While plenty has been written about the famous Pebble Beach Concours D’elegance, little has been mentioned about how and where to enjoy a cigar during this week of luxury and opulence. I will do my best to rectify that, as I have been attending “car week” for nearly a decade, cigar in hand.
The start of car week begins with the Monterrey Historic's at Laguna Seca Raceway with (qualifying heats happen the following weekend). In between these weekends a host of car related activities abound with car shows, auctions and rallies.
Tuesday: Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours kicks off on the beautiful tree lined Ocean Avenue the Tuesday prior to the culmination of the week, ending with the famous Pebble Beach Concours. A casual show with roughly 175 America and foreign cars in attendance and showcased in front of a backdrop of charming shops, critically acclaimed restaurants and numerous galleries. Strolling along this street or parking it on a bench to enjoy a cigar is always a great option, as long as you are aware of how smoke can travel and stay respectful of others.
Wednesday: Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival, held at the Monterey Jet Center between 5-10pm, is about as lavish a show as you can image, featuring about 100 private aircraft, including G5’s, G6’s and Leer Jets. The cars displayed are the worlds rarest and craziest exotics.I have never had a problem wandering around the cars and planes while enjoying a fine Cuban puro. Pro Tip: Come equipped with a couple extra cigars, inevitably someone will ask where you obtained such a great smelling cigar and sharing is a great way to make new friends. At $350 dollars per ticket, you're new friends may just be Jerry Seinfield or Jay Leno!
Thursday: Head back to Carmel and make sure to arrive early, ideally first thing in the morning because street parking is tough to find. Have breakfast at one of the cafes and relax! The Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance presented by Rolex begins on Ocean Avenue around 11:30am and is an opportunity to see most of the cars that will be on the lawn at Pebble Beach for free! Same cigar smoking rules apply, but courteous, watch where your smoke travels. Overall this is one of my favorite events.Pro tip: Head over to RM Auctions that evening to catch some excitement.
Friday: There is so much going on by Friday your head will spin, if it's not already. Attempt to score tickets to the Bonham's Quail Lodge Automobilia, this show has all the exotic manufactures, Rolls Royce, Lamborghini. These best part of this event is that you can get into the cars! Food and drinks are included in the ticket price, so sip champagne while sitting in exquisitely appointed Bentley. The Bonham's Automobilia show is the precursor to the most prestigious car auction, so the who’s who is in attendance. This past year there were no less then two dozen folks enjoying the cards whilst smoking Cohiba Behikes! I'm happy to report this show embraces cigar smoking and extra seating for a relaxing smoke is usually readily avilable. Other shows of note on Friday: Exotics on Cannery Row, Werks Reunion.
Saturday: The Concorso Italiano show, once of meager beginnings is now one of the largest gatherings of Italian sports cars in the world. Food, live music and rows upon rows of of Italian masterpieces are displayed. There is ample seating at this show which is rare and the million dollar view cannot be beat! This show also hosts a number of great food vendors which gives you a wide variety of options.
Sunday: Time for the BIG show, the reason we are all here, the world famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The most prestigious car show in the world; these cars have to be invited to be shown on the famous lawn. The best of the best are here. People from around the world ship their cars in to be displayed and judged. You must reserve your tickets early however and parking is a nightmare. I recommend ordering a car service and springing for the round trip option. Be prepared: there is more eye candy then your senses can handle; paired with one of the most beautiful golf courses in the US. Many people dress in period correct clothing for the car that they are showing and as such there are quite a handful of cigar
smokers. You will feel like you have stepped back in time to a more simple age. Enjoying a fine vitolawhile purusing the rarest, most exotic automobiles the world has to offer is literally worth billions! This is an event not to be missed.
Best place for a night cap and cigar: The fire pits in front of the Inn at Spanish Bay. Outstanding service with fine libations and a small but well stocked humidor by the reception desk.