Posted on: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 8:00 AM
by Morgan Liu
Who knew Monterey Peninsula has been featured in some 200 blockbuster movies? I sure didn’t, but I have an excuse because I am new to the area of Monterey which is why this tour was perfect for me! Not only does this tour show where classic movie scenes were filmed, but it is the only excursion in Monterey that offers an expansive tour of the Peninsula. I took the FREE MST trolley from Cannery Row to the conference center in downtown Monterey where I met our tour guide Doug Lumsden. Doug is the owner and operator of Monterey Movie Tours and just celebrated his 14th year in operation so I knew I was in for a treat! I boarded the bus and chose to sit in the Elizabeth Taylor high-back chair since she is one of my favorite Hollywood divas.
As the tour got underway we all put on our headsets so we could listen to Doug and the overhead TV monitors. With “Hooray for Hollywood” playing in the background we started our tour through downtown Monterey and then ventured over to historic Cannery Row. Here we saw scenes from Hollywood classics such as, Clash by Night starring Marilyn Monroe and Cannery Row where the original laboratory of marine biologist, Doc played by Nick Nolte, still stands untouched today. Up one block from Cannery Row is the legendary Sardine Factory. This is where the locally loved director and actor, Clint Eastwood, walks down Sardine Factory’s red steps to find Evelyn in his car in the thriller Play Misty for Me.
We had barely been on the tour for 30 minutes and I was already intrigued by all the city facts I was learning. It was one thing to be schooled on classic Hollywood movies filmed in Monterey, but I particularly enjoyed hearing about the city’s rich and diverse history.
We left Monterey and headed toward the quaint city of Pacific Grove. This adorable small town was depicted as “Cypress Grove” in the movie Turner & Hooch. I could tell this particular film was close to Doug’s heart as he mentioned memories from when the movie was being filmed and when many of the locals in Pacific Grove were asked to be extras.
After a few more stops in Pacific Grove we were off to majestic 17-mile drive in Pebble Beach. Did you know that Pebble Beach is not a town or city but private land owned by the Pebble Beach Company? What is great about going on this tour is that you do not need to pay the fee to drive through Pebble Beach, and the luxury coach offers the best views because you sit higher than normal cars.
Seeing the enormous mansions averaging $18-30 million in property value and twisting and turning through the cypress trees is truly stunning. My favorite stop was the iconic Lone Cypress tree, which is the logo for Pebble Beach and is the single most photographed tree in the world.
I was surprised to find out there were several golf courses in Pebble Beach, not just The Links at Pebble Beach; each one of offering breathtaking views of Monterey County’s coastline and forest. It was a nice break being able to get out of the bus and smell the ocean breeze and hear the birds and sea lions at Bird Rock. These animals are a joy to watch lounging around and occasionally taking a plunge into the ocean.
The best part of the trip was stopping at the famous Lodge at Pebble Beach and seeing the most famous 18th hole in golf. Most people have seen this hole on TV and in movies, but getting to see this backdrop in person is unforgettable. I felt star struck walking around The Lodge and seeing the 18th hole and there weren’t even any celebrities around! I wanted to grab a beverage at the Tap Room, but I misjudged my time walking around all the pro-shops and had to be back on the bus before it left me. I am kidding of course, Doug and the Movie Tour bus will not leave anyone behind!
Leaving the beautiful and famous Pebble Beach we were on our way to Carmel-by-the-Sea where we saw historic downtown from which many scenes from Play Misty for Me were filmed. Unfortunately we were not allowed to drive downtown because of our large bus; I guess I’ll have to come back to this spot since I hear it has great shops and restaurants.
Before we headed back to Monterey we drove by the Carmel Mission which was the second mission built in California. This mission is the oldest cathedral still in operation today and is a gem not just for Carmel but for California.
On the way back to Monterey Doug strategically played the theme song from A Summer Place. This was a wonderful tour all around and it has inspired me to watch a few of the noted blockbuster classics! Until next time, I’ll leave you with a comment Doug likes to say after his tour, “we’ll see you at the movies.”