- One-night stay for up to two adults in a Deluxe room
- Fresh flowers<p>
By Lexi Costello, Travel Correspondent
Sophisticated Inn Mixing Old-Fashioned Elegance with Impeccable Service
Posted behind the dark wood desk in the reception area of the Inn at 213 Seventeen Mile Drive, Jas, the inn’s proprietor and chef, sits composing handwritten notes in defiance of the seemingly dormant computer just to his right. As guests arrive, he greets them by first name in his hearty Scottish brogue and rises from his perch to distribute a modest set of metal keys, revealing a sprawling smile, a light denim apron, and pinstriped trousers—his perpetual uniform. In the sunroom next to the office, waves of natural light cascade through the paneled windows, spilling out onto the tapestry of oriental rugs that wends down the hallway of the 1920s Dutch colonial bed-and-breakfast.
As visitors walk down the hallway toward the carpeted stairwell, they pass an antique cider press before ascending to the second story, where two short hallways painted in pristine cottage white usher travelers to the bedrooms. At the westerly end of the cross-shaped floor plan, hand-painted signage indicates the entrance to the Turnstone room, whose wood-paneled door opens to reveal a four-post queen-size bed dressed in crisp blue and white linens. The bed anchors the spacious chamber and complements Victorian period pieces such as an imposing, mahogany boudoir and two French-inspired floral-motif chairs. The quiet murmur of hallway traffic sometimes trickles in, but the senses are occupied by the bay windows lining the room or the lavender scents of the lotions in the tile bathroom, where still more windows allow relaxers to relish views of prancing deer from the large soaking tub. At the opposite end of the hallway, the Blue Heron room indulges weary travelers with a king-size brass bed, a plush wicker love chair, and a private garden-facing balcony that overlooks the carriage house and a bushel of purple wildflowers.
Throughout the day, aromas waft from the kitchen, luring guests from all corners of the property to the heart of the inn at early evening. Between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., a spread of rotating gourmet hors d’oeuvres, such as cheese and almond slivers in a citrus sauce, augments red and white wine pairings in the dining room, where strangers can gather around a grand piano to compare itineraries, dinner reservations, and Adlai Stevenson impersonations. The evening edibles can also be enjoyed in the intimate colonial parlor sporting early-20th-century wood paneling and a craftsman-style fireplace that tempers the chill of sea-salt-infused Pacific nights. In the morning, guests savor Jas’s inspired breakfast creations at communal, white-clothed tables, dining on items such as rosemary-boiled sausages, fragrant cinnamon pancakes, and cheese-filled egg puffs that shed their delicate layers like Russian nesting dolls to reveal pristine yolk centerpieces.
Pacific Grove: Victorian Splendor and Whimsical Charm on the Coast
Nestled near Monterey and Pebble Beach, the just under 3 square miles that make up Pacific Grove maintain a decidedly low profile in comparison to the town’s conspicuously lavish neighbors. Lighthouse Avenue, trimmed with antique shops and organic coffeehouses, bisects the concentrated town center, enticing hungry sightseers with praiseworthy restaurants such as Pacific Thai Cuisine, a tiny eatery sporting stained-glass panels and a burgeoning sake collection. Across the street in the restored Victorian dwellings of Red House Cafe, servers dish out delectables such as calamari steak salad amid the Marco Polo tea canisters and oriental fans filling the restaurant’s nooks and crannies. Nearby, residential streets lined with turquoise, purple, and honey-colored homes unravel toward the ocean, their Victorian townhouses and pintsize cottages standing in contrast to each other from across shared backyards.
A recreational trail hugging the dramatic coastline serves as Pacific Grove’s northern border, creating a pedestrian highway through the unadulterated natural beauty that fuels the local mania for outdoor pleasures. As dark waves crash off the rocks and baby seals roll in the sand, Bert, a 30-year resident keeping the company of an elderly mutt, marvels at his oceanic backyard, which still “greets (him) with the familiarity of an old friend and the intrigue of a new lover.” Stretching from the dunes in the west to the tide pools in the east, the dirt path meanders past Lovers Point, a manicured park and public beach area ripe for afternoon picnics and sweeping views of the peninsula.
A bus ride down sinuous back roads and past local livestock deposits visitors at the foot of the Asilomar State Beach & Conference Grounds, a state park and beach famous for its historical buildings and rich landscape. Guests file into the 107-acre coastal park via the grand swinging doors of Hearst Social Hall, a towering assembly center brimming with billiard games and jubilant conversation and anchored by a natural-stone fireplace, a testament to renowned architect Julia Morgan’s commitment to the arts and crafts style. Perched on top of fertile peaks and tucked away in dusty valleys, the park’s original 16 buildings (11 of which survive today) were constructed in 1913 from native redwood, concrete, and stone rather than the dominant building material of the time, gingerbread. As the sun sets over the coniferous woodlands, visitors flock to the open meadow, where a catered barbecue perfumes the smoky air and sneaker-clad guides commence evening tours. Swathed in cotton blankets and windbreakers, some couples abandon bottles of wine to venture to the beach, where patches of white sand and small, protected coves proffer views of harbor seals and sea otters.
Our Recommendations for Your Getaway
Asilomar State Beach & Conference Grounds A secluded camp-like refuge designed by Julia Morgan integrates arts and crafts architecture into 107 acres of sprawling woodlands and coastal beaches.
Monterey Bay Aquarium A world-class marine museum boasts a 33-foot-high viewing tank, live feeding sessions, and exhibits teeming with sharks, penguins, sea otters, and turtles.
Point Pinos Lighthouse The oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast, this maritime landmark still sports its original French lens and prisms; tours illuminate the structure’s history with the aid of artifacts.
Red House Cafe Housed within a historic Victorian home, this eatery offers friendly service to complement the shabby-chic décor as well as sophisticated, unpretentious food that speaks for itself.
Passionfish This Zagat-rated local favorite serves sustainable seafood in an upscale, casual atmosphere and offers an extensive wine menu with selections priced at retail level, accessorizing the ever-changing culinary offerings.
Monarch Grove Sanctuary Between the months of October and March, 25,000 annually migrating monarch butterflies settle into the sanctuary’s eucalyptus trees, forming a breathtaking multicolored canopy.
Mum’s Cottage The smaller of two fine interior-décor stores, this European-inspired venue features international furniture collections at affordable prices; the owner, Talin, offers guests Armenian coffee and fortune readings.
Tessuti Zoo This local shopping spot’s eclectic collection of colorful, whimsical items—such as quilted purses, stuffed animals, and funky fabrics—overflows onto the sidewalk.