The Monterey Peninsula Toy Box

Monterey Peninsula
Tidbits & FAQs

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What to do and where to go in an emergency:

If life, limb, or property are in jeopardy, call 911, just like you would back home. There are a few emergency phones near the beaches in Pacific Grove and Carmel, but they are few and far between. However, use them if they are availalable because, unlike many cell phones, the dispatchers can pinpoint your location immediately.

The hospital is just off of Highway 1 at the Pacific Grove exit between Monterey and Carmel. Locals call it CHOMP, for Community Hospital Of the Monterey Peninsula.

There are a few walk-in clinics scattered around the peninsula, too. Check their websites for hours, phone numbers, and to confirm locations.

  • Monterey Bay Urgent Care has two locations. The one you'll probably want is on Del Monte Boulevard by the entrance to Fisherman's Wharf. The other is in Marina.
  • Doctors On Duty has three locations. One is on Lighthouse Avenue at McClellan in Monterey (near Cannery Row). The other on Fremont between Elm and Broadway in Seaside. The third is in Marina. Check the website  or call for exact locations, as they have an annoying tendency to move from time to time.

Who to see if you have car trouble:

Tom's Monterey Auto Repair is Mr. Toy's first choice. Tom and his employees are honest, hardworking, and will do the job right the first time. (No, Tom is not a relative of Mr. Toy.) The place is also AAA approved. Tom's is located in Monterey on Abrego Street between El Dorado and Fremont, across from Jack-In-The-Box.

If you're stuck in Carmel and can't make it to Tom's try the Chevron station on Junipero and 4th. In Pacific Grove Forest Hill Auto Service is also a good bet. It's near the top of the hill on Forest Avenue between David and Prescott.

If you need warranty service from a dealership go to the Auto Center in Seaside. It's sandwiched between Del Monte and Fremont Boulevards, and you can access it from either street. Most of the major dealerships are there except Saab, Lexus, Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Land Rover and Infiniti, which are right on the other side of Del Monte Boulevard. The Mercedes dealer is located near downtown Monterey on the corner of Fremont and Abrego.

Are there any guided tours?

There are five reputable local tour companies we know of. Only one involves a bus, one uses a car, another involves Segways, and the other two are walking tours. These companies are run by local residents who know and love the Monterey Peninsula inside and out. Their knowledge is invaluable if you wish to look beyond the surface and gain insights into the people and events that made the Monterey Peninsula the special place that it is. 

  • Monterey Movie Tours is the one with the bus. It's a specialty tour that visits sites featured in many famous Hollywood movies.
  • Segway Tours Monterey has tours covering various parts of historic Monterey and the waterfront. Don't worry, they'll teach you how to ride first.
  • Monterey Walking Tours shows you Monterey's numerous historic sites on foot.
  • Carmel Walks unveils the fascinating stories behind the cute and quirky village of Carmel. 
  • Big Sur Tours and More are provided by a local fellow named Dave Engelberg, who offers private, personalized automobile tours of Big Sur. If you don't have a car of your own, this is probably the only practical way to see this national treasure.
There are several bus tours that originate outside the area, drive you around, and spit you out on the sidewalk for brief periods of time before taking you back to the distant city you came from. Basically all they offer are superficial overviews of the Monterey Peninsula. They don't let you get to really know our community, so we don't recommend them.

Is 17 Mile Drive worth the price of admission?

It depends on your interests and wallet thickness. It costs a bit more than entering a state park, contains comparable natural wonders, and includes a look at how the wealthiest among us live. On the other hand, the sights of Carmel and Pacific Grove are just as interesting, and free.

Your gate admission can be applied to meals at the restaurants in Pebble Beach. Just take your admission receipt and show it to your server.

So why do we have to pay to see Pebble Beach?

Because the roads, picnic areas, and other facilities are privately owned by the Pebble Beach Company. The gate fee pays for their upkeep. No tax money is involved.

Is the aquarium worth the price of admission?

Definitely. Although it is fairly expensive, you will come away with a valuable education, and have lots of fun in the process. Tip: go mid-afternoon when the crowds begin to thin out. You'll be able to see more then. Allow at least 3 hours to see it all.

What can you tell us about local wines? 

Mr. Toy isn't a wine drinker and doesn't have a clue as to what goes best with fish and chips. Instead of trying to fake his way through a presentation of local wine makers he'll just refer you to the official website of the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Assiciation.

Weren't there some movies were made on the Monterey Peninsula?

Quite a few, actually. See our section about Monterey In The Movies for full details. An organized tour of filming sites can be had from Monterey Movie Tours

Where is Clint Eastwood's house?

No self-respecting Carmelite will answer this question. Clint values his privacy, and we respect it. So should you.

What do you call those trees that look like broccoli?

They're Monterey Pines. They're very rare. The Monterey Peninsula has the largest natural Monterey Pine forest in the world, and there are only two others (one is north of Santa Cruz at Ano Nuevo, the other is down near Cambria). As they grow older, they lose their lower branches, giving them their distinctive appearance.

What are those twisted trees along the shoreline?

They're Monterey Cypress trees. The only other place in the world where they grow naturally is Tibet. Legend has it that Tibetan monks brought the seeds here from their temple a thousand years ago while on a journey through the Aleutians, and down the coast of North America.

Was Monterey Jack Cheese invented here?

Yes. Some say it was named after David Jacks, who owned most of the land here at one time and produced the cheese. Other's say it was named after the press, also called a jack, used in the manufacturing process.

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