It’s Sunday morning and while sipping coffee and reading the New York Times, I came across their 36 Hours travel column which this week is about Carmel-by-the-Sea, one of my favorite spots on the planet! Reading that 36 Hours article brought back memories and stimulated me to do a little writing about them!
I first got acquainted with the Carmel area over 20 years ago when I was working at Visa International. For many years, the Visa board of directors held its February board meeting at Pebble Beach every year – at the Lodge. I loved the natural beauty of the area – even if I didn’t have a golfer’s appreciation for it that most of the directors did!
Lots of memories from those years and many travels back in the years since. Here are some of my favorite spots in the Carmel area:
A few years back we took a long family weekend and stayed at Mission Ranch, the Clint Eastwood property that looks out on where the Carmel River joins the Pacific Ocean.
The ranch, with its collection of small buildings, feels nothing like a resort – and that’s the point. Jaime Gross, writing for the Times, describes it as “a striking tableau: sheep meadows, rolling hills and the shimmering ocean in the distance.”
Here’s a view taken from our room during our stay at Mission Ranch:
Carmel River State Beach
Years ago, I used another stylized photo I had taken at Carmel River State Beach as the first header graphic for the latest incarnation of my blog. The beach is a mile or so up the road from Mission Ranch – in between the Carmel Mission and the Ranch.
Here’s a map of the beach area:
A few miles south of Mission Ranch is perhaps the most beautiful spot along the Pacific Ocean coast in that area – Point Lobos State Preserve.
For walking close to nature, the combination of the craggy trees, the rugged rocks, and the Pacific Ocean is stunning at Point Lobos – and a photographer’s dream location!
North of Carmel is Monterey and, one of my most favorite “small towns”, Pacific Grove. The Victorian homes between Lighthouse Avenue and Monterey Bay are a delight. I’ve also got memories of working in the Pacific Grove Public Library when I was in the area in between meetings.
For more info on Pacific Grove, see also Spud Hilton’s August 2008 article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
And then there’s Passionfish – a truly great small restaurant owned by Chef Ted Walter and his wife Cindy Walter in downtown Pacific Grove. It’s close to the Pacific Grove entrance to the 17 Mile Drive at Pebble Beach and just a few miles from the Inn at Spanish Bay.
In addition to great food, Passionfish has a superb wine list with prices that are incredibly reasonable. It’s just a great place for a meal!
Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row
Writing this on a Sunday morning in January makes me want to pack up the camera bag and jump in the car again to head south!
Phil’s Fish Market
Along the way coming or going, a seafood lunch or dinner at Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing would make the day complete! Phil’s has absolutely the best seafood in the funkiest oceanside industrial fishing village (Moss Landing) that you’ll ever find! Here’s the Yelp page for Phil’s.