The Hotel Del Monte transformed the Monterey Peninsula forever. And it can be argued that the effects of that transformation are still being felt throughout the region.


The Secret Seventeen-Mile Drive

A Saturday Drive Bus Tour of the Seventeen-Mile Drive of 100 year’s ago. We will follow as closely as possible the route of the original Seventeen-Mile Drive, and highlight the sights that helped change the Monterey Peninsula forever.

No one event has had a greater impact on the Monterey Peninsula than the opening of the Hotel Del Monte in 1880. Within two decades, the town had been transformed from the Mexican town visited by Robert Louis Stevenson, to a tourist destination for upper income tourists from the East Coast of the United States.

A Special Visit to the Naval Postgraduate School!
Since September 11, 2001 the NPGS has been off-limits to casual civilian visitors. Before 9/11 the public was permitted to drive or walk onto the old Hotel Del Monte grounds but security no longer permits it. We will be the special guests of the U.S. Navy and John Sanders, the official historian for the Naval Postgraduate School. We will begin our adventure with a special tour of the hotel and its incredible grounds. And then, John Sanders will join us for the remainder of the day, in a first-ever Lydon-Sanders joint presentation. This collaboration will be historic!

Date: Saturday, November 3, 2012
Time: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Two Departure Locations:

9:00 AM - Cabrillo College, Aptos, Parking Lot E
9:30 AM – Costco Parking Lot, Sand City
Possible Watsonville Pick-up: If we have requests, we will add a pick-up at the Cabrillo College Watsonville Center, 318 Union St. Please indicate when registering.

Fee: $95.00 (Includes deluxe motorcoach, admission to 17-mile Drive and bus driver gratuity.)
Note: There will be some off-the-bus walking involved during the day, but it will be leisurely.

What You Should Bring:

Layered clothing – it can begin a bit chilly and get warmer during the day.
check Binoculars.
check Picnic Lunch – We will be having a picnic in a special, secret public access area. You should be able to carry your lunch for a short distance.
check Comfortable shoes
check Sunscreen.
Note: Because of the subject matter, children under 18 many not participate in the class.


The Seventeen-Mile Drive was laid out by the Pacific Improvement Company to highlight the “sights” – those places that would be “exotic” to New England visitors – the Mexican heritage, the Chinese villages, and the Franciscan mission at Carmel.

We will follow as much of the original Seventeen-Mile Drive as possible today. In fact, the present-day Seventeen Mile Drive isn’t even seventeen miles…

The first secret – that they don’t mention in the official brochures – is that the road was built by Chinese laborers. And that’s just the beginning of what they don’t mention….

The Carmel Mission’s profile was heightened when the Seventeen-Mile Drive was laid out to include it. Restoration of the mission began not long after the drive opened

Some of the historic sites we will see include:

the Hotel Del Monte
the original town of Monterey
Pacific Grove
the Point Alones Chinese Fishing Village site
China Rock
Point Joe
The Lone Cypress
Del Monte Lodge
Stillwater Cove
Carmel Mission