particularly strong along the California coast. That is due to a couple of things.

A little historical background--A marriage in 1469 of Ferdinand of Aragon & Isabella of Castile led to Spain's unification and to the discoveries of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. Spanish rulers sought gold, silver, and land. Papal decrees required Spain to convert the Indians in its new possessions to Roman Catholicism. To control this vast land so far from Spain, in California 16 missions were established along the coast. Under the guise of religion the natives were controlled by these missions and the Spanish armies (conquistadors). Their stated purpose was to convert the Indians to Christianity. Today, these missions are the cities of San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose', San Luis, San Francisco, etc. Spain created the world's first global bureaucracy to govern it's srawling empire. At the top was the King, who ruled by divine right of 'the grace of God'. Governing for him in far-off colonies were viceroys, governors, etc. The viceroys ruled Mexico and California from Mexico City. California's governor lived in Monterey, the provincial capitol.

My friends, David & Patty Dormedy live in one of the 4 communities in the Monterey Peninsula. They live in Pacific Grove. The other 3 are Monterey, Pebble Beach, and Carmel-by-the Sea. We first met when David & I were invited to join the Keystone Group Holdings' Advisory Board in 2000. He and his partner operated Paul Mortuary in Pacific Grove and sold to Keystone. We sold our funeral business at about the same time and became friends while serving on the Board.

Upon arriving in Monterey I checked into the Elks Lodge, a lovely & large facility. After getting set-up I called the Dormedy's to tell them of my arrival. They invited me over to their home for dinner which I accepted for 'home cooked' meals are a rarity with me! Patty and their daughter, Tracy prepared a lovely salmon dinner and with wine, it was a very enjoyable evening.

Monterey Bay is a deep-water port protected from the Pacific Ocean making it ideal for anchorage. Monetery was California's first Capitol city, although brief, but always has been a strategic location with fort's protecting it. Today, there is a commercial fishing wharf along with a large recreational boat marina, a US Coast Guard station, and an active Lighthouse. All 4 communities depend on tourism as their major source of income although military spending is also significant with installations nearby, Ft. Ord, being one. The downtown commercial districts in all 4 communities are very up-scale and beautiful. Real estate prices are extremely high with listings in all exceeding $1 M and in Pebble Beach and Carmel listings reach $40M!

David & Patty picked me up at the Elks Lodge at 0900 on Sunday and we toured the area all day. We drove down toward Big Sur and took pictures and crossed Bixby Bridge, arguabley the most photographed bridge in California, next to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fran. From there we stopped at Pebble Beach where we drove along the famous golf courses. Stopping at the Pebble Beach Club for lunch we learned that the staff is busily preparing for the US Open Golf Tournament nine months away. Downtown Pebble Beach is very quaint and as I mentioned before, the housing prices are 'through the roof'.
From there, a short distance away is the community of Carmel-by-the Sea. Its quaintness and obvious wealth is breath-taking. Its most famous resident and former mayor is actor Clint Eastwood. He owns several properties and a resort hotel there.

Monterey is probably the largest community of the four. Although, not large, it has a nice downtown and the waterfront has the Navy Pier, an area of restaurants and shops extending out into the harbor. David, Patty, their lovely daughter Tracy, and I went to dinner in an area of Monterey called, 'Cannery Row'. It was a former industrial area where sardine fish canneries were located. Today, the area is filled with restaurants, hotels, and condos. All very beautiful. In Pacific Grove the community has over 250 Bed & Breakfast hotels. A lovely community located along with water, it has the same up-scale ammenities. The Dormety's home overlooks the Bay on a corner lot with a golf course across the street and a fairway behind their house. Surrounded by lovely gardens, it is a gem. They own several rental properties in town.

My friend, Frank Betchkal from MN would have liked this. Frank, a Porsche owner, would have enjoyed this week's Porsche automobile gathering in the Monterey Peninsula. Dubbed the world's largest rally of Porsches it is supposed to bring 60,000 fans to area. I saw more Porches this weekend than Chevys or Fords!

As I mentioned before, the Spanish influence is everywhere here, particularly in the architecture of the buildings. It was a delight to visit the area and I thank the Dormedy's for their hospitality. My next stop will be Bakersfield on my way to Las Vegas. Bakersfield, by the way, is Marilyn Monroe's hometown when she was Norma Jeane Baker. Just abit of trivia!

Posted by dixter 08:19 Archived in USA Tagged to monterey visit peninsula

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