Destination: Pacific Grove

Kage Baker regarded Pacific Grove as a destination resort.

It’s not that peculiar; lots of people do, since Pacific Grove is one of the prettiest, most packed full of good restaurants, covered with butterflies cities in the world. (It’s a surprisingly large category.) Also, it’s on the edge of Monterey, which is also a prime destination for tourists in search of everything from yachting souvenirs to personal encounters with otters.

Kage’s choice of it as a destination vacation spot was only strange because she came here to sit in a hotel room – I mean, it was literally what she came to do. Believe me, Dear Readers, if you could see  it,where  I am sitting at the moment – while Neassa checks her email – is a room straight out of Paradise. A slightly frilly, somewhat twee Victorian Paradise, but also right on the edge of the vast and roaring Pacific and in a house old enough to creak nicely in every gust of wind.

In fact, Dear Readers, if you go online and Google the Green Gable Inn, you can see photographs of the place. My room – Kage’s favourite and mine, too – is the Chapel Room. Note the groined ceiling, the casement windows full of the ocean view, the deliciously weird piano-hinge doors! Ignore the teddy bears; the staff is loopy for teddy bears … see the window seats? All the wood and brass? It’s perfectly obvious why Kage came here just to be in this room!

It’s a marvel for just existing in while you write. Pacific Grove is full of rooms good for that – the Borg Motel is also right on the ocean, at beautiful Lover’s Point, and once one gets over the giggles at the name, it too is comfortable and fine. There are half a dozen hotels in the actual Butterfly Groves, one of which is an ancient and restored farmhouse, and another which is an almost-as-ancient and equally restored 1950’s auto court … but the Green Gables is the best.

The ride up was uneventful, probably because I wasn’t on the I-5 much. I took one of the crossing roads between the 5 and the 101, and actually made it through the deadly town of Chulame without getting killed: unlike James Dean. The map AI on my phone did try to send me down an unpaved road into a beet field, but by time I was in Salinas and could find my own way. Map AIs are capricious creatures – Kage’s theory was that they all live so fast that they are senile or insane. She figured that would be one of the biggest problems in developing real AIs, and not just algorithms on steroids. But I escaped once again!

I got in about 3 PM, and spent a few hours lounging and discovering what I had left at home. There is always something. This time it was a sufficient number of chargers for all my electronics. Luckily, they all use the same kind, so the one I did remember works on everything. Poor Neassa was delayed by traffic and jobs and the twists of the freeway around Hayward, but she made it in just a little while ago. So we are all set.

The other thing one does at a destination resort, of course, is eat. And Pacific Grove is a wonderful place for that, too. Kage occasionally got so deeply caught up in writing that she’d send me out for a pizza – eaten amid the Victorian frills and teddy bears here – but I want someplace with cloth napkins and at least 2 forks. And now I am getting a little blogging in while Neassa unpacks, and then we are going out for seafood. I don’t even care what really; here, it’s all wonderful.


Oh, my. We found a Chowder House, only blocks away from the Green Gables. Well, Neassa found it, on her map program – a little, hole in the wall, local seafood place with an Italian slant: not a tourist place, the sort the people who live here go to. At least, to judge from the other diners there. The cook is clearly a god; one related to Poseidon, probably. Neassa had fettucini Alfredo with scallops (or as she said, LOTS of scallops with some nice noodles); I had some extraordinary dish of pan-braised fish, molluscs and crustaceans in a tomato bisque … clearly, the original dish of which Manhattan clam chowder is but a zombie reflection.

Yes, we are at our destination. Now for a quiet evening with sherry and tea and ch0colate chip cookies. And writing. And knitting. And some very quiet giggling …


About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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10 Responses to Destination: Pacific Grove

  1. Tom says:

    Glad you took the trip. I may try it myself, despite the fevered-brain notion of a Norman Borg Hotel, where rest in this instance may be useful.


    • Kate says:

      The Borg Hotel is not luxurious – it’s a cube on the edge of the sea, basically. But it is clean and warm, the name is hilarious, and the view is non-pariel,


  2. buggybite says:

    I checked it out on Google. You’re right. What a fantastic old place. I think (if a relative I don’t know dies and leaves me a lot of money) I’d go for that balcony room. What a view. I could easily sit and write there.


  3. Dina says:

    Oooo La! I stayed there decades ago. One of the most memorial rooms/inn ever. Must ask hubby if we can go there for our 10th anniversary, which is end of this March. What was the name of the chowder place? It sounds just divine, The hole in the wall local places are truly gems. How long are you staying? Wednesday is supposta be rain and that would give such a cozy feeling to writing there. Have a wonderful stay.


  4. Luisa Puig says:

    Oooooo … sounds like Paradise enow!


    • Kate says:

      Had I discovered i had been hit by a turnip truck in Chulame and been sent to Heaven, I would not be surprised. Well, I *would* because it would clearlybe a clerical error – but this would do for Paradise!


  5. Lynn says:

    Pacific Grove is lovely and I want to stay at The Green Gable Inn – it’s gorgeous! Rory and I stayed right down the street at the Martine Inn days after the Loma Prieta earthquake. Same incredible views from the main rooms and binoculars on the window ledges in the public rooms to watch the otters frolic in the seaweed. Thanks to the earthquake, Monterey was all but empty of tourists and we had a lovely time.Although Santa Cruz across the bay had their downtown area destroyed by the earthquake, Monterey and Pacific Grove were all but untouched. The trick to visiting Monterey is to stay in Pacific Grove, a five minute walk away. Hotels aren’t cheap but they’re half the price of the ones in Monterey – and they try harder.

    Kathleen, enjoy the luxury of your cozy room. Write well.


    • Kate says:

      Hey, Rory – take your wife to the Green Gable Inn! She deserves it, and so do you. There is a big brass telescope in the parlour, that you can use to watch the sail boats on the Bay.
      And while the Green Gable is not cheap, it’s cheaper than a B&B in Monterey – and they serve wine and cheese in the afternoons. I had fresh fruit and oatmeal and fresh-baked muffins for breakfast today, and fresh chocolate chip cookies are beside me as I write. You must come here …


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