Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Refuge By The Sea"

Yes, we knew that 17-Mile Drive is widely recognized as one of the most scenic drives in the world.

Maps highlighted the famous California coastal landmark that runs through Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach, from the dramatic Pacific coastline to the majestic Del Monte Forest.

Brochures boasted that the awe-inspiring vistas and legendary sites could easily fill an entire day with exploration and discovery.

We had paged through travel magazines that featured some of nature’s treasures found along 17-Mile Drive including The Lone Cypress-–one of California’s best-known landmarks.

We had watched the televised competition of the U.S. Open that featured the emerald fairways of The Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill and the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links.

And yes, we would be introduced to the exclusive neighbor-hoods around Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach, and Carmel Bay by taking the famous drive.

However, we did not take the 17-Mile Drive.

Instead, we left Monterey, traveling on Ocean View Boulevard through Pacific Grove.

We passed Lovers' Point, Lucas Point, and Point Pinos. At each of the points, we stopped to take photographs and to spend several moments just sitting on boulders.

After leaving Point Pinos, we turned south on Sunset Drive.

We made several stops in this stretch of Sunset Drive, which passed along Asilomar State Beach.

This area featured dunes and vegetation planted in the dunes and along the coastal bluffs. A quarter-mile boardwalk meanders through the 25 acres of restored sand dune ecosystem.

There were fewer homes along this stretch. With the sounds and visual impact of the waves along this section, it was the perfect setting for just chilling.

Even along this popular beach area, gulls and sea lions comfortably tolerated fellow travelers.

It was especially satisfying to see this narrow one-mile strip of sandy beach and rocky coves so wonderfully free of high-rise condos and "Private Beach" signs.

It was clear that the title of Monterey Peninsula's "Refuge by the Sea" fit Asilomar State Beach perfectly.

It is a breath-takingly gorgeous 107 acres of ecologically-diverse beachfront land, situated within the scenic town of Pacific Grove.

All the photographs shown here were taken along the coastal section of the Monterey Peninsula on two separate visits--one cloudy afternoon and late one sunny morning.

Yes, we missed 17-mile Drive, but we think we found some equally-beautiful scenery along this section of the Monterey Peninsula.

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