Worth the Drive
Our daily look at nearby getaways

Ocean-Close Eerie: Monterey Ghost Stories

The Portola Hotel & Spa has a spirited package afoot for fall.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    HISTORY AND THEN SOME: When your nickname is California's First City, you can lay claim to a colorful tale or two or a thousand. And Monterey rightly does. As with any city that has a story that stretches back many years, though, Monterey also has its share of local ghost stories. How could it not? If you've walked down Cannery Row, at noon, on a perfectly hot July day, it still feels highly atmospheric and ready to cameo in a scary novel. But what if you were to head out, on an actual in-search-of-spirits tour, on an October evening? Yeah, that's got vibe. But, more than that, that has a hotel package as well: The Portola Hotel & Spa is offering the Ghost Trolley package, a good spine-tingler for autumn.

    IN THE PACKAGE: Overnight accommodations at the Portola are included as well as two spots on the 90-minute trolley tour. There's a take-home book, too, in case you want to do further study: "Ghosts and Mystery Along Old Monterey's Path of History" by Randall A. Reinstedt. Promised visits on the tour include "mysterious gardens" and "hidden treasures." There are a few of those around California's First City, right? Just note that the package is on for Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

    IF YOU WANT A PEEK... at some of the stops of the ghost tour -- yes indeed, a cemetery is listed as one possible visit -- you can check out the Ghost Tours of Old Monterey site. The tours also head out for recent sightings, lest you think that all of the tales of the First City are centuries-old. Nope. They still pop up, spookily, today.