May 9, 2012 | By Jane Antonacci | Comments (1)
Wandering in Carmel-by-the-Sea on Sunday, I came upon one of Carmel’s most charming cottages, and there was a tour going on. The house was Tor House and Hawk Tower, which is on the National Historic Register. I had to go in to see this amazing stone house with its stone tower and English gardens right out of a fairy tale.
All of the structures on the property were built by the American poet Robinson Jeffers, out of granite stones and boulders that he found on Carmel Beach, just below the point where the house was sited. And what a site it is. Beautiful views overlooking the ocean, and amazing charm throughout. The original cottage, begun after 1914, was positively elfin inside, with a 7’ high ceiling and tiny rooms.
Imagine sitting here playing the piano, with a fabulous view of the soothing ocean.
As the family grew, the other structures were built by Mr. Jeffers, all by hand and by him alone. He had a passionate vision of what he wanted to create, with each stone perfectly placed, and eccentricity built into every corner. Notice the workmanship and selection of the stones over the door.
The tower was built as a playhouse for the twin sons, a writing tower for the poet, and an oak-lined study for her. The steps were small, extremely steep and beautiful.
The day was stunning, the water, seen from above was turquoise, and the gardens were as enchanting as could be.
When the sons were teenagers, Jeffers wife requested another wing, this one with a ballroom for dancing. This building and a garage completed the compound.
It is no wonder that one of America’s finest poets wrote so beautifully while he was here:
“Against the outcrop boulders of a raised beach
We built our house when I and my love were young.
Here, long ago….
……all that we saw or heard was beautiful.”
Robertson Jeffers, 20th C. American Poet
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