A European-style town with plenty of fascinating quirks
The original town fathers didn't want their pretty village to get all 'citified'. So they did away with street addresses altogether. These days the practice continues, with no parking meters or street lights either, and no pavements apart from downtown. If you ask for directions, you'll get a colourful and descriptive reply concerning the characteristics and location of the place you're looking for. Which adds a whole new dimension to your Carmel adventures.
There are no fast food outlets in Carmel. Not one. But the restaurants are absolutely superb.
Carmel delivers stunning scenery, curious historic sites, great art galleries, excellent restaurants and a range of independent boutique shops. There are loads of really good spas and salons, ideal if you like to pamper yourself on holiday.
Visit in time for the Carmel Art and Film Festival, held each October
Take in a sow at the wonderful Pacific Repertory Theatre, famed for its bold and daring versions of stage classics
Relax on the town's magnificent white sandy beach or visit Point Lobos State Reserve, stunningly lovely
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Carmel Beach is a cracker, miles and miles of white sand bordered by Pebble Beach Golf Links, Frank Lloyd Wright's home and Point Lobos. It's a hugely popular beach for walking, jogging, surfing, dog walking, picnics, sunbathing and weddings, and the sunsets are breathtaking.
There are plenty of lovely green parks to mellow out in, including Picadilly Park, Forest Hills Park and Devendork Park
The town's GourmetFest international food and wine festival takes place in February
The lovely, sunny Carmel Valley itself offers more, with its own suite of hiking trails, wine tasting opportunities, golfing, eating out and art. There's an excellent self-guided walking tour available, taking you on a voyage of historic discovery and taking in delights like the famous Murphy houses, Memorial Library and the City Hall.
Discover remote, serene Garrapata State Park, just over six miles south of town and eighteen from Big Sur, a wonderful location to relax in beautiful scenery.
The Golden Bough Playhouse is a historic theatre where early Carmel bohemian types put on revolutionary performances. The building is now owned by the Pacific Repertory theatre, the town's only year-round professional theatre company. And you won't want to miss Jacks Peak Park, home to the 1,068 foot high Jacks Peak, the highest point on the Monterey Peninsula. If you love huge sand dunes and rocky beaches, head for the dramatic Asilomar State Beach, rugged and wild. Tor House and Hawk Tower were both built by the poet Robinson Jeffers. Preserved much as it was in his day, you can take a tour of the building. Tours take a maximum of six people at a time, 10am - 3pm Monday to Saturday, and you need to book in advance.
The crown jewel of the state's parks, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is a magnet for nature lovers. The landscapes are incredibly lovely. There's all sorts of wildlife to watch and the volunteers who run the place are friendly and knowledgeable. If serenity is your thing, you'll find it here in spades. The intricate and very pretty Catholic church, Mission San Carlos Borromeo del río Carmelo, is well worth a visit just to find out what a typical Latin-inspired Californian church looks like. In fact, a gentle stroll around the streets of this delighful 'village' is enough to calm and soothe your everyday stresses. That's mellow, sweet Carmel for you.
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