I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who know Carmel better than I do. Up until a few years ago, I had never even been. *gasp* I know. . .it’s hard to believe. Carmel is an absolute gem of a town! So lovely, in fact, that my husband and I decided to get married there. As you would guess, it is now one of our favorite places. We just celebrated our first anniversary with a little trip down the 1 and I thought I would share a couple of the things that made our stay SO great.
- Stay in town. Not only do you want to stay in town, you want to find a hotel that offers parking. Finding a parking spot in Carmel is like winning the lottery. But you’re only a winner for 2 hours (at least that’s the longest duration parking spot I’ve seen there). Just thinking about it gives me anxiety. There are so many driveways and loading zones and pedestrians. Ugh! Ask my husband, or his parents. I usually end up covering my eyes (I’m not driving, of course) and focusing on my breathing. Knowing that you can just park and walk anywhere you want is such a relief.
- Paninis at Cantinetta Luca. There are so many restaurants in Carmel, it takes the “what do you want to eat” dilemma to a whole new level. I would highly recommend Cantinetta Luca. It’s located in the midst of all the shops and galleries, a fun little place with a small menu, and incredible paninis. There’s just something SO great about a warm toasted sandwich. . .YUM! It’s the perfect amount of food to refuel and keep you out and about, enjoying the town.
- Sunset at the beach. This one is pretty self explanatory. Bare feet in the sand, cool breeze, waves crashing, the sun reflecting off the water. . .beautiful.
- Appetizers at Hog’s Breath. I know. . .I know. . .the name. But it is a funky little restaurant with a great outdoor patio area, situated under a big tree. There is also an indoor seating area if you prefer, but the outside is where it’s at (in my opinion). The have heaters and fireplaces to add to the ambiance, a couple TVs so you can watch the game or whatever. Really, one of my favorite restaurants in Carmel. They have a couple appetizers that I would highly recommend. The sweet potato fries are. . .yeah. . .the best I’ve ever had. The onion rings, spinach/artichoke dip, and crab cakes also top my list of best ever appetizers and really. . .if you get them all. . .who needs an entrée? Of course, they do offer entrées and everything I’ve tried, I’ve enjoyed. It’s a perfect place to gather with friends, or family and talk about all the great stuff you saw or bought.
- Walk at night. Carmel goes through a sort of transformation when the sun goes down. There are far fewer pedestrians and way less traffic as many of the shops have closed. Going for a night walk, even though it may be the same route you took earlier in the day, is a totally different experience. The lights, the sounds, the ocean air. . .lovely.
- Breakfast at Il Fornaio. Aaaaaaand. . .we’re eating again. I’m not even going to make recommendations here because it is all amazing. Just go. You’ll thank me. And if you need a spot for a rehearsal dinner. . .boom. They made up the back room for us and it was absolutely perfect! Hands down one of the best parties ever. And I’m not just saying that because I know my husband’s mother is going to read this. Hi Susan! 🙂
- Refuge. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. We received two free admissions to this spa as a wedding gift and decided this was the perfect weekend to use it. Let’s just say my husband and I aren’t really. . .um. . .spa people? So this was new to both of us. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but the staff gave us some guidance and it ended up being one of the most relaxing experiences I have ever had. Basically, I’m ready to go back next weekend. If they had an annual membership, I would sign up. If you are new to this type of thing, this is a perfect beginner spa. They recommend 4 stages. You start by heating up in either the wet or dry sauna. Then you dip in the cool (effing cold) or cold (even more effing cold) pool. Next you have a couple options of relaxation spots – inside on their zero gravity chairs, or outside around their multiple fire pits. After about 10-15 minutes (or really, however long you feel like it) you can soak in their warm (sigh) or hot (long sigh) pool. Then you start all over again. I think the best part though, is that it’s a silent environment. No phones, you’re not really even supposed to talk. Genius!
Sometimes you just need to escape for a night, or even just for the day. Get out of town. It’s such a treat, I think. I’d love to hear about where you like to go, or what you like to do. Let’s hear about what tips you’d give, or what restaurants you’d suggest.