When we travel to new cities it is a balance of planned destinations and wondering to uncover the unexpected. Once while driving through Connecticut to White Flower Farm we drove past Guy Wolff’s pottery studio. We turned around and spent an hour watching Guy throw a pot, asked him questions about his process and toured his studio. Then we bought a pot for home and got back on the road to tour White Flower Farm. One of the top areas in both planned and unexpected places when we travel is eating, especially when with the kids since keeping Charlotte full makes everyone’s day easier.
While we were in Monterey this summer, we found Alta Bakery & Café at Cooper Molera Abode while walking to find breakfast near our hotel. After we selected our pastries and coffee, we ventured out to the back courtyard patio to eat. We had no knowledge of the Cooper Molera prior, and upon entering the courtyard we found the best unexpected gardens of the summer. We wondered the gardens and courtyard almost alone thanks to being second in line when the bakery opened. The quietness of the morning combined with the layer of fog and vibrant colors of the garden provided the space with an additional charm to our find.
The Cooper Molera is an adaptive reuse space created from a historic site in the heart of Monterey. The property consists of a museum, office space for the National Trust, Alta Bakery, Cella Restaurant (I don’t think this is currently open) and the Barns at Cooper Molera event space, all of which share an interior courtyard and garden. The buildings start dating back to 1827 and have been apart of the history of Monterey from both being a home and commercial space in the community. It was donated to the National Trust in the 1960s. After which, the National Trust rented to the California Park System, who in return renovated the space and opened it as a museum. However, slowly over time the cost to maintain the space became prohibitive and the parks declined to renew their lease. This is where I find the space and its current use very interesting and makes me think how it can be used at other historically insteresting spaces. The National Trust worked with a local developer to return some of the buildings back to commercial space while still maintaining the historical integrity. The addition of the commercial use provided the funding to upkeep the space, and the partnership with the National Trust ensured the renovation to do so was done sympathetically to the historical aspects. To learn more about the history and more about the path to the current use of Cooper Molera this is a great article. HERE.
While we were visiting the museum was not open, but we got to peek our head into the barns. We returned to get photos with the camera, which gave us foggy morning shots and unfortunately full sun photos with the Sony. The gardens were design by Isabella de Sibert of Stuck in the Mud and is maintained in part by volunteers from the Historic Garden league of Monterey. (The Historic Garden League also maintains another beautiful garden in Monterey I will share in an up coming post.) Now on to photos of the gardens.