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“A Piece Of History”
Review of Tor House

Tor House
Ranked #12 of 110 things to do in Carmel
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The historic home of the poet Robinson Jeffers is open to the public for group tours Fridays and Saturdays. First Tour at 10AM, last tour at 3PM. Tours last about 1 hr 20 minutes. Docents describe the life and times of Robinson and Una Jeffers, his poetry, philosophy, and accomplishments of building his home of sea-tossed granite. Wear walking shoes to cope with uneven ground and steep stairs. No photography during tours. Special events annually are the Spring Garden Party held the first Sunday in May when photography is permitted in Tor House and Hawk Tower. Jeffers Fall Festival is held the first weekend of October and includes discussions and presentations on Jeffers' poetry and his life in Carmel. Both are paid events. Check the Tor House web site for details near the time of event.
San Jose, Calif.
Level 5 Contributor
90 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“A Piece Of History”
Reviewed March 18, 2014

This is the old home of the poet Robinson Jeffers. The docent lead tour was very informative. The home and Hawk Tower are both built out of natural rocks from the hillside. Very interesting stories about the family that lived there and the construction. Young children would be bored I think but adults interested in history will find it very interesting. The stairs in the tower are VERY narrow.

Visited March 2014
Thank mgsinger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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113 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Hebrew first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Reno, Nevada
Level 5 Contributor
61 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“The unexpected highlight of our visit”
Reviewed March 12, 2014

We stumbled into Tor house and the story of Robinson Jeffers and can't stop talking about it! Took the last tour of the day with an entirely enthusiastic literature student who knew the place and all the stories like the back of his hand. He incorporated poetry of the master like a master at key points along the way-- absolutely delightful! The grounds and house itself are fascinating but the compelling part of the trip was learning about Robinson and Una Jeffers. They were ahead of their time in thought and lifestyle, ultimately affecting the development of the peninsula, state, and country. Finally, reading the poetry (bought at the bookstore on site) provides a lasting insight into a courageous thought leader. Don't miss it!

Visited March 2014
1 Thank UNR91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
12 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“If you like architecture don't miss it!”
Reviewed March 1, 2014

The Tor House is a really interesting site architecturally and the history behind the site is REALLY interesting even if you don't initially know anything about the builder/poet. You'll learn! The guides are very knowledgeable and they make the tour very interesting. The only down side for me was that visitors are not allowed to take pictures (big downer for shutterbugs like me). Still you don't want to miss it! Make sure you do your research ahead of time to be sure tours are running when you want to visit (you can't go in on your own). And make a reservation!

Visited July 2013
1 Thank PenguinEspresso
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wichita, Kansas
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“A true Carmel treasure!”
Reviewed February 7, 2014

Our guide on this tour was fantastic! We truly enjoyed every bit of this tour! The Tor House & Hawk Tower were incredible!

Visited February 2014
Thank Triptic1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kritou Tera, Cyprus
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Tor House is a glorious experience!”
Reviewed January 16, 2014

As a life-long Jeffers aficionado, having been born on the Monterey Peninsula, and met Jeffers 2 years before his death when I was just 9 years old, I treasure being a life member of the Tor House Foundation whose efforts saved this iconic edifice from becoming a real estate tear-down transaction. I have vivid memories of the day the master died in January 1962, when I woke up and saw snow outside my bedroom window, and heard family grumble because of the impact on the golf tournament that weekend. My love of Jeffers' verse solidified that morning when I heard later that he had died in the night. I started saving my allowance money and everything I could to start collecting Jeffers' books, and now have one of the largest private collections of first editions, signed dedicated volumes and Jeffers ephemera, all on display in my stone tower in Cyprus that was inspired by Jeffers' own Hawk Tower.

Each visit to Tor House therefore is a continuing personal journey for me and yields new insights and emotions. To walk through the rooms of the house and tower is to experience American cultural history and an internal mind perspective view of the great poet of the Pacific. Fran Vardamis and the incredibly dedicated volunteer staff of the Foundation do all they can to not just preserve the property but also are wizards at bringing this place to life for visitors for whom this is the first introduction to Jeffers. It is a magical place, a living fantasy that celebrates a man's love of God-in-Nature, love of wife and sons, and love of the written word.

Even if you have no knowledge or interest in literature or modern poetry, do not miss the chance to experience this very organic and rare experience. You will thank yourself when you do so, not least as you stand on the parapet platform of the tower and look out over the imposing sight of the Pacific. You will know how a hawk must feel when soaring over the waves.

Visited June 2013
4 Thank RJCardinalli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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