Friday, November 21, 2008
(Photo: Asilomar Conference Center courtesy of Veronica Vale.)
The Asilomar Conference Center's 300 guest rooms make it one of the largest hotels on the Monterey Peninsula. The rustic resort in Pacific Grove also has 107 ocean-side acres of public beaches, restored sand dunes and peaceful pine groves to accompany the rooms, meeting facilities and dining hall. Asilomar opened 95 years ago with a few structures and 300 tents for a conference quickly organized by the Young Women's Christian Association. The YWCA expanded, then closed the facility in 1933 because of Depression economics. It was leased out as a motel in the late 1930s, used to house military families in the 1940s, and re-opened as a conference center in 1947. The State Department of Parks and Recreation bought the property in 1952 to stave off a glass company that wanted the sand in the dunes. The legislation to add Asilomar to the state park system was written by State Senator Fred Farr. When Fred died in 1997, his son, Congressman Sam Farr, turned down the tribute of adding his father's name to the facility.