This story starts back in May, when I gifted my wife, Anna, a two night trip to Carmel By The Sea for her thirtieth birthday. I planned the trip for July since she’d be on Summer break and we could go during the week.
We left home early on a Monday morning and stopped at Carmel Mission Basilica. What a beautiful mission. Full of gardens, gorgeous architecture, and lots of mini museums devoted to the Mission’s history. We spent a couple hours there and then continued our adventure.
We had a picnic lunch at the Carmel River Beach. It was quiet and peaceful. Seagulls wanted a taste of our grapes and crackers. After lunch, we drove a few miles down the road to Point Lobos State Nature Reserve.
Point Lobos was one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever been to. We saw people walking, riding bikes, and scuba diving before we even parked the car, so we knew there’d be a lot to do. We walked up a path that led to a set of stairs that led us to another path. Along the way we saw picturesque ocean views and seas of wildflowers along the cliffs leading to the ocean. It was a rather gray day out, which kept us cool as we walked a few miles around the park. I highly recommend visiting this place! I can’t wait to go back. You could see the Mission from certain parts of the park. We also saw a cute seal hanging out on a rock, lots of birds, and more wildflowers than I could imagine!
We left Point Lobos to get checked into our hotel, The Hotel Carmel, a super hip hotel in the downtown area. We checked in, walked around a bit, ate dinner, and enjoyed the sites. The hotel had a cute outdoor spa and lounge/firepit area so we hung out there a lot, played cards, and relaxed.
The following day started with the most relaxing adventure to Refuge Spa in the Carmel valley, about 15 minutes from where we stayed. Refuge is a gorgeous thermal cycle spa. No phones are allowed and silence is encouraged. You start with 10 minutes in a steam room or sauna, then go for a quick dip in a cold pool, hang by the fire pits or in a zero gravity chair for 15 minutes, and then take a longer dip in one of their seven outdoor thermal pools. We repeated this process around 5 times, and stayed for over three hours. We felt absolutely amazing!
From there, we had the most summer-y lunch ever. The morning fog burned off into sunshine, and we found a cute patio at Porta Bella restaurant. We had a cheese board, bubbly beverages, and some other snacks before making our way down to the beach. With the afternoon came the clouds, but we had our books and a blanket and cuddled on the beach while listening to the waves crash and watching all the cute dogs walk by.
Our hotel had an evening happy hour so we went back for that and enjoyed the very well decorated lobby, and chatted with some fellow guests. We went back out for dinner and played shuffleboard at Brophey’s, the pub next door.
After a sound night’s sleep, we got up, got dressed, and stopped at the beach again before leaving town. And of course we had to snap a few photos of each other!
I’m forever amazed by California and that places like this are just a few hours from Sacramento. If you need a quiet or adventurous getaway, or a little bit of both, I recommend a trip to Carmel. Cheers!