I think I need to plan out this blog a little better.
But enough about my many blogging shortcomings . . .
I really am a lucky girl because I have been to lots of places in the world. Every place I have visited has been my favorite--I wonder what that says about me? Funny to me, though, that I can't remember what I ate for dinner last night, but I can remember so many details about the places I've seen.
I can certainly say without hesitation that I will remember Carmel for a long, long time.
I didn't know what to expect when I left--I haven't spent much time in California at all. I guess I expected palm trees and fruity drinks by the pool. And rich and famous people around every corner.
I got none of that, but what I did get from Carmel was a surprise. A very nice surprise.
First of all, the town is as quaint as any I've ever seen. In some ways it reminded me of Door County where B and I spent our honeymoon. Small, cozy cottages line the streets of Carmel, all the way to the gorgeous beach where, on our first evening there, we saw lots of people surfing. I had never really seen real surfers before, so I thought this was way cool.
Much of the architecture in Carmel is a combination of French and Mediterranean styles, but there are others thrown into the mix. Like this Snow White cottage we saw near the beach--some lucky person actually gets to live there!
And the shops in town were all in the same quaint, cozy style. This is a little candy shop in the middle of town.
Another surprise was the landscape. It's more rugged than I expected with rocky shorlines and weathered trees. Beautiful, but in a much-less-like-Hawaii kind of way and with a more earthy feel.
One of the things Mom really wanted to do was to eat lunch at Pebble Beach. This was the view we had from our table in the restaurant overlooking the 18th green. A truly amazing sight.
After lunch we took the famous 17-mile drive around the Monterey Penninsula. This drive really shows the rugged shoreline and the amazing effect of the harsh winds on the trees there. This is a famous tree called the Lone Cypress, which is 250 years old.
Another Carmel surprise was the people. Now, my mom is without a doubt the friendliest person I've ever met. She's one of those people who's never met a stranger, so it's kind of
Which brings me to my final surprise. There is so much good food in Carmel! We wanted to treat Mom to a special meal for her birthday, so we asked around and finally settled on this place: L'escargot.
Oh my! We were not disappointed. We enjoyed a wonderful, traditional French meal of goat cheese and carmelized onion tart, steak and pommes frites, salmon with tarragon sauce and saffron rice, and, of course, creme brulee. Yep, we pretty much waddled out of there, but not before taking this picture. See those smiling faces? Don't they all look content (and full)?
The sun was setting just as we were finishing dinner, so we took a quick drive to the beach to say good bye. Carmel is definitely a spot I won't soon forget.