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“Beautiful home”

The Steinbeck House / Best Cellar Gift Shop
Ranked #3 of 31 things to do in Salinas
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Owner description: This Queen Anne style Victorian was the birthplace and boyhood home of author John Steinbeck. Built in Salinas in 1897, the Steinbeck family moved into the house in 1900. The Valley Guild was formed by eight enthusiastic women who shared a common interest in gourmet cooking and wanted to showcase Salinas Valley produce. The volunteers of Valley Guild purchased and renovated the house. It was opened to the public as a restaurant on February 27, 1974 -the 72nd anniversary of John Steinbeck's birth. The house is operated by volunteers with a minimum of paid staff, and recently celebrated the 40th Anniversary. The Best Cellar is in the original basement of the Steinbeck House. The Best Cellar is a delightful gift shop featuring unique gift items as well as vintage and new Steinbeck books. Original furniture from the Steinbeck family is on display including the headboard of the bed in which John Steinbeck was born.
Reviewed 22 July 2014

We walked here from the Steinbeck Museum which is only a couple blocks away. Unfortunately, we could not eat here because they had a special tea going on. However, one of the volunteers ushered us into the front room and explained that Steinbeck was born in that room. The staff was very friendly and apologized that we couldn't see more of the house. There is a gift shop in the cellar. Be sure to stop here while visiting the main museum.

Thank Default33009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (72)
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54 - 58 of 72 reviews

Reviewed 13 June 2014

We turned up at the John Steinbeck house at 1.55pm hoping to have lunch in the former home of John Steinbeck. We almost turned away when we realised that it closed at 2pm, however we checked with the lady on the front. desk who welcomed us in without any issue. While the house operates as a restaurant it is primarily run with the aim of preserving the legacy of John Steinbeck. All of the staff are volunteers who are only too delighted to point out the pieces of furniture original to the house and to explain how the Steinbecks lived there. Photos of John Steinbeck and his family are everywhere and you do feel as if it still contains an essence of those who lived there.
The food was excellent and very good value but I would have been happy to pay even more for the experience . The interiors are beautifully restored with period wallpapers and great attention to detail. As we were the last customers of the day instead of being hurried out the ladies gave us tour including behind the scenes explaining how it was in Steinbecks day. We finished in the little gift shop which is in the cellar and which closes at three pm where I purchased a 1939 edition of The Grapes of Wrath for 12 dollars. A great visit and well worth the drive to Salinas!

2  Thank Liv60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 June 2014

While cooling our heels one day after a whirlwind tour of Northern California, we discovered this delightful Steinbeck museum close to our motel. Stayed quite a while and enjoyed much of what was on display. One negative was that several of the video displays were broken, which apparently nobody knew about and did not seem too interested in fixing. Interesting B&W photography exhibit in same building, included in admission price.

Thank DanandMax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2014

Absolutely loved the tea! The sandwiches, tea and docents made this a fantastic trip for my best friend and Steinbeck fan's birthday!

Thank Marlene C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 November 2013

This place is a great stop for those who love all things Steinbeck, or are curious about his background. The gift shop has a wide selection of items and gifts, and many Steinbeck things
to buy (some things not seen at the Steinbeck Museums's gift shop). To make more of a day,
make reservations for lunch at the House upstairs, and you will be treated to an old-fashioned
luncheon served by volunteers in "period" dress. They even accommodated one member's food
allergy! Loved the small town feel of the place, very relaxing and comforting.

1  Thank ldvmdv2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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