Point Pinos Lighthouse; Pacific Grove, California

After visiting the quilt shop yesterday, we drove to the waterfront and took a look. It would have been a good place to go tidepooling. Looking to the south, we saw this:

Looking to the north, we saw this. The sky was gray and overcast for our entire visit. That carpet of purple you see there is ice plant. It is ubiquitous in California.

There are many varieties and many different colors of blossoms. There is a larger variety that will stain your clothing if you get moisture from the "petals" on it. When we were kids, we would break it in half and use it to write on the sidewalk or on walls. The dye would last for at least a few days. Here's what this variety looks like close-up.

These flowers that appeared to be growing out of solid rock.

There were some large sea birds congregating off shore. It's hard to tell what they are...cormorants, maybe?

It was hard to see them at first, but there were also sea lions lounging all around on the rocks. When you saw the first one and adjusted your way of looking, you could see them everywhere.

While we were standing there, this fellow flew up and started picking barnacles off the rocks.

We drove on down the road toward Monterey and found this beach. With overcast skies and coolish temperatures, everyone was fully clothed with hoodies and windbreakers.

We had lunch at a restaurant called The Fishwife. The food was good and it gave us some time to scout out whatever lighthouses might be in the area. We could find only one that wasn't farther than we wanted to drive...the Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove. We were looking for it right at the water's edge, but then saw it as we drove by...further inland than expected. Also, it was different in that the light was perched atop the lighthouse keeper's home rather than in a separate tower.

There was a parking lot in the rear. We arrived just as it opened and walked to the front.

This lighthouse has its original Fresnel lens. Since there was no electricity when this lighthouse was built, the light was originally powered by kerosene lantern. 

These images above and below are just models of the actual lens. We could not get up to the actual lens, which now runs on electricity.

The light was turned on for the first time on February 1, 1855. Since that time, it has only been turned off twice. The first time was after the big San Francisco earthquake of 1906. The second was during World War II for blackout purposes.

On the first floor and at the rear of the house was the kitchen.

The dark object in the foreground is a wood stove that is being restored. In the background is the kitchen sink.

I'm pretty sure I was born too late because I would have loved being a lighthouse keeper or a lighthouse keeper's wife. Some of the lighthouse keepers at this particular light were women. Looking out your kitchen window, you would have seen this little garden.

To the left of the kitchen was this bathroom.

Passing through to the front of the house was a living room/parlor area.

To the left was a closet where there was a cistern. This was their water source. The water drained from the gutters on the house, which meant it was contaminated with lead. (In this way, I'm glad I was born when I was.)

Heading up a steep spiral staircase...

There were two bedrooms. One was taken over by the Coast Guard for use as an office.

Across the hall was a bedroom in period furnishings.

I knew you'd want to see the quilt. Sorry I couldn't get closer, but the chain held me back.

There was another on the other side of the room.

Here's what the rest of the room looked like.

Because we arrived just as it was opening, there was a large crowd, and it was a little claustrophobic inside. After we'd seen all the rooms, we went outside and explored behind the house.

I would dearly have loved to explore the gift shop. The lighthouse was open on Memorial Day, but the gift shop was closed. No refrigerator magnet or shot glass for me. (Actually, I peered in the windows, and I didn't see anything like that. Besides...I spent all my money on fabric.)

So that was our day in Pacific Grove, and it was a good day. From here, we drove back to the RV park in Greenfield. We've marveled at the size of the farms here. There are no small farms. These are all factory farms, and we recognize some of the names from packaged salad mixes and berries we see in our grocery stores. With such huge expanses of crops to tend and harvest, these are communities of immigrants. We have not been able to find any of the more familiar grocery stores, such as Safeway, Vons, Stater Bros., and the like. All of them seem to be owned by members of the large Latino population residing here. It makes for some interesting choices at the butcher counter. While it's tempting to say something political here, I'll avoid it and just say that I have great appreciation for these folks who engage in the backbreaking labor of growing and harvesting our food. We would be a much hungrier nation without them.

The wind is still blowing this morning as I'm writing this post. We were hopeful of driving off in calmer weather, but apparently that's not meant to be. Mike is very careful about such things, and he feels it's safe. We have a short drive to Petaluma today, and there is a very large quilt shop there.

17 comments from clever and witty friends:

Sarah said...

What a lovely lighthouse!!! I love how they are all different and I especially love fresnel lenses. Too bad they wouldn't allow you up to see the original. And how could the gift shop be closed on a holiday when the house was open? Weird. One of the few things I miss from 14 years living in Miami was the 10 years of giving tours every Saturday at Cape Florida Lighthouse - it was "mine"!!

Unknown said...

There is a fabulous quilt shop in Pacific Grove. I hope you had time to check it out.

gpc said...

Oh I agree, I would have loved to live in a lighthouse, and this one looks charming. And I love little more than exploring tide pools -- although none of my discoveries have ever been as cool as the ones they show on the nature shows. Just lovely.

Lady Jane said...

What a great post!!! Thanks for sharing those pics of quilts... I would have loved to live in a light house also. As long as it was on the shore line and not out in the ocean, lol... Fun post. Hugs, LJ

Kristin in Alaska said...

Alright, now I need to add "visit a lighthouse" to my to-do list.
BTW - looks like those are seals, not sea lions. Seals are way cuter than sea lions.

Arlene Adams said...

Love this lighthouse! We (daughter, granddaughter and I) visited it a few years ago and enjoyed looking at everything in it. We make it a habit to visit any lighthouse in the vicinity while on vacation when we can. We have explored most of them from San Fran to Seattle. Like you I would have loved to be a lighthouse keeper.
And Pacific Grove is where they have the Empty Spools quilt retreat at Asilomar each year for five weeks in March/April. I am going there in 2018 and look forward to a return visit to one of my favorite lighthouses.

WoolenSails said...

Love this place, great ocean views and wildlife and lots of history.


Dana Gaffney said...

That's a cute house, but why was the lighthouse inland and set so low? I'm thinking of pirates since that was pretty common around here.

piecefulwendy said...

I agree with the others, this was a great post. The view out of that kitchen window was absolutely lovely. Having a daughter who loves all things birds (it's her career), I'm going to forward this post to her and ask her about the birds. She'll enjoy seeing the pictures. Can't wait to read the quilt shop visit post!

SJSM said...

The Fishwife is one good restaurant. We eat there periodically. The lighthouse you went to is the one where my friends are docents. I love PG, Asilomar etc. it has such a calming influence on my soul. If you (or I, for that matter) lived there my daily walk could be on the waterfront starting in PG, going to Monterey and the plaza/pier and back. It is a lovely and walkable shoreline. Im glad you were able to spend time there.

On the fields of greens, I like how some of the ranchers have put colorful signs telling what is planted. Between plantings you see a sign "Coming Soon" and a picture of the next crop. Strawberries in Monterey County are shipped, but there are a few you can only buy there. They are too fragile for shipping. They are smaller and very intense in flavor. Regarding the politics of labor, there would be a lot of rotting vegetables if everyone must be a citizen/green card. I'm sure there is an equitable solution. The Congress needed to act decades ago on our need for workers and having legal residents.

Lyndsey said...

Great post, really interesting to read and I loved the pictures.

Motherdragon's Musings said...

Such great photos. Inreckon the birds are cormorants. The sea lions are so darn sweet, would love to cuudle one!

The lighthouse was very interesting.

Thankyou for sharing.

Dots said...

I loved this post. My, the places I travel! Loved the information about the Fresnel Lens. I retired from Optics as in lenses for glasses and prescriptions. So I was fascinated to read about that Lens for sure! I worked with Fresnel lenses on a much smaller scale. Very interesting and informative!
A great post! Thanks.

piecefulwendy said...

Birder daughter says the birds on the rocks are cormorants, possibly Brandt's Cormorants, The other bird is a Black Oystercatcher. I sent you links in a separate email. :-)

Brown Family said...

I really had to look twice to see the white sea lion on top of the rock!

We saw lighthouses built like that on the east coast. This one has beautiful furniture and settings.

Kate said...

Sorry the weather was a bit on the crappy side, but it looks like you made the best of it. Lighthouses are such cool places to visit.

quiltzyx said...

Loved walking through the lighthouse with you. And like many others above & you, I think I would have liked being a lighthouse keeper too. I think Fresnel lenses are so fascinating. But I do love glass of all types anyway.

Sorry it was so windy.