Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Travel Tuesday - Carmel, CA

Welcome back to Travel Tuesday! This is one of my favorite types of posts to write because I love to travel and have a lot to share in that area, but sometimes I just don't get to it.

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 embarrassing handy to have her along because she talks to everyone. The funny thing about Carmel, though, is that most people we encountered were just like her! We had great conversations with shopkeepers, waiters and waitresses, and gallery owners. Everyone was more than willing to take time to share their expertise about the area, even their favorite restaurant recommendations.

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.


  1. Wow, Shelly!!! Your mom and Jodi look just like I remember them. I don't think I was ever able to meet your other sister (Jen?).

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

  2. What fun! I love the cottage like houses and shops. I like to fancy that my house is a cottage. I've never been to Carmel by my husband has. He said it was wonderful too. I'm kicking myself for not going with him years ago when he went on a business trip there.

    You all look like you had a great time. What a great idea for a special birthday.

  3. Yeah! You're back! What a great trip. We did the Carmel area and the 17 mile drive a few years ago. It is gorgeous! I'm glad you had a great time. Welcome back!

  4. What a wonderful trip!! You take amazing photos too. I've heard that you can actually make money as a travel writer. Wouldn't htat be awesome? Writing and traveling sounds blissful to me.

  5. So glad you had a wonderful time! I didn't realize you were going to Carmel; and the drive to Monterey!!!! Isn't it breathtaking?