By jes. on February 27, 2015
Pacific Grove, CA (Herald de Paris) — ¬†THIS was a real pleasure. ¬†I was in Monterey, California on business, and we decided to make a vacation out of it by staying a couple of extra days. ¬†Three nights, three hotels – well, two hotels and a bed and breakfast on the last night. ¬†A stone’s throw from the Monterey Bay Aquarium is the little coastal town of Pacific Grove. ¬†This is the real Central California coast, with sweeping views of the rocky seashore. ¬†A quiet town, Pacific Grove has none of the tourist trappings of its coastal neighbor. ¬†We arrived at the Martine Inn for a most pleasurable experience filled with local history.
The Inn, owned and operated by Don Martine since the 1980s, sits high and proud, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. ¬†Built in the 1899 as a sprawling Victorian residence, it was purchased by Laura and James Parke, of Parke Davis Pharmaceuticals. ¬†Much like what William Randolph Hearst did down the coast at San Simeon, the Davis’ remodeled the home almost constantly, arriving at the Spanish-Mediterranean style so popular in the 1920s, by the masterful hands of Richard Chivers.
The Parke’s abandoned the house, however, in 1942, when Mrs. Parke and other Pacific Grove citizens began to see enemy submarines patrolling the coast. ¬†Fearing enemy attack, the Parkes retreated to the penthouse of the Forest Hill Hotel, in town, and sold the property. ¬†Fast forward to 1972, when Nora and Homer Martine, along with their son, Don, rescued the then-crumbling estate, saving it from demolition. ¬†Don and his family called the grand structure home until 1984, before converting it to an inn.
We were greeted at the front door by one of the Martine Inn’s delightful staff. ¬†There is a grand home in the traditional manner, so there is no front desk, just room after room filled with some of the finest antique American furniture you’ll find in California. ¬†If you are a fan of antiques, you’ll marvel at the pieces Don has collected. ¬†We were given a brief tour, and shown to our room, past the antique “Oriental Fountain” courtyard. ¬†Our room had a view of the ocean, a fireplace, a proper, deep, claw-foot bathtub and, of course, more antiques. ¬†We’ve grown accustomed to hotel rooms with gas fireplaces that turn on with the flick of a switch. ¬†Not at the Martine Inn. ¬†Our fireplace was all set up for an authentic roaring fire, a box of matches sitting on the mantel.
I didn’t meet Don in the Inn. ¬†Instead, I met him outside, in the carriage house, while admiring his collection of vintage MG roadsters. ¬†For the car enthusiast, the automobiles are worth the price of admission, the crowning jewel being a 1932 MG D four-seat roadster that Don has expertly restored. ¬†I asked him if the Inn supported his car habit, or vice-versa, but Don explained that car restoration and innkeeping were more of a symbiotic relationship.
We didn’t even care that the rooms don’t have televisions. ¬†Between the Pacific coast, the antiques, and the vintage cars, there was more than enough eye candy to keep us entertained.
At cocktail hour, we were joined by the other guests in the large dining room. ¬†Overlooking the ocean, the window sills were scattered with binoculars, and the other guests told us how they watched harbor seals, dolphins, and even whale spouts over breakfast. ¬†Over a glass of wine and a generous selection of hors d’oeuvres, we chatted with our fellow guests for hours, losing track of the time all the while.
Back in our room, we decided The Martine Inn was so lovely that we really didn’t want to go anywhere else, and we settled in for a good old fashioned romantic evening, opting to save our fireplace fire for first light.
Awakening on a crisp morning at the Martine Inn, lighting a fire, and leaning back to gaze out at the ocean without a care is an experience one could get used to. We really didn’t want to get up, but breakfast awaited.
Back in the dining room, binoculars in-hand, chatting with our new friends from the evening before, we were treated to a three-course breakfast. ¬†Afterwards, it was time for the long drive home. ¬†We didn’t want to go. ¬†As we checked out, the gracious and generous Don Martine and many of our new friends came to the foyer to see us off. ¬†It was lovely, just like our stay.
A visit to the Central Coast is highly recommended and the region has much to offer. ¬†If you want your excursion to be a true experience, however, book a room at the Martine Inn.
You won’t want to leave, either.
THE MARTINE INN
255 Ocean View Boulevard
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Toll Free: Phone: 800-852-5588