Carmel-by-the-Sea: the jewel of the Central Coast

The Côte d’Azur is closer than Californian’s think. Stroll the streets in the quintessential Mediterranean Carmel-by-the-Sea and be swept up in the architecture, the art, the food and wine and the community. The remarkable blue water and white sand beaches transport visitors to the captivating coast, right in their own backyard.www.carmelcalifornia.com

Ocean Avenue is the entrée into the jewel box by which everything spreads out. Open up the precious package and find glistening restaurants and inns, ready to serve your every need. After parking your car, shake off the city and stress and breathe in the fresh ocean air. Check in, and ease into your stay with a glass of wine and a friendly chat with locals at Vino Napoli. Then stroll across the street to La Bicyclette, newly expanded and offering seasonal fare as well as a friendly ear by famed owner Walter Georis. Perhaps hit the Georis sons’ restaurant, Mundaka, after dinner for live music and a cocktail.

Did we mention Carmel is a haven for food and wine lovers? With no fast food restaurants in the city, the city’s charming eateries and tasting rooms offer a full range of cuisine and wine tasting all within walking distance from the over 40 hotels and inns. From Wine Spectator award-winning restaurants to casual eateries and pubs, great dining is abundant. Upon waking up, head to the newest “it” spot at Pastries & Petals for a breakfast, a latte and friendly company. Later in the afternoon perhaps retrace the steps of 2010 US Open winner, Graeme McDowell, by heading to Brophy’s Tavern for a pint and friendly chatter.

If you are traveling with fido, certain restaurants cater to your four legged friend and so does the Cypress Inn. Just inside the revered adobe lodge, owned in part by animal-lover Doris Day, a welcoming jar of dog biscuits greets guests waiting to check in. Portabella restaurant seats canine companions with their masters in its covered patio, and a dog or two are always visible under the tables in the open-air patio at the Village Corner restaurant.

European style, 4-star service, and innovative Italian cuisine have brought Casanova world acclaim with its fresh pasta, changing menu, and hand-dug wine cellar, and it is also known as Carmel’s most romantic restaurant. Bouchée Restaurant, Wine Bar and Wine Merchants offers exquisite California cuisine, a deep wine list, and retail sales of rare and hard-to-find wines. At Cantinetta Luca, the look, feel, and taste of Old Italy come tantalizingly to life in this classic yet contemporary establishment where everything is fresh and home-made. Watch your food being prepared in a 4-sided, open kitchen with an authentic, wood-burning pizza oven. Much of the menu is served family-style. At Grasings, Master chef Kurt Grasing offers creative coastal cuisine paired with outstanding Central Coast wines and a newly expanded lounge. Just a stroll across Ocean Avenue, Aubergines’ Executive Chef Christophe Grosjean focuses on making the most of fresh, natural farm products delivered daily-with spontaneity being a key ingredient. The intimate, 12-table restaurant features an underground wine cellar with a 4,500 bottle collection.

Guests will be beguiled by the city’s artistic roots which are a century old and closely tied to world-class shopping and dining, with the finest in fashion, jewelry, and boutiques this side of the Riviera. With over 100 art galleries featuring the likes of, local son, Ansel Adams, Carmel-by-the-Sea mirrors the famed French Riviera that boasts the works of innumerable artists seduced by the land and light. All of this is offered in a neat bundled package in a one-by-one square mile. The continental village is a glistening jewel box in the heart of the Central Coast of California waiting to be opened.

Unwrap over 60 hidden courtyards that invite visitors to explore.With many of them leading to surprising gardens, restaurants, theatres and galleries tucked away among the shops. Window boxes, garden benches and potted and hanging baskets flourish, adding a gift of Mediterranean color year round. From outdoor malls to family-owned boutiques, Carmel offers a shopping environment that wants for nothing but infinite time to explore it. Be sure to stop in and let Carmel Plaza’s White-Glove Concierge Center make your visit here a true celebration. Treat yourself to a visit to the Cottage of Sweets with cottage rooftop and awnings and storybook architecture that make this a quintessentially sweet Carmel spot.

Performing arts are in the blood in Carmel-by-the-Sea; once a school auditorium, the Sunset Center, http://www.sunsetcenter.org, is a converted state-of-the-art cultural center hosting world-class performances. Other venues include the Golden Bough Playhouse and Circle Theatre that host ongoing lineups of symphony, ballet, plays, and more.

While some opt to take a picnic basket down the beach, from Carmel Plaza’s Cheese Shop, with a bottle of chilled wine and artisanal cheeses from around the world with a box of wood to light a fire under the star light, other visitors like the idea of being served a four-star meal while on vacation. Both options are suitable and available in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

The jewel box we call Carmel-by-the-Sea contains fine wine, dining, gothic inspired architecture and envied sound system at the Sunset Center, all with the backdrop of the Cerulean blue water and white sand beaches, Comstock cottages, shopping, spas and art galleries. All offered within walking distance to renowned inns and hotels that roll out the red carpet for visitors, and favorite four-legged friends. What are you waiting for? http://www.carmelcalifornia.com

For a full listing of specials, restaurants, hotels, inns, art galleries, shopping and more visit http://www.carmelcalifornia.com

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One response to “Carmel-by-the-Sea: the jewel of the Central Coast

  1. carmelresortinncottages

    Carmel Resort Inn Cottages is a unique and truly affordable B&B offering a collection of old fashioned “artists” cottages. Warm, geniune hospitality, and sparkling clean rooms makes Carmel Resort Inn Cottages the traveler’s choice! http://www.carmelresortinncottages.com

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