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March 8, 2011 / Linda Hartong



I love independent bookstores with their selection of local books. Although the Pilgrim’s Way is a smallish shop, it has a big personality and has been serving Carmel for over 30 years.

I found it while wandering along Dolores St. between 5th and 6th Avenues. The “dutch door” was open and one peek over the door  convinced me I wanted to go inside.

Their Mission is :

When I started shopping here the store ‘s focus was primarily  metaphysical with books on personal development, natural health, psychology, religion and yoga – just to name a few. I was delighted. As a Kansan from the conservative Midwest, this had always been my idea of what a California bookstore should look like.

Two women sat in chairs at the front of the store. One was doing a Tarot reading for the other.The light smell of incense hung in the air and I could hear the soft sounds of native American flute music.  Well displayed crystals, jewelry, instructional DVD’s and even singing bowls made feast for the eyes.

One of the owners, Cynthia Fernandes, gave me a quick tour of the store and pointed out my soon to be favorite section of novels by local authors; some based in Carmel settings.  I settled on the first book of mystery series and a CD.

The next time, I explored the  “Local Interest” dedicated to books, DVD’s ,maps and guidebooks about the Monterey area.

When I enter the store, I always check out the bulletin board postings for Events and Classes in the area.Also on display are business cards for local services like massage.

When they became the last bookstore in Carmel , The Pilgrim’s Way started carrying a comprehensive selection of current best sellers as well.

The store has changed and grown in other ways. Tarot reading and personal consultations now take place in a more private back space. The room is presided over by The Hermit. He is one of the basic Tarot Card symbols.  Every night he carries this staff and lantern and walks from dusk until dawn. It is during these walks that he sees things he’s missed during his lifetime. Now he is like the lantern, illuminated from within by all he is, capable of penetrating the darkness.

Over the years I learned that the owners are a husband and wife team who  met in Carmel. They continue to add  intriguing facets to the store.

Now, not only can I purchase a book or have my cards read, I can also attend lectures from Hands-on-Healers or schedule on- site consultations on jobs, relationships, or health and wellness.

When I am finished inside , I always pay a visit to their adjoining shop- The Secret Garden. But I will save that for another post.

In the meantime, take a  moment to vistit their wonderful website and blog  at




Leave a Comment
  1. jeanette sclar / Mar 8 2011 4:52 pm

    Can you get them to open a branch here? You could be the manager!!!

  2. Miss Bloomers / Mar 8 2011 7:28 pm

    How fun to find your blog!! I found you by way of Cindy at Romantic Home. We love Carmel and were just there in January..(my husband is originally from San Jose) we stayed at the Lamplighter Inn in the Bluebird Cottage and were able to walk and enjoy the wonderful village of Carmel. I blogged about our visit last month. I even took a photo of the Secret Garden sign..I love that shoppe and the garden in the back! How blessed you are to live there and enjoy such a beautiful town everyday!! I’m a subscriber to your blog now…as we always love to learn more about Carmel for our next trip!

    Miss Bloomers

    • Linda Hartong / Mar 8 2011 7:32 pm

      Thanks so much. I have several archived shots of The Bluebird Cottage. What a perfect little spot on Ocean Ave. I will visit your blog.

  3. Juanita Palais / Mar 8 2011 9:34 pm

    What a lovely blog.. I love that area, as a child my parents would takes us to Carmel for a few weeks in the summer. We lived in the San Joaquin Valley, my dad was working on the dam in the little old town Los Banos. It would be so hot in the valley but as we came over the pass you could feel the cool air and smell the ocean. I live in Ventura now but my husband and I steal away to Carmel and Monterey whenever we can.. Thanks for bringing some wonderful memories back to me:)The photo’s are so beautiful…

  4. Judy / Mar 9 2011 1:42 am

    I really enjoyed your blog. My husband and I visited Carmel last April and fell in love with it. I loved the Hugh Comstock cottages and photographed many of them as well. You are so fortunate to live in such a quaint town!

  5. Shelia / Mar 9 2011 2:57 am

    Hi and welcome to Blogland! I found you at Cindy’s blog – My Romantic Home! Oh, what a wonderful place Carmel is! I’ve been three times but never got to stay there! I’m looking forward to seeing your posts on this most lovely place and getting to know you. Hope you’ll pop in to see me sometimes.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  6. blackwatertown / Mar 15 2011 4:23 am

    Half door and secret garden – what a lure!

  7. Griselda Tello / Jul 11 2012 5:09 pm

    I adore Carmel and visiting The Pilgrim’s Way is a ritual for me…entering the passage into the Secret Garden fills my heart with good energy and joy.


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