That’s Carmel, not caramel, although both are sweet.

Posted: July 3, 2015 in Travel
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Carmel is like a Thomas’ English muffin–full of nooks and crannies, although ones you want to explore, not fill with butter and eat. There’s a beautiful beach, hotels everywhere (fitting in seamlessly to the beauty of the town but seemingly perpetually full), restaurants, shops of all sorts, people, and flowers everywhere. There is also, or at least so our hotel manager told us, no air conditioning.

The beach at Carmel

The beach at Carmel

It wasn’t so much that the room was stifling, but closed rooms can get just slightly, well, closed and stale feeling. It was night, late, and we were ready to sleep, so we weren’t going to open the windows to air it out. The manager did send up a lovely fan and we took our respite after a long, beauty-filled day.


Our breakfast, included and ordered the night before, was delivered in a cute little cooler and included cereal, milk, juice, and bananas. Showered and refreshed, we spent some time wandering the town, heading first for the beach, then looking at shops while on the prowl for coffee (daughter) and tea (me.) But the constant was exclaiming over how cute/beautiful/whatever the town was. (The other constant, in my mind at least, was how on earth anyone could afford to live here!!) Houses in a variety of attractive styles, although not in this part of town, enormous, were surrounded by beautiful gardens. The commercial part of town was equally as attractive, my cameras (phone and Nikon) were kept busy, and our beauty-meter was sated by the time we got in the car to continue our trip with Napa at the end of this day.



It was a rather cruel shock to come around the corner, so to speak, and find ourselves in the real world of city, chain stores, and crowded roads. The imposing natural beauty of the coast and the charm of Carmel were abruptly gone. But we were headed to lunch with a friend of Shannon’s and looking forward to getting into wine country by afternoon.


The wait for lunch was made more than bearable by mimosas served in water glasses (i.e.large), good conversation, and delicious food. After that, we followed her friend through climbing, winding roads to a winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains he liked that has, like much of the area, a gorgeous view. They also had good wine, which we tasted. Then it was back in the car and on the road once more.

Our B&B

Our B&B

Sunday afternoon found us driving into Napa just as several lanes of traffic were trying to move out. That put us on the right side of the highway for a change. Next step was to find our B&B, which turned out to be in a lovely, quiet neighborhood. Our room on the second floor had its own entrance, a large open area containing a kitchen, living room and bedroom, as well as a spacious bathroom. The husband of our host couple welcomed us, as did the bottle of wine they left on the table, and then we relaxed, getting ready to go out and explore the town of Napa that evening.

And before I forget, California is home to one of my favorite foods.  Just imagine if all thistles were artichokes!  Yet much as I love them, I have to wonder:  Who on earth ever first thought of eating one???  No matter; I’m thankful for that person.

Flower of my favorite thistles!

Flower of my favorite thistles!

  1. Rome and surroundings is artichoke country too. I’m learning to enjoy them, prepared by masters such as amore and his dad 😉

  2. Lovely photos and trip – isn’t Carmel where Clint Eastwood was the mayor?

  3. Nice reading about your trip. Thanks. Randy

  4. Sounds like an absolutely wonderful trip with a very special person, your daughter. I’ve been there once and was in awe of the beauty of the landscape. I’d love to go back. 🙂

  5. Nato says:

    It looks so wonderful there. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Dear Janet,
    The photos a beautiful–eye-catching–and the stories are well told. I love your wordplay, and artichoke musing!

  7. Girl Gone Expat says:

    I would love to be on that beach right now – it is literally a heat wave here in Calgary now… Looks like such a charming area. And I love those tiles on the stairs – such great details!

  8. Thanks so much for the photos! I’ve been in California often, even living there briefly, but I’d never made it to Carmel. Love the pink wall with the gates! Nice. J.

  9. Got a chuckle over your title. It is a pretty area.(Although I am so spoiled to AC. It gets cooler at night, so that’s a big plus)
    I’ve always loved the tile on stairs.
    Enjoyed traveling along

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