Monterey occupies a significant place in the history of America. Immortalized by poets, writers and artists alike, a visit to historic Monterey is a trip into the past of California, as well as that of America. The Monterey area has all the state of California has to offer in one small geographic area. There is historic Cannery Row in Monterey. Salinas Valley boasts some of the finest wines in the world. Carmel-by-the-Sea has some of the most magnificent beaches and surf breaks in all of California. There is something for everyone in historic Monterey.
History of Monterey
The history of Monterey is the history of California and the West. It has been home to soldiers, revolutionaries, pirates, fishermen, pioneers, and visionaries. The city’s history is as rich and romantic as the land itself.
Originally named La Bahia de los Pinos by the Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542. It was not until December of 1602 that it took the name Monte Rey Bay. Named in honor of the viceroy of New Spain, Monte Rey Bay was home to perhaps the first Catholic Mass ever performed on the western coast of America. Sebastian Vizcaino and his crew of 200 men celebrated their safe journey by holding mass under a large oak tree. This same oak tree would see the establishment of the Presidio at Monterey by Captain Gaspar De Portola and Father Junipero Serra. By 1776, Monterey was declared the capital of both Baja and Alta California.
In 1818, the Mexican Revolution against Spain changed the world, but it did not diminish the importance of Monterey. In fact, it enhanced the city’s standing. When California pledged its allegiance to Mexico, Monterey was named the official port of entry to California. Prior to becoming part of Mexico, California was closed to trade with other nations. Now, trade with California was encouraged, and all trade flowed through Monterey. This transformed Monterey into a cosmopolitan city overnight.
From that point on, Monterey was featured in the early history of California. It saw the birth of land rich settlers known as Californios. It came under American occupation in 1846. The occupation lasted two years before the Mexican government ceded control of Alta California to the American government.
While the recent history of Monterey has not been as tumultuous, Monterey has remained an integral part of the fabric of California. This beautiful seaside city is filled with homes, landmarks, and buildings that harken back to the very beginning of the land known as California. The history of Monterey is the history of California. This city saw the state’s first constitutional convention, the first brick house, the first public school, the first public library, and the first printing press. Many of these historic buildings still stand and welcome visitors today.
Monterey’s Place in Art and Literature
Monterey has been the home of some of the world’s greatest authors and poets. The sea air of the Central Coast of California inspired these men and women to create works that still resonate with audiences today. Perhaps, Monterey’s most famous author is John Steinbeck. Steinbeck introduced the world to Monterey in the lauded “Cannery Row” and “Sweet Thursday.” Though Steinbeck had his share of critics during his lifetime, visitors can now visit the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas as well as walk the streets that inspired the man.
John Steinbeck immortalized Monterey’s Cannery Row, but visitors will not find many fishing vessels or canneries when they visit Monterey. The fishing industry saw its inevitable collapse due to overfishing in the 1950s. All that is left are a few well-preserved fishermen’s huts along Cannery Row.
Other authors found Monterey to be a source of inspiration. The famous Scottish poet and author Robert Louis Stevenson was inspired to pen an ode after his visit to Monterey. Nearby Point Lobos is said to have inspired his masterwork “Treasure Island.” Visitors can still visit the old French Hotel where he once stayed. Now, it is called the Stevenson House. Robert A. Heinlein, Henry Miller, and Robinson Jeffers all called Monterey home at one time or another. All have left their mark.
Not only has Monterey inspired great works of literature, many artists have found a source of inspiration on the shore of Monterey. Monterey has been home to acclaimed photographers such as Ansel Adams, renowned sculptors such as Jo Mora, and painters such as Armin Carl Hansen, but Monterey continues to inspire artists to this day. Visitors to the city and its environs can find many opportunities to explore local museums and studios. Visitors should not miss the Monterey Museum of Art or the Artists-Equity Studio Tour.
Artists still flock to Monterey to learn the en plein air and tonalism style of painting. Visitors will find examples of their work scattered throughout the city’s galleries and studios. Most artists are quite willing to sell their pieces, and many do take commissions.
Why Stay at a Monterey Bed and Breakfast
The best way to enjoy all Monterey and its environment has to offer is by staying in one of the many Bed and Breakfasts in the area. Bed and Breakfasts are more than just a hotel. They occupy historic buildings and offer a boutique style experience to travelers. The level of service one will find within a Monterey Bed and Breakfast is unequaled in commercial hotel chains.
The innkeepers at Bed and Breakfasts often act as informal tour guides and coordinators. They depend on repeat business and word-of-mouth advertising. They want their guests to have the time of their lives. Innkeepers will be quick to make recommendations about attractions in Monterey and the surrounding areas. No matter what their guests’ interests, the innkeepers will be able to point them in the right direction. By staying at a Bed and Breakfast in Monterey, travelers will not only have the benefit of full service, boutique accommodations, they will also see the city through the eyes of those with local knowledge.
To discover more about luxurious Bed and Breakfast accommodations in historic Monterey, please contact Select Registry. Select Registry will be happy to aid you in finding the perfect Bed and Breakfast for your next trip to Monterey.