We took a trip early this summer to visit Carmel-by-the-Sea. Every year Matt and I try to get away kid-free for a couple days. We were invited to visit, and I am thrilled we went. It was one of our favorite weekend jaunts to date.
Carmel-by-the-Sea was originally founded as a vacation spot from the big city, a forest village by the sea. Our weekend there was 100% relaxing and great fun. I kept joking that it’s basically spring break for grown-ups! The perfect kid-free getaway. The hotels are all small boutiques (50 room max) and you can walk anywhere on cobblestone streets within the small town limits. We did wine tasting and explored the coast line. I feel like we fit so much into our 48 hours away. Here are five favorite things we did during our stay.
1) Have tapas at Mundaka. This resturant is part gourmet farm-to-table and part Euopean bar scene. It was perfect. We were served a sampling of amazing small plates with names like squash bottoms, and really great homemade sangria! It was a faulous way to start the weekend.
2) Find a secret passage. Carmel-by-the-Sea is set up with a small European town vibe and they did an amazing job creating their brand. There are little nooks and crannies to be found everywhere. On Saturday morning we grabbed fresh coffee and found the most amazing garden – right behind a Thomas Kinkade studio. There are flowers everywhere and it seems almost every path leads to an adorable home, overflowing garden, or secret passage way. A fun thing we noticed is that all the shops in town must only use wooden signs – it really adds to the awesomeness of the place.
3) Plant yourself at the beach. An obvious point for every relaxing weekend away – find an ocean beach as quick as you can. The coastline is strewn with cypress trees and gorgeous sand – perfect for a morning reading and relaxing with a favorite book.
4) Drink wine… of course! Our stay included a wine walk pass, which is a genius idea where you basically get a stamp card to go tasting at a number of wineries (I told you it was like spring break for grown-ups!). I am an everyday wine lover, but don’t often get the chance to try out really good read: expensive bottles. It was great fun to see all the different wineries in town, each had their own very unique feel and the wine was really, really good!
5) Explore. We spent the rest of our time exploring. I had never been down to the Big Sur coastline before. We drove through a place called Carmel Highlands with the most amazing homes and then on toward Big Sur. Pink binoculars in hand, I was incredibly amazed. It is such a beautiful part of the country.
Latter, we drove up through the 20 mile drive which was made infinitely cooler by a local tip to stop at the golf course for drinks at 6pm… because there will be a bag piper playing on the green. We listened to the tip and got to the golf course deck just in time. It was honestly one of the most awesome experiences. I felt like I was an entire world away from our town, our country even, yet we had only taken a short car ride to get here.
I am super grateful to the Hofas House for hosting us – giving us a gorgeous room with ocean views and a fireplace. But mostly, I am grateful for the owner who had the inn handed down from her own mother. She sat and shared with me her story and the story of the town with such a passion and excitement. Her desire to help people turn off and rest was infectious. She gave us tips and ideas on enjoying our weekend that made it wonderful. It’s obvious their entire staff takes very serious the charge to help us “city folk” unwind.
Carmel-by-the-Sea I love you… we will be back soon!