Highlights of Carmel

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My husband and I went to Carmel last weekend for a little weekend get away to celebrate our birthdays together, mine in July and his in August.  Yep, a Leo couple, watch out…fire on fire! haha!  We both love exploring and discovering new places, and this beautiful gem of a beach town happens to be only an hour and twenty-minute drive from us.  Convenient is key sometimes, especially when you are just returning from a grueling 10 day work trip away!

Here are our highlights of our weekend in Carmel:

  1. Dolphin Spotting

As soon as we checked into our hotel, we walked down to the beach and relaxed on the sand for a bit, when we saw a group of people rushing close to the ocean with their phones in their hands taking pictures.  We figured we would get up to see what the fuss was about.  There were 3-4 dolphins reaching their heads and tails up and down in the ocean.  It was a cool site, a great welcoming to the start of our beach town weekend.

2.   Trio

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We were given a 2 for 1 complimentary wine tasting card from 2 sweet ladies at Happy Landing Inn, an English style charming bed and breakfast.  I don’t want to bore you with a disappointing story, but in a nutshell, we had a night booked at a super charming and chic bed and breakfast, Il Vagabond Inn, but mixed up the date by accident, so at the last-minute were looking for a place to stay for another night to make up for our not so great stay at Horizon Inn with ripped bath towels and pieces of trimming coming off the wall underneath the sink.  It made us feel like we were in a Motel 6 with an unpleasant man manning the front desk!  Unfortunately Happy Landing didn’t have Saturday open, but the ladies were nice enough to give us a tour of their clean and celebrity inspired decorated rooms like the Clint Eastwood Suite and the Marilyn Monroe Suite.  They couldn’t have been more hospitable, offering us cookies when we walked in.  We were greeted with a big smile and their big white beautiful Samoyed dog, who hangs in the office with them.  We will be back to stay at their lovely bed and breakfast another time.  We ended up getting Saturday night at the Cobblestone Inn, which was cute and quaint and a definite upgrade from the night before with complimentary wine and cheese, sherry, coffee, tea and an outdoor patio to sit, relax and mingle with other guests at this bed and breakfast.

We were pleasantly surprised at Trio.  There were a bunch of olive oils and vinegars to taste.  It was interesting to see how the more complex Extra Virgin Olive Oils had a kick at the finish. They told us every good olive oil has a bit of a kick in the finish.  We ended up getting a bottle of the mild Arbequina from Spain to use for salads to make dressings.  We got a fuller bodied Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Manzanillo, for a friend as a gift to be used as a dipping oil.  We fell in love with the toasted sesame oil.  Picked up one of those to use in our stir frys.  I also fell in love with the Black Cherry balsamic vinegar.  I’ve been using it in my salads mixed with the olive oil.  Daniele’s favorite vinegar was the fig balsamic, so we picked up one of those as well.

The next day we went back for our wine tasting and was given an education on the wines they carry.  We really liked the Mesa Del Sol 2010 Zinfandel.  Our Irish educator explained that this Zinfandel is made the “old way,” meaning with less of a full bodied fruit taste that the newer Zinfandels tend to have .  You could still taste the fruit, but was not overbearing and had a smooth finish.  The Mesa Del Sol Syrah 2009 was another favorite we got.  Figured we will use these wines for future celebrations.  Why not?

3.  Lunch at Dametra Cafe

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After taking in some sun rays on the beach, we stopped for lunch at Dametra Cafe.  Loved the yellow painted walls giving the place a warm Mediterranean feel.  We enjoyed our Mediterranean sampler with a salad and yummy baklava for dessert!  They served my Moroccan tea in tea kettle and a glass, which is how it was served when I drank it in Marrakech.  Half way through our meal at the bar, we were silenced to hear a man who came from the kitchen who was going to sing to us.

How is that for festive?!  Festive is fun.  We enjoyed our meal along with the entertainment!

4.  Mission Ranch View

We stopped by Clint Eastwood’s restaurant, Mission Ranch to check out the view.  We found it very peaceful and serene gazing at sheep in the field with the mountains as a backdrop.

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We look forward to spending more time in Carmel.  With Conde Nast Travel voting Carmel one of the top 10 US cities and Wine Enthusiast named Monterey County a top 10 wine travel destination in 2013 and the many great restaurants to choose from, I think it is safe to say you will have yourself a good time coming for a visit!

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