November 14, 2017

Introduction to Carmel

1 South

Introduction to Carmel 


A Little Background
They had take the direct country road across the hills from Monterey, instead of the Seventeen Mile Drive around by the coast so that Carmel Bay came upon them without any fore-glimmering of its beauty.  Dropping down throgent pines, they passed woods-embowered cottages, quaint and rustic, of artists and writers, and went on across wind-blown rolling sand hills held to place by sturdy lupines and nodding with pale California poppies.  Saxon screamed in sudden wonder of delight, then caught her breath and gazed at the amazing peacock-blue of a breaker, shot through with golden sunlight, over-falling in a mile-long sweep and thundering into white ruin of foam on a crescent beach of scarcely less white.   
    --Jack London, from Valley of the Moon, 1913

A well-established getaway destination, Carmel is best known for its specialty shops, cozy lodgings, and picturesque white sand beach.  Located adjacent, exclusive Pebble Beach, is famous for its spectacularly scenic golf courses.  And Carmel is super dog-friendly, perhaps the most dog-friendly place I’ve ever been.  Water bowls for dogs are found outside many shops, and canine lovelies are seen everywhere with their doting owners.  However, they are not permitted in Deavendorf Park--the town’s main park.  

crazed doggie with tongue exposed in Carmel, California
crazed doggie with tongue exposed in Carmel, California

Carmel is also known for the things it doesn't have.  No street signs, streetlights, electric or neon signs, jukeboxes, parking meters, chain businesses, or buildings over 2 stories high are allowed in town.  No sidewalks, curbs, or house numbers are found in the residential sections.  And buildings have no screens on windows (because the town has no flying, biting bugs) and no air conditioning (because it is not needed).  These absent items help Carmel keep its village ambiance.

Do be careful.  Eccentric laws in the town make it illegal to wear high heels on the sidewalks (but you can get a permit at City Hall).    
exterior of City Hall in Carmel, California
exterior of City Hall in Carmel, California

It seems that almost every weekend some special event is scheduled in the area, making available lodging perpetually scarce.  Book accommodations far in advance, especially for the quainter venues, and consider taking advantage of the special rates often available for midweek stays.   

Guided Tour
Carmel Walks  (831) 642-2700.  u-F at 10 am, Sat at 10 & 2.  $30.  This 2-hour walking tour of the village visits secret pathways, hidden courtyards and gardens, fairy-tale cottages, and even spots that have connections with famous artists, writers, and movie stars.  The enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide for my walk was a local artist, Kelly Steele.  
Carmel Walks guide Kelly Steele in front of rustic newstand in Carmel, California
Carmel Walks guide Kelly Steele in front of rustic newstand in Carmel, California

Getting There

Located 120 miles south of San Francisco, and 70 miles south of San Jose.

More Information

More ideas for exploring Northern California. 

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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