About Monterey Peninsula
The Monterey Peninsula is located on the central coast of California just 2 hours south of San Francisco on the southern tip of Monterey Bay. The peninsula itself has the cities of Monterey, Carmel and Pacific Grove on it plus the world famous resort area of Pebble Beach, although many would include Carmel Valley, Del Rey Oaks, Seaside, Sand City and Marina as Monterey Peninsula cities. This site just focuses on the 3 Monterey Peninsula cities of Carmel, Monterey, Pacific Grove and the resort area of Pebble Beach.
Besides the just chillin’ and checking out the gorgeous scenery on the Monterey Peninsula, there are hundreds of activities to take advantage of while visiting here. There is invigorating shopping experiences for all budgets, delicious restaurants, award winning wineries, world class golf courses, surfing, sailing, whale watching, sport fishing, endless beaches to walk, equestrian, tennis, automobile races, hiking, bird watching, kayaking, dancing, painting, photography, bicycling, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, historical walks, volunteering, etc…This is an amazing place to visit and an even more amazing place to live! Above all else, Monterey Peninsula is LIFESTYLE!.
A Little Monterey Peninsula History
Monterey Bay and the Monterey Peninsula was discovered by Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo in 1542 who landed in “La Bahia de los Pinos” (The Bay of the Pines) just 50 years after Columbus “discovered” America. It wasn’t until 1602 that Spanish Explorer Sebastian Viscaino sailed into the bay from the south and named it after his sponsor, the count de Monte Rey. The tip of the Monterey peninsula was named “La Punta de los Pinos” or Point Pinos, where the oldest continually functioning lighthouse on the west coast, the Point Pinos Lighthouse still sits today looking out over the beautiful Monterey Bay.
Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel and Pebble Beach
The Monterey Peninsula and the cities around it have played big roles in shaping and defining the state of California over the years.
Monterey has always served as the anchor city to the Monterey Peninsula and was the center of all peninsula growth. It all kind of started with Gaspar de Portola built a fort to defend the valuable port of Monterey (Presidio of Monterey) and missionary Junipero Serra built the Mission San Carlos Borromeo in Monterey (the second mission in the chain of Spanish Missions of California) in 1770. Father Serra later moved the mission to Carmel where it is currently located and the original church in Monterey remained as a Royal Chapel for the soldiers guarding the new Spanish Presidio of Monterey.
Monterey served as the Capital of Alta California from 1777 – 1848 as a Spanish Territory, making Monterey the first capital of California. The oldest governmental building in the State of California is the Custom House of Monterey which was used to tax all goods coming into the area. California became a state of the United States during the Battle of Monterey in the Mexican-American War when John D. Sloat raised the American Flag over the Monterey Custom House. Other state first include the first theater in California, the first brick house, the first publically funded school, the first public library, the first printing press and the first newspaper. The first constitutional convention was held here in Monterey at Colton Hall. Monterey was a huge supplier of fish, especially canned sardines up until the 1950’s when the fishery collapsed. John Steinbeck’s books, Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday were both based on the canneries and the colorful people who occupied Cannery Row in those days. Doc Ricketts lab at 800 Ocean View Avenue is still there on Cannery Row (now called 800 Cannery Row).
Pacific Grove also played a big role in making the Monterey Peninsula into what it is today. Founded as a Methodist Retreat like its east coast namesake, Ocean Grove, NJ, Pacific Grove was a perfect place to come and enjoy the mild summers, rest the mind and body, enjoy the beautiful coastline, fresh sea air and watch the Monarch butterflies. The Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle set up a west coast branch in Pacific Grove in 1879. Robert Louis Stevenson was quoted as saying after walking Pacific Grove after the camp grounds were deserted by summer campers, “I have never been in any place so dreamlike. Indeed it was not so much like a deserted town as like a scene upon a stage by daylight, and with no one on the boards.” Soon the small retreat campsite lots had Victorian era homes being built on them as people wanted to spend more and more time in this quaint seaside town. Today Pacific Grove is called America’s last hometown and is said to have more Victorian era cottages than any other place in the country per capita!
Carmel-by-the-Sea is known for its scenic beauty, its unique village feel and shopping experience plus the storybook architecture located throughout the village. Carmel sits just north of Point Lobos State Park, once called “The most felicitous meeting of land and sea in creation.” by Robert Louis Stevenson, so obviously based on its close proximity Carmel is quite striking as well. Plus the views from the Carmel coastline are often looking right at the jagged Point Lobos coast or towards Pebble Beach which is also pleasing to the eye. Carmel Beach is a beautiful white sand beach that is a haven for sun-worshipers, surfers and dog lovers alike. In addition to the scenery, Carmel-by-the-Sea was and still is full of artists, poets and writers who are devoting their lives to honing their crafts in this free-spirited little town. Over the years their creativity and love of their crafts truly shaped the town into the artsy village it is today. The creativity didn’t stop on the canvas either. Back in the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s, guys like Michael J. Murphy and Hugh Comstock would forever change Carmel by designing and building the cute and sometimes whimsical Carmel cottages that Carmel-by-the-Sea will forever be known for.
Monterey Peninsula, and the cities within it, is represented by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. The Monterey Peninsula is a part of the 29th State Assembly District of California State. In the Senate, it is represented as a part of the 17th State Senate District. The Peninsula is a part of California’s 17th congressional district, currently represented by Sam Farr.