Carmel-by-the-Sea is for Me

June 12, 2010

If there ever was a town that is not only quaint and charming, but also chic and sophisticated, it is Carmel-by-the-Sea.  Located on the Monterey peninsula south of San Francisco, Carmel is a small town filled with art galleries, shops and inns, and is surrounded by golf courses.  Only the well to do can afford to actually live in Carmel, but for the rest of us, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a fantastic getaway destination in California for anyone seeking beauty, culture, rest, and relaxation along the coast. 

We spent two days and nights here a few weekends ago, so today I’ll share a few photos of our brief stay.   My most favorite thing about downtown Carmel is that everywhere you walk you’ll find a secret corridor, alley, or courtyard, and along every street, flowers are abundant.  They grow up along walls, blooming in pots, and spilling out of window boxes, flourishing in the sun and sea air. 

brick wall and bouganvillia

window boxes carmel


secret garden trio

window boxes in carmel 

fireplace inn

 pot and window box

window boxes

 zen fountain


Carmel has a few ritzy hotels, but I’m partial to the plentiful downtown inns.  You can’t get any more quaint (and comparatively affordable) than these, plus when you stay downtown, you’re in the middle of it all, just steps from the great restaurants, shops, and the beach.  

briarwood inn


fireplace inn 2


cypress inn


Carmel’s shopping is exceptional, offering everything from jewelry stores and clothing boutiques to antique stores and home decor.    

turq glass window


I fell in love with Jan de Luz when I first visited Carmel eight years ago, and to this day it still sells the most breathtaking French antiques and embroidered linens.

  jan de luz trio

jan de luz bench      

My other decadent find was Trouvé, filled with all things French inspired for garden and home.  

trouve trio

gray rattan sofa


Then there was Dolores street off Ocean Avenue and one building adorned with tile and white stucco – could not j’adore more. 

tiled walls


Gorgeous patterns in tile . . . wouldn’t these be stunning in fabric ?

tiled walls along street


And the real estate, oh, the real estate.  Let’s not even go there. 

ocean and door


But here’s an interesting fact from the town’s website:  “To this day, there are still no addresses, parking meters, street lights, or sidewalks outside of Carmel’s downtown commercial area. 

The local post office continues to serve as a social hub for residents retrieving mail from post office boxes.  Those seeking directions receive hints such as "fifth house on the east side of Torres Street, blue trim, driftwood fence” or by the legendary names adorning most houses, such as ‘Periwinkle’ or ‘Sea Urchin’.” 

Hungry ?  In the charming downtown, there are plenty of places to dine outdoors, from fine restaurants to quaint bistros.

outdoor deck seating

courtyard seating


At our breakfast stop, I admired the turquoise beams of Em Le’s, but my little guy made every attempt to steal the show. 

em les duo


Later, at our lunch at Village Corner, I fell in love with the series of scroll lanterns along the outdoor pergola. 

village corner trio 

If you ever make the trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea, your visit isn’t complete without a jaunt along the white sands of Carmel Beach.      

carmel beach


carmel beach 2


And you simply can’t mistake the trademark cypress trees that dangle over the precipice of much of the coastline and the famous 17 Mile Drive.  

carmel coastline


To learn more about all things Carmel, read up right here.   If you’re considering a trip to California, I highly recommend putting Carmel-by-the-Sea on your list !  

Carmel is one of my favorite getaways.  What is one of yours ?




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