A Poem, A Stink, A Tone, A Dream – Steinbeck’s Monterey Goes Eco


In the town made famous by Steinbeck’s vivid stories, there are plenty of gems to be found.  From Cannery Row to quaint downtown, Monterey’s free trolleys give visitors a comprehensive tour of this tucked-away locale. 

Monterey is best experienced through walking, so I recommend bringing a good pair of shoes and an adventurous attitude.  The two places I highly recommend visiting?  The Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Quock Mui Tea Room, so you can enjoy both high-and-low profile sights.


The world-renown aquarium is swimming with award-winning exhibits.  From shark tanks to spectacular jellyfish displays to the latest exhibit dedicated to seahorses, the aquarium is a visual delight.  Words cannot describe what I saw, but I hope the following images will.




And in an effort to educate visitors on the dangers of overfishing and illegal catching, the museum has installed an interactive “sushi dining counter” that teaches consumers about conscious seafood choices, as well as offers Seafood Watch guides that fit easily in a wallet and offer fish selection guidelines for the eco-minded on the go. 


You can even send an e-card to Governor Schwarzenegger about the need to protect our coastal waters and sea life habitats.  Instead of being preachy, the aquarium offers easy, doable actions for all visitors – making being eco-friendly a cinch!


To relax after a stimulating day at the aquarium, head over to the Quock Mui Tea Room, accessible through a hidden bike path above the main road.  From a selection of organic and non-organic teas (I had the tasty Coconut Crème) to vegan chocolates, the off-the-beaten-path café offers refreshing drinks and a tranquil place to recline.  (Insider tip: Sit on the heated stone bench outside – awesome!)

And to throw in a bit of history on your journey through Monterey, make a left out of the café and take your first right (Bruce Ariss Way) back down to Cannery Row through a small garden.  On this particular path you’ll get a glimpse of life during the heyday of the sardine business in Monterey – three small homes paint a picture of what life was really like among the different cultural groups working in the canneries.  And be sure to sneak a peek inside the windows!



  1. Thank you for taking me on a beautiful tour of Monterey. I will definitely follow your path next time I go there.

  2. Alexander Dombroff says:

    Have you see the new sea lion park they’re putting in near the wharf? I tried to take a few pics but they didn’t come out 🙁

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