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A Day on the 17-Mile Drive

The gate through which we entered the 17-Mile Drive was the nearest one to Monterey, and is called the Pacific Grove Gate. The twisty roadway winds through the spectacular Del Monte Forest and poses such scene as to draw out a litany of superlatives. Bounded by the wave-scrubbed Pacific, around each curve is a magnificent scene as land and sea meet in premiere exchange.

They say it is the most photographed tree in the world, and it is considered so precious that it is now guarded by a fence. No longer may casual visitors approach the Cypress tree which for centuries has stood in defiance of storm and raging sea. Understandable, but a bit of disappointment, for Don and Abby on their honeymoon had carved in their initials on the ancient Cypress, and it would have been fun to try to find those marks.

It is golf, though, that commands the area now.

The crown jewel of the golf world, Pebble Beach first shimmered with the completion of the Pebble Beach championship golf course in 1918. The Monterey Peninsula Country Club and Cypress Point Golf Club soon followed. More recently, Pebble Beach Resorts developed The Links at The Inn at Spanish Bay.

We prowled around the grounds, did a bit of window-shopping, then because we were thirsty, and had seen a deli down the way, we walked down to the market, where we drank cokes and ate snacks.

Others were hungry, as well. At one of our stops, from Abby’s well-stocked snack bag came chips for the squirrels. Soaring and swooping birds were prevalent, and numerous sea lions lay about.

At a hard lean toward the land, Cypress trees abound, their shapes testimony to fierce prevailing winds. Immense mansions line the highway, their windows and doors strategically perched for splendid view of the sea and its bounty.

It’s an ancient, somewhat mysterious land. The brochure handed to us at the gate gives a brief history.

Before the automobile had become a way of life, 17-Mile Drive was navigated by horse-drawn carriages from the famous Hotel Del Monte, now the site of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. It was 1881 and excursions through the Del Monte Forest and along its spectacular coastline usually ended up at a picnic spot at Pebble Beach. A couple of landmark dates in the rich history of Pebble Beach are:

1602–Spanish explorers discover and map Monterey Peninsula.

1880–Hotel Del Monte opens and buys the Del Monte Forest Land.

We finished up the drive, roamed around the streets of Carmel for awhile, then headed back to Monterey. We were hungry and would have dinner there.

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 83 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 63 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

12 replies on “A Day on the 17-Mile Drive”

Hello Shirley,
Thank you for your post. I found it while writing a post for Fox Rent a Car Blog about the 17 mile drive. We try to give travel tips and find inside scoop to help people plan trips and find interesting/ off the beaten path things to do in different cities. You have some great pictures and I really enjoyed your writing style.
Thank you for sharing your personal experience.

Welcome Marie to my blog. Hope you’re here often.


oh oh another great memory of grandma’s house in Pacific Grove.
My aunt lived very close to one of the holes on Pebble Beach.
It was 1965, Christmas week. I had just received a plastic golf set and so, like any good golfer I headed for that green that was right behind Aunt Louise’s house. I played and played and these rude old men in carts would yell at me to leave! How dare they. Finally a mean looking old man with a shovel showed up and grabbed me by the collar, took me to my aunts and made sure I got a good “talking to” about playing on the course!
It wasn’t until many years later that I realized I had been playing on THE PEBBLE BEACH!!

I’m glad, so glad you were a little boy who played Pebble Beach with plastic clubs. Mean ole men to ruin your game!

That is one beautiful place. Jerry checked rates for a round: startling! The cheapest room available was $400.00 a night ranging on to $4000.00. An unbelievable place. We didn’t stay; went back to our very modest Howard Johnson. 🙂

You were a fortunate young man to have spent part of your childhood in such a place.


Ophs, meant to say Morro Bay. Oh well, there are so many places I love along the ocean that sometimes I “mess up”. lol

Karen, isn’t it great that we live on the beautiful West Coast. It truly is a remarkable place.


I love this area so much. Stop there almost every trip to the City. Just got off Tena’s blog to read she had been there and then reading yours makes me “hungry” to go back. We sometimes take Highway 1 up from Moss Landing way when we have the time. It’s about 30-45 minutes longer than Highway 101 to Monterey but well worth it (in any weather). Glad you and Bro Buxton were able to get away and enjoy dear friends for a few days.

Karen, as you were writing this I was writing about how I want to return to the area; just a magnificent place.


What beautiful photos. My husband asked me to marry him at Seacliff State Beach between Santa Cruz and Monterey during the 1967 Family Camp when it was held at Sant Cruz.

Is the Brother Robert Webb who commented above the same Brother Webb that used to preach, sing & play the piano, especially the song about the bones connecting…? If so, my dad had him preach several times at our church in San Jacinto-Hemet.

What a romantic place for a marriage proposal.

Yes, Robert Webb preaches, plays the piano and sings. Now he is doing quite a bit of writing.


Sister Buxton:
I feel a sence of jealousy. Those are beautiful pictures. I would like to travel again and take pictures with my new camera. I would like to go to Indiana and see my kids, my grand kids and meet my great grand kids whom I don’t even know. I wound like to go back to Jamaica and preach again, and they want me to go, but right now I am not physically or medically able. Besides right now cold weather will be coming in. Maybe next spring it will be different. I will have to ask the doctor if I will be able to go by then. If I live to see Nov. 3 rd. I will be 80. So travel while you can…God bless you.
Brother Webb

Your post has done a couple of things to me; one–made me consider anew how blessed Jerry and I are; two–feel badly that you are not able to travel. It’s especially disconcerting to hear you have grandchildren you have not met.

I have an idea: I think you should ask all your children and grandchildren to travel to your home to celebrate your 80th birthday on Nov. 3rd. That is a wonderful idea. (Don’t forget to invite Jerry and me!)


Hey! We just missed you! We were there Sunday evening through Wed. But we had sun. Where did it go? Oh, well…it’s still beautiful there!

You’re right Tena. Highway 1 surely is one of the most beautiful places on the earth. Even in the midst of pouring rain, it would be spectacular.


Beautiful scenery. I must go there one day soon. Ahhh, so many places beckon me! I need a REAL vacation. It’s been too long!

Catherine, that is one place you don’t want to miss. It truly is spectacular.


Can you believe that the O’Keefe’s would deface that ancient old cypress with their initials? SHAME!! But on the other hand it might be considered, “ANCIENT CARVINGS”.

Too funny. They were merely past the “babe in arms” category when they took knife to tree bark.


17 mile drive is spectacular! I love to drive it in my convertible with the top down . I think it’s time for me to go again…

Let me know when you’re going, and I’ll ride with you. 🙂 I didn’t get my fill of that magnificent place.


My wife and I have enjoyed the 17 mile drive many times. It is one of our favorite locations to visit.
Thanks for the wonderful pictures. The memories came flooding back as I looked at them.

Aren’t memories wonderful, Mervi? Give us the opportunity to live again a beautiful time in our lives.


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