“The Salad Bowl of the World.” This is Steinbeck country, his ancestral soil and the setting for his acclaimed novel East of Eden and the equally lauded novella Of Mice and Men. Salinas is located at the mouth of the Salinas Valley, watered by the Salinas river and framed between green mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Known for its booming agriculture, this unique valley—enclosing counties Monterey, Kings and San Benito—is among the most fertile on the planet: a perennially-changing landscape, hypnotizing in the slow rhythms of its green beauty, invigorating through its bustle and breathtaking in its scope and contrast.
The county seat and largest city of Monterey County, Salinas offers its residents and visitors an abundance of local activities and entertainment. From a variety of festivals, fairs and shows—such as the Salinas Rodeo and the California International Airshow—to the shopping centers and small-town restaurants of Oldtown, from the Northridge Mall (over 130 shops and eateries) to the National Steinbeck Museum, this many-faceted municipality is certain to impress, whatever one’s desires or needs.
Salinas can also provide a base from which one can explore the cities of Monterey Bay in their entirety, and beyond—Oldtown’s centrally located Amtrak station ensures one’s freedom of movement in and out of the lush, seaside valley.
Adjacent the Amtrak station is a tiny, one-roomed breakfast diner, filled with morning light, where they serve good burned coffee and every meal is attended by corn tortillas and green salsa. This delicious breakfast spot, open and humble, vividly embodies its city in miniature: something at first glance simple, on inspection exquisite, and on reflection wonderfully unexpected.