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.
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.
The ubiquitous Dutch doors, favored by almost all business owners, really enhance the friendly small-town feel.
Famous citizens include Clint Eastwood, a former mayor of Carmel from 1986-1988. Dirty Harry Callahan made it safe to eat ice cream once again on Carmel’s public streets. The late Doris Day was part owner of the dog- friendly Cypress Inn. Hollywood movie posters of Doris Day adorn Terry’s Bar – an homage to her son.
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
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.
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.
The Hofsas House has 38 well-designed and comfortable guest rooms with Dutch doors in every room and featuring amenities like a fireplace.
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
Taste the wines of the Monterey and Carmel Valley all within walking distance of downtown.
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.
Actor Drew Barrymore works with 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 .
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.