Distance from Marin: 130 Miles South
CONCEIVED AS AN artist enclave in the wake of San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake and fire, this diminutive town has maintained its independent spirit ever since, boasting a 100-year-old creative community. Here, visitors will find galleries, fine dining, a variety of unique trees, and dogs just about everywhere, making Carmel-by-the-Sea an ideal destination for the whole family. Among the things that can’t be found here? House numbers, chain restaurants, streetlights, and high-heeled shoes. Unorthodox as this may seem, it all adds to the charm of the locale. Here are some other not-to-be-missed aspects of Carmel.
Relais & Châteaux, a global group of more than 500 luxury hotels and restaurants, will be holding its fourth annual GourmetFest this March in locations throughout Carmel. The four-day fête brings top chefs from around the world, fine wineries and luxe brands to the town for more than 18 events, including cooking demos, lunches and dinners, off-site tours, VIP parties and a “Taste of the World” finale. gourmetfestcarmel.com
Founded in 1771, Mission San Carlos Borromeo del rio Carmelo, more commonly known as the Carmel Mission, was Saint Junipero Serra’s favorite of the 21 California missions and served as his home base. The Catholic Church declared Carmel Mission a minor basilica, a distinction the pope gives churches that contain sacred relics or are historically significant, in 1961. Currently, it is also the only standing mission to have its original bell tower dome. carmelmission.org
The city has plenty of lodging options, no two alike thanks to the “no chains” policy that also applies to hotels. Having just the right amount of buffer from the main drag of shops and restaurants on Ocean Avenue, the newly revamped Hideaway lives up to its name with cozy accommodations that tempt guests to stay put. Rooms feature fireplaces and the ultimate fixture of any hip hotel in 2016: hanging barn doors. These factors, combined with a courtyard fire pit, evening wine-and-cheese hour and cookie turndown service, make the boutique inn a tranquil getaway. hideawaycarmel.com
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition with the headline: “Seaside Serenity”.