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June 14, 2013 / Linda Hartong

CARMEL’S HIDDEN COURTYARDS – PLAZA SAN CARLOS

Just a step off San Carlos is Plaza San Carlos. The shops are just opening, so I decide to take photos before the shopkeepers are too busy to answer my questions. 

I start at Thinker Toys 

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Because their hours are so flexible.

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The door has just opened and everyone gathers around the check out counter. A large golden retriever  gets his morning biscuit before leaving.

The 6′ Ferris Wheel in the window twirls away.

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Look toward the ceiling. The train has started puffing around the track  and colorful kites are flying.

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Big Bird and The Cat In The Hat supervise from on high.

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I ask the manger if I may take photos for the blog and he gives permission. He tells me Mrs. Ledig owns this building and taught the first pre school in Carmel. She lives in an apartment in this building and is Carmel’s oldest living resident.

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No wonder the infant development section is so wonderful.

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Thomas The Train Rules.

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If you are staying in Carmel with children to entertain, this should be your first stop. You will find

Puzzles,

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Books,

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Games,

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Art supplies,

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Beach toys

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And even Ghost stories to be told before “lights-out”.

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It is a colorful shop. The toys are “hands on” and many from my era. Remember Mr. Potato Head? Gosh I loved him and you can still find him here.

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I decide to zip across the Plaza to Avant Garden.

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 Avant Garden and Home is owned by Randi and Jeffrey Andrews and their dog Hudson. ( He has his own Facebook page)

I love their window displays and always stop to see them. They change often. This one was during the Bach Festival.

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While this one was during the Pebble Beach Concours. The model,Mae,is quite versatile.

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Today there is a notice on the door reminding everyone about ‘Carmel Retriever Day”. 

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I am greeted by Hudson. He is a gentle soul who loves to meet and greet. He is also the dog I saw getting his morning cookie at Thinker Toys.

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This delightful store is chock full of paintings, 

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furniture,

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garden accents,

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Pottery and

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Items to make you grin.

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The owners search all over the world to find items which stand out. This is also a great place to find the work of local artists .

Jeffrey takes me around and tells me a little about what I admire. 

The whimsical art of Erika Oller puts a smile on my face. Erika studied painting and drawing at the National Academy  of Design, School of Fine Arts in New York City among other places. Erika painted “seriously” until the early 90’s . It was then that she developed her current style that speaks to my sense of humor .Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 5.08.38 PM

I ooh and aah over this painted furniture. The artist finds her items in thrift stores, repairs and paints them.

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Some items are grouped by theme. Voila, the Hotel Paris.

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Garden and Beach

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Other areas are quite eclectic. 

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Local artist, Dave Mexicano, uses the old windows as the canvas for his watercolors. 

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I find them amazing and so does Hudson. Hudson has been following us all over the store and flops down with a sigh. He is so sweet that the shade pull in this painted window make me think of Hudson’s halo.

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I am also quite taken with these pottery items by Dai Thomas. She has an eye for the quirky charms around Carmel and has used it to create these items – all hand turned, painted and fired by her.

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This plate represents Jeffrey and Hudson when they were younger.

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I can not resist these garden stakes and buy several to  use in my cottage garden.

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You will not regret taking time to visit this store at the SW corner of San Carlos and Seventh

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I have started following a wonderful blog called Carmel By The Sea -Adventures of a Home Town Tourist. I highly recommend it.

CARMEL BY THE SEA

One Comment

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  1. Sue / Jun 17 2013 8:41 pm

    I adore that teapot and loved seeing everything else of course! So warm and inviting that Hudson gets a cookie across the street from the toy store…really?! That is so cute to hear about. Thanks for the tour

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