Thinking about a summer weekend getaway, the California Coast offers some wonderful escapes. If you are looking for that idyllic place with a charm and quaintness that lives up to its name, Carmel by the Sea is the place to go.
Around every nook and cranny there is something to be found. From its fairytale cottages to its art galleries and wineries tasting rooms, the town is covered with European flair that draws you in. For those with a dog in tow, Carmel by the Sea is considered one of the most dog friendly cities. Most stores include a water bowl and one can even find a doggie treat looming nearby.
The old world charm of Carmel by the Sea is graced by the Monterey Coastline that sits at the western edge of the town. Just south of the city lies the Mission San Carlos, which dates back to 1770. Beyond that lies Carmel Valley and the Point Lobos State Reserve, a beautiful place to hike and take in the sea air.
If you are a wine buff the Carmel Wine Walk is a must. There are currently 15 tasting rooms in Carmel by the Sea and the Wine Walk Passport allows one the opportunity to visit and taste 4 flights at your choice of 9 tasting rooms.
Here are some favorite tasting rooms:
Caraccioli Cellars offers a fantastic selection of sparkling wines in addition to a selection of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This is a great tasting room to start with since they are one of the only wineries that offer sparkling wine and what better way to begin a wine tasting than with a sparkler. Carraccioli creates a very sophisticated sparkling wine that is specific to the Santa Lucia Highlands.
Silvestri Vineyards is composer Allen Silvestri so not only do you get to taste some fabulous wines but also you get to listen to some of your favorite scores from some legendary movies.
Wrath Wines also represents the Santa Lucia Highlands and the exuberance and passion of winemaker Sabrine Rodems really shines through on the wines. Known for their site driven Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah you will thoroughly enjoy tasting through their portfolio of wines. Sabrine is one of the entrepreneuring woman coming forth in the wine industry today and this too is evident in the Wrath wines.
While visiting Wrath one must stop in and visit The Cheese Shop. This shop has been a fixture in Carmel since 1973 and offers a fantastic selection of cheeses and wine. It is literally next door to Wrath Wines in the Carmel Plaza shopping center.
If you are looking for a place to dine there are an incredible amount of restaurants to tantalize everyone’s palate. If you are into Spanish Tapas, the Mundaka Restaurant is something a little different to try while visiting Carmel by the Sea.
An old time favorite that his been around since the 1983 is Rio Grill. Known for its local cuisine with an added southwestern flair you cannot go wrong dining at this Carmel Valley favorite.
If you don’t mind driving 10 minutes to Monterey, you should not miss Restaurant 1833. The restaurant has an interesting history, excellent food and an extensive wine list. If you are a connoisseur of unusual aperitifs and cocktails, there is definitely an eclectic variety.
The restaurant’s name comes from the year it was built. One of the earliest adobe homes in California, the house was owned by John Stokes, who deserted from the British Navy and charaded as a doctor during his years in this home. One has to wonder if the house is haunted. Story has it that Hattie Gragg who resided in the home in 1948 haunts the dining area that was originally her bedroom. Patrons have been known to say something has moved in this dining area or felt their drink has been salted. Each dining room represents one part of the history of ownership of this Monterey adobe home. There are two bars. One is the Apothecary, which pays homage to the original pharmacy John Stokes created in this home.
The history of Restaurant 1833 gives one a glimpse of what one can discover exploring the marvels of Monterey’s past and present. You will definitely step back into another time as you enjoy your meal at 1833.
The hotels of Carmel by the Sea exude a charm that dates back to anywhere from the 1950 on up to the 1970s. One such hotel is the Hofsas House on 4th and San Carlos. The Hofsas House has been a family run hotel since the main hotel building was constructed in 1957 by then owner Donna Hofsas. Today Donna’s granddaughter Carrie Theis runs the hotel. The hotel has 38 rooms and a swimming pool. Many of the rooms have fireplaces and balconies. This quaint hotel is adorned with a Bavarian themed mural by artist Maxine Albro. The rooms are decorated in a European style and are very comfortable. Each room features a Dutch door adding to the old world charm and making you feel as if you were in Switzerland or Germany. For those with a dog in tow, the Hofsas House is pet friendly. The location of the Hofsas house is ideal for strolling almost anywhere in Carmel by the Sea.
One can never go wrong with a weekend escape to Carmel by the Sea so take a step into Europe while staying on California’s picturesque Central Coast. It is one place everyone enjoys no matter what age you are.