Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Drive: Pacific Grove

One of our favorite places to visit is Pacific Grove which is also known as Butterfly Town, USA because of the thousands of Monarch butterflies that return to the town each October to spend the winter.

To be honest, I've never seen any Monarchs there, the one time we went to the butterfly sanctuary was the year the Monarchs decided to winter somewhere else but I've heard they were plentiful last year so we'll try again this fall and hope for better results.

Pacific Grove was founded in 1875 as a Methodist summer camp and by 1879 was a part of the nationwide Chautauqua circuit.    By the turn of the century Pacific Grove, like nearby Carmel, because a haven for artists.  Many of the Victorian cottages in town date from the turn of the century and sport plaques on the front with the name of the original owner.
I read somewhere that PG boasts the most Victorian houses per capita than anywhere else in the US.  I don't know if it's true but they do have some pretty ones.
They also have some quirky, non-Victorians

Pacific Grove, when the sun in shining, is one of the most charming, magical places you could ever visit.  Yesterday's weather didn't quite cooperate (sun, what's that?) but we still managed to have a wonderful time at the annual Feast of Lanterns festival at Lover's Point.

The first Feast of Lanterns was held in Pacific Grove in 1905 as the closing ceremony to the Chautauqua Assembly. The current version of the festival was revived in 1957 and the legend of the Blue Willow was added, the PG version was first told in 1958.  In the original Chinese version of the legend the star-crossed lovers fly away as PG they fly away as Monarch butterflies and return every Fall.

Many houses in PG are decorated with Chinese lanterns for the week long festivities. It's nice to see the whole town participating.

Some people have their own way of participating, this house is celebrating the Feast of Flashlights

The big event takes place on Saturday starting with a festival in the park.  It's mostly for kids with bouncy houses and contests.  The park is right on the coast and boasts amazing views.

The view is even nicer when the sun is shining

For us, the best part of any festival is the food, naturally.  We especially love a local food truck called 
Babaloo which was making its first appearance at the Feast of Lanterns.  Gladys' cuban sandwiches are amazing and I really needed a Babaloo fix since it's been a few weeks since the truck's schedule and mine have blended.

Her truck fit so nicely into the park atmosphere, it's very colorful.

There are many new choices but I stuck with my favorite - the Lucy Lucy, while T got a Ricky Ricardo.

We loved our visit to Pacific Grove and the Feast of Lanterns even if this was the closest we got to a butterfly

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