Carmel by the Sea is a small town on the Monterey Peninsula in Monterey County, California. It is only one square mile in area, with a population of approximately 4600. We came upon Carmel while driving south from San Francisco on the breathtaking Pacific Coast Highway. After a seafood lunch in Monterey, we veered off the highway to take the 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach.
We entered the drive at the Pacific Grove Gate and followed along the coast, stopping to take photos and admire the flawless green grass and famous golf courses such as Spyglass Hill and Cypress Point. We exited the 17 Mile Drive at Carmel Gate and drove into the small town of Carmel by the Sea.
It took us ten minutes to drive around this small town and thatâ€™s all it took to fall in love with it and decide to stay overnight. Carmel is packed with cobblestone sidewalks, tiny houses and cottages covered in ivy and bright flowers. The long beach, fresh ocean air, quaint coffee shops, expensive clothing stores and incredible art galleries will keep you occupied in this otherwise lazy village.
We found a room at La Playa Hotel a stunning hotel, only two blocks from the ocean. Our room had a patio overlooking the beautifully landscaped gardens, where we sat in the sun and drank several bottles of wine from local wineries.
We took a stroll to the town centre for dinner and gorged ourselves at Bouchee, a cozy wine bar/restaurant. We enjoyed a five course meal, each course with a perfectly paired glass of wine. Here are some of the highlights:
- Green Asparagus Soup with soft shell crab tempura, Singapore curry, coconut milk and Thai basil.
With an August Kesseler, Reisling-Kabinett 2003
- Niman Ranch Beef Short Rib with baby carrots, nettle mousseline, hearts of romaine and Portobello mushrooms
With a Tantara Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley 2002
We took a long walk after a late dinner only to discover in the dark that Carmel has no street lights or sidewalks, no numbers on the houses, no signs to guide you other than the moonlight and sound of the ocean. Carmel is a village in a forest along the sea. A town made for lovers and poets.