Monterey Trip Monterey Trip, March 2013

Monterey Trip with Betsy, March 2013

In March 2013, Marguerite's sister Betsy McCaghren came to California to help with a major project. The goal of the trip was to create a Family Heritage Album for Gar from hundreds of photos, letters, documents, and other materials that had been saved by several relatives for many years. Betsy had created Family Heritage Albums for her four sons about 7 years ago. Since our family heritage is the same, we were able to use lots of materials she had already developed to cover ancestors from the McMillan and Neville families. The documents that we had to work with for Gar included 4 suitcases of materials from his father's Aunt Elizabeth and his father Crawford, as well as two bins of photos and other memorabilia about his childhood that had been in our attic for several years. Aunt Elizabeth died in 1993 and Gar's Dad died in 2003 therefore the suitcases had also been in our attic for several years. Aunt Elizabeth and Marguerite's grandmother Marguerite were both Daughters of the American Revolution so we knew there were some records going back to the mid-1700s. Betsy had already found the documents for our grandmother and Aunt Elizabeth's documents were in one of the suitcases. We also discovered how to use and were able to trace more family. In fact, 5 relatives on Marguerite's side and 1 relative on Crawford's side were soldiers in the American Revolution. The earliest date of birth we found was 1699. So...we were able to go back 10 generations from Gar's son, Crawford Gardner Jackson IV!

As soon as Betsy arrived we got to work and together had put in about 200 hours when we took a break and made a 6-day trip to Hearst Castle and Monterey. When we returned, we spent another 50-60 hours finishing up the project. See more details below.

Gar Visit to Review Project

We laid out the project on 3 long tables in the living/dining room of our house. Gar came down to see our progress a few days into the project. He was very pleased and a bit overwhelmed. It looked like lots of piles of photos and some constructed pages at that point. Once we found appropriate photos and other memorabilia, I wrote narrative to go with it. All of these materials were adhered to "scrapbook" pages, then copied at Kinko's on cardstock to be put into the albums.


When we left on our road trip on March 17, the first stop on our adventure was the small town of Solvang. The original plan was to stay the first night in Orange County with Gar and family, but the kids were sick so we changed plans and drove from Escondido to San Luis Obispo all in one day. We enjoyed a Danish lunch at a charming restaurant in Solvang and also took a "city tour" in a trolley attached to a couple of large horses. Solvang is near Santa Barbara and has lots of interesting shops and unique bakeries.

Madonna Inn

The first night we spent at The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. The Madonna Inn is a very unique place. It was initially built from materials left over from the construction business owned by the founder, Mr. Madonna. He had also worked on Hearst Castle. The Madonna Inn has a couple hundred rooms, each of which is different and named. When Marguerite made reservations, she chose the Marguerite room which is full of daisy-themed decor (Marguerite is the French name for the flower, Daisy). It was Saint Patrick's Day so we had a "cup o' gold" cocktail in the lounge and then had corned beef and cabbage in the restaurant. Betsy had brought two little green hats to get us into the spirit!

Hearst Castle

The next morning we drove to the little town of Cambria and checked into the Bluebird Inn where our friends, John and Barbara Warner, have stayed many times. After getting the car unpacked there, we headed up the road to the Visitor Center for Hearst Castle. They had recently developed a new documentary about William Randolph Hearst and the building of the Castle, and we really enjoyed seeing the history. We then took the bus up the hill to participate in 3 afternoon tours at 1, 2, and 3 PM. Although Marguerite had been several times before, it was a first for Betsy and she was really thrilled! At the end of the tours our feet hurt and we were exhausted, so we returned to the Bluebird Inn and had wine, cheese, and fruit for dinner!

Big Sur

The next day we drove to Monterey by way of Big Sur. We stopped at the quaint Big Sur Inn for lunch and enjoyed eggs Benedict as well as looking at the old photos in the dining room. The Inn was built in the 1930s and is very rustic.

Monterey and Carmel

When we got to Monterey, we checked into the Victorian Inn where Marguerite had brought her mother several years ago. Betsy loved it! We stayed two nights, enjoyed visiting the area, found a wonderful Antique Mall, and stopped in front of the Aquarium but it was too late to go in. Our neighbor, Irv Erdos, added a bit of humor to the photo we took! One night we had a fabulous dinner in the solarium of the Sardine Factory restaurant. This is the finest restaurant in Monterey and we enjoyed a lovely meal with wine, of course.

One purpose of the trip was for Betsy to visit the Karges Fine Art gallery with a painting that had been in Brent's family for many years. George found the gallery on the web and helped make arrangements for Betsy to meet with the art dealer, Patrick, while we were in Carmel. The painting was by Anna Althea Hills in 1918. Born in Ravenna, Ohio, Anna Hills was a prominent California landscape painter who was also remembered as a civic leader in Laguna Beach. The painting turned out to be quite valuable. Betsy was thrilled to sell it to Patrick and knows they will find a good home for it.

After selling the painting, we visited the Carmel Mission which is the resting place for Father Junipero Serra, the founder of the California Missions. That night we stayed at the Happy Landings Bed & Breakfast that was recommended by Marguerite's friend, Carol Archibald.

Orange County

The next day (Friday, March 22) we drove from Carmel to Newport Beach (almost 400 miles). The drive was fine until we got to the north side of Los Angeles. Then it took us 3 hours to get about 75 miles -- stop and go and stop and bumper to bumper traffic. When we got to Gar's house we were exhausted! Gar and Chandi gave us some champagne in "go cups" and we walked around their Lido Island neighborhood to get the kinks out of our backs and legs. We then had a lovely dinner together with Grace and Crawford and went to bed! The next morning we took care of the kids so that Chandi and Gar could finish up the preparation at the Lido Island Community Center for the annual "Bunny Party" event. Chandi was chair this year and it was a lot of work!! Over 200 people attended, ate lunch, enjoyed watching the kids in two bounce houses, had faces painted, and enjoyed a beautiful spring day together. After the party, we came back to Escondido and returned to the project. Over the three weeks we worked on the project, it took several trips to Kinkos for copies and to JoAnns for "scrapbooking" supplies.

Gifting the Album

On Wednesday, March 27, the project was FINISHED !!! It turned out to be two volumes and 160 pages in length. Gar and Grace came down from Newport Beach for dinner and Marguerite and Betsy made the presentation of the Albums. Gar was thrilled!! Now there is a tangible record of his family heritage that is priceless. Marguerite could not have done it without Betsy's help and her willingness to spend almost a month in California. As part of Betsy's "reward", besides the Monterey/Hearst Castle trip, Marguerite also had tickets to two symphony performances, a play, and a behind the scenes tour of The Old Globe Theater. We also did some antique mall shopping! Betsy returned to Florida on March 29th -- pleased with a job well done and glad to get home to Brent and her family!

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