All photos by Amy Marietta and Joe Hodges
Carmel-by-the-Sea, what a beautiful, magical yet indescribable gem. I thought I had an idea of what to expect due to my grandparents who have been telling me for years about how much they absolutely love going on their annual Carmel trip, but it is truly a place you need to experience for yourself.
Joe and I arrived with a list of recommendations, excited to see what everyone was talking about and ready to create our own memories. Upon arrival, we felt as though we weren’t in California anymore. For the first time in a long time I felt completely relaxed, rejuvenated and as if I was on a retreat due to the clean, crisp air, breathtaking views, accommodating community, and plethora of culture.
At just one square mile, Carmel is Monterey County’s smallest village which was settled by artists seeking inspiration to write and paint so you can imagine how beautiful the culture is and how convenient it is that everything is walking distance. Carmel has been kept quaint, genuine, magical and full of culture due to the community which bans any neon signs, tall buildings, large chain stores, and stop lights. However, it is extremely pet friendly so you can take your pup pretty much anywhere.
Fun fact about Carmel: Clint Eastwood used to be the mayor.
This notoriously charming European-style town is the ultimate romantic getaway with it’s cozy bed and breakfasts’, whimsical architecture, wine tasting rooms, art galleries, one of a kind restaurants, friendly community, and the famous white sandy beaches.
Here is my 2 day itinerary of what to do in Carmel but my sincere advice is to relax and go at your own pace. Carmel is a place of inspiration and a place where you are meant to enjoy each and every moment and turn them into unforgettable memories.
And major thank you to Hofsas House for having us – we could not have had a better experience and cannot wait to come back!
Stroll down to Carmel Belle and enjoy a light breakfast. The avocado toast, oatmeal, fresh juices and coffee are phenom. Post up near their cozy indoor fireplace and blend in with the locals.
Walk around town exploring the hidden gems and make sure to stop by the famous Carmel Bakery on Ocean Ave which has a variety of beverages, grab-and-go snacks and baked goods which help avoid any hangry moments. Also the 5th Ave Deli is a great place to grab some food for a picnic.
Pack up the car and explore the magical 17 mile drive. This was hands down the most beautiful drive I’ve ever experienced in California. We could have stayed here all day making stops along the way to take photos and be annoyingly romantic and PDA, but then we got hangry. My advice is to pack a picnic and drive along the scenic route but make sure to allow yourself enough time to make stops along the way at the different lookouts.
The 17 mile drive leads you to Monterey Bay which is a perfect place to watch the sunset and grab some dinner. Explore the Monterey Pier and eat dinner at Abalonetti or order to-go like we did so that we could have a romantic dinner by the fire in our cozy hotel room.
Wake up at your charming, boutique hotel. I recommend Hofsas House with it’s unique decor. My favorite part about our room, besides the wallpaper, was the fire place. There is nothing like having a real fire burning at night when you are with your love. Take some photos, walk around town, enjoy the fresh and crisp air, get a coffee and just relax.
“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” George Sand
Then walk down to the beach and have a nice picnic there in the sand. All you need is a towel or blanket, food and wine and a camera to capture the beauty. This beach is one of the cleanest and most breathtaking spots in California.
Then end the day by watching the sunset from the beach or your hotel balcony like we did. The view from Hofsas House is stunning. Then go inside, light up the fireplace, pour some wine and get cozy with your love.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Lao Tzu
“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” Bertrand RussellCheers to true love and romance.