Asilomar Conference Center

Click here for two photos of the conference grounds and a map of the peninsula.

Near the Point Piños Lighthouse along the ocean you find the often empty beach at Asilomar, a name that means "refuge by the sea." This is a state-run park, beach, and conference center nestled in 105 acres of sand dunes and coastal trees.

Bus routes from Monterey to Asilomar (click on "MST Routes - Asilomar")
Directions to Asilomar

Asilomar - The Beginnings
For over a hundred years, the Monterey peninsula's
seaside setting and natural beauty have made it a focal point for humanistic, ethical, and scientific gatherings. Originally oriented to Northern California and the West, Asilomar has over the years gained stature as an international meeting and conference center.

The Asilomar concept was actually born in 1897 when the YWCA held its first western regional conference at Mills College in Oakland, CA, just down the hill from our house. Between 1900 and 1911, the group met in Santa Cruz, and then moved to Livermore. The 1912 conference was sponsored by Mrs. Phoebe Apperson Hearst, and was held in a miniature tent city with facilities for 300 attendees.

The Birth of Asilomar
In 1913, the YWCA held its first summer conference in Pacific Grove on 30 donated acres of seaside land. Through improvements and subsequent purchases, the grounds grew to 105 acres. In a contest sponsored by the YWCA, Helen Salisbury, a student at Stanford University, submitted the name Asilomar (asilo is Greek for refuge or retreat; mar is Spanish for sea).

The first permanent structure was the Phoebe A. Hearst Social Hall (1913) contributed by the mother of the publisher, William Randolph Hearst. The building was designed by noted San Francisco architect Julia Morgan, who also did the design of the Asilomar grounds and many of its early buildings. The Social Hall still stands, and has been renamed the Asilomar Administration Building (and central recreation hall). The buildings rest on sand dunes above Asilomar State Beach, and they blend into a forest of pines, oaks, and Monterey cypress.

In 1915, the Chapel was completed. Overlooking the dunes, it has been the site of many scientific, social, and humanitarian meetings. Our wedding will take place in the Chapel at 5pm on Monday, September 6.

Facilities at Asilomar
In 1918, the Mary A. Crocker Dining Hall replaced the circus tent which had serves Asilomar as its dining facility during its early years. Contemporary additions, framed in floor-to-ceiing windows, were finished in 1961, bringing the seating capacity up to 830. The Center has a heated pool, a sand volleyball court, and several billiard tables in addition to boardwalks connecting the buildings to the beach. The facility is now managed jointly by the California Department of Parks and Recreation and a non-profit board from the Pacific Grove City Council.

The wedding will be followed by dinner in the Crocker Dining Hall and a reception in Merrill Hall.

Lodging at Asilomar
All rooms have a private bath, although phones are only available in the main lodge building. Each floor has a living room with a fireplace.
Wedding guests who choose to stay at the facility on the night of September 6 will stay in the following buildings: North, Middle, and South Longviews; Whitecaps in the View Crescent; and the Guest Lodge in the Northwoods.