Cannery Row, John Steinbeck’s old hangouts, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium make Monterey a traveler’s delight any time of year. But, it is the spectacular views, bay, harbor, plus dining and wine that make Monterey an Oceanside Eden.
Monterey is a natural beauty, and there are plenty of artists who show up to paint her, photograph her and soak up the views. The aquamarine-blue ocean bids to wander the beach. It’s just the right combination of wild, but not TOO wild.
40 years ago Monterey’s Cannery Row was all but abandoned. One sardine packing place remained open and one small Italian restaurant. The clapboard buildings were closed for business, and the streets were empty of all. It looked as if every character in John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row had taken off to other parts.
Today, the canneries are gone and the characters have returned—although these are a different sort than those from Steinbeck’s novels and life. Galleries, seafood restaurants shops and wine-tasting rooms abound. Of course, there is still Doc’s, Steinbeck’s oceanographer friend, and a character in his stories. There’s a little office that’s still open for visitors. Yep, Monterey was considered a back water town.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium, from what we know, is one of the most exquisite sea-life experiences in the world. It is part sea-life, part art. Blown glass is the color of amber and blue spills through the ceiling, and creates a poetic whirl on the floor in light. Picture frames surround flat aquariums of jellyfish against the wall as if they were paintings.
Also, stroll through old downtown Monterey. Unique shops and the historic buildings are a pleasure. Visit the wharf. Monterey has a rich Spanish and Mexican history. Wander into the mission and imagine Monterey as it was – the gem in the Mission Chain, and the capital of the territory of California.