On a trip to California in November 2017, we chose to make a stop in Monterey because of the exotic name and its position on the map between two destinations on the Amtrak train line between San Fransisco and Oxnard.
Plimoth and Massachusetts are about the pilgrim settlers searching for freedom to exercise their faith on the East coast. This place on the west coast is connected with Spanish adventurers or missionaries about the same time in the 1600s.
The area belonged initially to Native Americans then came under Spanish rule, Mexican and at last American in 1846. From Wikipedia
Monterey was the site of the Battle of Monterey on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican–American War. It was on this date that John D. Sloat, Commodore in the United States Navy, raised the U.S. flag over the Monterey Custom House and claimed California for the United States.
I enjoyed the two days stay as you can reach everything on foot. The nearest train station is Salinas, and from there you get an Amtrak bus to Monterey. I will never forget that the driver called us by our names to check that we had booked.
I liked the thought that Scottish author Roberts Louis Stevenson had walked in these streets and stayed in a hotel which is still there today. He benefitted from the climate as he had suffered since his childhood from severe health problems. The town has several signs about him in the area where he stayed. The coast and history was the background for his children’s story, The Treasure Island.
Historical sights in Monterey
The Old Whaling Station built with adobe bricks by Scottish David Wright as his family home before he deserted the town due to the Gold Rush in 1849. In 1855 it became the Whaling Station and restored back to a family residence in 1903. Today it’s a museum and a place for hosting events. At the front entrance is a rare whalebone vertebra sidewalk. Inside the house, the staircase has a burglar step. The second step from the bottom is taller than the rest. An intruder would fall down and alert the residents by the noise.
The first Brick House from 1847. From now on the buildings in Monterey would last. The builder Gallant Dickinson never finished his construction but left for the Gold Rush.
The Old Custom House built by the Mexicans in 1829. It is the oldest government building in California, and a historic landmark and the area around is a State Historic Park. In the building, volunteers explain the things on display like tea and building materials and fur. The photos below also show some from the Pacific House Museum in the same area.
The historic sights were close at hand in the small old town a more serious matter for us was to go to a grocery store to get something to eat in their deli. In Denmark, we are spoiled to be able to go by public transportation. We found a bus stop where it said that the bus ran on Thanksgiving and Christmas. With my husband’s hip replacement done two months earlier, the trip uphill to the shopping centre was a challenge. At that time we didn’t know about Uber or Lyft. One day more and we would have walked to Carmel, another pearl on the coast nearby.
From the harbour and coast of Monterey