A Restorative Weekend at Carmel-by-the-Sea

We’ve just returned from a relaxing and restorative weekend in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Getting away like this is rare for us. We’ve focused on raising our boys who are now teens. Once a year we do an overnight stay at a local hotel for our anniversary, but otherwise we’re close to home.  With our oldest son away at college and the younger one away for the weekend with friends, we pounced on the opportunity to get away.

carmel collage

Enjoying the weekend with my sweetie. On the coast, enjoying an iced tea at Basil’s, posing with gardenerd, wrapped up against the wind

The city website describes Carmel as

A city in the forest. A one-mile long pure white sandy beach.
A cultural mecca for the performing and visual arts.  Superb dining and shopping experiences. A storybook setting!

We stayed at La Playa Carmel, a boutique hotel originally built as a mansion by an artist as a gift to his wife. Most of the talented artists I know can only dream of making that kind of money.

When I shared holiday photos on Facebook, I learned that one of my friends honeymooned there 35 years ago. Another couple we know married at La Playa Carmel. I’m tickled to no end by this. Mike made all the arrangements, so I had no idea that we were staying at this charming place.

[Click on individual photos in the gallery to enlarge]

We enjoyed lunch and dinner in the historic city center, visited the cute little shops, and admired the beautiful landscape nestled among the Monterey Pines. Flowers bloomed in front of every home and shop in the area. It’s a gardener’s dream.


Sunday we awoke to a musical downpour. It cleared after breakfast, allowing us to go for a long walk. As we walked the beach trail we imagined ourselves living in one of the beach-side homes to our left as the waves crashed against the rocks to our right. They build these homes for maximum viewing of the sea. The average list price of a home in Carmel is north of $3 million dollars US. Gulp. It’s fun to dream, though, right?

It started raining again while we lunched at a fabulous Green-certified restaurant called Basil.

carmel the last straw

This gave us the chance to walk arm in arm under our new umbrella for one last stroll before heading home.