Thursday, October 20, 2011

a day in carmel

"If you should look for this place after a handful of lifetimes:

Perhaps of my planted forest a few
May stand yet..."
                      ~"Tor House," Robinson Jeffers

Robinson Jeffers Hawk Tower, Tor House, Carmel...Image via Wikipedia
Hawk Tower at Tor House, Carmel, California
Our annual trip to Monterey changes up a little every year. This year we spent a full day in nearby Carmel, precipitated by the fact that S was now 12 and could finally join a tour of Tor House. Tor House is poet Robinson Jeffers' handbuilt home on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. We have been waiting years to be able to do this and were not disappointed. Unfortunately, cameras (and even handbags) are not allowed on the tour, so I only have a few outside shots to share.
It's quite amazing to think of Jeffers writing all morning in his Hawk Tower, a place S deemed "Harry Potter-ish" for its turrets and hidden staircase, then spending the remainder of the day hauling and setting huge pieces of granite as he extended the house from one tiny cottage to a walled compound with multiple additions. He also planted over 2000 trees (alluded to in the poem above) along the property's edges. This was a busy man.

The grounds also incorporate pool table slate, ship ballast, and discarded marble from a remodeled bank; as well as old statuary, a portion of the Great Wall of China, and other exotica from the Jeffers' and their friends' travels. These occasional insets of random material give the house a sense of surprise and wonder on top of its gorgeous natural beauty and cozy simplicity.

More surprises can be found in the town of Carmel itself, where Hugh Comstock's twee little cottages are sprinkled throughout the downtown neighborhoods. In fact, many of Carmel's homes are similarly designed to be quaint and original (and...expensive).
We ended the day walking around Point Lobos, home to Monterey Cyprus trees and orange algae.
I'd miscalculated my knitting time on this trip and stopped by a yarn shop thinking I could start a new project. The store's ball winder was broken, so this did not happen; but I couldn't resist a skein of custom-dyed yarn the owner had commissioned to reflect the colors of the beach.
Why don't all local yarn shops do this? I'm thinking the colors here would be tomato red along with other agricultural colors like green, gold and deep brown. What are the dye colors of your area?


  1. That last picture could be from my home county of Cornwall (Kernow).

    The algae shot looks like a snugly type thing to me.

    I would love to build an extension like that hand carrying the stones, it would be an awesome thing to do. Maybe in 3d at some point...

  2. Thank you for sharing this - really wonderful.

  3. That's so interesting about the similarity to Cornwall. Apparently the Jefferses wanted to live in Europe but were unable to travel due to the outbreak of WWI. Someone told them that Carmel looked like England, so they traveled up there from Southern California and stayed.

    I just googled images of Cornwall--it's beautiful!

  4. I want to live in one of those tiny cottages! And that yarn is awesome, looks just like the beach. What an amazing day.

    Let's all move to Carmel! We could create an amazing community of homeschoolers, all we need is millions of dollars!


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