Walking around Carmel by the Sea is like stepping into a fairy tail. It’s kind of hard to describe our first impression of this town. It’s a very unique, wonderful place. One of the first cottages we noticed was the Cottage of Sweets. Cottages like these are commonplace. The best way to describe it is walking into a story book.
Carmel by the Sea was founded in 1902 and incorporated on October 31, 1916. It’s located on Monterey Peninsula. It’s 120 miles (190 km) south of San Francisco. We took the shuttle bus from SFO airport and it brought us to our inn. We wished we stayed longer than 3 nights. This is the trip that made me realize I have to try harder to experience the outdoors. Victor had been asking for a while and I won’t lie, I’m a sissy city girl with a lot of fears and phobias. Monterey Peninsula has a rugged and wild beauty that made me fall in love with it. If we never took this side trip from San Francisco, I’d probably never have gone to Iceland and British Columbia.
This quirky little town is amazing. We loved the art galleries and my favorite folk artist, George Rodrigue has a gallery here. I’ve loved Blue Dog since my mom and I stumbled upon an exhibit on one of our many walks through NYC’s art galleries when the artists used to populate SoHo. I didn’t get to take a pic of the gallery but I made sure we walked by everyday in Carmel so I could visit my dear Blue Dog. We really loved the artsy vibe about this town.
Another fun quirk is that the cottages and houses have no street numbers. The early artists who built the first homes named them instead of giving them numbers. It’s cute that this is still retained and all residents have to go to a centrally located post office to get mail.
Pavement is irregular and uneven. You have to get a permit to wear heels. You can get the permit at City Hall for free. In the 1920s women would trip in their heels on the pavement and tree roots. A city lawyer came up with this to defend against lawsuits.
There are no chain stores or restaurants. Next time we’d like to stay a week to give us more time to explore, enjoy the eateries and check out the Spanish Mission.
Make sure you bring a flash light, there are no street lights. I read about it this somewhere on-line before we came and it was a handy tip. We really needed our flashlight when we walked to the beach to light a campfire. If you have time, buy wood and light a campfire. Follow the fire management rules, you don’t want to start a wildfire.
To get an up close and personal experience with this area, book a tour with Gael Gallagher. We really enjoyed our time with her; on our tour, we visited art galleries, art studios, walked through passages and learned about the area. We plan to book more tours with her when we return.
7 thoughts on “Carmel by the Sea”
I am so glad you like it. I lived in Monterey for years and spent tons of time in Carmel. My fellow fliers took me to Clint Eastwood’s restaurant when I passed my flight test and I met him there. Just about everywhere I’ve lived has changed radically over the years but it looks like Carmel has resisted.
These are old pics (maybe 2012/2013). I was researching Carmel again recently and was surprised by how many of the same restaurants were open. Thats was a nice feeling. I don’t rely on restaurants being open in NYC that long. Can’t wait to go back to Carmel such a lovely place.
The Monterey Peninsula is my favorite part of the California coast. Natives complain it’s overrun by tourists and kitsch; it was also hit hard by the drought, bad enough that there were fears two years ago that the city of Monterey wouldn’t have enough water for all of the residents and businesses there. Still, it’s a gorgeous area. I have to bring an extra storage chip for my camera when I visit, because I always take a ton of photos. (And I make my kids mad because I have to stop every ten steps to take a picture. “MOM! We’ll never make it to the beach by lunchtime if you don’t start walking!”)
The permit for wearing high heels is kind of funny, but I don’t understand why women wear high heels when they know they’ll be walking most of the day. I saw a young woman struggling to climb the stairs up to the Astoria Boulevard station while she wore Lady Gaga-style platform shoes. I guess she was headed downtown to go clubbing—it was Friday evening—but I know I would have ditched the heels for sneakers as soon as I saw those stairs. A broken ankle is no fun, especially when you’re traveling!
Ha, I always wear sensible shoes. Then again I’m the kind of person that would wear birkenstocks with a cocktail dress. I don’t do it because I don’t want to hear the nagging. We loved it here. These are old pics. Think 2012 or 2013. We’d really like to go back.
Really charming place. We made a stop
here on our way to Big Sur. But judging by your post, we should have stayed here more time. I love your photos!
Thanks! It’s such a cute place. We were really surprised by Carmel.
Carmel has always been one of my favorite places. So nice to see your photos.