Located about 20 miles from Monterey in downtown Salinas CA is the National Steinbeck Center, a museum and center that pays homage to one of America's greatest 20th century writers, John Steinbeck.
He was born in Salinas, worked at menial jobs, became a successful writer, was banished from the Monterey Peninsula for a time, but eventually became a favorite son for his love of the wonders and the characters of the Salinas Valley and the Monterey Peninsula.
"Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream...."
One of the best first lines in any book I think.
Dan Brown, the Da Vinci Code author, said his favorite book was Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men "Simple, suspenseful, and poignant. Better yet, the first paragraph of every chapter is a master class in writing effective description."
For a trip to Steinbeck's Monterey past, you can walk by but not get into Doc Rickett's Lab, adjacent to the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Cannery Row since it is now a private club.
You can relive the turbulent times and places that Steinbeck wrote about so endearingly. You can hear him deliver his Nobel Laureate speech. You can see his little Dulcinea, the Travels with Charlie vehicle that took him across the USA.
The center is an inexpensive place to visit and can be done in less than two hours. Parking is convenient, and fairly cheap too.