Scenic Road around Carmel Point
Pass River Beach, to Carmelo Street
and San Antonio Avenue
Part 2 of the Scenic Loop begins at the new public restroom at Scenic and Santa Lucia. This portion of the tour is 2 miles and will take us around Carmel Point, past Carmel River Beach and Wetlands, over to San Antonio Road and back to the Blue Gum Eucalyptus at the northwest Corner of Ocean and San Antonio where our walking tour began. You may follow this walk on Google Map.
We are at the south end of Carmel Beach. Take a moment to look back at where you have been. Straight across Carmel Bay is Pescadero Point, the Lodge at Pebble Beach, and the Pebble Beach Golf Course.
Very shortly you will have a glimpse of the north side of a house built by Frank Lloyd Wright. Mr. Wright was in his 80’s when he took on this project. It took him five years to build and it was completed in 1952.
Periodically this home is included on the Carmel Heritage Society annual June House and Garden Tour. I have had the privilege to tour the inside on many occasions. More pictures and history can be found at my blog post here.
At 26085 Scenic take notice of the two story modern Pueblo style house named Cimarron. According to Carmel lore, Hollywood actor Richard Dix built a Taos style adobe on the property in 1929 and named it after his film Cimarron which was released in 1931.
In 1937 the property was sold to Gustav Lannestock, a Swedish emigrant who made his living, building, writing and translating.
Quite the socialites, Gustav and his wife Lucille nightly hosted 5:00 p.m. cocktail hour for anyone who was walking by their home. The casual gatherings were frequented by local authors John Steinbeck, and Robinson Jeffers.
In 1949 Swedish writer Vilhelm Moberg happened to walk by. Moberg had just begun writing a novel entitled Emigrants. The Swedes became fast friends and Lannestock would end up translating the four book series of Emigrants from Swedish to English. To complete the Hollywood full circle, Moberg’s novels would be made into two Warner Bros movies, The Emigrants and The New Land.
Before walking on take in the view from the front of Cimarron of the crescent shaped Carmel Beach, Carmel Dunes, and Pebble Beach Golf Course.
On the corner of Scenic and Martin you can’t miss the stone castle style house with false thatch roof.
This home, built in 1993, looks larger than it is – at two bedrooms and two baths this house measures out
at under 1,600 square feet.
Across the street is the gate to the Frank Lloyd Wright house, one of only five homes built on the beach side of Scenic.
Just past the fence and a set of mail boxes near the Frank Lloyd Wright house is a well worn path to the beach. There are no steps so this does require climbing down and up an unstable bluff through ice plant.
If the tide is out and you feel that you are capable of the climb it is worth it. But use caution if climbing on the rocks and Never Turn Your Back On The Ocean!
There are two rock houses right before making the curve around the rocky point ahead. The first one with the tile roof, 26183 Scenic, was built in 2003. This two bedroom, two bathroom sold for a cool $11,950,000 in 2004.
The second one called Pack’s Point of View, (that must be Pack looking over the fence below) was built in 2001.
This five bedroom house sold in 2003 for $7,100,000. An old Coldwell Banker listing showed this interior picture below.
Time to take a look back at where you have been. Those are the Ocean Avenue Dunes to the farthest left of the picture below. We were there about 45 minutes ago when we took in the Carmel Beach Overlook!
A few yards ahead on our walk is a bend in Scenic Road. At the bend is a stone wall with stairs that lead down to the Bay and Scenic Station for Carmel Area Wastewater District.
There is some Carmel lore regarding a tunnel that once went from this wall to the basement of the Edward Kuster house on Ocean View Avenue in the 1920’s. If you are standing by the wall just turn around and look up. You can’t miss the Kuster Castle.
Edward Kuster (founder of the Golden Bough Theater in 1924) was the first husband of Una Jeffers. They divorced in 1913. Both remarried, (Una to Robinson Jeffers) but remained friends. Such good friends that in 1920 Edward would built his house in Carmel just down the street from Una’s Tor House.
The next half mile of coast to the Carmel Point Curve is rocky and wild. There are many great areas for tide-pooling along this part of the walk. But do so with great caution!!
As you round the point you can’t miss this European style 6,900 square foot home. It happens to be the dream home of my very best friend. Every time we walk by she imagines herself living in it. I have put her on notice to start saving her lunch money as it just came on the market for $13,750,000.
As Scenic Road’s rocky coast line continues look off to the right at
the rugged coast of Point Lobos State Reserve.
Which is an adventure for another day.
That set of rocks a few hundred yards from land is Carmel Point’s version of the 17 Mile Drive Bird Rock. With binoculars you can usually find a few Brandt’s Cormorant’s and Brown Pelican’s hanging out.
Before going any further take a look back at where you have been. In the distance is Pescadero Point just north of Pebble Beach.
A bit further down Scenic, just before arriving at the intersection of Stewart Way look to your left to see Tor House and Hawk Tower, built in 1919 for Robinson and Una Jeffers.
Once a year, the first Saturday in May, the Tor House Foundation holds their annual Garden Party. This is the only time when photography is allowed on the property.
Robinson Jeffers built Tor House and Hawk Tower with stones from the beach directly below the property. Look to you right to see this beach. This cove is very popular for scuba divers.
Just above the cove is the iconic Butterfly House, built in 1952 by Frank Wynkoop. This 2,800 square foot house last sold in 2013 for $16,500,000. It is currently undergoing a major renovation.
In less than a tenth of a mile we arrive at the
Carmel Point Curve.
It is hard to believe that at one time, Scenic Road was two way. In 1965, my brother Dana learned to drive our station wagon on this road. He took the curve wide hugging the edge every time just to scare my mom and I.
Just around the curve, through the winter bloom of the Candelabra Plant, (aloe arborescens) you will get your first view of Carmel River Beach. In one more week those spikes will pop bright red!!!
In 1602 when three Carmelite Friers were exploring this area with Viszcaino Expedition, they named this area El Rio Carmelo. As it reminded them of their original Carmelilte Monestary at the foot of Mount Carmel in Palestine. It is from the name of this river that Carmel-by-the-Sea gets her name.
Carmel River Beach has an extremely dangerous undertow. If you walk this beach stay out of the water.
When I was a young girl, my brother and I would bring our green plastic row boat down to the river to play. When we left for the day, my mom would say, “stay away from the ocean side the tow will kill you.” Somehow my brother and I listened to that wisdom and set our boat off on the river side for hours of adventures in the tule reeds.
The Scenic Drive we have followed for the last two miles ends at the entrance to Carmel River Beach and Wetlands.
There is a restroom just off the parking lot.
Now focus your attention ahead (south) down the center of the sand bar toward Carmel Meadows. This sand bar between the ocean and Carmel River and Wetlands is an ever changing landscape. The picture above was taken in December 2015, the picture below April 2013.
If time permits and the sandbar is passable the Hike to Portola Crespi Cross in Carmel Meadows is a great add on to this hike. I believe the best time to make the Portola Crespi Cross Hike is during wildflower season, and I am counting on this wildflower season to be stellar.
A few interesting shore birds at the Carmel River Wetlands entertain the amateur birder in me (happily I am easily entertained). Like the group of Snowy Plovers I accidentally scared above and the solitary Snowy Egret below.
Visible across the wetlands just above the tule reeds,
are the Meadowview Triplex rooms of Mission Ranch.
For my fellow Geocachers pick up Kate’s Kache before leaving Carmel River Beach.
When you leave Carmel River Beach
you will be walking north along Carmelo Street.
Our last mile of the Scenic Loop Walking Tour returns to the Carmel Beach Ocean Avenue Parking Lot via residential streets.
Just a few houses past the wetlands on your right is an ultra modern stone and steel home at 26362 Carmelo.
In 2009 the owners of this property hired local architect David Martin to completely remodel of what was their simple ranch style home. The only surviving feature from the old property is the majestic mayten tree in the front yard. I had the privilege to tour this home during the 2015 Carmel Bach Festival Cottages, Gardens & Cantatas.
If you would like to go beyond the steel and glass door, see my blog post here and scroll to the Cooperman Home.
A block further on the left are four quaint cottages named after Robin Hood and his friends. Built in the 1920’s, the Lincoln Green Inn at 26362 Carmelo was the first hotel built to serve guests on Carmel Point.
Just past the Lincoln Green Inn turn left on Fifteenth Avenue and right on South San Antonio Avenue.
On the southeast corner of South San Antonio and Fourteenth Avenue is a tiny gray and red cottage. This cottage began life around 1910 as a studio for writer John Fleming Wilson.
In 1912 Philip Wilson Sr.(no relation) purchased the small writers studio and converted it into a club house for the nine hole golf course he built on Point Loeb (now Carmel Point). The picture below shows the Club House in 1914.
At the onset of World War I, Philip Wilson Sr. was called to service and the golf course was abandoned. The land was later subdivided and in 1990 a one bedroom house was built on the property – integrating the old Club House into the home as a living room.
In 2015 the current owners (also owners of Carmel Cottage Inn which we will pass shortly on our walking tour) removed the addition and restored the Club House to its original size, even maintaining the original fireplace and interior siding.
The Club House is now called the Golf House and now happily acts as a guest cottage for the newly built main house to its north. To see the inside of these houses see my blog post on the 2015 Carmel Heritage Society House and Garden Tour. It is the third house reviewed in the post.
Now back to our walk. At Santa Lucia Avenue make a right and then a quick left back on to San Antonio.
At Thirteenth and San Antonio look east up Thirteenth Street to view the MacGowan-Cooke house which I discussed in Part 1.
Cooke’s Cove on Carmel Beach at Thirteenth is named after sisters Alice MacGowan and Grace MacGowan Cooke.
Over the course of the next seven blocks from Thirteenth Avenue to Ocean Avenue you may either take one of the “cut through” paths (on the west side of the street) back down to Scenic and walk Scenic back to Ocean Avenue or stay on San Antonio and walk a small area of residential Carmel known as the Golden Rectangle.
If you stay on San Antonio you are in for a treat as every home is unique. Many feature creative names such as Deamcatcher, Beach Therapy, My Rx or
Surf’s Up. Names take the place of address numbers in the village.
There are small cottages,
numerous custom builds
in all architectural and
Of course we also have plenty of historical homes and inns on San Antonio. Keep your eye out for Braemar on the east side just south of Ninth Avenue.
This Craftsman style bungalow was built around 1921 by one of Carmel’s early master builders, M. J. Murphy. I toured this house during a Bach Festival House and Garden Tour, you may view more of the grounds at this site.
Just after Eighth Avenue look for the Carmel Cottage Inn on the east side of San Antonio. These are five historical homes lovingly restored and graciously run as an inn by innkeeper and friend Cheryl Assemi.
I have toured and photographed this property numerous times. One of my absolute favorites, see this blog post for more pictures of the property inside and out. Just scroll past Hob Nob.
If only the ground in Carmel could talk, this property would have stories to tell. Midway between Ocean and Seventh on the east side lived Lincoln Steffens, described by Carmel author Alissandra Dramov, as a “muckraking journalist, author, Socialist, and political activist.” (1)
Born in 1866, Lincoln Steffens studied at Berkeley, served as a reporter for the Evening Post in New York in 1892, and was editor of McClure’s Magazine in 1901.
In 1927 Steffens purchased the six year old house that sat on the property 4 southeast of Ocean. It became known as Getaway, and had many famous visitors: Robinson Jeffers, Gertrude Stein, Carl Sandburg, Langston Hughes, and John Steinbeck among others.
In 1967 the Sigma Delta Chi Professional Journalistic Society honored the site of Steffens home with the stone plaque pictured above. In 1989 the property was sold for $975,000 and the new owners completed a major remodel, addition and reconstruction to the original home two years later.
The current residence, now called Meremar, hardly resembles the Steffens home of the 1920’s and 30’s.
At the next corner notice the French country style
and you are back to the Blue Gum Eucalyptus where our Scenic Loop Walking Tour began.
Until our next Adventure of a Home Town Tourist, keep on exploring!
All pictures by L. A. Momboisse except those listed below:
Black and white photo of Cimarron – Carmel Magazine, Summer/Fall 2013, page 87.
Black and white photo of the Golf House as the Club House in 1914 – Courtesy of Harrison Memorial History Library.
(1) Dramov, Alissandra. Carmel-by-the-Sea, The Early Years (1903-1913). Author House, 2012. p.149.