Ramblin’ Man

Stuart Thornton, here in Big Sur, has written three previous Moon travel books: Coastal California, Santa Barbara & The Central Coast and California Road Trip.

I worked with Stuart Thornton for years at the Monterey County Weekly when he was the music writer. I say that for disclosure, but also to support my contention that he is one of the most solid writers around here. He doesn’t write fancy or put on airs. He lets the research and the resulting story speak for itself.

He writes like he talks. A slow, sonorous, baritone, with an accent mashing up Virginia farmer and California surfer, percolated through genuine enthusiasm. You can hear his voice in his writing.

He’s compiled and written three Moon travel books. For them, the surfer and outdoorsman hit the road and traveled up and down the state and explored its most appealing beaches, towns, hotels, restaurants and attractions.

For his fourth book, Moon had him stay home. After nine months of research, he’s released Moon’s Monterey & Carmel (including Santa Cruz and Big Sur).

“Living here, I never really knew what it was like to stay in a historic Pacific Grove bed and breakfast or wake up in a Cannery Row hotel perched right over the bay,” he writes in an email. “[This] book made me visit attractions I had never been to, like the San Carlos Cathedral, the River Road Wine Trail… the Monterey Movie Tour bus or viewing whales from Fast Raft Ocean Safaris.”

On every page, his fidelity to reader and subject shines through.

“All of the work I did on this book made my love for this region deepen.”

Thornton is very persuasive.

STUART THORNTON book launch party with Burnt Palms and Wild Boy is 7-11pm Thursday, Jan. 14, at Cannery Row Brewing Company, 95 Prescott Ave., Monterey. Free to attend; cash bar available. 643-2722, www.moon.com/books/moon-monterey-carmel

Walter Ryce has been an arts writer, calendar editor, culture columnist, sometime photographer, and one-time web content coordinator for the Monterey County Weekly. He began working at the paper, which is based in his hometown of Seaside, in 2007.

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