Thursday, June 23, 2011


When I was offered the chance to go to a conference at Asilomar, I took a  look at their website and saw this:

 Take a deep breath and settle in for a time of serene relaxation, reflection and rejuvenation. Celebrated as Monterey Peninsula's "Refuge by the Sea" - Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds is a breathtakingly gorgeous 107 acres of ecologically diverse beachfront land. Situated within the quaint and scenic town of Pacific Grove, Asilomar offers guests the simple comforts of cozy cottages and rustic lodges - and an unforgettable escape from the demands of everyday life.

I dug deep and found a way to manage the time away.

The work was inspiring, the collegiality was motivating, and the food was abundant and rich. But most noteworthy of all was the refuge, the unforgettable escape from the demands of everyday life.

There were these boardwalks all over the property, and at first glance it's impossible to tell where those appealing symmetrical wooden planks will lead you

until you round a bend to find yourself face to face with the  majesty of my old friend, the pacific ocean

It's different up there, though. In a word? Blustery.

The ocean is all around you, the air is positively soaked with it. You take a deep breath and feel hydrated.

The wind is formidable and relentless, and suffice it to say that this SoCal girl packed poorly for her NoCal adventure.There was a gift shop, though, and what better excuse to expand one's wardrobe of warm layers?

One morning was bright and bold, and feeling similarly inclined I set out for an early run before the day's work began. The boardwalk runs among the dunes on the Asilomar side of the seaside road, but once you cross that street the shoreline holds its own path, a path almost too adorable to bear.

Could there be a more appealing place to run? Really, could there?
Now all of this outdoor living really is almost all a girl needs, but after long days of stretching one's mind, I needed a place to lay my fool head. Enter, the convent

My room! Who could have imagined that my refuge would have a bed such as this?
I wish I had copied the history of this building, the Lodge. It was built in 1921 and designed by Julia Morgan, the architect who designed all of the original buildings that were primarily intended for use by YWCA camps in the early 1900s for western regional meetings  intended to help women learn how to more effectively claim their rightful place in this world.

The view from my window
There were lots of interesting things to see around the grounds. For example, here's an old man walking a miniature horse!

Layla is a guide horse! Don't ask. But I called her a pony and was summarily schooled.
And there were really cool common areas all over the place, some with enchanting signage

On our last afternoon, I found a few hours to explore the surrounding area, and got myself some wheels  

The thing about indescribable beauty is that it's impossible to describe.

If you visit the Monterey Peninsula, and you find refuge and you seek beauty, and if you take some time to explore but then find that the beauty is starting to overwhelm you, just look up and you'll find the perfect place to refuel.



Pat said...

Oh Jackie, I am so thrilled that you had a chance to enjoy this beautiful place. I spent many happy days there during high school and that is where I had my first kiss!
My church youth group would go there for a week every summer (I grew up on the San Fran peninsula). I am also delighted to see that it has not changed a bit in over 50 years. Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories for me.

Pickles and Dimes said...

What a wonderful place! I wish to go to there.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Wooo wee, that place is breathtaking! Can you say j.e.a.l.o.u.s? Well I can, and I am!

Looks like a mighty fine, um, work getaway, Jacquie! Biking, running, the bed, the view, the pony! (Yeah, I said it.)

Glad you enjoyed it so. But where is the photo of all the drinks on the bar?


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Wow, Pat! That is so cool, what a great place for such formative memories. It might have changed a bit, some of the staff admitted that they've recently had a change in ownership/management and things aren't quite as special as they once were. I was smitten, though. What a gorgeous space.

Beth, I put lots of drink photos were on facebook :)


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh, and I forgot to ask...was Mistach there with you? Excellent photos, I tell you!


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Yes, Mistah and I stole away for a quiet weekend. We're always doing that.

LOL! Some scenes are so beautiful that even a bonehead like me can't manage to screw up the photos.

but thanks!


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Sly McFly's! I *love* that.

And you and Mistah are *so* sneaky. I did not even know he was gone!

This is lovely, Jacquie. How enchanting! What a perfect place for a first kiss. Mmmmmwah!

Gorgeous. Monterey is a place we've not gotten to enough in our travels, although you and I went there on *our* cross-crountry trip in '88, yes? And Nancy and I did in '86 too.

I love this, and I really really love that bed.

Oh! And I really really love you.

Thanks. Perfect. I feel peace.