The 17-Mile Drive to Pebble Beach and Carmel

The 17-Mile Drive through Pebble Beach is a loop. We only drove from the gate in Pacific Grove to the gate at Carmel which was about 8 miles. From the Carmel Gate the drive heads east to the Highway 1 gate and then north paralleling highway 68 for awhile and then swings back west and finally north again until it meets up with the main road just south of the Pacific Grove Gate.

Most of the suggested stops along the drive are on the coast between the Pacific Grove and Carmel gates. Since we had spent so much time at Spanish Bay we decided to skip several stops before Cypress Point and a few more between the Lone Cypress and the Pebble Beach Golf Links. We then drove directly to the Carmel Gate and Carmel. So we missed the upper half of the drive that is away from the coast.

See the detailed map here for all of the suggested stops (listed as points of interest and numbered).

The history of Cypress Point.

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

Info on the local animals and vegetation.

Cypress Point Lookout now has a chain link fence.

Harbor seals observing siesta time on the beach at Cypress Point.

My camera lens would not fit through the space between the links and so I got as close as possible and then cropped the result.

The coast on the other side of Cypress Point Lookout.

Our next stop was the Lone Cypress, one of the most famous trees in the world.

The Lone Cypress.

The Pebble Beach Company use the Lone Cypress as their logo and they have taken out a patent making it illegal for anyone to photograph the tree for commercial purposes without their permission. Isn’t that ridiculous?

A close-up of the Lone Cypress.

View from the road near the stairs that lead to the Lone Cypress viewpoint.

I experimented with both Lightroom and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 to get this effect.

Same photo but a different post-process.

Then I went back to the original color photo and converted it to black and white with the Topaz Lab Studio software.

The view from our parking spot.

I used the Nik Analog Effex Pro to obtain this effect.

No, this is another tree next to the viewpoint.

Another experiment with the Nik Silver Efex Pro plug-in.

There it is, behind my grandson and his parents!

The rocky coast near the Lone Cypress.

The Monterey Cypress.

Why we need fog.

OK, one more photo!

We were all getting pretty hungry by now and so we decided to drive straight to Pebble Beach. There is one restaurant there whose prices aren’t overly exorbitant.

Oops — the restaurant was closed!

So we found a market nearby that sold sandwiches, salads and drinks and we claimed a couple of tables and benches just outside the market for a nice picnic lunch. The Pebble Beach Company will refund your $10.50 17-mile drive toll if you purchase anything over $35 at just about any place in the Pebble Beach area. Any place except the market, however. Oh well, we enjoyed our lunch!

The fabled 18th hole at Pebble Beach.

After lunch we walked over to The Lodge and then downstairs to the back exit and — behold! — we were gazing at the fabled 18th hole at the Pebble Beach Golf Links. The 18th hole is a par 5 with the Pacific Ocean running all along the left side and that big cypress tree right in the middle of the fairway.

My two sons-in-law, both golfers, at the sacred 18th hole.

It will cost you around $600.00 to play this course, one of the most famous in the world. Pebble Beach is presently the host to the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and has been the host for the US Open six times, including 2019. It was also the site for the PGA Championship in 1977.

One final shot of Pebble Beach.

I downloaded the Topaz Labs plug-in software the other day and used Studio 2 in conjunction with Lightroom to process this photo.

Doud’s Craft Studio Building on the corner of San Carlos Street and Ocean Avenue.

After Pebble Beach we drove down to the 17-Mile Drive’s Carmel Gate and then to the top of the hill where we parked our cars and then walked down Ocean Avenue, Carmel’s main street, to watch the sunset at Carmel Beach.

Mary Miller Klepich painted this mural that she called California del Norte via Camino Real in 1955. Earl Bozlee restored it in 2002. The old craft building connects to the Doud Arcade, one of many mini-malls in central Carmel.

Carmel’s Ocean Avenue.

Carmel has long been one of our favorite places to visit in northern California. See here and here for a couple of stories about our visit in 2015. And in 2014 I uploaded a number of  monochrome images from our visit to Mission Carmel way back in 1976 (see here).

Body Frenzy perfume shop.

I thought they were selling pastries!

The Lamp Lighter Inn.

Another view of the Lamp Lighter Inn.

The last couple of blocks of Ocean Avenue contain mostly cottages for rent.

Almost there.

Catching the sun’s last rays.

One more block to go.

The girls in heaven again.

They played on the beach at Spanish Bay earlier in the day and now are getting ready to watch the sunset at Carmel Beach.

Sunset on Carmel Beach.

My last photo of the day. And of the month. And of the year.

We returned to our cars and drove back to our hotel via highways 1 and 68. We then had dinner at a restaurant in Steinbeck Plaza a block away. The next day was New Year’s Eve. We checked out of our hotel by 11am and got back to the Bay Area in a couple of hours. That night we welcomed in the new year without any thought in the world that the world would soon be topsy-turvy and we would be living in lockdown.

Music of the Day (but from 60 years ago) — Theme from A Summer Place by Percy Faith

Yes, our four-day weekend occurred during the winter but somehow the 1959 movie A Summer Place fits with our adventures on our last day on the Monterey Peninsula. Does anyone remember A Summer Place? It starred Richard Egan, Dorothy Malone, Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue with Arthur Kennedy and Constance Ford playing key roles. The story was supposed to take place in Maine but the entire movie was filmed on the Monterey Peninsula. The Summer Place in the movie was really a mansion on Lighthouse Avenue in Pacific Grove. All those sea shore scenes were shot in Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach.  And Richard and Dorothy’s new home toward the end of the movie was supposed to be on Pine Island in Maine but actually is a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that sits at the southern edge of Carmel Bay!

The movie introduced Troy Donahue to the world.  The whole point of Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee in Grease has to do with Sandra’s role in this movie.  And the movie was probably the highlight of Richard Egan’s career. Richard was born and raised in San Francisco. He graduated from Saint Ignatius High School in 1939, the year I was born. He then attended the University of San Francisco for three years before joining the Army and serving in World War II for three years. After the war Richard returned to USF where he received his BA. He then went on to Stanford where he received his MA. I followed Richard to SI and then also attended USF where Richard’s brother Willis, a Jesuit priest, taught theology.

The movie was overall just so-so and would not have caused much sensation if it weren’t for the music that came out of it. Max Steiner wrote the music. Mack Discant wrote the lyrics.  The Lettermen and Andy Williams and the Chordettes recorded the song. And Percy Faith’s instrumental version topped the charts for nine straight weeks in 1960. Let’s end my account of our Monterey Weekend by listening to Percy’s orchestra.

Note: Most of Pebble Beach re-opened on June 1st after the Covid-19 lockdown. The rest of the hotels, restaurants and golf courses are scheduled to open on June 15th. See here for the latest Covid-19 information regarding Pebble Beach. See here for the latest Covid-19 information regarding Carmel.


About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
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13 Responses to The 17-Mile Drive to Pebble Beach and Carmel

  1. Peter Klopp says:

    This must have been a terrific family outing at Pebble Beach. I believe I said it before, your photos make me long for another visit to the West Coast with its beautiful ocean-atmosphere. What editing program do you use for your post-processing of your photos?

  2. disperser says:

    The seals were nice, but I liked the impressive trees forming the backdrop. It’s a great setting for a house . . . if that’s a private residence (it’s wasted as a utility building). There’s a concrete structure to the right, so it’s probably not a private residence.

    How are you liking the Topaz Labs software and Nik Collection tools?

    • You’re looking at a conservation area that contains the oldest and largest Monterey Cypress trees in the world. Most of the homes in this area were built in the 1920s for the 1 %ers. I think that building you see is used by employees of the Pebble Beach Company for maintenance.

      My 30-day trial period of the DxO Nik collection is over and I decided not to purchase any of these tools. So I reloaded the Nik tools I downloaded from Google in 2015 and am using them again. I still have 23 days to go with the Topaz 30 day trial. So far I am impressed with two of the products: Denoise and Studio 2. I also have been playing with some of the Topaz Legacy products such as Studio which are free. I use an old version of Lightroom (version 5.7) and have experienced some problems with some of these Nik and Topaz plug-ins which probably work better with more recent versions of Lightroom.

    • disperser says:

      Yeah, I recommended everyone download the original Nik Tools when they were free (I did and still have a copy). I also bought the DxO version to support the company.

      The tools have a fair amount of tutorials on YouTube, so it’s easy to learn the full power of them.

      My suggestion:

      DeNoise is good (and the latest release even better) but I will tell you that Sharpen Ai also removes noise. I suspect they use the same engine. Studio 2 has AI Clear which seems to do a combination of sharpening and noise reduction. You might have to purchase one of their packs to get it.

      I’ll also mention that Lightroom has improved a whole lot and might be worth checking out. I think they still sell the stand-alone version (don’t quote me on that).

      So far, I’ve been happy with the Photographer plan of $10/month for both Photoshop and Lightroom (which also gets you some Android Tools and a few other goodies which, I admit, I seldom use).

      My go-to process is Sharpen Ai, Color Efex Pro, Lightroom CC. I have other tools I bring in when I need to, but most of the photos I post are processed with those tools.

      • OK, I downloaded all of the Topaz AI products today and will be taking a look at them during the next few weeks. I have been using Denoise 6 and haven’t found much difference between that product and Nik’s Dfine and just using Lightroom noise reduction. But I am impressed with Studio 2. Here’s what puzzles me: if Studio 2 does noise reduction and sharpening so well why would anyone need either Sharpen AI or DeNoise AI? It also seems to be able to do all the things that the Nik Effex plug-ins do, too, and then some!

        I haven’t come to terms yet with Adobe’s policies and so am still holding out on upgrading to LR CC. Maybe some day.

        Thanks for all of those suggestions!

      • disperser says:

        I’m not sure . . . it could be batch abilities, could be more options, could be more file formats.

        I own them all, and they are all pretty good at what they do. Some are better at different tasks.

        Denoise has options for high ISO photos and color noise tweaks that are not part of the other apps that also remove noise.

        The high ISO (low-light) option and the color noise option do different things than the regular denoise.

        The Sharpen AI has options for sharpening, shake reduction, and focusing which I don’t think are a part of the Studio 2 package.

        I’ve not used Studio 2 sharpen and noise reduction extensively. I tend to use AI Clear to clean up a processed photo (it cleans some noise and touches up the sharpening).

  3. Yes, I’ve always thought it was ridiculous about the Lone Cypress Pine tree. They could have designed their own logo, the Cypress Pine is unique to only a couple places in the world if I recall from my reading up on it years ago after a trip to Point Lobos park.

    I haven’t done 17-mile drive in a while. It’s a beautiful drive. I’d go back to Calif. for a Big Sur trip. 😀

    • Yes, there are only two places in the world where the Monterey Cypress are native. One of them is Pont Lobos south of Carmel Bay and the other is Cypress Point north of Carmel Bay!

  4. nitinsingh says:

    Lovely post thnx to share this lovely post

  5. Emilie says:

    It is simply beyond me but a tree can be patented. That is abusive in some way, an affront to Nature Herself. But what a drive! If I ever get to California again, I’ll have to do it.

  6. Geri Lawhon says:

    This is a wonderful photo tour. I appreciate you sharing it with us.

  7. cbholganza says:

    Thank you for these great pics. Brings back many wonderful memories of my visit there more than a decade ago. Ahhh…. pebble beach. And the lone cypress tree. Good to know the lockdown is now slowly relaxing.

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