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Institute 2018 - Essentials

Information below is intended to assist participants in travel planning and preparations for the Institute. If you any have questions that are not addressed here, please email Brett Navin, Institute Coordinator ( or either of the Co-Directors, Susan Shillinglaw ( or William Gilly (


Each NEH Summer Scholar will receive a $2700 stipend from the NEH which is meant to be used for transportation, hotel, food and books. We will give you a check at the beginning of your stay and another near the end of the Institute.

Travel Arrangements

logo for Monterey AirbusYou may fly into one of several airports—San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, or Monterey—and you’ll want to check prices for each. If you fly into San Francisco or San Jose, there is an easy connection to the Monterey area via the Monterey Airbus (831-373-7777). The cost is $45 one way from San Francisco and $35 one way from San Jose, although they will add $10 to that cost for drop off at the hotel. Make an online reservation for this service before you arrive and call them upon arrival for instructions on where the bus will meet you. Buses leave both airports roughly every 1.5 hours, twelve per day; the earliest at 6:45 AM and the last at 10:30 PM from San Francisco and 7:30 AM to 11:25 PM in San Jose. It’s a two hour and 15 minute trip by van from San Francisco to Monterey and an hour and a quarter trip from San Jose, but traffic can cause delays. It’s usually more expensive to fly into Monterey, but not always -- so check on availability of flights.

Local Transportation

You may use Monterey-Salinas transit buses to get around on the Peninsula (when on your own). From the Olympia Lodge walk to Lovers Point Park, a few blocks from downtown Pacific Grove, on safe, residential streets (0.75 mile) and then connect to the ocean-side Pacific Grove recreational trail that leads to Hopkins Marine (another 0.75 mile) and then to Fisherman’s Wharf and downtown Monterey (1.5 miles). This Monterey Bay Coastal Recreational Trail actually runs another 20 miles to Castroville. MST buses also offer service to Carmel, Big Sur, and other communities. We will have field trips to a number of other locations, and we will provide van transportation for all scheduled activities. We will also provide van service to and from the Olympia Lodge every morning and evening and at other times when needed.

Accommodations at the Olympia Lodge

Olympia LodgeImportant: All questions concerning rooms and all requests must be made through Directors, not the hotel.
Please check the Olympia Lodge's website to get a good idea of these superb accommodations near the Pacific Ocean. You will be sharing rooms at the total rate of $89.00 + tax per night for a double queen bed for each person unless you have a very strong preference or need for a single. We can accommodate some singles but not many, but the daily rate will still be $89.00 + tax. Roommate assignments will be based on a form that each participant submits, and we will inform of the assignment via email before you arrive. Let us add that all the rooming the assignments for the 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2016 Institutes were remarkably successful!
The Olympia Lodge has Wi Fi internet access in all rooms, and their service has been substantially upgraded during the last two years.
Hopkins Marine Station is a walk of 1.5 miles from the hotel with minimal elevation changes.

Coursework and Discussions

Daily sessions will be held at Hopkins Marine Station. Some afternoons will be free, with evening sessions scheduled at Hopkins Marine Station for films and group dinners. NEH Summer Scholars may work at Harold Miller Library at Hopkins or at local libraries—Pacific Grove, Monterey, Carmel, all of which have excellent collections of secondary and primary materials on Steinbeck as well as local information. We will also have key texts available for your use -- biographies, letters, and secondary texts as well as photocopies copies of important articles. All participating NEH Summer Scholars will be given USB flash drives containing secondary reading materials at the beginning of the Institute.


There are a number of great restaurants in Pacific Grove and Monterey—some of the best on the Peninsula (Passionfish, Fandango, The Red House, Peppers, Il Vecchio are favorites in Pacific Grove). In the welcome pack you’ll receive in a May mailing we’ll include a more complete list of choices in the Monterey/Cannery Row/Pacific Grove area. There is a good selection of inexpensive restaurants near Cannery Row. Some group meals will be during field trips--at Hopkins, at the Steinbeck House ($20) and another local restaurant ($15). Most often you will be on your own for lunch and dinner. There will be an opening reception at the Clement Hotel on Cannery Row sponsored by San Jose State and Stanford University and a final dinner hosted by the Directors.

Equipment and Internet Access

The Olympia Lodge has wireless Internet access available in rooms. Internet is also available at Hopkins Marine Station.

Participant Profiles

Please take a look at the Participant Biographies on this website prior to your arrival so that you can begin to gain a sense of our community. If yours is not listed or if you need to make any changes in your bio, please email Susan as soon as possible.

University Credits

You may earn up to 4 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from San Jose State University. Participation is voluntary. Please note that refund requests must be made in writing and received before the course begins; $20 is withheld as a processing fee. In addition, all NEH Summer Scholars may request a letter from the Directors detailing the course work and hours spent in discussion.

Reading List

Below is a list of essential titles that we will be discussing during the Institute. Please read all Steinbeck texts before your arrival in California. The Shillinglaw book will be provided for you and will arrive in June via media mail. For the Steinbeck texts, we recommend the Penguin 20th Century Classics Editions. A few articles will also be provided for you in advance of the institute. Essential titles:

  • Of Mice and Men
  • The Long Valley
  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • Cannery Row
  • East of Eden
  • The Log from the Sea of Cortez
  • A Journey Into Steinbeck’s California (Susan Shillinglaw—provided in welcome pack)

Highly Recommended

Steinbeck: A Life in Letters; John Steinbeck by Jackson Benson
America and Americans and Selected Nonfiction, edited by Shillinglaw and Benson
Working Days editors R. DeMott and E. Steinbeck
Journal of a Novel: the East of Eden Letters      


Please see Institute Highlights for a synopsis of the main presentations and Institute Calendar for a daily schedule.