72 Hours in Carmel-by-the-Sea - An Insiders Guide

As visitors arrive in the quaint coastal Central California enclave of Carmel-by-the-Sea a collective sigh of relief is carried on the cool ocean air. Park the car, you won’t need it for the next 72 hours – welcome to the insiders guide.
Comstock Cottage at Mission
Comstock Cottage at Mission
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• Carmel

• Vacation
• visit

Monterey - California - US

Aug. 28, 2012 - PRLog -- Day 1: Pop the cork and celebrate with a refreshing glass of sparkling wine at Caraccioli Cellars, just the way to ease into your stay.  Before checking in to one of the 45+ inns or hotels, (www.stayincarmel.org) check out the shopping – day 1 begins.

Stop in at the Carmel Plaza and welcome our newest neighbor Kate Spade to the village. A shot of color adds a bright cheery feel to the already flower lined promenade. Across the way visitors will find Blue Lemon, where jewelry-making classes can be scheduled and taken or hand crafted designs can be purchased. With many more options lining the streets of Carmel-by-the-Sea, it may be time to stop in for lunch and a quick nip to settle into “vacation mode.”

After working up an appetite from shopping, experience the latest expansion of David Fink’s empire, 400°’s Gourmet Burgers & Fries.  Burgers, fries, hot dogs, and shakes as well as kids meals are all on the menu and each one is more delicious than the last. For a more refined lunch- any of the Firok Shield’s family restaurants (he has 3 in Carmel), or Portabella on Ocean located within a quaint Comstock cottage or Patisserie Boissiere all offer epicureans delights.

Time to walk off lunch and prepare for the remaining hours ahead. Make your next stop the Carmel Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center on San Carlos between 5th & 6th, here you can pick up the Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea wine tasting passport, (www.facebook.com/CarmelWineWalkbytheSea) good all weekend long, and can be used at your leisure. Be sure to stop in at the newest tasting room, Manzoni Cellars.

Upon arrival at the hotel be welcomed by one of the friendly innkeepers in our city. One of the many unique facts about the 1x1 square mile of the Carmel-by-Sea: the innkeepers staff a 24 hour reservation line, and if visitors call and there is the proverbial “no room at the inn” then they will continue down the list of properties until they find a property with a room available! No competition among inns, just a desire to please the guest on the end of the line.

As the evening ensues, be sure to check the schedule for one of the upcoming events in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the Sunset Center (www.sunsetcenter.org) is spectacular and worthy of top national performances with an amazing cast of performers scheduled including Kenny Loggins, Bob Newhart, A Rock Tribute to Led Zeppelin, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Ira Glass and many more. Coincidentally, though you won’t need your car for another 48 hours, if you would like to charge it, there are four stations available at the Sunset Center offering free service.

And the sun sets on day 1.

Day 2:  A morning stroll along Ocean Avenue, leads to one of the most pristine beaches in America. Stop off for breakfast or coffee at a local eatery, you won’t find any chain restaurants or fast food in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Before you get back to your inn, be sure to dodge into a few of the more than 40+ courtyards that grace the village. Visitors and locals are often surprised by the public displays of art that are found in side courtyards as a little delight for taking a “road less traveled.” As a side note, it has been over 20 years since “Dirty Harry” was mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, but visitors still ask “Is Clint Eastwood still the mayor?” referring to his one term that ended in 1988. We are not sure which courtyard it Clint’s favorite but highly recommend the Court of the Fountains, Piccadilly Courtyard, and Cinderella Lane.

Renowned as a mecca for artists, writers and musicians since the turn of the last century, American Style awarded Carmel the prestigious “Top 25 Art Destinations in the U.S.” in 2012. The Carmel Art Association (www.carmelart.org), established in 1927, celebrates 85 years, with 200 active members made up of local artists the association also has the unique distinction of being the oldest gallery in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

If guests are in town during one of the many days that hosts an event, the fall lineups and world-class productions at the historic Golden Bough Playhouse, the intimate Circle theaters, and famous outdoor Forest Theater include Beauty & the Beast, Julius Ceasar, and Much Ado About Nothing. (www.pacrep.org). Carmel Authors & Ideas Festival arrives in town September 28-30, (www.carmelauthors.com/festival). The Carmel Chamber of Commerce hosts their 24th Annual Taste of Carmel Masquerade Ball Thursday, October 4th, 6pm-9pm, no mask necessary. (www.carmelcalifornia.org). The Carmel Art & Film Festival, October 10-14, (www.carmelartandfilm.com) is back for the 4th; year founded in 2008 by fine artist Tom Burns and Erin Clark, the festival gives artists a platform and voice to pursue their creative visions and share them with the world.

Ready to begin Happy Hour? By all means, go where the locals go: Terry’s Lounge (inside the famous Doris Day’s Cypress Inn) offering Yappy Hour, and live music for you and well-leashed guests. Il Fornaio has the best deal in town with a $5 menu with select food (including full pizzas), wine and cocktails, plus $3 beers; or if visitors like an atmosphere of see and be seen then Vesuvio—the newest flagship in the Pepe International consortium—is open, with expanded Starlight 65 lounge rooftop deck, great happy hour, and serves an “Adult Happy Meal.” If pubs and cheers for beers is more up your alley, than Brophy’s Tavern is the place for Monday Night Football, and Jack London’s has regular live music and sports TVs. A.W. Shucks on Ocean Avenue remains a locals and visitors favorite oyster bar and grill respite.

After a busy day, grab a picnic basket and a bottle of wine with delectable’s from Salumeria Luca, The Cheese Shop, Bruno’s Market, or Nielson Brothers Market, walk down to the beach and let Romantic Room Designs (www.romanticroomdesigns.com) set the stage for the perfect beach bonfire. Watch the sun as it sinks into the Pacific than cozy up and gaze at the stars while you enjoy your wine, listening to the sound of the surf on the sand.

Day 3: Greet the morning with a soothing yoga class on the beach offered by Lululemon, (www.lululemon.com/carmel) or if the sirens of the water call your name then learn to surf with Noah Greenberg of Carmel Surf Lessons (www.carmelsurflessons.com); teaching surfing since 1986. Noah provides all the equipment and offers groups or private session. Work out the muscles and stop in at one of our day spas to primp and pamper yourself before you get on your way; Signature Day Spa (www.signature dayspa.com) is a full service salon ready to work out the kinks.

You’ve worked up an appetite now, and rest assured it will be assuaged with the Carmel Food Tours. Carmel’s newest tour in town offering tastings of specially-selected, world-class foods and wines that help visitors become acquainted with the unique history and culture of Carmel-by-the-Sea. The food tour takes visitors through passageways and alleys before arrival at each culinary destination. A favorite stop among guests is La Bicyclette Restaurant—one of Walter Georis' success stories who is best known for his famous Casanova Restaurant. All of the restaurants, tasting rooms and shops are pleased to offer their time to explain in detail what guests will be appreciating.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a one-of-a-kind, European-style village where everything is walking distance. Within the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s one-square-mile, visitors can stroll by fairytale cottages, along cobblestone sidewalks, down hidden pathways, and discover a wide variety of boutique shops, gourmet restaurants, world-class art galleries, pampering spas, charming inns, and beautiful parks and courtyards. Carmel-by- the-Sea lives up to its reputation as one of America’s top travel destinations with a host of exciting fall events and the best weather of the season, you’re an insider now, what are you waiting for, make your travel reservations now at the official travel website www.carmelcalifornia.com.
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