I’ve been going to the Cliff House for over 60 years. Wow … I’m old!!! But I digress.
I grew up in Pacific Grove, on the Monterey Peninsula, and I recall my parents getting dressed up to go to “the city”. Mom would wear gloves and a hat and Dad wore a tie, hat and smoked a pipe. They were a smart couple (and still are, actually).
We’d visit the San Francisco Zoo (originally named Fleishhacker Zoo), Golden Gate Park, do some downtown shopping at Gumps or City of Paris (now the Neiman-Marcus store … with the beautiful stained glass ceiling that’s patterned after Galeries Lafayette in Paris). Sometimes we’d come for the day or maybe spend the night; so we’d have two days to enjoy the sites. Over the years, we did it all, and often had a late lunch at the Cliff House before driving back home down Highway 1.
The Cliff House I recall was beautiful as a kid, but over the years had become more and more worn and just plain tired. In 2004, it was totally rebuilt for the 5th or 6th time. Even though the current version is very modern bent, it’s still beautiful in a new, clean and opened way. It’s still a great spot to enjoy a meal, a snack, or a drink. I think the best time to go is late afternoon or early evening. Sunsets are beautiful, but it’s a joy even on a cold foggy day. The new design is opened and lets everyone get a first class view through the big expansive windows to the west.
I don’t have any old photos of the Cliff House, but they’re easy to find … just do a search and click on images, or click on this link to the Cliff House Web site. You’ll see that it’s been rebuilt several times and each time, I think it’s gotten better, although, the Victorian version might still be a stunning site on the cliffs overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean. I can imagine sitting there, sipping a bowl of clam chowder, watching the sun sink slowly into the horizon.