Visiting the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, CA

Every time I drive through Salinas I see the sign for the National Steinbeck Center and think “some day I’m going to go there.” But, I’m usually tired of driving so long and just want to get to San Francisco. So I don’t stop. And on my next road trip, the cycle begins again. But not this time!
This time my sister and I decided ahead of time that we were going to stop no matter what. So when we came to Salinas way behind schedule we decided to throw the time table out the window and visit the National Steinbeck Center. It was definitely the right choice.
The National Steinbeck Center is one of the few institutions in the country devoted specifically to one author, John Steinbeck and is located in the heart of Salinas, his hometown.
We stopped by on a weekday afternoon and the center was nice and quiet. Isn’t that the best time to visit a museum? With no crowds around there’s plenty of time to view each exhibit. This was great at the Steinbeck center because most exhibits are interactive.
A fun thing about the center is that there are exhibits devoted to several of his works. Yes, there’s information about his life but there’s an equal amount of information about the famous novels he produced. I loved that.

I’ve read a few of his books but there was so much I didn’t know! Like he wrote the novella that became Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat. Whoda thunk it?

My absolute favorite piece was his camper from Travels with Charley. It’s one of Steinbeck’s few memoirs (I actually thought it was his only memoir until I visited the center) and details the trip he took around the US with dog, Charley. I loved this book and remember his descriptions about his mobile home. To see the actual vehicle in person…right there in front of my very eyes…was amazing. It was a truly memorable experience that I will never forget.

National Steinbeck Center
One Main Street
Salinas, CA 93901
open every day 10-5

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