“Rest a bit for tis a rare place to rest at” – The Tickle Pink Inn
I attended my first Monterey Classic Car Week over thirty years ago and I have been there each year continuously for the last fifteen. The reason for this visit is an annual automobile extravaganza. If you love cars and automobile racing, you owe it to yourself to make the pilgrimage at least once. After my first experience, I was hooked. There are well over a dozen events including vintage car racing at Laguna Seca Raceway, the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance, the Concorso Italiano, and numerous auctions.
Even driving down the streets of Monterey or Carmel, you will see cars that most gearheads have only read and dreamed about.
A cornerstone of the week is always the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (formerly known as the Monterey Historic Automobile Races or Monterey Historics). Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, it brought more than 500 vintage race cars to life in their natural racing environment. The cars were divided into 15 groups according to age and engine capacity and chosen for their period-correct presentation. The 2017 edition honored the Diamond Jubilee of Formula Junior and 70 years of Ferrari. There were four fantastic days of historic racing at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca track.
Created in 1950 to demonstrate the virtues of the latest cars, the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance is the jewel in the crown of historic vehicle restoration and conservation. Vehicles are judged based on technical value, style, and elegance, with the aim of encouraging the preservation of mechanical heritage.
The 2017 Concours attracted 204 cars from 15 countries and 31 states to the 17th and 18th holes of the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links.
One of my favorite events took place on Saturday at the Black Horse Golf Course in Monterey Bay. The Concorso Italiano featured over 800 vehicles of Italian origin. Its atmosphere focused on the vehicles, the conversations between people who love and appreciate them, and elements of Italian style such as fashion, food, music, and art.
It is fairly mind boggling to see hundreds of Ferraris or Lamborghinis or Alfas lining the rolling grassy slopes.
About fifteen years ago, Karel and I started meeting our friends from southern California at the event. During the day, we guys do our car thing while our wives shop. In the evening we search out and enjoy some of the area’s best restaurants. Everyone is happy.
Over the years, a friendly rivalry has developed over who will bring the best vintage wine to share. Usually, it is either a Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir. However, there are no losers when you include wines from Harlan Estate, Schrader Cellars, Blankiet Estate, Williams-Selyem, Hartford Court or Littorai. We usually take a couple of bottles to dinner with us each night.
During the car week, it is very difficult to get lodgings anywhere in Monterey or Carmel. After bouncing around from place to place for several years, we got on the list for the Tickle Pink Inn – a hidden gem up on Carmel Highlands – and eventually landed one of their 35 rooms (the best room IMHO) with its own private balcony and walkway. Tickle Pink Inn is the kind of a place where you must reserve your room this year for next year’s stay or lose it to someone new. We have managed to reserve our same room for the last ten years.
The inn gives a great view of the Big Sur coastline from all rooms. Yes, there is Highway 1 directly below but you are not as close to the water as you might think and in the evening you don’t really hear traffic – just the ocean waves. It has a very traditional ambiance which is part of its charm. The location is close enough (four miles) to easily drive into Carmel for dinner and shopping.
The inn sits on the original home site of State Senator Edward and Mrs. Bess Tickle. Within the oceanside setting, Edward and Bess built a small stone cottage more than 100 years ago. Mrs. Tickle was a lover of flowers, especially pink ones, which inspired the name Tickle Pink for their home. Today, though the little cottage has since disappeared, the name and charm remain. Members of the Tickle family are still owners of the property so naturally, the buildings and grounds are maintained at five-star condition.
As always, once we were settled in our room, a delivery of champagne, chocolates, champagne glasses and a beautiful pink rose in a silver ice bucket arrived. The bedding is very comfortable with luxury linens and a fluffy down comforter. Each morning, whether we really needed to or not, we stoked up our wood-burning fireplace to remove the (imagined) chill. Our private balcony was nicely equipped with Adirondack chairs and a chaise lounge. The view of the cove and ocean is spectacular and we often saw whales spouting in the distance.
An expanded continental breakfast is available in the inn’s terrace overlooking the ocean or it can be delivered to your room. A variety of fruit juices, pastries, hot oatmeal, breads, and usually sausage, bacon, or ham, along with some sort of egg dish are always offered.
The inn has a wine and cheese reception in the late afternoon which is also on the terrace. Usually, however, we crib some of the snacks and take them to someone’s room to munch on with our own wines before heading out to dinner.
I will talk about some of our dinners next week.
*Images credit to The Tickle Pink Inn