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.
Be advised that cell phone service is spotty along Highway 1 south of Carmel and through Big Sur. You may have to drive several miles to get a signal.
The hospital is centrally located 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. The emergency room is open 24/7.
There are a few walk-in clinics scattered around the Peninsula, too. They're good for non life-threatening injuries and illnesses, and wait times are generally shorter than at CHOMP. But their hours may be limited. Check their websites below for hours, phone numbers, and to confirm locations.
MoGo Urgent Care is owned by CHOMP's parent company Montage Health. Their Monterey clinic is located on Del Monte Avenue just east of the Naval Postgraduate School. Another outlet will be opening in the Carmel Rancho Shopping Center near Highway 1 and Carmel Valley Road sometime in late 2020.
Doctors On Duty (often called Doc-In-The-Box by locals) has a bunch of clinics spread throughout the Monterey Bay region. Two of these are on the Monterey Peninsula. One is on Lighthouse Avenue at McClellan in Monterey (near Cannery Row). The other on Fremont between Elm and Broadway in Seaside. They don't offer as many services as MoGo, and their hours are more limited, but if they're closer and open they may be more convenient.
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.
Locals also like T&T Auto Repair which is across the street from the Monterey Fairgrounds. Pacific Motor Service is another local favorite. They have two shops, one just east of downtown Monterey on Franklin Street and another near the top (south) end of Forest Avenue in Pacific Grove. In downtown PG Matteson's Auto Repair on Grand Avenue is another good bet.
If you're on the Carmel side of the Peninsula, Carmelites recommend Nystrom Automotive on the NE corner of Junipero and 4th. Lemos 76 at the mouth of Carmel Valley also gets high marks. You'll find it at the intersection of Carmel Valley Road and Carmel Rancho Boulevard just off of Highway 1.
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 some of the luxury brands most of which which are on the other side of Del Monte. The Mercedes dealer is located near downtown Monterey on the corner of Fremont and Abrego.
Are there any guided tours?
There are five 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. It also provides a good overview of the Peninsula by touching on parts of Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, and Carmel.
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.
Gael Gallagher's Monterey Tours provides a variety of walking and road tours covering the entire Peninsula and Big Sur. We especially recommend Gael's Carmel Walks tour which 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 most 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. The cost is about the same as entry fees to California state parks, 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, with a minimum purchase, be applied to meals at the restaurants in Pebble Beach. Just take your gate 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 made on the Monterey Peninsula?
Quite a few, actually, covering more than a hundred years. See our section about Monterey In The Movies for full details. An organized tour of filming sites can be had from Monterey Movie Tours.
What do you call those trees that look sorta 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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