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July 26, 2012 / Linda Hartong

Carmel-by-the-Sea’s Best-Kept Secret


“No city should be too large for a man to walk out of in a morning”.  ~Cyril Connolly

Our primary residence is in Kansas City.

Although there are many wonderful things to do here, they often require getting into the car.

                 

“Walking isn’t a lost art – one must, by some means, get to the garage.”  ~Evan Esar

Our suburban neighbor hood with its large lots makes neighboring a little more difficult.

The climate here is “cold winter,two spring days, hot summer, and two lovely , autumn days. 

“The Americans never walk.  In winter too cold and in summer too hot.”  ~J.B. Yeats

Carmel, however, is just one square mile and has a maritime climate. It is almost the same all year, highs in the upper 60’s and lows about ten degrees cooler. PERFECT walking weather. We try to use the car very little when we are here.

It delights us to walk to so many places.

If we arrive late at night, we go straight to the cottage, unload the car, adjust the thermostat and climb under a load of soft comforters and blankets.

In the morning, we treat ourselves to breakfast. How nice to step out into the cool, still morning and have breakfast at The Cottage.

We also like Katies, Em Le’s and the Tuck Box.

If Bill sleeps in, I pull on my jacket and tennis shoes and saunter up to The Camel Valley Roasting Co for a “Fog Lifter. I sit inside glancing at the newspaper.

Nielsen’s Market is open.

So I buy some groceries and flowers for the house and head on home after admiring the produce.

We often stop here and have them make sandwiches which we share for lunch.

When I get home, Bill is ready to take a morning  hike on the path above the beach.

The dogs are having a great time.

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”  ~Henry David Thoreau

We stop at the Post Office.

Everyone is getting their mail out of the boxes,

sorting it and recycling the junk mail. And chatting with neighbors as they do this.

While Bill looks though his e-mail, I slip on my work-out clothes  and meander to a class at the Carmel Yoga Center.

After I clean up ,it is time for lunch at Patisserie Boissiere

and a short, restorative nap.

Bill does not nap, so he strides to the hardware store

for supplies for whatever project he is starting.

After awakening, I stroll along Ocean Ave.,loving all the treasure I find. 

We always stop in Carmel Drug store at some point in our trip. The pharmacist is very pleasant. While Bill picks up a prescription,

I admire cosmetics.

Carmel Drug is under the green awning on Ocean Ave. You can’t miss it.

Should we need refreshment, we stop at  The  Carmel Bakery and Coffee Co.

I can partial to the the gingerbread men.

Cafe Carmel and The Carmel Coffee House are also comfortable places to order a treat and put your feet up.

By now, my feet have had just about all the fun they can have .

While we sit on the couch , we debate our dinner choices. Good heavens, it has been several hours since our last meal. We could surely starve.

We consider fish at Flaherty’s

or pasta at Il Fornaio ,

peel and eat shrimp at Aw Shuks

or Jalapenos mexican restaurant.

Making this choice is harder than you might think. We have 50 excellent restaurants we can walk to!!

Finally we choose Tommy’s Wok .

This has been a fabulous day, and we have NEVER gotten into the car.

Perhaps some of you who live in a small town can do this easily. But just the thought of walking all these places in KC makes me guffaw.

The next morning dawns sunny and cool and we decide to  take our walk in the Nature Preserve. 

After our walk, I amble around the corner to City Hall .

to  photograph records I plan to use in my Blog.

I have brought nothing to read so I stop at the Pilgram’sWay

and at the Harrison Memorial Library.

I love to read books set in Carmel or written by Carmel authors.

This afternoon , I have errands to do.

1. Dry Cleaner

2. Camera Repair

You guessed it– I walked.

This evening we have theater tickets at Sunset Center. 

Imagine walking 5 blocks to see Bob Newhart, Ziggy Marley, Kenny Loggins or to experience an evening with Lilly Tomlin .

We make reservations at the Cypress Inn for a light supper before the theater.  They serve “small plates”. The portions are just the right size and delicious.

When our daughter is here we go to “Hairspray”  at The Golden Bough Playhouse   just around the corner from our home.

But my  favorite theater event is when we stroll to The Forest Theater

to see” Annie”

and wander back home carrying small flashlights to light our way. It looks like a huge swarm of fireflies are roaming the streets.

All this and we  STILL have not been in our car today .

I plan a day of beauty for myself. I get a manicure from T&L Nail Spa ,

a hair trim at the Salon at Lincoln Lane

and the most fabulous massage from the owner of Kush Spa.

I flip-flop home.

When visitors come, I make reservation to take them to Tor House

and Hawk Tower. It was built by Jeffers himself. And we all enjoy the walk there.

When Sunday rolls around, we walk up to church at the Church of the Wayfarer.

“My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.”  ~Aldous Huxley

Many nights we hoof it down to the beach for the sunset.

“After dinner sit awhile, after supper walk a mile.”  ~English Proverb

“Four times I was honked at for having the temerity to proceed through town without the benefit of metal.” ―

 Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

So when you come to Carmel, bring your walking shoes.

12 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Jonni / Jul 26 2012 11:22 pm

    You’ve certainly hit all of my favorites too, all the things I love about our wonderful, little village by the sea. Reading your blog makes me want to take a walk around town…and I just got back from doing just that! As for breakfast, I love all the places you mentioned but my current favorite is Little Swiss Cafe – that hollandaise sauce is amazing!

  2. janet bishop- magina / Jul 27 2012 12:10 am

    If only…

  3. Mark / Jul 27 2012 12:33 am

    Thank you for putting a smile on my face and such a relaxing note. We can’t wait to get back to Carmel and enjoy the same things. Love it.

  4. Nita@ModVintageLife / Jul 27 2012 12:47 am

    I loved this glimpse into what your days are like when you are in Carmel. How often do you get to go there and how long do you stay at a time? I smiled at the old post office boxes much like the ones that used to be in my home town. Yes, the post office was where you met up with neighbor’s. Very much a hub of the town. A few years ago they built a much bigger post office and all those old post office boxes disappeared…they were sold and the new post office has horrid modern ones with no charm.

    As usual, loved seeing more of Carmel.

  5. Heather / Jul 27 2012 2:36 am

    Linda – would love to meet when you are in Carmel. We are neighbors just 2 doors away.

  6. maryj / Jul 27 2012 3:49 am

    Enjoyed walking with you today:-)))

  7. Danette / Jul 27 2012 2:34 pm

    Thank you so much! Looking at your post as I sit at my desk at work is so refreshing. I always forward them to my husband as well. We are also from Kansas and, thanks to your blog, want very much to vacation in Carmel soon! Kansas City has some very beautiful areas but you are so right about the weather. My daughter, who lives in Lawrence, says of the humidity “It’s like running in gravy”. If you have any special hints for tourists in Carmel, please share.

  8. G / Jul 27 2012 2:39 pm

    Beautiful in every way!

  9. Jo-Ann / Jul 29 2012 2:12 am

    Next time try Holly at Me Too salon tucked away at Mission and Eighth for a fabulous manicure while looking through the window at ferns and baskets of hanging blossoms. Best manicurist in Carmel on a typical Carmel setting.

  10. Gretta Faun / Aug 6 2012 5:52 pm

    This is one of my favorite posts.

  11. Amber / Aug 10 2012 8:54 pm

    Sitting in Casanova with my hubby for lunch on your recommendation. We’re in the are celebrating our 10th anniversary. One of THE best meals we’ve had!! The food was wonderful!!! Thank you for sharing!

  12. Laurie / Aug 11 2012 4:29 am

    I love your blog and swoon when I see all the wonderful pics of my favorite city. We honeymooned there 41 years ago and make a point to get over to the area every couple of months. We usually stay in PG (free…our best friends live there!) but drive over to Carmel to oooh and awwwwwe. If I ever win the lottery, I’m for sure buying a house there!

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