It's my day off from work today and I'm headed down to Carmel for the afternoon. Should be the perfect day to visit - it's a nice spring day and tourist season hasn't started yet. The only problem is: this year spring has been very cold and rainy in northern California, and so is Carmel today.
My first stop is Carmel Beach. I park in one of the parking spots near the beach and walk down to the beach. It's very windy and cold (52 F), and both the sky and the water look rather gray today. I can see big waves breaking near the shore. Only a few die-hards in warm jackets and hoodies walk along the beach. Even the dogs look a bit sad. I take a few quick photos and then walk uphill on Ocean Street to the downtown area where the many quaint shops and restaurants are located. By the time I reach the first shop, I'm all warmed up.
The first store I walk into is the 'Two Sisters Designs' jewelry store. I browse and see a lot of neat and unique jewelry at reasonable prices. One of the sisters (I assume) is busy making jewelry while I'm browsing. I end up buying a cute silver bracelet for $20.
I keep walking past art galleries, flower shops, candy stores, home decor stores, boutiques, and restaurants. One store I really like is 'Kurtz Culinary' on Ocean Street. I walk inside and it's a taster's paradise. Dozens of products are on display for sampling. I sample all kinds of wine jelly, tapenades, mustards, marmalades, chutney, spicy jelly, honey, pumpkin butter - and everything I sample tastes so yummy! Surprisingly I'm not buying anything; probably because I'm overwhelmed by all the choices.
I eat lunch at Carmel Belle. I'm having an American prosciutto sandwich with mozzarella and asparagus, and a cup of wild mushroom soup. Both dishes are excellent, and I'm taking some leftovers home for lunch tomorrow.
I check out a few more stores; a Turkish store with some interesting Turkish imports, Cottage of Sweets which looks straight out of Haensel and Gretel, and a few more home decor stores. By accident I find a beautiful plaza (behind the Wells Fargo Bank at Ocean and San Carlos) with water fountains, a blue shallow pool with a lion statue next to it, beautiful flower containers, and best of all, I have the place all to myself. I take a few photos, and enjoy the beauty and serenity for a bit.
I slowly walk back to my car (now it's all downhill), and take one last look at the gray and cold ocean. I know I will be back in the summer when the ocean is dark blue, the beach is white, and the whole scene is picture perfect. By the time I enter the freeway, it's raining hard and I'm glad I left when I did.
You can view my photos from today here: