Photograph by Christopher von Steinbach
The first glints of gold come from over the Coast Range, illuminating emerald forest and grassland as they sweep to the water's edge and the cottony wisps of marine layer over Monterey Bay. Imagine marveling at this spectacular coastline 250 years ago, when the only people who had gazed upon this stretch of land were native Rumsien Ohlone communities and Spanish explorers.
Here, on June 3, 1770, in the shade of a California live oak tree, Monterey was established as a Spanish settlement. It was the capital of Alta California under Spanish and Mexican rule, and it was in Monterey at Colton Hall where the state of California was born with the signing of the state's first constitution in 1849.
Since then, the Monterey region has branched out, grown up, and stayed a special place in the hearts of many. It's where my parents honeymooned and my family has lived and vacationed.
As a child, I spent an abundance of hours at Asilomar Beach and Dennis the Menace Playground, wondered at the fall arrival of monarch butterflies to Pacific Grove, and pet countless dogs in Carmel-by-the-Sea. As an adult, I still pay attention to the dogs and butterflies, spend as much time out on the water as possible, and make room in my schedule for the region's wineries. And no matter your interest, there's something for you in the Monterey Bay area. It's where people have been lured to enjoy music, art, theater, sport, leisure, and that wild landscape at the edge of the continent where the sun finally sets over the vast Pacific Ocean.
There are plenty of ways to get to know the region in this edition of GuestLife Monterey Bay, from outdoor experiences like hiking alone and with your furry best friend, to picnicking and discovering the sights along the Coastal Recreation Trail, to golfing and finding the most extreme adventures to get your adrenaline pumping. Find your favorite film locations from Big Little Lies, learn about wine or humpback whales, get the best coffee in the area, or discover the restaurants and dishes that have a rich sense of place. Get tips from local tastemakers, as well as their favorite places and times to visit. And seek out the semi-precious treasure of Big Sur, beyond its breathtaking landscape.
Our feature stories cover Monterey's 250th anniversary, the importance of the Pacific Ocean to the region, Jeannette Tuitle-Lewis' leadership of the Big Sur Land Trust and how it helps keep Big Sur unspoiled with its mission of preserving open space, and sculptor Steven Whyte's skill at depicting history in bronze.
Take your time to enjoy the wealth of Monterey Bay. Here's to another 250 years.