Pebble Beach: SSCS’s Upscale Neighbor (Part 2)
This is Part 2 of a 3-part series. To catch up, please click here to access Part 1.
Last week our tour of Pebble Beach commenced. We entered through the Pacific Grove Gate and wound our way through the beautifully windswept coastal dunes and an almost unearthly shoreline.
Well, that’s one part of Pebble Beach’s personality, but it transitions right before your eyes as you continue rolling down 17-Mile Drive. We’ve marked this change with an “x” in the following map:
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. When we left you, we were rolling along the coast, past Point Joe and the Monterey Peninsula Country Club West Course. A mile or so before the change in terrain we mentioned occurs, you arrive at Bird Rock Vista Point, one of Pebble Beach’s more popular points of interest. Its large parking lot looks out over the ocean, which is most days full of rental cars and at least one or two tour buses carrying customers from far and wide. Picnic tables invite visitors to take a break. The multiple occupancy rest room is one of the only on the Drive. No wonder visitors congregate here!
As for Bird Rock itself…well, speaking of congregations, it’s a haven not only to aquatic birds such as cormorants and pelicans, but to sea lions, seals, and the Monterey Peninsula’s unofficial official mascot, the sea otter. Ocean breezes carry avian chirping and chattering along with the baying of sea mammals, underscored by the gentle roar of the sea. Listening is definitely part of the experience here.
Further up the road from Bird Rock, two of the more interesting spots you’ll see are on the land side of 17-Mile Drive. First is this picturesque bungalow that looks like it might have been built in Middle Earth:
Not long after, residences on that side of the road give way to the Cypress Point Golf Course, a private club nestled between the forest we are soon to encounter, and the coastal dunes that we are leaving behind. Considered one of the top courses in the world, a profound stillness falls over the course, especially when you play the holes that meander into the forest:
The transition to that forest is a slow but steady incline on 17-Mile Drive, which slices through the Cypress Point Golf Course resulting in views reminiscent of a great green cathedral:
Come out on the other side of this “tunnel” and you’re in a new world. Instead of seascapes and sun, you’re enveloped in a dense forest with towering cypress. People do live here though; in fact, you’ll find some of the most opulent homes in the United States here, mostly hidden, their grandiosity peeking through the foliage, such as this tantalizing dome-capped structure which gives off a bit of a pantheon vibe:
The trees surrounding you are some of the oldest in existence, like this notable group called out as part of ancient Crocker Grove:
But there are trees, and then there are trees, and as we continue moving forward we run into one of the most famous in the world: the Lone Cypress. It’s more than a tree; it’s an icon and a trademarked graphic: the Lone Cypress serves as the logo for the Pebble Beach Company. Photographed by no doubt thousands of professional photographers, here’s our own humble addition to the gallery:
As any image or point of interest that immediately follows the Lone Cypress would undoubtedly prove anti-climactic, this is probably as good a place as any to end part two of our Pebble Beach Tour. Don’t worry, though, there is plenty of excitement ahead as we arrive and walk the grounds of what most consider to be the heart of Pebble Beach. Click here to continue on to Part 3.