The Carmel Experience
I am so excited to share this mini guide of Carmel-By-The sea with you. It’s been a few years since I took a girlfriend only trip and it was much needed. The little one has surely kept me busy so I was needing a trip sans toddler. Thank you to my good friend Marisol (All The Pretty's) for letting me tag along on the trip! Also big thank you to Hofsas House Hotel for hosting us at their lovely establishment. And another humble thank you to Toyota and Drive Shop for hooking us up with a sweet ride to borrow on the trip.
The closest airport to Carmel by the sea is Monterey. It’s a smaller airport and flights are sparse and expensive if you fly into here. Being the budget savvy gals we were we opted to fly into San Jose Airport which is around an hour drive from Carmel. We also had a comfy rental car (Toyota Camry 2019) to ride in so we didn’t mind. The flight via Southwest was quite smooth and we landed in San Jose around 9 am. Picked up our rental car and went on our way to Carmel.
Hotels in Carmel
The owner of Hofsas House Hotel said there was something like 44 hotels in Carmel. You honestly won’t have trouble finding one. We were hosted at Hofsas House Hotel so I’ll share a little about them first.
Hofsas House Hotel is a boutique family owned inn with 38 uniquely decorated spacious rooms many overlooking the ocean and pines in the village of Carmel by the sea.
Our room had a king bed, spacious patio, Dutch doors, a fireplace and wine waiting for us on the table. We loved the fireplace since us Arizona girls were freezing in the cool 65 degree weather. The patio was also a great feature as we sat In the mornings drinking coffee and watching the fog roll in from the ocean.
My favorite feature of the hotel was the continental breakfast. They had pastries, yogurt, coffee, fruit and juice for a couple of hours in the morning and gave you trays so that you can take it back to your room. The pastries were delicious and were brought in fresh from a local bakery.
Exploring the town
Carmel is a true culinary jewel and two days is not enough time to experience it all. Our first stop after road trip was Sur at the Barnyard. It's a beautiful restaurant located in a shopping village. It offers an exciting and eclectically varied menu. Local favorites include Castroville Artichokes Hearts with Sesame Aioli, Asian Nachos, or Classic Escargot. We opted for the lunch menu and I ordered the Open Faced Tuna Melt Slider. It came with the most delicious crispy fries I've ever had! Yum!
Later for dinner we decided that wine tasting was increasingly more important than dinner. We headed to Scheid Vineyards for our comped tasting flight (thank you Hofsas House Hotel). They offer two different wine tasting flights every day. The staff was nice enough to sneak us some reserve's to taste and they BLEW our minds. I would opt for that tasting if you don't mind spending a bit more. It's totally worth it!
The next day we decided that we needed more wine so we visited the beautiful Folktale Winery and Vineyeards. I promise, we do eat! We could not have chose a more picturesque and idyllic setting for lunch. We opted for the Folktale Flight (https://folktalewinery.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/WG-Menu-5_28_19.pdf) which consisted of a rose, sauvignon blank, chardonnay viognier, grenache and pinot noir. From the kitchen, we ordered the "the sauce" (flatbread with pepperoni, burrata crushed red pepper, oregano, basil and garlic. We also ordered the Niman Ranch Meatballs which were amaze "balls" . Overall it was a great early afternoon lunch that consisted of delicious food and wine.
In the evening, we deviated from Carmel and visited the Fisherman's Monterey Wharf. We had dinner at Abalonetti Bar & Grill located on the Monterey Wharf. They are known for their calamari and dozen varieties of squid dishes. I had the Monterey scampi and the prawns were as large as my head. Super delicious! I definitely want to return to Carmel and Monterey to explore more restaurants.
I was surprised at how "hilly" Carmel Beach was. We got a little workout walking on and off the beach. The beach is everything I imagined. Gorgeous views from left to right. The water was quite cold so we decided laying on the beach and or getting in was not an option. The beach is just a short walk from the town so it's a great place to take a walk after a big lunch.
Words can't really describe this adorable town. You honestly have to experience it for yourself!