Carmel-by-the-sea, you've stolen my heart completely. Where can I even begin to tap into Carmel's magical layers of indulgence, charm, and adventure for you?
(in order of appearance)
1st. Three Dots jacket (avail soon). Lovers + Friends sweater. Joe's Jeans. Hare + Hart bag. La Mer watch. Kelsi Dagger shoes (50% off!). MAC 'Russian Red' lips.
On Kyle: Kennington shirt.
Only once before have I ever ventured into Carmel-by-the-sea for a quick day trip and in just those few hours walking along the brick-lined paths in the village, Carmel-by-the-sea intoxicated me with its beauty. Its small town grace procures a picture-perfect Kodak moment around every corner and they take the meaning of neighborhood seriously - there are no street addresses and no chain restaurants or hotels allowed. It's a village that remarkably stays untouched by the industrialized world most of us live in and it's truly a pleasure to be able to escape to this other-worldly town just a few hours away from home.
With our destination being Bottlerock, Kyle and I decided to make an adventurous roadtrip out of this past weekend. It's not often I get to drive up to NorCal anymore after graduating, so I demanded (without opposition) that we spend a day in Carmel-by-the-sea as it is undoubtedly worth our time. As we stepped up to our lovely, Bavarian-inspired bed and breakfast, Hofsas House, the crisp air of the forest and sea swept past us and it was literally a breath of fresh air for us. The difference between this air and that of any other city in LA, is so. real. Our gracious host and owner of the b&b, Carrie, gave us a brief introduction to the charming hotel - one that has been in her family for 67 years - and recommendations for fun things to do around the town. Kyle and I were already regretting not booking one more night! With our new wine passport in hand (get to that later), we settled into our large, very comfortable king room overlooking the trees and ocean of Carmel. A bottle of Ventana Chardonnay and deliciously robust cheese from The Cheese Shop were waiting for us, so we quickly got into those to start off our night's adventure. I used to be the last person to ever drink Chardonnay as I never quite loved the taste, but after trying some beautiful Chardonnays from Carmel (for which Carmel and Monterey are famous), my tastes have completely changed.
We didn't know how lucky we were to get to experience the Carmel Wine Walk by-the-sea when Carrie gave us the wine passport. One wine passport had 9 tickets, each redeemable for one flight of wine from any of 12 participating tasting rooms, all within walking distance in the village (and from our hotel!). Wine tasting without having to drive? It's going to be a good night. Our first stop along the tour was the closest to the hotel, De Tierra. It was a beautiful little space with quaint mediterranean vibes. What I've come to find and immediately love about wine rooms is the sociability of the activity - we struck up great conversations with people from all over the nation spending time in Carmel like us. Our favorite wine ended up being their Merlot, which we eagerly bought for our dinner the next night in Napa. It was getting nearer 7PM, a time when most of the wine rooms are closing, so we hurry to our next and last for the night at Silvestri. This room was a more modern setting with clean mahogany and marble decor. They had a brilliant Chardonnay to remember and their fun fact is that the owner is the renowned Hollywood composer, Alan Silvestri, famous for the musical scores of Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, Contact, Avengers, and so many more. While we quickly finished our flights past closing time, our appetite was raging.
We stumbled into the street only to realize our dinner destination, Mundaka, was literally across from us. It never got old how surprising it was that everything was so close and convenient. Mundaka is a creative Spanish-style tapas restaurant that filled us up with decadent bravas, stuffed dates, the juiciest duck, and of course a refreshing pitcher of sangria. Dinner was consumed faster than we ordered and on our way back to our hotel, it was my bright idea to head into Brophy's Tavern that looked like a ton of fun and was just across the street from the entrance of our room. No big deal. And that's the last I remember of that amazing, adventurous night of sensory overload.
It was a bright, beautiful, and early morning when we woke again and it's always a nice feeling knowing breakfast is ready for you right when you open your eyes. I put together a tray of delicious croissants and orange juice and headed back to our room to get ready for a brisk hike at Point Lobos State Reserve, one of the most magical places on Earth, in my opinion. It's nothing but a short 15 minute drive away and one giant leap into another world of untouched, serene nature. The trails follow along lush cliffs with the roaring, blue sea not far below. It's simply, majestic. And something you absolutely cannot miss when you're in the area.
After about a 1.5 hour excursion into nature, we drove back to Carmel to sadly check out of Hofsas Hotel and squeeze in some time at the village before we had to venture 3 hours north to Napa. Carrie suggested a cute brunch place not too far from the hotel (well nothing is far from anything in Carmel it seems) called Katy's Place. Sitting here to dine was like sitting in your Aunt's breakfast room while she cooked up extra big portions of a delicious meal just because she loves you. Katy's Place is a real charmer and brunch winner, definitely go! After we scarfed down our hunky meals, Kyle and I stopped into Caraccioli for some sparking wine before we leave Carmel for the weekend. Their Brut Cuvee was a phenomenal bubbly so that became an extra souvenir for an extra special occasion.
If I were a city, Carmel would be it; Carmel is my soulmate, I'm sure of it. And I can't wait to go back, sooner than later! Thank you all who have made it this far in my story - if you're planning a trip to Carmel (lucky you!), feel free to email me for more specific suggestions and travel tips! Just remember, stay at Hofsas House, eat at Mundaka, do the Carmel Wine Walk, see Point Lobos, and have an adventure.
P.S. My boo Kyle recently got back into the blogging game and is now The Blogger Boyfriend. Read his blog for "behind-the-scenes" Honey & Silk adventures and for the plus one, the guy-behind-the-camera, the blogger boyfriend side of the story.