The National Steinbeck Center (www.steinbeck.org) in Salinas is a wonderland of Steinbeck stories, and the whole place seems designed especially for students.
Given the seriousness of Steinbeck’s subject matter, having exhibits that bring about so many heartfelt smiles is no small achievement. All exhibits are creative, interactional, and thought-provoking, even if you have never read a Steinbeck novel.
Also in Salinas is the elegant Steinbeck House, the author’s birthplace and childhood home. Go to the website at http://www.steinbeckhouse.com for information on how to plan a visit.
If you are anywhere in Central California, a stop in Salinas could be the most fascinating and memorable of your trip, as well as an excellent introduction to a legendary California author.
In the same general area is Monterey, where you can visit Steinbeck’s old stomping grounds at Cannery Row (www.canneryrow.com). It is now a shopping district capped by the Monterey Aquarium — nothing like the Cannery Row he once knew.
The National Steinbeck Center is the first stop on our Northern California Trail! If you’re continuing north from the Southern Cailfornia Trail, this follows its final stop, the Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Then, John Steinbeck’s birthplace and childhood home is the Northern California Trail’s fourth stop!