by Bob Fisher
Living in this unique town for the last five years has been delightful for me. Prior to moving here I spent thirty-three years in the San Francisco/Berkeley area and shorter stints in several other locations. I was born and raised in Michigan.
Wandering around town has brought me in contact with gentle deer, old trees, and creative people. Places I especially love: the Library since so many of the books are ones I’m searching for; the rejuvenated Museum for its wealth of knowledge of the natural world; the Post Office for its old-fashioned way of communicating with the outside world and its historic mural; and strolling in Rip Van Winkle Park to remember the area used to be a forest of Monterey Pines, Cypress and Oaks.
I am gratified that the harbor seals feel safe enough on our beaches to birth their pups every spring; and the endangered Monarch Butterflies return each year to begin their cycle again. I am honored to participate in the Walk of Remembrance, which commemorates the Chinese fishing village that used to stand proudly on our shores. I look forward to the annual Feast of Lanterns that reminds us of the power of love and the blessings of Kwan Yin.
One of the not-so-hidden pleasures of PG are the many yards with flowers, native plants and countless tchotchkes, especially the gnomes and fairies representing the ever present world of the Spirit. The way folks decorate and adorn their abodes at Halloween and Christmas and throughout the year truly give Pacific Grove that home town feel. The ubiquitous outdoor chairs and benches, some retained from previous generations, remind me of those who have lived here in the past and invite communication with current neighbors as well. The bookstore and the coffee shops keep alive the attitude of friendliness and philosophical inquiry.
Another hallmark of this special town is the many free and low cost events that stir both my mind and soul. Of special note are the entertaining Farmers Market, the stunning concerts performed by the volunteer PG Pops orchestra lead by Barbara Priest; and the tours of the Point Pinos Lighthouse, one of the oldest and most fascinating jewels in town. I am grateful to Don Beals for inspiring anecdotes about the past; and to the members of the Heritage Society for keeping the flame of history alive in their charming barn, as well as leading tours and sponsoring lectures.
Other landmarks I appreciate: El Carmelo Cemetery, a prominent memorial to Pacific Grove’s beloved ancestors; the cottage where Carol and John Steinbeck developed their social empathy and commitment to phalanx with Ed Ricketts and Joseph Campbell; the nineteenth century architecture of St. Mary’s by-the-Sea and the Christian Church on Central Ave. And of course, Asilomar, for being a state park open to all to enjoy, a nature refuge and the largest existing collection of Julia Morgan’s Arts and Crafts buildings.
All of these and more generate life and culture in Pacific Grove.
Patricia Hamilton is the owner and publisher of Park Place Publications, 591 Lighthouse Ave #10, Pacific Grove, parkplacepublications.com, 831-649-6640. Call or email to set up an appointment for a free initial consultation for all writing and publishing needs.