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Tor House

Be inspired by this fairytale stone cottage on the dramatic Carmel Big Sur coastline, built by one of America’s legendary poets.

Tor House was the home of American poet Robinson Jeffers and his family. Jeffers wrote his most famous works here, including an adaptation of Medea, which became a major Broadway play. Today, this tranquil oceanfront property is preserved in its original state. Take a tour, enjoy the ocean views and breathe in the atmosphere that inspired one of America’s greatest poets. 

Jeffers worked on Tor House for many years after he and his wife found their ideal site in the early 1900s. He was interested in stonemasonry and did much of the work himself. When not building, Jefferson wrote epic, philosophical poems. He became a major literary figure in the first half of the 20th century. Work was completed on the home in 1919, and shortly after, inspired by the stone towers he saw in Ireland, Jeffers built Hawk Tower as a magical retreat for his twin sons. 

The only way to access the property is by guided tour. Knowledgeable docents provide fascinating insight into Jeffers, his family and his work.

The experience is not just for fans of Jeffers’ poetry. Admire the colorful garden with its array of native plants and flowers. Take a seat in the courtyard and enjoy the serenity. Jeffers used varied stones for this fantasy property, some of which come from Carmel Beach. Other stones were brought from as far afield as Hawaii, the Temple of Peking and the Great Wall of China. Charles Lindbergh, George Gershwin and Charlie Chaplin were some of the many influential guests of the Jeffers family. 

Tours of the house, tower and gardens run hourly every Friday and Saturday. Advance booking is necessary via the foundation website, as tours are restricted to six guests at a time. Note that children under 12 are not allowed to go through the house for safety reasons. 

Tor House is located on Carmel Point, south of central Carmel-by-the-Sea, which is a 15-minute drive from Monterey. You can also catch a bus from downtown Monterey to central Carmel.

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