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Literary Sites

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Literary Sites

National Steinbeck Center
One Main Street
Salinas, CA
Fax 831-796-3828

The Steinbeck House
132 Central Ave

Robert Louis Stevenson House
530 Houston St

Tor House and Hawk Tower
26304 Ocean View Ave (btwn Stewart Way and Bay View Ave)
Carmel, CA

Henry Miller Library
Highway One
Big Sur, CA

Works of (Literary) Art

Located about 20 miles from Monterey and the Cannery Row he wrote about in his famous novel, the National Steinbeck Center celebrates the life and works of the prolific Nobel Prize-winning author, John Steinbeck.

The newest addition to the Steinbeck Center explores the agricultural world well-known to Steinbeck from his masterworks, The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden. To learn more about it, visit the NSC website at

Historical Monterey: Literary Sites

Literary Sites Monterey County has inspired writers for years. John Steinbeck is probably the most famous native son, but poet Robinson Jeffers built a home in Carmel, and Henry Miller lived in Big Sur. Ed Ricketts wrote his classic treatise Between Pacific Tides after studying the shoreline creatures along Monterey's coast. Even Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson spent some time here.

John Steinbeck
Edward F. Ricketts
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robinson Jeffers
Henry Miller

John Steinbeck

The National Steinbeck Center in Salinas is a tribute to the life and work of Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck, who so vividly chronicled life in Monterey County. Standing at the end of Main St, the museum features interactive exhibits and treasured originals for children and adults to enjoy.

A few blocks away, the volunteers at the Steinbeck House serve up gracious luncheons at the author's boyhood home. Make reservations, then browse in the gift shop which benefits The Valley Guild.

You'll find a bust of the author at Steinbeck Plaza, overlooking Cannery Row and Prescott St. in Monterey. Live music is often played at this historic site that once bustled with Portuguese whalers. The Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum housed beside the Plaza re-creates scenes from California's past, including scenes from Steinbeck's novels. Open 9am-9pm daily.

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Edward F. Ricketts

While Ed Ricketts is known to many readers solely as the model for "Doc" in Steinbeck's Cannery Row, he was an author as well as a revolutionary marine biologist. His great study of coastal creatures and plants, Between Pacific Tides, presented the concept of marine ecology decades before it became common; it is still required reading in many biology courses. His modest laboratory still stands on Cannery Row, unmarked on the outside, unchanged in many ways on the inside (it's the little gray building almost next door to the Aquarium, only rarely open to the public). At Drake and Wave streets, a bronze memorial honors him, close to the spot where he was killed in a train accident in the 1940s. Each day, Doc's anonymous admirers place flowers in the hands of the statue.

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Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson followed his heart to Monterey in August, 1879, in pursuit of Fanny Osbourne. (They later married in San Francisco.) Stevenson visited various sites in Monterey, writing about them in "The Old Pacific Capital." Literary detectives believe the tales he heard in town, combined with the scenery he saw during walks around Point Lobos, came together in the plot and setting of Treasure Island. He lived for a while in a boarding house; French's Hotel is now known as the Robert Louis Stevenson House, part of the Walk of History Tour. The oldest part of the house dates from the 1830s, and most of the rooms are are currently closed for renovations, but a collection of memorabilia is on display on the ground floor.

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Robinson Jeffers

Robinson Jeffers and his wife, Una, purchased land on Carmel Point after their twin sons were born. Built from granite boulders, the fascinating Tor House and Hawk Tower sheltered Jeffers as he composed some of his finest poems. Jeffers appeared on the cover of Life in 1932, but the sturdy cottage had already hosted many celebrities in its cozy interior. It's now a National Historic Landmark. Docent-led tours begin hourly Fridays and Saturdays, 10am-3pm; groups are limited to six people (no children under 12, and no photography).

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Henry Miller

Henry Miller Library houses the rare books and artwork of Henry Miller. The controversial writer and artist lived in Big Sur from 1944-1962, during which time he wrote Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch, and The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy of "Nexus," "Plexus" and "Sexus". Located 30 miles south of Carmel, the Library established by his friend, Emil White, hosts an intriguing variety of music, art and literary events. Open Tues-Sun, 11am-5pm and Thurs-Sun during the winter months.

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Visit our new Bookstore
For books by or about John Steinbeck, Henry Miller, plus many more poets and writers, click here to visit our new Bookstore page»