I have written about the areas around Pacific Grove in previous posts (see: California’s Wildlife – a free and beautiful guide.) however I haven’t actually written about PG (as us locals call it) itself and this is silly as it’s simply a lovely place. So, here goes!
PG is a small town in California within walking distance of the more known Monterrey Bay – a place I may well do a future post on. If you’re from California and have heard of the town, you’ll most likely know it as ‘Butterfly Town U.S.A.’ This is because the town hosts the annual migration of monarch butterflies who come to a protected sight right in the heart of the town forming their famous large clusters. The little park is free to visit and the sight is truly one of nature’s most amazing events. If you’re in town at the right time of year (October is the start) then this is an absolute must! I myself go to the park almost daily whilst I’m there in an attempt to capture the perfect photograph.
With these huge clusters of butterflies gathering in PG, you will often see them all over the place flying around and, on one unlucky year I remember, they decided to settle in a nearby private garden as opposed to their dedicated natural park. This was not ideal to say the least. But anyway, yes, they float around the place and make it all seem quite lovely, occasionally settling somewhere so you can see them not just in their clusters, but in their own individual beauty too.
The walk from the butterfly park back into the town and High street is also lovely. The town is a great example of Victorian housing in the states with 75% of the homes in the city being considered of historical interest. The people of PG are incredibly proud of their town and of how it is presented, and as a result each house is a visual delight. Either because it and it’s gardens are immaculately maintained, or because they have done something special. For example, there is a house just outside the town which has a miniature railway going all the way around it’s gardens! And, if this wasn’t enough, they and their neighbours have bookshelves on the property where you can take one in return for replacing with your own. This is very useful when you’re on holiday if you’re old school like me and prefer paper to paperwhite. (That was a kindle joke).
(I will go take a photo for here next time I go).
The town itself is adorably quaint. It’s basically one long high street and on either side there are cafes and shops selling locally produced jewelery and gifts. Perfect for Christmas shopping! Especially as whilst some of the shops are beyond a budget Budgie price range, there are many which have affordable local goods. Fantastic! There’s also a great local museum in the town if you want to sharpen your local knowledge and make the most of your trip as a result. I can highly recommend the place. Also, if you want your heartstrings to be tugged, there’s a cat and dog charity rescue centre on the high-street with fluffy adorable souls needing some love and stroking. (My parents hadn’t lived there for longer than a whisker before they caved and adopted a couple).
Parallel to the highstreet at all times and accessible down any number of little roads is the coast. Whoop. If you walk in one direction you end up at the world famous 17-mile drive, and in the other you end up in Monterey Bay. Both are stunning walks. However, personally I tend to go right and head into Monterey because that direction has more coffee shops. In either direction though you will see loads of nature on these coastal walks with seals, sea otters and all sorts of birds guaranteed sightings. (Probably. Don’t sue us if you don’t see them – we honestly have absolutely no money).
A particular favourite beach area of mine is Asilomar State Beach. This favouritism is mainly because it’s under 5 minutes from my parents house but also because the conference grounds next to it have nice hot chocolates in the cafe. The sunsets here can be truly incredible too…
So there we have it! Pacific Grove. A venue of spectacular beach sunsets, coastal walks taking you either into natural beauty or the lovely city of Monterey, iconic hugely important monarch butterflies and a high-street of good food, good coffee and lovely gifts and local artistry. Head on over!
But… preferably not when I go. It’s already a busy enough place for tourists and to be quite honest I’d rather there were less. So yeh… actually… the place is awful! Don’t go! Thanks.