On my road trip down the California Coast, we took the 17 Mile Drive. I’d never heard of it before, but everyone talked about it as if it were the highlight of the trip even though we spend a lot less time there. What I discovered was that California’s 17 Mile Drive is a stretch of road associated with luxury. Millionaires build mansions that overlook the Pacific Ocean. Golf is the sport of choice. The art scene is thriving among the cultured citizens.
Here’s a bit about the 17 Mile Drive from Wikipedia:
At the north end, a portion of the early route through Pacific Grove begins at the intersection of Del Monte Blvd and Esplanade Street. The famous portion of 17-Mile Drive then begins a few miles south of this point. The crossing of Highway 68 (Holman Highway/Sunset Drive) and 17-Mile Drive marks the entrance to Pebble Beach.
From the Sunset Drive/Pacific Grove gate, the drive runs inland past Spanish Bay, then adjacent to beaches and up into the coastal hills, providing scenic viewpoints. Travel along the road takes as long as the traveler likes, a minimum of 20 minutes south to Carmel without stops. Numerous turnouts along the road allow stopping to take pictures, or getting out to stroll along the ocean or among the trees. Visitors receive a map that points out some of the more scenic spots. In addition, a red-dashed line is marked in the center of the main road to guide visitors, and help prevent them from venturing into the adjacent neighborhood streets.
The road provides vistas of golf courses including Spyglass Hill, Cypress Point and Pebble Beach. After reaching Carmel Way, and the exit to Carmel, the 17-Mile Drive then heads northeast to the Highway 68/Highway 1 interchange, where one can exit, or continue to loop along the higher vistas of 17-Mile Drive, some of which offer views from more than 600 feet above sea-level. The full loop will take you back to the Pacific Grove Gate at Sunset Drive — a distance of 17 miles.
The driver slowed down and pointed out various homes. I was not impressed. I grew up with parents who trapped us kids in the back seat while they drove around looking at the mansions in Alpine, New Jersey. I’ve seen beautiful, large homes before, and it just doesn’t impress me. Interior decorating and architecture are passions of mine, so it’s not that I don’t appreciate nice homes. And I’m by no means against luxury. I rather enjoy a certain lifestyle. I’m just not impressed by it.
Do you enjoy driving around looking at mansions?
In case you missed last week’s road trip posts:
a cocktail recipe for what Jack Kerouac drank in Big Sur
writing tips from Big Sur writers