After all my bitching/complaining/lusting over a much-needed break, we decided it was time to pack in the car and head up the road for a few days to Carmel. It makes for an easy drive and unlike heading south on the 101, going north we had no traffic—amazing!
Carmel holds a special spot in our hearts—it’s where we tied the knot over ten years ago. Yet, in all our visits back we had never gone with the kids, always reserving it for romantic getaways and golf trips. Our girls were excited to finally come along. I think they were secretly anticipating a city made of caramel.
All it took was a few tweaks to turn the town from a romantic retreat into one of our most treasured family vacations, ever.
For the first time we stayed at the Carmel Valley Ranch, it is a nice mix of being a wonderful place to stay and feel totally comfortable having the kids in tow. There are swings hanging from the oak trees, s’mores in the evenings and an amazing pool facility for afternoon swims with our mermaids.
Whenever we are in town, lunch at Casanova is a must. There is an actual work table of Van Gogh’s in the dining room, which was a special place to sit with our little artists in tow.
Both restaurants at Bernardus Lodge are fantastic, Wickets is the more casual and Marinus is the epitome of the rustic tastiness of farm to table cuisine served in the most elegant and whimsical way imaginable.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium was fascinating, educational and flat out gorgeous. It was the perfect excursion for a few hours of enlightenment, but didn’t time suck the whole day.
Of course, the most sentimental stop was at the Carmel Mission. We took the historical mission tour and it was fun to watch through my daughters’ eyes how different life was back in the day. I’m still taken aback that I was married at such a beautiful place and it meant so much to share the memories with the girls.
Now, if we ever want to sneak away for a romantic weekend to Carmel, I think we’ll need a code name- maybe Nougat?