Perhaps you have read about Carmel’s Golden Rectangle and wondered “what the heck is that?”.
Courtney Jones of Carmel Realty informs us
“it is literally a rectangular area outlined by Ocean Avenue, Scenic Avenue along Carmel Beach, Santa Lucia and San Carlos Street.
What you’ll find in this highly desirable area is typically a 1,600 sf, 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home on a 4,000 sf lot.
40-60% of these properties are vacation homes. The average price per square foot runs about $1,100 these days, down from about $1,500 in the hey day.”
We bought in this area many years ago so that we could walk to all that Carmel offers. Real Estate values tended to be more predictable here than in other areas and we needed that as second home owners.
Our bungalow is 900 sq ft with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths.
Monte Verde 5 SW of 12th is a newer home in the Golden Rectangle. It was built in 2005.
The landscaping and the stained glass window always catch my eye.
Today a “For Sale” sign is up so I go to its website. It is listed by Mike Canning of Carmel Realty for $2,2500.00.
Courtesy of the web site, I slip in the gate and
admire the stone patio.
I love the open floor plan with vaulted ceilings, pecan floors and arched doorways.
The patio is built around this tree because trees “trump” floor plans in Carmel. I see many homes with this configuration.
The fireplace is welcoming. Carmel’s temperate climate encourages the use of patios and decks every day.
The kitchen has Viking appliances, granite counter tops, and a walk-in pantry.
The master bedroom and bath are on the main level.
The master has a fireplace.
Love that porthole window in the shower. That used to be a trademark sign of a Don McBride built home.
and the sink configuration.
There is one half- bath.
Upstairs two bedrooms
share a bath.
Such a pretty home. It was a treat to tour courtesy of Carmel Realty.
The one square mile of Carmel-by-the-Sea does not have home addresses. Owners give their home a name.
Sometimes it is its geographical location like the 5th house north of 13th on the west side of Casanova St.
and sometimes just delightfully whimsical.
I often admire “B BY THE SEA” and its guest house “Nothing Happened Here in 1936”. Although I do not give much thought to the names, I am intrigued by the gargoyle atop the chimney.
This is a handsome home and I would love to see the owner’s garden, so I march up to the front door
and tap the knocker.
While I wait ,I photograph this wonderful jar.
No one answers so around the house I go
Into the formal boxwood garden this gardener has created.
Such tasteful ornamentation.
I read the sign on the side door, but it is not so… she is not in the garden.
So off I go again admiring the vine espalier on the fence.
I am tickled to find that Jerry Gervase, columnist for the Pine Cone, has written about the house in one of his clever articles.
He enlightens me on the gargoyle and the name.
The gargoyle caused a bit of a flap when it was added to the chimney. So much so, it had to go before the planning committee who voted to allow it.
The home was named by the Brieholz’s daughter . The “B” stands for their name.
An enterprising fellow has mapped all Carmel’s named homes on a google map. I think you will enjoy looking it over. Below is the link.
I would be remiss if I neglected to tell you that you can enjoy more of Jerry’s articles in Carmel’s weekly paper, THE CARMEL PINE CONE. I receive my free weekly paper by e-mail. Click below to subscribe.
When Carmel was just a small community of artists and Bohemians, formal performance venues were few,so artists created informal salons in their homes where they explored and shared new ideas, creations, and perspectives of life on the western American edge of the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s.
The Carl Cherry Center for the Arts carries on this old Carmel tradition. This artistic hideaway provides an environment for contemporary theater, art exhibits, concerts, solo dramatic performances, and poetry readings.
I am off to find the Center. I know it is at 4th and Guadalupe but even when I arrive I am in doubt that this is the place.
I feel I have traveled back in time to Old Carmel.
I park in front and get out of my car, only to find I have just missed a lecture on Joseph Campbell. My Psychology professors would be so disappointed in me.
The front door is closed and locked so I make my way around the building.
Once the building looked like this. A Victorian with a lot of gingerbread trim.
Very similar to the Abbie Jane Hunter house across the street.
It was known as the Augusta Robertson cottage when it was built in 1890, the original house was acquired by Carl Cherry’s mother in the 1920s. Today, rooms that were once living and lounging areas serve as exhibit space for local and national painters, sculptors, and photographers.
Very little of the original house remains. Carl Cherry
bought it from his mother, Mrs C.E. Thatcher, in the 1930’s. When he moved into the house with his lover Lena Burton,
photo from Historical Archives
wife of Dr. Albert Burton, former Dean of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lena was 24 years older than Carl and even in Bohemian Carmel the two raised eyebrows.
The two removed the second story and added a large work room and studio. It is said that “she climbed a ladder, drew a chalk mark around the upper story and told a carpenter to cut it off there.” John Woolfended -Herald Special Writer.
Carl invented the blind rivet which revolutionized the aircraft industry. He died in 1949 at the age of 46.
Lena changed her name to Jeanne d’Orge and established the Cherry Center in Carl’s honor.
I see a path leading west of the Center and explore. This is the Houston Memorial Sculpture Garden.
Once a tire, this has become an exotic plant.
I circle the garden and enjoy the “Balance Series”.
The door is still locked so I come back another day to find it open.
The docent watering the garden tells me an show by Jim Casteel and Peter Partch is just being installed and allows me to sneak a few photos.
What a beautiful space.
The Center also has an intimate 50 seat theater.
For performers, the Cherry’s small theater space enhances storytelling and helps draw in the audience. Actors and directors also connect with the audience after performances, mingling in the Cherry Center gallery where discussion is welcomed and encouraged.
The Cherry also produces concerts, recitals, and multi-media performances, as well as a regular series of stimulating lectures, workshops, classes, and panel discussions, entertaining and informing theater audiences throughout the year.
Jeanne d’Orge was a fascinating and complicated artist. For further reading I suggest “Better Than Beauty- the Life and Work of Jeanne d’Orge by Jane Wilgress.
I collect books about Carmel. I find them at garage sales, on e-Bay, Amazon, Google Play, Biblio.com ,and even the Carmel Chamber of Commerce Store, Here is an alphabetical list of my favorites..
Two books from the Images of America Series :
“Carmel A History in Architecture” by Kent Seavey
A pictorial history of how Carmel’s architectural character was formed. Kent does the reviews on Carmel’s Historical properties.
“Carmel By-The -Sea” by Monica Hudson
Monica is a long – time resident of Carmel. I had the pleasure of taking her walking tour. We chatted about her extensive research for this book and her sense of responsibility to “get it right”.
“Carmel A Timeless Place” by Steve Shapiro
Photos and text by a Carmel Photographer
“Carmel~ By ~The~ Sea, The Early Years” (1903-1913)
by Alissandra Dramov is my latest discovery. It was published in December of 2013.
I have just started reading but already appreciate the scholarship behind this very readable book. The author is a native Californian , journalist, producer and writer.
She is currently writing “Carmel-by-the- Sea, The Growth Years” (1913-1943)
“Carmel’s Fairy Tale Cottages” by Mike Barton
He captures the essence of Carmel in hundreds of photographs and text.
All of the above books can be found easily in Carmel stores.
“Carmel Today And Yesterday” by Daisy Bostick
Daisy was a high school teacher who first came to Carmel in 1910. She was an early manager of the Pine Inn.
She is best remembered for her writing and publication of “Carmel at Work and Play”, w/ Dorthea Castelhun
in 1925. Carmelites owe her much, for she was either at the scene of or a part of much of what was going on, and took the time to make notes about it all.
“Cottages by the Sea- The Handmade Homes of Carmel,America’s First Artist Community” by Linda Leigh Paul.
This book will give you an exclusive look into 34 of Carmel’s private homes.
“Creating Carmel-The Enduring Vision by Harold and Ann Gilliam
My number one choice for a comprehensive view of how Carmel came to be and how Carmelites try to keep that spirit alive.
I love the inscription on my used copy.
Available on Amazon
“Curious Customs Of Carmel” by El Frieda Liese
Don’t miss this small paperback with its funny drawings and examination of many curious customs of Carmel.
“Mamita’s House – A True Tale of Tortilla Flat”
as told my Lois Robin
A fascinating story of life in Mamita’s House still at Monterey and 2nd in Carmel.
Kathyrn Gaultieri has written a murder mystery. “Murder In The Pines”, and if you have read “Carmel at Work and Play” you can easily imagine on whom her fictional characters are based
“Of Una Jeffers- a Memoir”by Edith Greenan
Wonderfully readable. It not only portrays Una but also the Carmel of her time. Edith was a friend of Una.
“Secret History of Carmel” by John Thompson
John is a writer and artist who conducted interviews with older Carmelites to find out the “secret” knowledge. I bought it on Amazon and enjoyed it.
“Tales from the Taxicab and Other Stories from
Carmel-by-the-Sea” by Sam Colburn
Sam is a watercolorist, golfer, taxi driver, taxi dispatcher, and an Honorary Life Member of the Carmel Art Association. The book is a series of vignettes and sketches.
“The Fairy Tale Houses of Carmel” by Joanne Mathewson
Drawings and text about Hugh Comstock’s Cottages. Some of it true and some imagined by the author.
Stephanie Ager Kirz is the editor of the 2nd edition of her book. This book can be ordered on-line from the Carmel Heritage Society Shop.
“The Seacoast of Bohemia” by Franklin Walker
Tells about the tradition and lore of the early days of Bohemian Carmel. My favorite time in Carmel’s history.
And then there are all the books that set in Carmel. I enjoy going to The Pilgrams Way book store in Carmel and buying the Elaine Flinn murder mysteries
or “The Bohemian Murders” by Dianne Day.
There is even a children’s book “It’s a King’s Life in Carmel-by-the-Sea” by Emily Randolph and Dan Merchant.
This excerpt gives you an idea of the tone of this happy little book with great illustrations.
“Follow your nose! Life is an adventure!” So says Sadie, the Cypress Inn’s doggie concierge to Happy and Lady (two Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Cavaliers) when they arrive in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
For more novels set in Carmel see the Harrison Memorial Library List.
They also have a list of Carmel area Authors such as James Elroy, Jane Smiley, and Jack London to name a few.
I’m sure there are many I have missed. If you have found a good book about Carmel please add the Title and Author in your comment.
“Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.”
― Jane Smiley, Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel
San Carlos Square is tucked away at San Carlos and 6th. across from The Visitor’s Center.
It is distinguished by the glass house in its center that was once occupied by Ambrose Pollock furniture. It is now vacant and for sale.
So lets skip back to the first shop on the right as we enter The Hat Shop- Welcome to The Hat Shop Carmel, CA
It opened in July 2011and is run by Amy Feising and Brian Andrews pictured above. These two are determined to make a go of the shop. They are there at all hours to fit you with the perfect chapeau.
I would love to see Bill in this Sherlock Holmes number.
And look at this cloche.
It’s hard to choose. They carry over 400 styles!
— is a small boutique that carries timeless clothes just as it claims. The garments are simple yet polished. As I read about Loes, I find that she also offers clothing patterns for the home sewer and has four-day seminars with hands-on sewing instruction.
This is a far cry from the ties I made for Bill when he was in school. I was a vision in all the “stretch and sew” outfits I made for myself. I was clad in polyester for most of the late 1960’s.
Next up -Silvia Sweidan’s Concierge de Fashion.
A new addition to this courtyard. The owner refuses to fit neatly into any category. She carries fine cashmere socks for men,
boutique accessories for women, holds belly dancing classes and reads your aura. She is the most “California girl” I have met in Carmel and truly has a heart of gold. I hope she succeeds. Please pay a visit to her store when you are in the Square.
I read in the Pine Cone today that Silvia has purchased the gazebo in the square and will install Love Cafe where she will serve organic French press coffee and expresso drinks, food, tea, herbs and spices as well as pastries from local bakeries. She hopes to create a welcoming space in this courtyard to bring people together. Just what the courtyard needs!
This enterprising woman is partnering with Loes Hines and others to encourage the planting of organic home gardens. Well done Silvia.
And then my favorite restaurant in Carmel Club Jalapeño – Authentic Mexican Food – Carmel, CA.
If you like margaritas,
and I do, this is the place to come. It is small and cozy and run by a delightful couple. We recommend the stuffed artichoke as the best in Carmel. Bill gets it with bay shrimp while I favor the seafood enchiladas. Yumm! The coco prawns are also delicious.
They have added Mexican pizza which is wonderful for family groups.
I hate to leave but stroll on into the square.
Next you will find Brest Studios.
I note the sign, Artist Painting Live,
but the studio remains closed. So I peek through the window.
Then one night , as we leave Club Jalapeno, we walk by and the artist is “in” and painting.
What a delightful man.
Jacob is an abstract expressionist artist. We are blown away by the color and movement that surrounds us.
He has given up day hours for the most part and works at night when Club Jalapeno is open and diners stroll by his studio.
I have been told that Jacob is also a fine guitarist so I mention that my grandson and his father, who are with us ,are also serious guitarists. Out come the vintage guitars stored in the shop. He demonstrates and then allows our grandson to play. Only in Carmel.
Music is often the theme of a painting.
and Rub a Dub Dub
are two of my favorites.
Nancy’s Mid-Valley Florist also has a location in the square.
Nancy is hardworking and friendly. The shop is packed with goodies.
This was taken at Christmas.
It smells so good in here.
Her “Yelp” reviews are glowing- as I would expect.
This Square can look a bit forlorn at times but its occupants are all “one of a kind” and colorful.
A livable city creates public places where people can gather for community social life.
The most obvious place in Carmel is the beach. Dog walkers greet the morning with their friends while the dogs play.
At sunset , the beach is a lovely place to be alone playing your guitar, meditating or drinking a glass of wine.
People gather for cook-outs,
and canine events
Have you ever wondered how Carmel Beach stays so pristine? Well yes, the City does have a lot to do with it.
However since 1991, when it was initiated by Clayton Anderson, the Carmel Residents Association has sponsored a monthly volunteer beach cleanup program, which has contributed significantly to maintaining Carmel beach.
The beach cleanup project has contributed over 13,000 hours of volunteer community service. The State Coastal Commission has given special recognition to the CRA in its Adopt-a-Beach program.
A city is made “livable” by its residents.
Another such public spot is Devendorf Park at the top of Ocean Ave.
The city has quite a few events all year long planned in the park. Check the Carmel Pine Cone (online or paper) and they will outline the schedule of events. There are Public restrooms and plenty of parking (except holiday weekends) nearby.
During Concours I see an elegant lunch being held for participants.
Each year on the Saturday before Easter, the Carmel Host Lions Club hosts Breakfast with the Bunny in Defendorf Park. The party is not an egg hunt, but a morning feast, games and other fun holiday-inspired activities for adults and children, alike. Visit the Easter Bunny, have your face painted and otherwise celebrate spring’s arrival in the city’s beautiful downtown park.
Enjoy the art festival, the annual Memorial Day Ceremony so nicely captured by Lynn Momboise
and the 4th of July with free hot dogs, cold drinks and ice cream courtesy of local clubs and groups.
Chamber of Commerce photo
Watch the Christmas Tree Lighting and meet Santa. Wow, that temperate climate really helps one enjoy these events.
Beautiful Ocean Ave. with its planted median and charming shops is also much used for community social life.
We watch the Prom King and Queen in their parade down Ocean.
Our little granddaughter parades in her kitty costume in the Halloween Parade and afterward enjoys hot dogs at the Sunset Theater.
During Car Week, we walk up to see the Concours on the Avenue,
The Pebble Beach Concours Tour D’Elegance.
Strolling up the Ave,
we meet friends and neighbors, stop for a chat, or sit on a bench
and people watch.
Harrison Memorial Library gets me out and about often and not just to check out books, movies etc. They sponsor many free local history lectures which I love and have just started a Book Club in the Local History Room.
The Children’s Library has story time and craft projects.
A “livable” city cares about those who can no longer get out and about. Volunteers and staff bring library material to homebound people in Carmel-by-the Sea.
The lower level of Carmel Plaza has also become a popular public space.
When I stop by in the morning, the dog walkers from the beach are meeting for coffee.
Carmel Plaza sponsors art exhibits, and a wonderful music series, I see neighbors holding seats for friends,
sipping wine and dancing.
The local Farmers Market is the latest of my favorite public spaces. Great produce, friendly vendors and another chance to meet and greet.
The American Institute of Architecture says that if a village is “livable” , “its residents have a sense that life is meaningful, that they are of value to others and that there is much to discovered in the human and physical world around them”.
I believe Carmel is such a place. Carmelites put much effort into preserving the beauty of its natural setting, its unique architecture and its welcoming public spaces. They are wonderful stewards of this village.
I published this article several days ago and then removed it when a reader said I sounded like the Chamber of Commerce. He suggested that I should also address Carmel’s problems.
That is really not my purpose in writing this blog. I began writing so that I could discover this little town and learn more about the history of all I see. This I have done and shared with you. Of course Carmel is not perfect and faces problems. I will let others address those issues. My purpose is to share the joyful things I see and experience. I hope they bring pleasure to you too.