Visit Carmel for the Holidays

Lunch overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Rocky Point Restaurant, south of Carmel-by-the-Sea

Amalfi Coast? No. Lunch on the patio of Rocky Point Restaurant, just a few minutes south of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

We love visiting Carmel for the holidays. It is a seaside town that got a taste of stardom when Clint “Dirty Harry” Eastwood became mayor for a short time in the mid-80’s. We stay at Doris Day’s Cypress Inn, and bring our dog. Bring holiday guests or come on your own, the natural beauty will blow everyone away.

Visit Carmel for the Holidays

Cypress Inn with Holiday lights.

Visit Carmel for the Holidays

The Cypress Inn’s lounge is complete with a fireplace, a Christmas tree and cozy (dog-friendly) couches.

We’ve been going to Carmel for many years, and more recently, it has become “our little spot” for Thanksgiving. We love the beach, the peace and quiet, the art galleries, and the dog-friendly attitude that pervades the town. This year, amidst the kick-off of our Christmas shopping, we explored beyond the little Carmel hamlet and found a few new spots that we loved.

Rocky Point Restaurant is located on a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean. The day after Thanksgiving, we headed south on Hwy 1 and made the brief ten mile drive to this spot that opened as a roadside lunch spot in 1947. The weather could not have been better, so we sat outside on the patio.

The view from Rocky Point Restaurant, minutes south of Carmel-by-the-Sea

After our lunch, we hiked out to the rocky cliffs below the restaurant along an easy path. Hikers report that dolphins and whales are often spotted from the path, but we they didn’t appear on the day we were there. Another reason to return!

The hiking path below Rocky Point Restaurant, south of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

The trail below Rocky Point Restaurant is easy and beyond picturesque. Can you see all the folks fishing?

Big Sur, California, just a few minutes south of Carmel-by-the-Sea

On our way back from Rocky Point, we stopped to tour Carmel’s Mission. Founded in 1770 by Father Junipero Serra, the mission was the headquarters of the Alta California missions. As all California 4th graders can tell you, there are 21 Spanish missions, or religious outposts dotting the state from San Diego to Sonoma. The Missions were established by Spanish Catholic priests between 1769 and 1833, to expand Christianity among the Native Americans northwards into what we now know as California. Simple, peaceful and full of interesting exhibits in five small museums, the Carmel Mission boasts a beautiful stone church, as well as the surprisingly bare room in which Father Serra lived and died. It was well worth the visit.

The edifice of the Carmel Mission in Carmel-by-the-Sea

The edifice of the Carmel Mission.

Interior of the Carmel Mission's Basilica, in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Interior of the Carmel Mission’s Basilica.

Our Lady of Bethlehem statue in the Carmel Mission, in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Our Lady of Bethlehem statue , which was given to the Spanish explorers by the Archbishop of Mexico City in 1770. She has resided in Carmel since then.

Are you on Instagram? (Follow me: I started using because I love keeping up with what interests my 14-year-old nieces, but now I do it because it is fun and inspiring. I follow Kim of northerncalstyle, and she recommended a stop at Tancredi & Morgen, which we did on our way out of town on Sunday. It’s adorable and full of holiday decorations and gifts!

Tancredi & Morgen, just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

The front of Tancredi & Morgen, located just off Carmel Valley Road.

This little shop is located in one of the sole remaining buildings from a ranch that was once located on the spot. We met Roger Alldis, who, along with his wife, established the business. Roger hails from South Africa and loves traveling to France and Turkey among other spots to find the treasures that fill the store. We found an array of Christmas decorations, old hotel silver, handmade pillows, copper pots, textiles, antiques, furniture and clothing to name just a few items.

Tancredi & Morgen, located just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea

I didn’t wind up buying anything, as I’d already purchased several items from downtown Carmel shops.

A lovely holiday decoration from Tancredi & Morgen, located just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea

Next time, I’ll be sure I visit Tancredi Morgen early in my visit!

Tancredi & Morgen, located just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Of course, my favorite moments were those I spent on Ocean Beach, the doggiest beach in the world, with my darling husband and our rescue dog, Mia. She is ten now, and slowing down a bit, but few things make her eyes sparkle as much as chasing tennis balls at full speed.

Our dog Mia on dog-friendly Ocean Beach in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Seeing her so happy makes my heart soar.

Our dog Mia on Ocean Beach in Carmel.


Selfie with me and my girl.

Watching the sunsets on the beach is a spiritual experience.

Ocean Beach in Carmel-by-the-Sea





A few links I hope you will enjoy:

Last year’s post from Carmel, and a trip to Carmel with a friend.

The Myth of Quality Time.

The anatomy of a scene: Amy. I hope you’ll see the movie.

A photographer imagines herself as her mother’s childhood friend.

I’m loving  “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having.” Check it out!

Meet: the kitten nanny.

Oscar winner Julianne Moore acts for tips.

“Beautiful, gross, strong, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, sexy, disgusting, flawless, woman.” How do you respond to Amy Schumer in the new Pirelli calendar.

Finally, I write as I listen to the news about the mass shooting in San Bernadino. This just after the attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Which was just after an attack at Umpqua Community College. Which was just after eight people killed in a home outside Houston. Which was just after the shooting during a prayer meeting in Charleston. Which was just after a shootout in Waco.

This was the 355th mass shooting this year. We must come together to change our gun laws. Enough. Enough. Enough.




10 responses to “Visit Carmel for the Holidays”

  1. avatar Dick & Sharon says:

    Beautiful,just beautiful! It truly is the simple things that make us happy.Love the post.

  2. You are so right about the simple things. xo

  3. avatar Linda says:

    Beautiful post and photos. My husband and I love Carmel also. In fact we honeymooned there 35 years ago….

  4. Hi Linda – I’ve run into so many folks who honeymooned in Carmel since I started going there several years ago. I can see why. It is so romantic and beautiful beyond words. Thanks for reading!

  5. In my 20s, my husband and I lived in Los Gatos, at the end of Big Basin Way. My girlfriend and I would often drive to Carmel or San Francisco for the day. I’d love to go back to the Inn you like. This time, I’d be by myself. Sonoma… Another place I love. A number of years ago, I was in Sonoma and Napa Valley, six times one year, working on a book I was doing and as a photographer for the Mondavi’s and Stag’s Leap. You’re in one of my favorite places in the world. Perhaps I’ll say “Hello” on my next trip. Brenda

  6. I lived in Carmel and now live only 75 miles away so it’s a frequent stop for us. You really have shown us some of the best sights!

  7. Carmel. Bucket list.
    And the Photoshopped images are priceless!!

    Merry Christmas, TrueHeartGal!

  8. Merry Christmas Annah! By the way – I do not know photoshop, but I do a bit of editing in iPhoto. My goal is to learn Photoshop someday.

  9. Thank you for reading Carol. I enjoyed checking out (and subscribing) to your wonderful blog. I am looking forward to reading about your travels.

  10. Thanks for reading Brenda. Yes, you should stay at the Cypress Inn during an upcoming trip to Carmel, especially if you are traveling with a dog! And yes, I love Sonoma too and am trying to learn how to be a better photographer, a skill it sounds like you already have! Say hello next time you are in Sonoma!