The Martine Inn, Elegance, Antiquity, & Comfort Meet
Our guest post comes from Seth Halpern, editor of The Ambassador, a monthly publication dedicated to encouraging the local Christian community in Yuba City, CA. Seth is also the host of a weekly radio show of the same name. His website is www.ambassadornewspaper.com
One could easily drive on Ocean View Blvd. in Pacific Grove and pass right by the Martine Inn, mostly because in addition to watching for cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists, Ocean View Blvd. rightly earns its name. The beauty of the ocean waves crashing against the rocks is breathtaking. Yet, rather than seeing this from a sandy beach, this is actually the front-window view from the Martine Inn.
We turned into the parking area of the inn and walked up stairs that led to the entrance of the converted 1899 Victorian Mansion. Cody warmly welcomed us, checked us in and gave us a quick tour before leading us to the Carriage Room where we would be reside for a few nights.
The Carriage Room is one of 25 exquisitely appointed rooms in this inn owned by Don Martine. Don transformed the property into what he calls a “living history museum with modern day usability.” Everything you find throughout the inn was chosen and/or designed by Don.
Our room, decorated in a rose garden theme with matching curtains, wallpaper and lamps, gave us the sense of being immersed in a lush garden. Each room is uniquely designed and offers a different experience for each guest. The meticulously designed room is filled with antique furnishings including the chair I am sitting in as I write.. While elegant, it is not at all uncomfortable. In fact, the 1870 Walnut American King bed offered much needed restful slumber after a long day of travel.
At one point, I wondered if I should sit on the antique and expensive-looking furniture and asked Don if it was alright. “If you can’t use it, then we don’t need to have it here” was his reply. His desire is to offer guests an experience that would resemble the elegance and service of the turn of the century. Fortunately, our host understands the need to return to today’s conveniences and offers a computer and printer in the library for use at no charge, in addition to free WiFi throughout the property.
We settled in and rested for a bit before joining others in the dining area for wine & hors d’oeuvres at 5:30pm. The appetizer of bacon-wrapped apricot was probably something I shouldn’t have eaten (at least not three of them! But who could resist and after all, I was on vacation!). Don made his way around greeting each of the guests and we all enjoyed watching the upcoming sunset on the water through the over-sized windows. They even had binoculars on the window sill to add to the experience (a nice touch).
Back in our room, we enjoyed the peace and quiet, decided to forego lighting a fire in the marble fireplace and drifted off to sleep in the softest sheets I had ever used.
We slept in late the following morning, not surprisingly and I resisted the urge to use the deep claw-foot tub and opted for a shower instead so that we could make it in time for breakfast. I draped myself with the plush white robe prepared for me and got ready to start the day.
At breakfast, the fine china, crystal and sterling silver matched the stellar service as if we were on the Queen Mary of days gone by! After enjoying our ginger-apple crepes (a recipe generously shared on their website), we spent the afternoon in nearby Monterey, checking out the Monterey Bay Aquarium and grabbing a late lunch at Rappa’s Restaurant for authentic Clam Chowder and a cheeseburger almost too big to eat.
That evening we came back and simply sat on a bench very near the front of the inn on the pathway frequented by bicyclists, and others on foot. This pathway takes you to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row in just a few minutes. We sat, mostly silent, watching God’s beautiful handiwork and only left when the temperature started to dip.
I didn’t have enough time during our brief visit to chat with Don about his Classic MG collection (there are more than a dozen on display at the inn), sink some balls on the 1880’s pool table or play a game of table tennis in the game room. The library includes 1000 or more books along with a collection of historical photographs and information on the original residents of the mansion, James and Laura Parke.
On the second evening, we were treated to charming piano music performed by Steve, a friendly and funny local musician, which enhanced our experience of watching the evening tide ebb and flow while partaking of dill deviled eggs and other appetizers. One of the highlights of our time was spotting a migrating whale through the observation deck window, without ever having to leave the inn!
Our breakfast the next morning didn’t disappoint either. Monterey Eggs, homemade Cinnamon Rolls and a Pineapple “boat” gave us the fuel for a long way home. We hated to leave after our two day stay but we were sent off with a parting gift bag that included homemade banana bread and bottled waters for the road. The service was great, the food delectable, the accommodations elegant yet comfortable and the setting breathtaking.
Pacific Grove is the crown jewel of the central coast and I don’t believe that many inns can complement the beauty of the coast but the Martine Inn manages to do just that.