I believe that everyone should treat themselves to a magical “ME-scape.” This is a fabulous trip alone to enjoy quality time with self, while unapologetically and selfishly indulging in experiences that YOU truly enjoy. I did just that by planning a splendid vacation to Carmel-by-the–Sea, California. Rated #6 Travel Destination in the U.S., this quaint town is truly a majestic place that is filled with an abundance of beauty, peace and serenity. I was traveling alone so wanted to visit a place where I would feel safe and have access to things that I love like the arts, fine dining, scenic views, shopping, spas and the theater. This town had all of that and more – including a law that prohibits wearing high-heel shoes!
Like a scene from a fairy tale, all of the homes and hotels resemble beautiful artistic cottages. I stayed at the Bavarian-inspired, Hofsas House that is run by owner and general manager Carrie Theis. Upon my arrival, I was welcomed in the lobby by Carrie where she enlightened me about the 60-year history of her family-owned hotel which features 38- spacious, one-of-a-kind rooms. Speaking of rooms, my room was just perfect and even had a small kitchenette which was perfect for preparing my nice glasses of wine and cheese trays each evening.
Anyhow, Hofsas House provides continental breakfast, and is perfect for a me-scape, girlfriends getaway, a romantic rendezvous and even a family reunion. The best part is that it is located within walking distance of the many shops, restaurants, art galleries and beach, so I only drove my car twice throughout my entire stay.
I had a full day planned for my first day which began with a 10 a.m. walking tour with Gael Gallagher who’s highly -acclaimed “Carmel Walks” have been featured in an array of media outlets including USA Today, LA Times and HGTV, so I knew I was in good hands. And just let me say, that Gael did not disappoint, she was energetic and shared so much colorful history and background of the town and its treasures as we took a leisurely walk through secret pathways, hidden courtyards, award-winning gardens and by enchanting storybook cottages. It was such an amazing opportunity to truly experience the spirit, character and customs that make Carmel unique.
Once we wrapped up, I stopped by 5th Avenue Deli to grab a light lunch that I enjoyed while lounging on a bench near the town’s library that I saw earlier during our tour. It was great to just sit and watch the many people from all over the country parading through the streets and I even met a few locals who were very nice and welcoming.
After wrapping up lunch, I was ready to get my toes in some sand, so headed over to visit Carmel Beach. Let me just say…wow… absolutely beautiful! The white sand, the ocean, the breeze, the people…I was awestruck. On my walk over, I ran into a gentleman that I met earlier during the tour and he walked along the beach with me sharing his personal experience of living there in Carmel. His stories and company were truly a joy. I checked the time and realized I needed to take off so that I could rest up before my dinner reservation.
Dinner at Little Napoli Bistro Italiano was truly immaculate. I started with the Mussels Arrabbiata, followed by the Pacific Northwest Salmon with Asparagus and Mashed Sweet Potatoes. I read the reviews before hand and they were right on – everything was decadent. The service was great and the atmosphere was very warm and cozy. I think it was the first time during my trip where I thought it would have been nice to have a companion, but it was a quick and fleeting thought. A few moments later, I became engaged in conversation and laughter with a group of ladies sitting next to me!
I wrapped up dinner and rushed off to attend the PacRep Theatre’s showing of “Buddy Elvis and The Gang”. Oh my, it was such an exciting and energetic show that featured the dramatic performances of songs by legendary musicians and bands like Buddy Holly, Elvis, James Brown, The Mamas and the Papas, Marvin Gaye, and Ike and Tina Turner. I even ran into the ladies that I met at the restaurant earlier and we all just sang and danced together. Oh my goodness, what a great time we had!
The second day, I rose early to make my 10 a.m. private walking Art Tour with Rohana LoSchiavo. A sweet lady, Rohana was very passionate about the arts and it showed in her excitement as she led me through the array of art galleries that ranged from traditional to contemporary painting, sculpture and photography. I knew that Carmel was a haven for artists and writers, however was surprised to learn that the town has over 100 art galleries in one square mile of its many charming streets and alleyways. Amazing!
After my art tour, I jetted off to enjoy some sightseeing and shopping at many of the locally-owned boutiques. I bought a few souvenirs for family and treated myself to some unique items like handmade jewelry and distinctive stationary sets, which I love to collect.
Although not originally planned, Gael Gallagher offered to come back to take me out to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, so I hurried back to the hotel to change and meet Gael. The perfect tour guide, we parked and through binoculars were able to see lots of wildlife including families of Harbor Seals which are a common sight at the reserve. We then drove further up and joined other tourists as we walked nature trails, while taking in the amazing coastal scenery.
After a full day of tours, I was starving and was happy to make it back in time for dinner at Tarpy’s Roadhouse in Monterey. I enjoyed a nice steak and glass of wine before heading back to the room to turn it in for the evening.
It was my last morning in Carmel, so I woke up early to catch the sunrise on the beach, however I was a little late so just enjoyed the peace of sitting on the sand and listening to the whistling of the waves. It was very peaceful and serene and the perfect time for me to sit and reflect on life and the many things I had to be grateful for.
I walked back to the room to pack up so that I could check out of my hotel and travel the 17-mile Drive at Pebble Beach, which is a scenic route along the Pacific coastline and through the majestic Del Monte Forest. I made a few stops along the drive including Spanish Bay, where I again sat on the beach for a little while. It was my last day in Carmel, so I wanted to take advantage of every moment.
I was excited about my upcoming visit to the famous Pebble Beach Resort and Spa. It was great touring the facility and seeing the famous 18th hole on the golf-course. I enjoyed a breakfast at the Garden Café where I had the delicious red velvet pancakes before heading over to the spa. I was short on time, so quickly took advantage of the relaxation room, steam room and saunas. The place was so beautiful and every spa lover’s dream, so as you can imagine, I was sad to leave, but had to drive back to San Jose,CA to catch my flight back to the Lone Star State of Texas!
Although quick, my trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea was the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of work and home. It was truly an opportunity to love on me by treating myself to a luxurious experience doing and seeing the many things that I truly love and enjoy. It is the type of self-love vacation that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime!
Learn more about Carmel-by-the-Sea by visiting www.CarmelCalifornia.com