The six hour road trip, from Huntington Beach in Orange County to Carmel by the Sea in Monterey County, California takes you down a scenic route. And it can really be a relaxing drive along the Pacific Coast Highway, except when you are traveling with kids in tow. Driving for so many hours with no DVD to keep time can be challenging. Even with their Nintendo DS and iPhone devices, there was always that nagging question of:”Are we there yet?”
After taking in the breathtaking coastal views and stopping for lunch at San Luis Obispo, we finally enter Carmel. The first thing that hits you is the scent of pine. Trees tower overhead as you make your way down small streets. It is like discovering a secret town in the forest.
In Carmel-by-the-Sea, streets are lined with art galleries and small Zagat-rated eateries. Everything is within walking distance, even the beach! There is a small town feel with added charm. Dutch doors and wooden signs give a distinctively Euro feel to this California town, that once had the actor Clint Eastwood as its mayor.
We stayed at the Hofsas House Hotel, one of the larger inns in the area, with 38 spacious rooms. The independent family-owned boutique hotel made us feel right at home. From the hot apple cider that greeted us at the lobby to the wine and cheese platter in our bedroom. Owner Carrie Theis was a gracious host, with Cajun, the canine concierge by her side. Everyone on staff was excellent too.
The weekend we visited, the weather wasn’t as sunny but still there were plenty of things to do. Just being able to go on foot around the charming town was a treat! We stopped at galleries and grabbed treats at Carmel Bakery en route to Carmel Beach. We also visited the Carmel Mission for a step back in time.
If you’re looking for a chill weekend getaway, consider Carmel by the Sea.