Cannery Row is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Monterey. Much of the fame that is tied to this waterfront area relates to its role as the setting for the eponymous John Steinbeck novel, Cannery Row. The street also served as the setting for another Steinbeck novel, Sweet Thursday, and was mentioned in the Bob Dylan song, Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands. The name of the street is tied to its past as a home for sardine canning factories, the likes of which are now defunct. One of the reasons why the Cannery Row sardine factories closed was a lack of sardines in the area. The small fish started to disappear in and around the year 1948. Overfishing was largely responsible for this, as were such things as changing currents and pollution. Things have been cleaned up over time, and the waters just offshore are now part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Cannery Row has changed rather significantly since the days of John Steinbeck, but it still features a few attractions that date back to the time and that relate to Steinbeck’s novels. Among these attractions is the biological supply house that was known as Pacific Biological Laboratories. Found at 800 Cannery Row, this preserved establishment was operated by Edward F. Ricketts and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Steinbeck fans will already know that Ricketts was an inspiration for several characters that appeared in the writer’s books. Another major attraction at Cannery Row is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. One of the country’s best family attractions, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is home to more than 350,000 marine animals and plants and attracts nearly two million visitors every year.
Coastal Recreation Trail
Cannery Row visitors won’t want to overlook the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. This paved path extends for miles along the coast of Monterey Bay, linking Castroville in the north to Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach with its famous golf course to the south. Walking, jogging, biking and in-line skating are among the activities that are commonly practiced along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. It is also possible to go kayaking in the Monterey Bay waters just off the trail or throw a picnic at one of the trail’s grassy areas. Regardless of what activity Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail patrons choose to enjoy, they should be keen to keep an eye out for wildlife. Otters and sea lions are among the animals that are commonly seen along this stretch of coast, and it is even possible to spot whales off in the distance on some occasions.
Shopping & Dining
Cannery Row is home to a number of shops and restaurants. This lends to its popularity as a tourist hangout. The shops include a variety of specialty shops, some of which specialize in antiques. Complementing them are a number of galleries and souvenir outlets. For those who are looking to treat themselves to a Cannery Row dining experience, it isn’t hard to find some good seafood or an inviting fine dining institution. Savoring a memorable bottle of wine can also be part of the picture. At least two wine tasting rooms can be found at Cannery Row, and the resident restaurants have ample cuvee caches.
Cannery Row Hotels & Lodging
The Cannery Row area is where you will find some of the best Monterey hotels. The Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa (pictured) is found at Cannery Row, for example. This upscale retreat is the only Forbes Four-Star Hotel in all of Monterey. Another high quality lodging establishment that is found at Cannery Row is the Spindrift Inn. Couples who are including a visit to Monterey in their romantic California vacation plans are especially encouraged to give the Spindrift a look. Also deserving of mention are the luxurious Intercontinental The Clement Monterey and the stylish Monterey Bay Inn. Travelers looking to spend a bit less on Cannery Row lodging can check out the Holiday Inn Express Monterey - Cannery Row. It is found just one block from Cannery Row and offers good rooms at a reasonable price. Regardless of which Cannery Row area hotel you ultimately choose to stay at, you can essentially park the car and forget about it during your stay. These hotels offer direct access to beaches, wildlife viewing opportunities, restaurants and so much more. Plus, the Coastal Recreation Trail makes it easy to get to other parts of Monterey and beyond.
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