Sweet Carmel

carmel california

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.

carmel flowers

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.

carmel valley ranch

wild turkeys

smores

swimming carmel

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.

casanova

casanova carmel

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.

bernardus

bernardus marinus

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.

monterey bat aquarium

aquarium beauty

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.

church

carmel mission

cross at the mission

Now, if we ever want to sneak away for a romantic weekend to Carmel, I think we’ll need a code name- maybe Nougat?

girls in carmel

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6 thoughts on “Sweet Carmel”

Hi Val, You hit some of my favorite spots, love that aquaruim and mission. My best friend lives in PG, so been there many times, also my hubby was at the language institute, a million years ago. We used to go in October for the Monarch festival, and house tour. Hope the monarchs are still there. Glad you had fun.

Valerie…every pictures is amazing/incredible/fantastic/spectacular. I can see it’s a ‘must go’….and your little girls are adorable. Twins?

I am in love with the garden apron, btw…will blog it soon….

thank you so much! xx lylah

Very beautiful photographs – you have such a good eye. It’s so sweet that you took your daughters to your special spot. Guy and I have had several wonderful stays there, but we haven’t been there in years. Back in the Stone Age when my sister and I were little, my parents went to Carmel for a much needed getaway. They brought back miniature, hand-painted tables and chair sets – a red set for me and a yellow one for my sister. They were treasures to us, and I always dreamed of going to Carmel someday myself. So lovely to see that it’s still that very special place. Happy to hear you had a wonderful time!

Sounds like a great weekend. Bring back fond memories for us too of that amazing wedding weekend, thanks for sharing – awesome pictures

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