Our Pacific Grove Walk

Pacific Grove is a quaint little town that sits on top of the Monterey Peninsula about 100 miles south of San Francisco. The town is noted for its scenic coast which is painted purple-pink when the ice plant is in bloom (April through August). According to TripAdvisor the # 1 thing to do in Pacific Grove is to walk along Ocean View Boulevard which starts on the north side of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and continues around all  three sides of the peninsula.

And so we did. We only walked part of the way, though, and our walk was in December.  So no magic carpet of pink.

The scenic coastline of Pacific Grove. That’s ice plant (drosanthemum floribundum) in the foreground. Sorry, no blooms in December.

Click on any photo to see a larger version of that photo.

Our hotel was just about three doors down from the south side of the Aquarium. So it only took about three minutes to arrive at the start of Ocean View Boulevard. To be honest about our adventure — just my wife and I drove along the boulevard. The rest of the family walked along the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail which hugs the coast and parallels the boulevard. Here’s how it worked that day: we would drive ahead and find a parking spot and then wait for the rest of the family to catch up. We did this all the way to Lovers Point and then we headed inland to visit the Butterfly Sanctuary.

Monterey Bay’s rocky coast.

Ice plant, rocks, cypress trees and an occasional house.

Ice plant is native to South Africa. A man named Hayes Perkins planted the seeds in the 1940s and spent years watering the plants until they took hold.

Looking across Monterey Bay.

We waited around a corner for our walkers and then surprised them.

Who are these guys?

We then drove to Lovers Point and waited again for the rest of the family.

Oh, that’s my family!

Rocks near Lovers Point.

Replica of glass-bottomed boats that tourists to Lovers Point 120 years ago boarded to view kelp forests in the bay.

The coastal recreation trail and Lovers Point.

The park was originally a Methodist retreat camp called Lovers of Jesus Point. It’s a popular spot for kayaking, scuba diving and beach volleyball. And since the point faces east you can see the sun rise over the bay.

Some feathered friends at Lovers Point.

What some of the birds were looking at.

The coastal recreation trail ends at Lovers Point but Ocean View Boulevard continues on to the west side of the peninsula where it meets Sunset Drive.

From Lovers Point we headed inland for a few blocks to visit Pacific Grove’s famous Butterfly Grove.

Lots of information in two languages.

We first visited the butterfly grove in the late 70s when our kids were small. At that time there were thousands of butterflies but in the last few decades the species has fallen on hard times, victims of climate change.

Lots of welcome signs. But as the butterflies dwindle, so do the tourists.

The story of the monarchs.

Our three butterflies.

The monarchs are present from October to February.

I saw about twenty butterflies. 25 tops. But my granddaughter Claire claims she counted over a hundred. I think she counted the same ones over and over again. But who knows? Her eyes are much better than mine.

We saw huge clusters forty years ago but none this time.

How to tell a butterfly’s gender.

Why we need monarchs.

Monarchs and milkweed.

The disappearance of milkweed in our fields has contributed to the decline of the numbers of butterflies in recent decades.

Damaged tree in front of Butterfly Grove Inn.

The owners of the inn considered the tree a safety issue and trimmed it, causing a wind shelter problem for the sanctuary. Other trees in private land adjacent to the sanctuary have also been trimmed or removed and have contributed to this problem. Our docent told us that some of the butterflies have preferred to live in the trees on private property and have left the sanctuary.

The City of Pacific Grove maintains an excellent website with detailed documents on the monarchs. See here.

Return to Lovers Point.

After our visit we headed back to Lovers Point for lunch and then returned to our hotel where we split up. Some went shopping. Some just hung out at the hotel for the rest of the afternoon.  I decided to walk up and down Cannery Row where I took most of those pictures you saw in my previous post (see here).

Monterey cypress trees guard the coastline.

View from our outdoor picnic lunch. Most of us ate cheeseburgers from a nearby hamburger shack.

View from further along that stone wall.

In the evening our family got together again and walked to an Italian Restaurant in Pacific Grove not too far from the Aquarium called Il Vecchio (rated # 4 of 55 restaurants in Pacific Grove by TripAdvisor). We thought the food was delicious and the service excellent.  We were even greeted and pampered by the genial owner.

My Oldest Granddaughter’s Playlist Welcome to Wonderland by Anson Seabra

In my previous post on Cannery Row I featured a song from the playlist my grandson had created for the trip. For this post I asked my three granddaughters for a song suggestion. My oldest granddaughter told me that our trip to the butterfly sanctuary reminded her of Alice in Wonderland and she suggested Welcome to Wonderland by Anson Seabra. So without further ado, let’s hear Sophie’s song:

This was the second day of our four-day weekend in Monterey before the new year. The next day we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium and that will be the subject of my next posting.

About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
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12 Responses to Our Pacific Grove Walk

  1. kzmcb says:

    Why was the place called lovers of Jesus point?

  2. Peter Klopp says:

    The rugged coastline of the first few pictures of your photo essay reminded me of our trip to the Oregon coast in 2012, where we stayed at the state park at Brookings. What a touching video! It’s truly a wonderland.

  3. Betty says:

    One of my favorite places to be! You had more sun in December than visitors get in June!

  4. disperser says:

    Nice walk nicely documented.

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