All posts by John Cameron

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Carmel by the Sea, or simply Carmel, is California’s perennial favorite  travel destination. Formerly an artist’s colony –there seems to be more art galleries than people, tiny Carmel, population 4000, has worked hard to keep their village lifestyle.

The one-square-mile village of Carmel has no big-box stores nor chain restaurants. Don’t worry about paying to park your car – there are no parking meters and no street lights – great for star-gazing.

Monterey Cypress at Carmel Beach
Monterey Cypress at Carmel Beach photo credit: John Cameron

Carmel’s city founders favored a central post office instead of door- to-door delivery thus no addresses. Carmel street signs, carved vertically on short wooden poles, are easy to miss.

Court of the Fountains
Court of the Fountains photo credit: John Cameron

The ubiquitous Dutch doors, favored by almost all business owners, really enhance the friendly small-town feel.

Famous citizens include 93- year-old Doris Day, part owner of the dog- friendly Cypress Inn, whose movie posters adorn Terry’s Bar – an homage to her son. Another famous resident and former mayor of Carmel (1986-1988) Dirty Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) made it safe to once again eat ice cream on Carmel’s public streets.

Rated the #1 dog-friendly town in America, you can bring your pets to restaurants, bars, the beach, even wine-tasting rooms.

Where to Stay in Carmel

Hofsas House Carmel by the Sea
Hofsas House Carmel photo credit: John Cameron

Family-owned and run for three generations, the pet-friendly Hofsas House Hotel is very popular with travel-savvy Europeans. Get practical daily trip advice from the helpful concierge with a large continental breakfast featuring pastries from a local bakery.

Hofsas House Mural by Maxine Albro
Hofsas House Mural photo credit: John Cameron

The first thing guests might notice is the Bavarian themed mural opposite the Hofsas House welcome office. Donna Hofsas commissioned artist Maxine Albro to paint the mural in 1957.

Hofsas House Guest Room
Hofsas House Guest Room photo credit: John Cameron

The Hofsas House has 38 well-designed and comfortable guest rooms with Dutch doors in every room and featuring amenities like a fireplace.

Hofsas House balcony
Hofsas House balcony photo credit: Sherel Purcell

A small heated pool and a dry sauna that’s always warm and a communal rooftop deck for good views over Pebble Beach are special touches found at Hofsas House.

Hofsas House has the only poolside meeting facility in Carmel with classroom seating for up to 24.

The Hofsas House has partnerships with four different golf courses in the area. If you don’t want to pay the big bucks to golf Pebble Beach or Spanish Bay, the back nine at Pacific Grove Golf Links  has great water views. As the starter in the pro shop said,” It’s the same ocean for 300 bucks less. “

Things to do in Carmel

Taste the wines of the Monterey and Carmel Valley all within walking distance of downtown.

Scheid Vineyards Tasting Room
Scheid Vineyards Tasting Room photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Schied Vineyards at San Carlos & 7th Avenue in Carmel offers complimentary small bites to pair with featured wines and new releases on the second Tuesday of every month.

Just down Ocean Avenue at the Carmel Road Tasting Room, sample their flight of Pinot Noirs.

Carmel Road Tasting Room
Carmel Road Tasting Room photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Actor Drew Barrymore works with Carmel Road winemaker Kris Kato to produce a great rose for her signature collection, Barrymore Wines. Both Scheid and Carmel Road offer wine clubs – get a taste of Carmel sent right to your doorstep.

Wine Enthusiast named Carmel one of the top ten wine tasting destinations in the world.

Carmel is the perfect base for exploring the beautiful California coast. Steinbeck’s Cannery Row in historic Monterey is 30 minutes to the north while Point Lobos is just 15 minutes to the south. Big Sur is an hour’s drive south on scenic US 1 .

Lone Cypress photo credit: John Cameron
Lone Cypress photo credit: John Cameron

Take scenic 17-mile drive for a great introduction to the relentless beauty of the northern California coast. Tip: take your receipt for the ten-dollar entrance fee with you and have it credited to your lunch at The Bench at the Pebble Beach Lodge, overlooking beautiful Pebble Beach’s iconic 18th green.

Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa

Known for beautiful beaches, nature preserves and parks, Hutchinson Island consists of two barrier islands on the Atlantic coast of Florida, just north of Jupiter.

Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa is the first new resort to open on Hutchinson Island in almost two decades. Eighteen minutes from downtown Stuart, the oceanfront resort is just steps from the beach and many suites offer a private balcony overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa Lobby
Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa Lobby

The new, coastal-inspired resort has 178 luxury appointed guest rooms done in ocean colors of contemporary blues, greens and pearl. The design and decor throughout the laid-back beach resort is a cool blend of beachside retreat and nautical luxury.

Dune at Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa
Dune at Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa

With its new signature Spa, two swimming pools and cabanas,  the resort offers beachside activities and drinking and dining where guests of all ages gather. Drift Restaurant + Bar, Reflections Pool Bar and the Dune Beach Bar all offer alfresco dining.

Things to do

Watch the manatees, one of Florida’s most beloved animals, five minutes away at the nearby Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center, an educational and research site dedicated to preserving marine life and coastal ecosystems.

Cycling in Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Cycling in Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Nature is calling at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Martin County – a 40 minute drive south towards Jupiter. Hike with a park ranger, go birding, camping, kayaking or biking on paved and off-road trails.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park Boat Tour
Jonathan Dickinson State Park Boat Tour

The one-hour guided boat tour on the Loxahatchee River through mangrove swamps is a great introduction to the wildlife of Florida. At the River Store you can rent canoes and kayaks to explore the river on a self-guided paddle. The take out shack offers excellent happy hour prices on wine and beer to go with tasty light meals.

The Gafford in historic downtown Stuart
The Gafford in historic downtown Stuart

For more substantial meals try The Gafford, in historic downtown Stuart – a popular family owned restaurant, serving creative, southern-style comfort food. Try a perennial favorite, Mabel’s southern-fried chicken or the signature steak “The Gafford.” As it’s a Diner’s Choice award winner for 2018, reservations are suggested.

Hutchinson Island Travel Planner

Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa
3793 NE Ocean Blvd, Jensen Beach, FL 34957
Phone: +1 772-334-1950
The Gafford
47 SW Flagler Ave, Stuart, FL 34994
Phone: +1 772-221-9517
Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center
890 NE Ocean Blvd, Stuart, FL 34996
Phone: +1 772-225-0505
Jonathan Dickinson State Park
16450 SE Federal Hwy, Hobe Sound FL 33455