Carmel, California

August 14, 2012

After leaving Morro Bay and driving up the 1 and the 101 we finally arrived in Carmel.

I really wanted to stop in here, despite hearing it’s very touristy. It’s the spot Americans come for a mini break and having heard its name on numerous sitcoms I didn’t want to miss out…

It is a little strange but its super cute.

Everything is over protected here, no sign steps out of the quaint look-line. 

Not even Shell…

 

 The place is full of shops, these sweet shop was like Hansel and Gretel’s house…

And lovely courtyards full of coffee shops and restaurants in every nook and cranny. 

The below hotel is amazing, and owned by the one and only Doris Day… I love it here and will tell you more about it soon. 

 There were hidden staircases everywhere with amazing tiles, so Spanish.

And it felt a little like ‘fall’ as we moved North. The trees made it look like it too. 

 

This guy was fully in the throes of a campaign, he is a local business man… we ended up in his restaurant without realising later that night… Love the pins.

There were some crazy shops… so many amazing home stores (I feel in love with some hand made towels, really), and huge numbers of jewellers with the most amount of insane (massive) diamonds I have ever seen in the windows, plus tons and tons of art galleries… some with weird Stallone art.

This little town is so posh it has a Tiffany’s… 

And a Bottega Veneta, and a Louis Vuitton, and many more stores you would not expect in such a small place.

This is the male uniform in Carmel… needless to say my husband was not joining in the prepster look.

 This bakery was around the corner from us…

Most famous for feeding the 4 legged inhabitants of the town… there are a lot of dogs here. In fact because of Doris Day the whole town is very friendly to mans best friend. 

We were only here for 1 night to break up our journey north, while I wished we had a little more time to explore I think my other half was very glad to get moving… he said Carmel was like Beverly Hills on steroids. I kinda know what he means but I liked it. Super cute and quaint with a ton of nice places to eat and drink.

I can see why it’s the mini break centre of California.

The sunset on our night there was so pink. It lit up the whole town.

We went back to our B&B, which was so lovely for the cheese and wine hour under the millions of fairy lights… 

We sat by the fire pit with the cat and ate our fill, the cheese and wine thing is big at American independent B&B’s and hotels. I love it.

Then we ran down to the beach to see the last of the sunset…

 Then we found a cute wine tasting pizza place with a fire…

Turned out to be Pepe the wannabe Mayors place… the wine came from Napa and was delicious…

And even though we had eaten cheese, we tucked into a pizza. Which was amazing.

Who wouldn’t want this guy as Mayor… he has his own pasta sauce! 

We stayed at the Lamp Lighter Inn and loved it, I will tell you more about it soon.

Like I have said we have mixed opinions about Carmel, but it is fun. There is great shopping, great eating and drinking and lots of famous people live here… Doris Day has a hotel here and Clint Eastwood used to be mayor and has a ranch nearby. How good would spotting those two be?

Definitely stop in if you’re heading by on your road trip!

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From Moro Bay we got back on the 1 to drive up to Carmel…

The views are pretty amazing. The soft top really came in to its own here. 

We couldn’t resist talking another photograph with this amazing backdrop. If the Mustang people want this photo… email me 😉

Then we ran into a little problem, the bridge was closed.

We were seeing signs saying this road was closed for a while but there were no turn off that we could see, we didn’t know where else to go and the views were good so we just kept driving.

I am glad we did because there was a really nice workmen waiting in his truck for people like us… so he told us where we needed to go.

Back the way we came for a little while… 

Then up what looked like a dirt track, with no sign post. Hence why we didn’t see this as a route before. There was barely enough room for one car, I was driving up the windy road very carefully in case somebody came from the other way. 

This drive was hairier than any we had in New Zealand. The edge was there… 

 The views up there were great though, then we turned off and started down the other side of the mountains (we were in Big Sur) and into some woods…

Then out onto an eery plain… there was a big Military base out there, signs of it everywhere but the base itself from far from any public eyes.

Then we found the 101, which is the quick road from LA to San Francisco, it’s not along the coast so no views.

One place I was excited to see though… we needed fuel after an extra few hours of unexpected driving.

In and Out burger is like McDonald’s, but good.

So good.

Next stop… Carmel! 

Morro Bay, California

August 7, 2012

From lovely Santa Barbara we drove up to Morro Bay, halfway there we found this amazing stop with this view… can you see that lake?

We also saw an old track where you can visit an old saloon, I wished we’d had time to go off our road and visit. 

We stayed at the cutest B&B here, right on the water. All of our towels were folded into cute things like elephants and shells… and in the bathroom the toilet paper into a ship. I love the details.

And there were shells with Hershey’s everywhere. Gotta love free chocolate. 

 

Mostly we were just excited to wake up to this view. 

The pontoon in the middle of the below photograph was for seals, the sound they made will always remind me of this town, it was like the soundtrack.

As soon as we arrived we went to a surf shack for fish tacos and hot dogs. 

Then we explored this little town… it’s a proper fishing harbour. 

It’s like the California version of a little Cornish town, with lots of little gift shops and instead of stalls selling rock or fudge they sell salt water taffy.

These dogs loved it… 

I do not get the taffy thing. The stuff is not nice… but they seem to love it here! 

The sunsets were amazing. 

We saw some amazing cars… this one was ours! 

Then we drove to a local pizza place to get some take out to eat on our balcony and listen to the seals… and all of these amazing cars were in the car park…

  

 

So we went inside to order and there was this amazing group of oldies, men and women having dinner together they were all dressed up and laughing… and I said to my Husband I bet the cars are theirs.

We asked the pizza guy and he said they come every friday for dinner together after a drive in their cars. Proper head turning group. I loved it.

Love this.

There was an actual red corvette there too. So beautiful.

Then we took our (amazing) pizza back and sat and looked at this view… so pretty. 

We woke up to another beautiful day… with the sailing club getting ready to go out on the water…

 

After we had breakfast we went for a long walk, deciding to go to visit that big rock… 

We saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang… for real! That is her right? Maybe her baby sister. So cute. So many great cars here. 

This was another taffy shop… really strange, it properly freaked me out. Those horses and the buckets of this horrible stuff. Crazy weird.

 

 The best thing about Morro Bay is this beach I think, it’s a short walk and is so natural.

We walked as far as we could and they climbed all over the rocks and sat in the sunshine and worked up an appetite for dinner.

Because we wanted seafood, and lots of it… Giovanni’s was amazing.

You really have to watch out for the gulls though, they were fearless and huge. 

And we sat and drank our wine and beer in front of another amazing sunset.

 

And somehow after all the food we ate at Giovanni’s I managed to find room for some rocky road…

 

Seriously watch our for the gulls… they will take your food from your hand. I saw it happen.

 Perfect postcard photo!

I love old speakeasy’s… so Americana. 

There were a few spots like that here, I liked this Saloon too… looks like the kind of place where they slide whiskey down the bar.

Then yet another corvette just on the street. 

And another shot of our car… we waited until we were somewhere picturesque to do this. Isn’t she lovely? 

And after two nights and feeling very rested and ready to get no the road again we left… on the 1 again up the coast, it’s a beautiful road. I was jealous of Adam getting to sit back and just look. We took the top down and blasted Prince out as we drove, so now every time I hear a Prince song it takes me back to this day.

We stayed at Estero Inn which was lovely, really great views, a help yourself breakfast and a spacious room with a very comfy bed.

Morro Bay was like a mini rest holiday within our long trip. We didn’t do much here except little walks, Adam caught up on work (he runs his own business) and eating nice food. We didn’t do many activities or go outside of the town. It was nice and we left feeling refreshed. It’s definitely worth a quick stop to break up your journey on the 1.