Carmel-by-the-Sea was unexpected. We knew it was a small town on the ocean with an attraction for celebrities. But, we have never been anywhere so different and a place so totally entrenched in a theme—a fairytale cottage village—by no means, a cheesy or cheap version. The cobbled sidewalks, quaint cottages, little shops peeking out of brick alleyways with a riot of color bursting from flower pots, window boxes and varying muted shades of planted ornamental grasses softening the edges of your pathway. Is the weather always a perfect sunny 72 degrees?
The subtle charm of Carmel could not happen without a wealthy clientele willing to support it and the years spent cultivating the feel of the town. I read somewhere the number of galleries averages more than one for every 100 residents. This is due to celebrity residents and upscale tourists purchasing art you cannot find elsewhere. All shopping was way, way out of our price range; but it was sure fun to window shop and walk through a few—such unique clothing and unbelievable artwork. Would you buy a wooden canoe for $28,000?
Try finding an address for your GPS in this town; you cannot. Carmel recently voted overwhelmingly to NOT receive home delivery of mail. This would require putting numbers on their homes which are known only by names and descriptions. Take a look at this link, it has great photos of the homes found in Carmel http://www.flickr.com/photos/nursebms/galleries/72157623283029580#photo_489008780 The best we could do to find our chosen eating location was to input only the street name and cruise the street once we got to Carmel. We ate at Clint Eastwood’s former restaurant, Hog’s Breath Inn, which still displays his portrait and the pictures of parties he held at the restaurant over the years.
Of course, we had the Dirty Harry Hamburger. We told them, “Go ahead, make our day.” No, we did not—that is pretty cheesy; but we sure wanted to.