So to begin the story, the town of Carmel is so beautiful, as I said in a previous blog. It is a special place. A cottage town that is charming, sophisticated, rustic, artistic, lush, wealthy, and friendly. I lived here in the 80’s and worked at Saks Fifth Avenue which is sadly no longer here.
During my last visit this past June I decided to take a “Walking Tour of Carmel” and actually learn about the beautiful city I l love to this day, worked in, and visited for many years after I moved to the Bay Area and now living in Tucson.
My tour was a leisurely 2-hour guided walk through secret pathways, hidden courtyards, award-winning gardens, and enchanting storybook cottages. As the group met for intros in the Courtyard of Pine Inn ( My favorite place, Il Fornaio Atrium for biscotti and espresso.) Secrets were starting to unravel about the town and I was intrigued and amused!
What to wear on a walking tour?? My kick ass ankle cognac boots of course. These were handmade and have helped me with many travels with both comfort and style !Kelly Steele was our guide and he makes his home in Carmel-by-the-Sea, having lived here since he was one year old.
He takes special pleasure in sharing the beauty and history of the town with his fellow travelers.
He began the tour with Fun Facts!
It is against the Law to wear High Heels!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I called him out on this naturally. Before you walk in your five-inch Louboutins into Carmel, California, you will have to stop by the City Hall and secure yourself with a permit. Originally, the law, which prohibits heels taller than two inches, was intended to prevent against accidents on the city’s cobblestone streets that might lead to injury (which might lead to lawsuits).
Wow Nellie STOP!!!! This was so archaic and silly I had to follow thru and get me a permit! It was FUN and official. All my young years working at Saks Fifth Avenue and I never knew. It takes a tour to be introduced to the LAW!!!
Other Fun Facts
With celebrities such as Clint Eastwood and Joan Fontaine living in Carmel, it hardly made news when ardent animal lover/actress Doris Day purchased part ownership in the historic Cypress Inn. Below are some of Doris Day’s movie posters in the Lounge at the Cypress Inn. My personal favorite- Pillow Talk with Rock Hudson And residents of this dog-friendly community were no more surprised when she implemented the policy allowing pet owners to bring their dogs into their hotel rooms for the night. Guests, however, have been both surprised and thrilled. To this day dogs are invited in most shops, restaurants, hotels.
Unwilling to see their village become “citified,” Carmel’s founding fathers rejected the practice of house-to-house mail delivery in favor of a central post office. To this day, there are still no addresses, parking meters or streetlights, and no sidewalks outside of Carmel’s downtown commercial area.
So many other town highlights I want to share:
The Artist, Miho Simunovic had a gallery on Bryant Street in Palo Alto where I owned and operated Timeless, my Designer Vintage Consignment Store. We were neighbors and I was so excited when I saw his artwork in this Drug Store.
What to wear when dining at Cantinetta Lucas? My Calypso Navy Cashmere Sequined Long Sweater, jeans and tank underneath, Statement Earrings, Donald Pliner Silver Sandals.
Comfort + Style = Carmel Chic!
Having been a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia owner during my early years how could I not stop and honor thy Ghia?
Sidewalk Art Galleries and shops
Carmel Art Association
As I was walking the sidewalks in the window was this amazing painting of Airstreams. I have such a fancy over these , when I lived in California working at Sunset Magazine an article highlighted Airstreams as accommodations at the Shady Dell in Bisbee. Yes I was on the next plane for the authentic Airstream experience. It was Awesome!!!
The best and Stylish boutique I discovered was GBG Carmel. Pricey and wanted everything in it!
Farmers Market- How lucky was I to see beautiful vegetables. Vegetables always speak my language
As I continued my window shopping tucked away in a little courtyard was a little shop, Ruffle me to Sleep that sold pajamas and robes with an emphasis on beautiful quality fabrics. I met the owner, Dee Borsella, who is a seamstress and customizes pillowcases, lingerie, pj’s etc. I asked if she had anything naughty and she became intrigued. The answer was no, so I shared with her the naughty pillow cases I saw at Kiki Montparnasse in Vegas
On a final note I can’t forget the surfers catching the waves at the beach. As I walked Scenic Drive, there he was getting ready to catch the surf. I admire these guys for their adrenaline drive to seize the day and go for it!!! It’s called living in the moment! A lesson we could all learn, I know I need more of that!