Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Destination : Carmel, CA

Strangely enough I made it to Carmel which is still idyllic but a bustling mature city. Carmel-By The Sea is a destination for families and couples to relax; enjoy a quiet period where art, wine, and food converge.

I want to live in Carmel but there is few places that I could stay more importantly you need to have a dog to live there or a cat but pretty much residency is given to those whom are guardians to dogs.

Carmel main feature is tourism, golfing, wine and weather in addition to art, antiques and 17 mile drive nearby. People from Santa Barbara go to Carmel and people from San Francisco escape to Carmel for three day weekends.

I usually grab a Zipcar and head West on Hwy 17 grabbing a Peet's coffee on my way. If I have a full three days and no time restrictions I will take Hwy 9 if just because Hwy 9 is a drivers road complete with bicyclists and wineries alongside vista points that remind you that you are small in the awe nature of the mountain.

Once I am over the hill so to speak, I head south on Hwy 1 passing up little nook towns that are home to business and retirees and state parks. As history wizzes by me when I pass Watsonville thru to Monterey I always giggle crossing county lines.

There is dozens of wineries but my destination by the sea is interrupted by a stop in Sand City one place that feels like a great place to meet up and go not just because of its location before Monterey proper but like any busy intersection you want to stop in and see if its as good as the aroma is.

Then I hop back in the zipcar and find my perfect parking space where I can walk cautiously down the steep hillside. My first time here at the end of the day I was gratiful for that last workout up those steep hills because I had eaten so much food. I love those hills regardless of the danger those hills present to my ankles slipping out of their sockets or my hips for that matter.

Once down I know the four spots I need to go to first but it can be incredibly early in the morning so I simply am astonished at the people and cars making their way to the beach to find parking space. Mind you I find mine in less than a minute. There on the beach its simply sit and watch and if you get too hot head to the ocean. There are dogs everywhere along with the children crying, screaming and playing. Middle age mothers under huge umbrellas to fight against the very reason they went to the beach in the first place. Impromptu fresbie and volleyball games pop up here and there. If you can stand the runners and their animals you will wander the coast line as golfers above look below at the humanity in awe.

If you are like me you carry very little. At most I have a backpack complete with sunscreen and my wallet and my swimwear. This is an all day trip and grabbing a great book is a great way to handle the time before dinner. I will trek up the hillside dodging children and their elderly grand parents making the somewhat precarious journey sans car.

Everyone and I do mean everyone has a camera if just to take a timeframe of the day. By noon the city is packed there is no parking and there is no room for lunch but you have to know where to go too.

My day starts at 5am so 11:30am I am getting lunch and its going to be a lunch complete with salad and a meal. When in Carmel you can not rush, you are forced to relax and lunch is easily 90minutes to 2 hours because again I am sitting down and eating.

Now, its time to hit the wine and art shops as I said I have four must sees on my list but I take time to find shops off the main street and be sure to stop by the chamber office to find some new or a great deal or news about an event I may want to go to.

These excursions inside the town are about 3 to 4 hours long because you just slow down from taking pictures to picking up something unique for your siblings. You just slow down.

Fortunately, that is okay. Its also heartbreaking because there is so many dogs ...I mean Carmel is dog based and the rare cat or bird you find in your walking tour will be ready for their photo to be taken too.

Unfortunately, if you are not staying about 4pm is when you need to head out of the town and get to where you are staying because you need to have your wits about you because you have to make it back over the two freeways (17/ 156/152) if you are heading North then Hwy 101 if you are going South.

The truth is you can stay and enjoy a great dinner or Jazz in Monterey. I have found some great hotel deals to stay a little inland to enjoy the Carmel valley the next day ( trust me breakfast on the beach is great! ).

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