Since the 1945 publication of John Steinbeck’s novel Cannery Row, literary travelers have been drawn to the seaside town of Monterey, California. A must-see is the diminutive, weather-beaten dwelling at 800 Cannery Row, once the home and professional domain of Ed Ricketts–a marine biologist, Steinbeck’s close friend, and the inspiration for the character Doc in Cannery Row. The Cannery Row Foundation gives tours of “Doc’s lab” on select days throughout the year, including this Saturday, February 27th, to commemorate Steinbeck’s birthday.

Steinbeck was a frequent visitor to the lab in the 1930s, along with other writers and artists who showed up for the legendary parties that sometimes went on for days.  He would often walk the short distance from his cottage in nearby Pacific Grove to Cannery Row, where he indulged in “whiskey and conversation” with Ricketts. “Life on Cannery Row,” Steinbeck reminisced years later, “was curious and dear and outrageous.”

Tours are given hourly from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The cost is $15 per person. For more information, visit