Spanish Bay on the Monterey Peninsula

Some people say it’s the most scenic drive in the country. Some say the world. So we thought that on the fourth and final day of our four-day Monterey Weekend that we would check out this 17-Mile Drive and see for ourselves. So we headed for the Pacific Grove gate, one of five gates that allow entrance to this scenic wonder. Our first stretch on this road didn’t last long, however. Less than a minute after leaving that gate we stopped to check out the Inn, Links and Beach at Spanish Bay. Two hours later we returned to our cars and wondered how far we would get on this road before having to head back to our hotel. Obviously, we had a great time at our first stop. Obviously, we couldn’t spend the same amount of time at the other recommended stops along the way.

Gaspar de Portola landed on the beach at Spanish Bay in 1769. He was looking for Monterey.

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

The Inn at Spanish Bay.

The old man and the girl on the bench beyond the fire pits.

I think the old man is Samuel F B Morse, a distant cousin of the famous artist / inventor. Sam lived on the Monterey Peninsula for 50 years and was the founder of the Pebble Beach Company. He was often called the Founder of Pebble Beach and the Duke of Del Monte (he bought the Hotel Del Monte in Monterey which is now the US Naval Postgraduate school and built the Del Monte Lodge which is now called the Lodge at Pebble Beach). Lots of people just called him Boss. His Pebble Beach Company owns several luxury hotels and golf courses in the area including the Inn and the Links at Spanish Bay. Sam is credited with conserving the Monterey Peninsula. He died in 1969.

The side of the Inn that faces Spanish Bay.

The Links at Spanish Bay.

Remember Monochrome Madness? Australian photographer Leanne Cole hosted a weekly contest for a few years. Lots of us who participated still follow each other’s blogs.

I used my favorite Monochrome Madness preset in the Nik Silver Effex Pro plug-in to Adobe Lightroom to obtain this monochrome effect.

Even crows like the links.

The boardwalk through the links.

Spanish Bay from the Links.

Walking the boardwalk to the beach.

Close-up of the vegetation we passed.

Spanish Bay is part of the Asilomar State Marine Reserve.

The beautiful central California coast.

Catching a wave.

That’s Point Joe in the distance.

My older daughter and her family.

My younger daughter and her family.

Mia and her daddy walking along the shore exploring tidepools.

This area divides Spanish Bay Beach from Moss Beach.

The Beach at Spanish Bay is Stop # 3 on the famous 17-Mile Drive. The first two stops are between the Highway 1 Gate uphill and the Pacific Grove Gate where we entered and then turned toward the coast.

What a scenic walk!

California sagebrush (also called sagewort and mugwort).

Native plants of coastal California.

Why it’s called Spanish Bay.

My younger daughter’s kids love the beach. Any beach.

They spent at least a portion of every day at the beach in Guam two years ago. In Ireland last year we planned one day where we could do whatever we wanted. They chose the beach in Galway.

Spanish Bay Beach from Moss Beach.

My granddaughter Mia accompanied me on my photography walk along the beach.

Moss Beach is south of Spanish Bay Beach and the largest beach on the 17-Mile Drive.

Mia amid the rocks.

Spanish Bay is for the rich. Pebble Beach is for the rich.  It costs an arm and a leg to play any of the golf courses. The 17-Mile Drive is a toll road. They charge $10.50 a car. My wife and I rode with my younger daughter who has a spacious mini-van. So we only had to pay for two cars. But we parked in front of and walked though the Inn at Spanish Bay for free. And we walked through the Links at Spanish Beach for free. And the beach is free. And the parking lot behind Moss Beach is free. If you just want to go to the beach you can avoid the 17-Mile Drive toll if you park on Sunset Drive in Pacific Grove and then walk along the coastal trail that connects to Spanish Bay.

Note: Practically all of Pebble Beach shut down on April 1, 2020 because of the coronavirus but there have been gradual re-openings. See here for the latest news on when everything will be open again.

My youngest granddaughter’s playlistMr. Blue Sky by the Electric Light Orchestra

This song came out in 1977 when Claire’s mother was only four years-old and so I was wondering how she became acquainted with ELO and their music.  Then I discovered that the song was part of the soundtrack of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 which was released in 2017. I think Claire came up with this song for the day we visited Spanish Bay because she and her sister and cousins were very happy with the weather, especially since it was so gloomy and rainy the day before.

Claire may also be the philosopher of the family. Mr. Blue Sky is being touted as the song to sing around the world when the coronavirus quarantine is over!

What’s next?  After Spanish Bay we continued down the 17-Mile Drive, stopping at several famous scenic spots along the coast and lunching at Pebble Beach.  We then walked down Ocean Avenue, Carmel’s main street, and watched the sun set over Carmel Beach. You can see all the photos in my next post.


About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
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4 Responses to Spanish Bay on the Monterey Peninsula

  1. Peter Klopp says:

    Your amazing photos of the seascape at Spanish Bay increases my longing to travel to the ocean again whenever this pandemic comes to an end.

  2. Well, I hope you see the ocean soon! I, on the other hand, wouldn’t mind seeing the mountains of western Canada when I start traveling again!

  3. disperser says:

    The California coastline has been a planned destination for a long while . . . but it would have been easier to do while we lived in Colorado. We’ll see if I ever get there. Very nice scenery and photos highlighting the beauty of the place.

    . . . and I’ve not heard ELO for a long while (we sold almost all our CDs when we moved). I still like them, but my music tastes have somewhat changed. Meaning, I listen to a few songs once in a great while, but I don’t have them a part of my regular playlists.

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