Summer may officially be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a sweet escape to Carmel-by-the-Sea, where Europe meets the Cali coast.
Grub with locals on a hearty breakfast at Katy’s Place (eight kinds of waffles!). Take in poolside views over cocktails at the new Fuse Lounge Cafe at Carmel Mission Inn. Lovebirds seeking the ultimate romantic setting flock to legendary Italian spot Casanova. Finally, hit the Piano Bar at Clint Eastwood’s historic Mission Ranch for a late-night sing-along.
B&B types adore the cozy Colonial Terrace for the fireplace, breakfast, and old-school flicks available for in-room viewing. Step it up at the charming L’Auberge Carmel and chill in the courtyard with a great book. La Playa Hotel’s Loghaven cottage, complete with kitchen and yard, is one block from the beach and sleeps eight. Hello, group getaway.
Stroll down the main drag, Ocean Avenue, stopping at Hansel-and-Gretel-ish Cottage of Sweets for fudge and more than 50 flavors of licorice. Find kitchen gadgets and home accessories at Carmel Bay Company. Pack a beach picnic of wine, cheese, and gourmet snacks at The Cheese Shop in Carmel Plaza.
Hug the curves of the picturesque 17-Mile Drive in nearby Pebble Beach and stop at The Lodge for a cocktail overlooking the eighteenth green. Or build sand castles and splash around the dog-friendly beach before 5 o’clock yappy hour at Doris Day’s Cypress Inn. Adventurous types should hike the trails of Point Lobos State Reserve, also ideal for scuba diving, kayaking, and snorkeling.
Or just go to see the forest for the trees.