California Dreamin' Series 3: Carmel-by-the-Sea and Pebble Beach

The Beauty and the Beach

You can’t go to Carmel-by-the-Sea without driving the 17-Mile Drive. Take the North entrance (cost $9.50) and drive southbound, ending at Carmel. The drive itself is terribly exciting, and every few seconds reveal more of one of the world most famous scenic drives. The drive is marked with twenty-one points of interest: From a vista point that gives you a grand view of Monterey Bay and the Santa Cruz mountains to the Pacific coastline. You will pass through the majestic Del Monte forest and canopies of majestic trees. Make sure your camera battery is fully charged as there are even more revelations as you drive along the Pacific Coast.

The China Rock where Chinese fisherman build lean-tos rocks for their homes in the late 1800s and early 1900’s will inspire you.

Don’t let the pure white sand beach below the Fanshell Overlook entice you to set up your beach umbrella yet, there’s a white sandy beach waiting for you at Carmel.  Peel your eyes open at Bird Rock, which is home to shorebirds, seals and sea lions.

The Ghost Tree with a trunk bleach white from the wind will amaze you. And of course the Lone Cypress, one of California most enduring landmarks, perched on the rock for more than 250 years, will test the photographer in you.

There are also great views of the luminous green golf courses.  If you're into golfing, you can visit the historical Lodge at Pebble Beach. It is home to the world famous Pebble Beach Golf Links. There are shops and restaurants there. If you're not into golfing, skip it.  Soon enough you’ll be at Ocean Avenue in Carmel. Suddenly on your right, you’ll find public parking, it’s the beach area. Walk down to enjoy the expansive white sandy beach.

I hope you did not forget to pack your beach essential (sun shade, sun block, beach umbrella and towels). Set your beach towels, beach umbrella up and relax. The smell of pine from your 17-mile drive lingers, and now with the added smell of sea spray, the air is intoxicating. With the sea at your side and the gentle sounds of the waves, you’ll fall asleep and perhaps dream in color of turquoise and melted sapphires shining in the sand. Remember the best things in life are free.

As so often with the best things in life, it will soon end. You’ll wake up feeling hungry. If you forgot to pack some lunch, don’t worry as there are plenty of quaint shops and restaurants that offer fresh fares. There are no fast-food restaurants in Carmel, but the town is walkable.  If you want lunch or dinner, find Flaherty Oyster Bar and Restaurant on 6th Avenue. It’s two restaurants in one and has been in the area forever. Their seafood is good and reasonably priced.  If you’re a coffee addict like me, you’ll look for the Carmel Coffee House. It’s tucked inside an alley way and has an outdoor seating. It serves organic coffee.

You can’t leave Carmel without visiting the Carmel Mission Church. Carmel Mission Church is listed on the US National Register of Historical Places. Father Junipero Serra erected the mission cross there on August 24, 1771.  If you happened to be there on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, you might be able to attend mass.
Visit the museum and enjoy the gardens and have your moment of heavenly perfection.  Carmel-by-the-Sea, the best of both worlds for the soul!

NOTE:  All photos by the author



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