When you’re looking for anniversary ideas or valentines getaway, Carmel by the Sea on the central coast of California is a wonderful option. If you have a November anniversary like I do, you know that in most of North America, November can sometimes be rainy, chilly, or even snowing – so your options may be limited for domestic trips that time of year. Therefore, this year we wanted to do something mellow and fun, so we took a drive down to Carmel by the Sea for the weekend. It did not disappoint!
Why Carmel by the sea
Carmel by the Sea is a small, charming town with a mind-blowing signature Carmel Style, reminiscent of European villages of old. If you’re running out of ideas of good places to go for an anniversary or special occasion, I strongly recommend you check it out. We are lucky to have Carmel very close by – and grandparents available to baby-sit. Carmel by the Sea is a town that has so much for all your senses. Yes, the beautiful artwork, clothing, and baubles in the shops are expensive but you don’t need to buy anything – just enjoy window shopping!
What to visit
Our first memorable stop was for lunch at Hog’s Breath Inn, a bar/restaurant that used to be owned by the legendary Client Eastwood. Its atmosphere and food is good, and it isn’t a tourist trap. Most importantly, the drinks didn’t disappoint us. 🙂
Carmel by the Sea is a seaside jewel and is close to a lot of other great things to see. One of the famous sights in the immediate vicinity is the beautiful Carmel Mission. You can also get to Big Sur in few hours. Actually we ran into many many people who wanted to run the Big Sur Marathon 2018, but couldn’t because it was canceled due to the air quality, due to all the wild fires that affecting California that month.
Our next stop, was the Cheese Shop located in Carmel Plaza (lower level). They are savvy merchants, offering free tastings of a wide variety of cheeses they have from around the world. They also have wine tasting there too to go with the cheese, but the wine isn’t free alas. It is a heavenly experience, so long as you are not a vegan or lactose intolerant!
We stayed at the La Playa Hotel. Just standing outside, I was sold on the place even before we walked in the door. Being in the heart of Carmel’s shopping district, we visited tons of different shops, and we found this great little sea glass jewelry shop, Robin’s Jewelry, located inside the “Doud Craft Studios” on Ocean and San Carlos. Her pieces are stunning and since I’m a big fan of sea glass I was excited to find out that Robin does custom jewelry. With her little workshop upstairs from her shop, she let me design the dolphin for my necklace and pick the sea glass. The final piece was beautiful and it’s a great memory of the trip.
Where to stay
After that, we left our stuff at the La Playa Hotel. I was so impressed with the mediterranean style of the hotel and gorgeous ocean views, located few blocks from Carmel beach. We dropped our bags and went to Carmel beach and enjoyed the amazing sunset on its pristine white sand. The sunset was enhance due to the smoke from all the wildfires and it was dramatic.
Where to eat
We had dinner at Seventh and Dolores – what amazing food, everything there was good! Our favorite was beef tartar with foie gras – such a delicacy! We ate so fast sorry pic is not pic but we highly recommend it. 🙂
It was a truly wonderful and memorable weekend. I highly recommend you give Carmel by the Sea a try for your next weekend get-away!
Months back, we decided to take a family trip to McWay Falls in Big Sur. We needed to decompress and don’t have a huge budget to travel. I have been to Big Sur just few time for camping and hiking and it never disappointed me. We research and decided to head to McWay Falls at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park , a place I hadn’t visited. It was a spur of the moment decision, now after six month since I broke my ankle break I don’t regret.
Our trip to McWay Falls in Big Sur just took few hours from home. So, we pack and hit the road. We made short stops to get snacks from the fruit kiosks. Fruits Tatar’s good and is always good to support local farmers.
The beautiful scene helps you forget about the time you spend on the car. When you get there The Mc Way Falls is a short hike. I’d seen many pictures before -and you may have, too- of the 80′ waterfall that pours onto the sand of the beach below, getting lapped up by the stunning aquamarine sea.
Unfortunately, they don’t actually let you go down and splash around under the McWay falls. It’s a steep climb down some almost vertical cliffs to get there, and they have yet to put in an elevator. It may be possible to access it via rubber dingy or something from the ocean, but as a tourist arriving by car, the best you’ll do is to gawk at it from a trail which runs along the northern side of the inlet, a few hundred yards away form the falls themselves.
But that’s OK. I can’t help but feel that if people were allowed to go tromping around the falls, it wouldn’t maintain its majestic beauty for long. Certainly the sand wouldn’t look so pristine for picture taking. Speaking of the sand, I learned something interesting when I was there – not long ago, there wasn’t any sand there whatsoever. A massive landslide in the 1980’s poured gazillions of tons of dirt, sand, and rock into the water, and a lot of it ended up washing up into the inlet and forming the beach. The beach we see there today is very new, and they say some other geologic event might cause it to be washed away again one day.
Getting to the view of the Mc Way Falls took about 5 minutes on the trail. The Tunel that connects the trail from across the street fascinated the kids. When they stop playing there they did enjoyed the beauty of the view that is Just breathtaking. So go check it out while the getting is good!
Looking back I’m so thankful I didn’t hesitate taking this trip, because just two month after that I broke my ankle. We had great fun as a family on the trip. I know that as a parents sometimes you try to plan ahead everything because little people depend on you. However, sometimes the best memories are made when you just follow your guts.
I’m so thankful for our planet and I’m glad Big Sur is so relatively close to us. When I see the recently Catastrophe that is happening in California. I can’t help to reflect on the world that my kids know now, and the world we are leaving to them. Therefore, I commit to show my kids more of the beauty of the world. As well to teach them more ways to help the planet: recycling, cleaning beaches, and in general consuming less plastic. I hope you too.
I hope you enjoy a selection of photos from our outing.