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January 21, 2014 / Linda Hartong


Another criteria of livability is mixed use development. Places to live, work, shop, play and learn are within easy reach of one another even for those who do not travel by car.




This was more common before urban sprawl. 

I can easily walk from my cottage to shopping,





swords of madeira 025

and the library for books or a local history lecture. This town of 1 square mile boasts two libraries. 


I can walk on the beach,


dance in Carmel Plaza,


take my yoga class,

pick up my mail,


my prescriptions,


my groceries


and then get my hair cut


without needing a car. Such are the joys of this small town.

On Sunday ,I attend the Church of the Wayfarer- two blocks away.


I can walk out my door and within three minutes,  see Garrison Keillor perform live


watch a Shakespeare play,


listen to a Bach concert

or a rockin’ tribute to Frank Zappa.

I can experience John Lithgow’s one-man show, slip on my jacket and walk home with my neighbors.

I suspect many of these cultural advantages exist because Frank Devendorf, Carmel’s developer, determined the character of this village early on by encouraging professors and artists to come enjoy nature and build their summer retreats.

If we need extra lodging for guests, we direct them to the many bed and breakfasts integrated into the  neighborhood. Once they were private homes, now lodging



Carmel 2009 143

Getting around like this requires the pedestrian paths and side walks  which connect Carmel and encourage face-to-face interaction. It also requires a “smaller is better” mindset.




My abilities to walk in Carmel change as I age.  At night,the lack of streetlights while charming, means I carry a flashlight and walk slowly. 

Streets accommodate trees and drainage by sloping to gutters and bumping over tree roots. Once easy to negotiate, it can now be tricky.

Trees Rule

I finally understand the need to keep the public right of way clear of plantings.



These are really Carmel’s sidewalks and when home owners plant them , they are beautiful but no longer serve as places I can walk.



If however you travel by car, you may not find Carmel as “user friendly”. Public parking and restrooms do exist but are in short supply for the crowd of summer tourists. 

Marjory Lloyd ( now deceased), a Carmelite since 1932 and one-time editor of the local newspaper, The Carmel Pine Cone, noted “The ironical thing is that the citizens have fought for years to preserve the beauty and character of this community, and it’s reaped the results of people wanting to see it.”

Carmel is always struggling with balancing residential  and commercial needs.


One more livability post next week.


Leave a Comment
  1. Carol / Jan 21 2014 12:55 am

    Linda, You have touched on one of the aspects of Carmel that I love most– being able to walk everywhere. We love never touching our car for days on end, yet also never running short of anything. We missed you this past weekend– it was 72 and sunny, and even warm into the evening hours. What a pleasure to have this in January!

    • Linda Hartong / Jan 21 2014 1:34 am

      Thats right , break my heart. It was cold and windy in Kc.

  2. Elizabeth Whitman / Jan 21 2014 1:58 am

    Lovely as it is you are right, walking here is a big problem as we age. My elderly Mom had a bad fall here next to the Plaza on a exterior growing tree root that was left growing out of the sidewalk. The city was rude about it, blamed it on her and refused to help with the bills. It left a sour taste and no further monies of ours was spent in Carmel. After that we decided since they obviously do not care about the poor condition of the sidewalks, we would, drive through and leave . Today I am almost 60 and can not navigate these dangerous sidewalks, due to two bad feet. It is not a place that is welcoming in that you cannot easily visit without long walks which mans tripping over cracked sidewalks and tree roots.. I will enjoy a drive through but getting out of the car is almost impossible. The lack of public restrooms and the rudeness of the restaurant owners about using their restrooms means less people eating and shopping here that are over 55 to.. We go to Monterey/Pacific Grove where parking is free, the sidewalks are in good shape and restrooms are welcoming to all. We have a long history here but alas, cannot enjoy it any longer due to poor city planning and the danger of the poor constructed sidewalks.

  3. / Jan 21 2014 2:53 am

    Thank You , Linda!!!!!

  4. Alice Strom / Jan 21 2014 3:04 am

    John, Interesting on Carmel by the Sea…also the post before this one.


  5. Linda Kerekes / Jan 21 2014 3:22 am

    I can’t wait for our long overdue trip to Carmel late this coming spring. We spent our honeymoon there 43 years ago and love it always. I so love your blog. For a few minutes I am transported there.

    Linda in Portland

  6. Michael Smith / Jan 21 2014 6:06 am

    Hamlet-Village come to mind as I look at your latest segment on livability ! Are electric golf carts permitted in carmel? Thank you. Michael

  7. Donna Kohler / Jan 21 2014 4:51 pm

    Linda, thank you for another interesting blog subject. The livability of Carmel is what we love though we only do day trips from Fresno. It brings back memories of when we lived in the medieval center of Amersfoort, the Netherlands, where our car sat in the garage only to be used when we had to go out of town. The green grocer was at the corner, full shopping within a couple of blocks after walking through the 1200s arch of the restored water gate and our favorite restaurants were in ancient buildings, sigh. Now we must drive 1.2 miles to the closest grocery store, it’s just not the same. You are right, smaller is better.

  8. Mary Thurston / Jan 22 2014 1:04 pm

    Back in the 50’s I used to shop at Nielsens Meat Market and store. Is Greg still around? I graduated with him. Also went to Carmel Library a lot with Mom, Jane Buffington, and to study for school.

    • Linda Hartong / Jan 22 2014 1:10 pm

      Nielsens has changed hands and is run by a nice family who work hard.

  9. Jocelyne / Jan 28 2014 2:13 pm

    It really is a wonderful place to live !

  10. Sonia / Feb 2 2014 7:56 pm

    I love visiting Carmel and the best part is being able to walk to the beach and along Scenic drive from the inns on Ocean Ave. It’s my favorite little town to visit and I’m looking forward to my trip there in April! Love your blog because I get to “visit” more often through your beautiful photographs!
    Miss Bloomers

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