After reading Haunted Amy’s blog, which was inspired by Madelyn Alt’s, I really started to think about what are the elements in my area that make it My Neighborhood. Would I walk down the street taking photos? Would I pick a theme? Finally, I grabbed my camera and just drove around.
I took 125 photos that day. Of course, not all of them looked good, and many were different angles of the same scene. These are the best of them. Regrettably, my favorite subject turned out to be a long streak . . . taken in the car, I tried to capture the essence of my favorite Wild Turkeys that gather on ranchland near Highway 68, the Salinas-Monterey Highway. These creatures are elusive and fascinating, elegant while still strange looking.
Anyhow, what follow are photos of buildings and places that have influenced me – either by being a formative part of my past, or by being an interesting part of my present.
Old Town Salinas – Salinas, CA. I leave three blocks from here. You can see the smoke as haze from the numerous and catastrophic fires that surround the Central California Coast.
First Awakenings – Salinas, CA. My very favorite breakfast/lunch restaurant. They also have a Monterey location that is equally fantastic!
The National Steinbeck Center – Salinas, CA. Yes. I live four blocks from a center dedicated to area’s most famous writer . . . and I’ve never gone there to check it out. Shameful, really! It’s a product of having John Steinbeck and his work shoveled down my throat for most of my life. Yet, I will visit there this summer. Promise!
Star Market – Salinas, CA. This is the market I go to when I need that something special. They have an immense collection of domestic and imported beers and wines, a butcher extraordinaire, and generally carry the best produce the Salinas Valley has to offer.
Separating Salinas from all other parts of California, one finds the most interesting farmlands. Produce ranges from strawberries and lettuce, to broccoli and artichokes. It truly is “The Salad Bowl of America”. Again, notice how dark the sky is from the smoke.
Cathedral San Carlos Borromeo de Monterey also known as the “The Royal Presidio Chapel” is the smallest cathedral in the continental United States and is the location of the so-called “Plymouth Rock of the Pacific Coast”. This is my parish where, as a teenager, I first became aware of the Chapel’s haunted past when I myself experienced a paranormal event. I can only imagine what spiritual chaos is being stirred up as workers clamor to rescue the aged building.
Ah . . . the Cemetery! This is San Carlos Cemetery in Monterey, CA. I use to live four blocks from this cemetery where my grandmother is interred. It is a lovely and tranquil place.
Except when all the children are across the street at the famous Dennis the Menace Park erected by Hank Ketchum. This train, at the entrance of the park, was an integral part of my childhood. Actually, it is fitting that one can travel a few steps between the beginning of life (a childrens park) and the end of it (the park of eternal rest).
This is one view of Lake El Estero, a man-made lake. In the distance you can see Dennis the Menace Park. In the foreground, one sees the distinctive shape of Monterey Cypress trees. On the placid lake, paddle-boaters enjoy sharing this space with Canadian geese, mallards, loons, and seagulls. When I look at this photo, I feel like I captured some small flavor of the early ‘70s when I was a child feeding the ducks.
The Robert Louis Stevenson House – Monterey, CA. Well . . . this was actually a hotel that RLS stayed in while visiting the Monterey Peninsula. It is said that he wrote “Treasure Island” while here and it is known that Point Lobos is the actual location of “the Island”. This is only one of the most haunted locations in the area.
The building is not square to the street (hm, methinks this contributes to the hauntings) so here is another photo of the front. The small Carmel stone entry leads to the beautiful gardens contained within a huge, private courtyard. I went to High School a few short blocks away and this was one of my hang-outs when I choose to enhance my education outside of the confines of school. =^)
A one view of the back entry to what is now a museum. There have been many sightings of a woman in the windows or on the stairs here. Note the sandbags near the doorway. This area of Monterey . . . the most historical . . . has a consistent water intrusion issue that spans the centuries.
This is just a small peak into the expansive gardens.
The other side of the back of the building. I can look at this area for hours and not release the passage of time.
Back out through the Carmel stone garden entry lays one of Monterey’s oldest streets.
This is one of three Carmel stone structures on the street. This building was empty for more than two decades. One day, shortly after graduating university, I decided to call the owners to ask about how much they wanted for it. The windows were broken and the building had structural damage so I was sure the price would be low. Instead I was told that it would cost $5,000,000.00. Too rich for my blood! I had wanted to put a bed and breakfast there, with a bakery in the front lobby. Within a year, the building was being repaired for occupancy. What business opened there? A bed and breakfast with a bakery in the lobby! sigh
Next post is Bevz Garden!