Monday, September 8, 2008

Pacific Grove, California, U.S.A. (August 16-20, 2008)

Pacific Grove is a picturesque town on the Monterey Peninsula, situated along California's central coast. The region has a rich history: the nearby city of Monterey was founded in 1770 by Father Junipero Serra and Gaspar de Portola, and it served as the capital of both Spanish and Mexican California for many years. It wasn't until 1846, during the Battle of Monterey (part of the Mexican-American War), that California was claimed for the United States.

During the early 20th century, the local fishing industry thrived under the hard work of Sicilian and Japanese immigrants. Canneries lined Ocean View Avenue (later renamed "Cannery Row" in commemoration of John Steinbeck's novel), and Monterey became known as the "Sardine Capital of the World." By the 1950s, however, the overfished waters of the Monterey Bay could not yield enough sardines to keep the canneries in business, and the industry collapsed.

Today, the peninsula's primary industry is tourism, and it's easy to see why business is booming. The area boasts an active arts community, first-class restaurants and resorts, a range of outdoor activities from surfing to golf, and plenty of unique shops and galleries, all set against the beautiful backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.
The view of Lovers Point from Ocean View Boulevard in Pacific Grove
One of my favorite old Victorian buildings along Ocean View Boulevard; today, many of the town's historic properties serve as bed-and-breakfast inns
A seal poses for a photo along Ocean View Boulevard
The Pacific Grove farmers market takes over the main street every Monday; "P.G." (as the locals call it) is known for its small-town charm and hospitality
Built in 1855, Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove is the oldest continually operating lighthouse on the West Coast
The rocky shore along Ocean View Boulevard is a popular sunbathing spot for harbor seals (look for the three on the rocks in the lower half of the photo)

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