Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) # 13: the Robinson Jeffers Tor House and Hawk Tower, Carmel-by-the-Sea

Still playing catch-up with the PPAC Challenge! Self spent last weekend in Carmel. One of the main purposes for the visit — aside from meeting an aunt she hadn’t seen in 20 years! — was seeing Robinson Jeffers’ Tor House, which had just re-opened for tours. Self is a lover of gardens, and the garden of the Tor House has been featured in several gardening books she owns.

To get to it from the north (the San Francisco Bay Area), you take 101 south, then 85, then 17 north, and finally pass through Salinas. Driving the 25 miles through Salinas to the Carmel turn-off will take almost an hour, because this area has perennial stop-and-go traffic. You will see fields, many fields! All in all, the drive took self almost 3 hours. She arrived about 15 minutes before the 1 p.m. tour she’d signed up for.

The tour of house and tower takes about an hour. Our guide was David, and he was really good. It will make you weep when you learn that Jeffers bought his lot for something like $200.

The views from Hawk Tower, right next to the house, are spectacular. Watch your step, the stairs are very narrow.

To think Robinson Jeffers built the house and tower all by himself! Tours cost $12.

The house is truly unique. Don’t miss, if you’re in the area.


  1. Prior... said,

    November 15, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    They have really preserved this place quite well – and the tour sounds wonderful

    • November 15, 2021 at 8:03 pm

      The stone has given it a timeless quality. I loved the site. My favorite was the Hawk Tower. I climbed all the way to the top. Maybe I will return.

  2. Marsha said,

    November 15, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    What a wonder place! No wonder you love it! I imagine $200 was a lot of money in the day unless you found gold!!!

    • November 15, 2021 at 8:39 pm

      Yes, it probably was a lot of money back then. What was smart of them was, they bought up the land all around, then sold whenever they needed to — a kind of “forced savings.” Both their sons went to UC Berkeley, so that wouldn’t have cost much. They were just the smartest artists of their day, I guess.

      • Marsha said,

        November 16, 2021 at 5:42 pm

        They were certainly good investors! Back in my dad’s day, his advice was to buy and hold land because God wasn’t making any more of it. I think that advice must have gone way back! šŸ™‚ In Woodlake – Central Valley – many of the original settlers’ grand and great grand children still live there and own large and medium pieces of land. Those who held onto it are quite well off and have done well farming and ranching.

      • November 16, 2021 at 5:49 pm

        Holding land is a kind of forced savings. I still have land in the Philippines!

      • Marsha said,

        November 16, 2021 at 9:32 pm

        That must be beautiful. šŸ™‚

      • November 16, 2021 at 11:39 pm

        The entire island (where my land is) should be a MUSEUM!

      • Marsha said,

        November 17, 2021 at 12:36 am

        I wish I could see it. I have been to the Fiji Island Airport and that’s the closest I’ve been to your land.

      • November 17, 2021 at 1:28 am

        Well, it has the most beautiful beaches in the world. If you ever plan a trip to Asia, let me know. I’ll make sure and greet you in the Philippines! I am serious! I love showing people my island.

  3. Cee Neuner said,

    November 15, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    Thanks so much for playing along šŸ˜€

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