Location: 26304 Ocean View Ave., Carmel
Hours: Tours on Fridays and Saturdays by reservation
Cost: $7 adults; $4 college students; $2 high school students. Not open to children under 12
More information: Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation, 624-1813 or www.torhouse.org
Tucked amid the modern houses on Carmel Point is a timeless treasure - poet Robinson Jeffers' Tor House and Hawk Tower. If you are a fan of Jeffers' poetry, a tour of the home and tower and the stunning setting will quickly tell you what inspired him. If you aren't familiar with his work, a visit will inspire you to dive in.
Jeffers built the tower and much of the house himself - from granite boulders he pushed up hill from the beach below. The projects were years' long labors of love to make a home and haven for himself, his wife, Una, and their twin sons, Garth and Donnan.
Jeffers' poetry was considered rather conventional until after he arrived in Carmel in 1914. The place and the life that he and Una made there changed that, and his work found wide acclaim. In 1932, Time magazine put him on its cover. Their home became a magnet for artists and intellectuals - and an architectural wonder.
Jeffers apprenticed himself to the contractor he had hired to build a small home for his family, calling it Tor House after the rocky point on which it was built. After it was finished, Jeffers built the tower for Una, who loved ancient Irish stone towers. Its name came from the bird that Jeffers said was a regular visitor during its construction.
Guided tours of the home and tower reveal a bit about how the poet and his family lived. There also are many hidden treasures Jeffers tucked in among the stone work, picked up by the couple or given to them by friends, including a fragment from one of the pyramids of Egypt, a chunk of the Great Wall of China, a bit of stone from the home of poet W.B. Yeats, said to be Una's favorite poet.