MISSION RANCH.....CLINT EASTWOOD'S HIDEAWAY
The Mission Ranch is a hideaway hotel and has a wonderful restaurant/bar experience. Located at the end of Dolores Street in Carmel-by-the-Sea, behind a white picket fence, you can feel the tranquility as you step out of your car unto the parking area. 1850's style buildings are in your immediate view but looking around you spot a field of green grass and the ocean in the distance.
This is all now owned by actor/director/producer Oscar Academy Award Winner Clint Eastwood since 1986. The former Mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Clint Eastwood drops by now and then to visit with friends at the restaurant/bar. A word of caution, no paparazzi and please do not bother Clint Eastwood or he might become one of his movie characters, "Dirty Harry". Instead, enjoy the lasting beauty of the fields and ocean from the patio dining area or inside by the bar, just listening to that all familiar soft spoken husky voice calling out, "Oh really". Wow, being in the presence of an icon of the film industry and just sitting back enjoying the view with a cold one in hand.
Thanks, Mr. Eastwood, for preserving a little of a bygone era at the Mission Ranch. The location may be a little off the beaten path, but well worth visiting, not only for the view but for the ambiance and character of the hotel and restaurant/bar.
- Women's Travel
- Food and Dining
Take a Scenic Drive to Pacific Grove & Monterey
Take a scenic drive on Highway 1 to Monterey and the charming seaside village of Pacific Grove. Monterey is home to lots of sealife (like the cute otters) which can be seen in it's natural bay and Aquarium. Also situated on the bay is Cannery Row with it's many shops and restaurants. Between Monterey and Del Monte Forest sits the lesser known Pacific Grove. It's a rural seaside town with a rocky coastline and many well preserved Victorian homes. The web site below has more pictures and information about this lovely coastal location which rivals it's more expensive neighbor, Pebble Beach.
- Road Trip
CARMEL VALLEY WINERIES
The Carmel Valley is a bit out of the way for visitors to Carmel-by-the-Sea, but rewarding to those that appreciated fine wines, excellent foods, and beautiful country views. The wineries are scattered along Carmel Valley Road inland before and after the Carmel Valley Village.
One winery tasting room is located on Pilot Road, just off Carmel Valley Road in the Village, has that old world feel and charm. Georis Winery is located in the mountains of the upper Carmel Valley so the tasting room is more convinient down in the Village. Georis is 28 acres of estate grown Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and is reflected in the rich bold taste of the Merlot and the elegance of the Cabernet. and don't let the movie "Sideways" stop you from enjoying a great Merlot.
The tasting room has a courtyard entrance with a tree canopy with sitting tables and tranquil gardens. The adobe tasting room has a small wine bar area but a larger old world style gift shop. Worth a stop if you enjoy a good red wine or just a relaxed time.
- Road Trip
- Wine Tasting
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Explore the Charming Cottages of Carmel
I love to drive or walk along the tree lined streets of the Village of Carmel. There are so many charming cottages nestled among twisited Cypress and towering Monterey Pines. There are no sidewalks or streetlights in the residential areas and the houses are identified by name rather than by numbers. Many of the beautiful homes have rustic stonework and whimsical architecture.
- Luxury Travel
Walk down to the beach in the early evening (there is plenty of parking once the day beach people are gone) and watch the sunset. The clouds make it look as though the sun is making the ocean steam. The sun sets quickly, so watch carefully.
It's quite romantic to watch the sunset and take a walk along the sand. There were a lot of people out walking their dogs (it was fun to watch the dogs play in the water) and couples just sitting on the dunes enjoying the view.
If I were to make a list of things everyone HAD TO DO when on the Monterey Peninsula, this would be very high.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Hiking and Walking
Mission San Carlos de Rio Carmelo
Carmel's rural setting and leisurely pace help you relax and it's small elegant inns, restaurants, art galleries and shops make sure of a nice stay. It's fun to straw through the narrow streets and do some window shopping. But to be honest...it's quite expensive!
But you're definately better off visiting Mission San Carlos de Rio Carmelo. The Franciscan frair Junipero Serra was the founder of the Californian mission post. Untill his death in 1784 the mission post of Carmel was his homebase. The block, which contains Moorish elements, has a very artistic design and is build by untrained people! It's a great and beautiful place to wonder off...
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
- Religious Travel
Carmel Valley Road
The other day I was heading from Monterey to Soledad, so I looked on a map...about 45 miles and the route via Carmel Valley looked about the same as the route via Salinas on 68 and 101. Boy was I wrong...instead of taking about an hour, the drive took more than two hours along the narrow, twisty farm roads from Carmel Valley to Soledad. This area is so desolate, there are signs warning motorists that there are no gas stations for the next 41 miles. Along the drive I saw deer, turkeys, and redneck houses that were straight out of West Virginia. Nice drive, but no fun if you're in a rush to get somewhere.
Of course, the lower stretch of Carmel Valley Road between Carmel and the town of Carmel Valley is much different. Here you will find expensive mansions, golf courses, equestrian centers, wineries and wine tasting rooms, numerous shops and restaurants, and the large Garland Ranch Regional Park.
The very famous Lone Cypress
The 17-Mile Scenic Drive is a picturesque route in between Pacific Grove and Carmel. Of course very famous are the Lone Cypress and the legendary golf courses. The brochure says that there is more to the 17-Mile Drive than the spectacular meeting of land and sea, although there is plenty of that, too.
Of course there were a few attractions to go to like Fanshell Beach which is a popular place to stop for a picnic and catch a few rays. The 200- to 300-year-old Lone Cypress is among the most popular photo opportunies along the tour. The legendary tree, official symbol of Pebble Beach Company, is a California Landmark and has been immortalized by Robert Louis Stevenson and captured by countless artists and photographers
- Road Trip
- Spa and Resort
Off Ocean Avenue, you will find a number if little alleys connecting the main thoroughfare of Ocean Ave to side streets. In these alleys there are hidden art galleries, restaurants and little shops.
The alleys are often decorated with flowering plants, sconces, and sculptures. Some will even surprise you by opening up into courtyards with fountains and tranquil seating areas.
On a warm afternoon, it's fun to just wander around Ocean Avenue and it's side streets and discover the town's hidden treasures.
- Budget Travel
- Adventure Travel
A bit disappointed?
Of course there were a few attractions to go to like Fanshell Beach which is a popular place to stop for a picnic and catch a few rays. The 200- to 300-year-old Lone Cypress is among the most popular photo opportunies along the tour. The legendary tree, official symbol of Pebble Beach Company, is a California Landmark and has been immortalized by Robert Louis Stevenson and captured by countless artists and photographers.
Last but not least there are the obvious attractions like the golf courses Cypress Point, Spyglass Hill, The Links at Spanish Bay and the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Link; a handful of castles scattered along the 17 miles of splendor through the Del Monte Forest; and, of course, nature.
To be honest we were a bit disappointed driving through it. The entry fee of 7.50 dollars included this illustrated brochure, but during the drive it never lived up to it!
- Road Trip
- Spa and Resort
Carmel River State Beach
Carmel River State Beach is one of the nicest beaches in the area, but bad for swimming due to strong undertow. During most of the year, the Carmel River is blocked by the sand dunes, creating a lagoon that is favored by numerous birds such as pelicans, kingfishers, hawks, and sandpipers.
The park also includes Monastery Beach, just to the south, which is also known as San Jose Creek Beach. This beach is popular for scuba diving.
The main beach is located just south of Carmel, and the small parking area is located at Carmelo Street and Scenic Road. Monastery Beach is along Hwy 1, with free parking on the shoulder of the road. Restrooms are availble at the parking area near the main beach.
If you've made your base in ...
If you've made your base in Carmel-by-the-Sea, another place you MUST explore is the Point Lobos State Reserve. For more details on this state park, would you like to surf straight to my MONTEREY travel page? Thanks!
On the way to Monterey and Carmel we stopped at Hearst Castel. This time we made reservations. (highly recommended because sometimes they are booked a few days in advance). Currently this is a state park and open to the public but it used to be the private home of W.R. Hearst. When he was a young child his mom took him on a year long trip through Europe and he designed his home based on the the architechture that enspired him during that trip. The house is amazing and there are walking tours for the different areas throughout the compound.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
The coast : Highway 1
After I visited the mission I took the road along the coastline towards the south (highway 1). The views here were magnificent and I stopped a lot of times to take pictures.
When I see this picture, I think back to this sunny day along the Californian coast, the bright-orange coloured flowers waving in the wind, so high above the sea. The light of the sun is glittering on the sea, and the waves are thundering against the high cliffs. Hmmm, wish I was there right now.... I can feel the sunshine on my face, the fresh seabreeze going through my hair and smell the sweet perfume of the flowers.... hmmm, think I am dreaming away....
Garland Ranch Regional Park - Carmel Valley
About 10 miles from Carmel, right along Carmel Valley Road, you will find beautiful and expansive Garland Ranch Regional Park. This 4500 park ranges in elevation from 200 feet along the beautiful Carmel River to about 2000 feet at Snively's Ridge overlooking the entire valley. The park is maintained and operated by Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District as well as volunteer docents who man the small visitors center near the main entrance and parking area.
We spent perhaps two hours hiking here in April 2008. We arrived around 11am and parked along Carmel Valley Road, then we crossed the beautiful Carmel River where a woman and her dog were playing in the water. We began hiking south along the flat and wide Lupine Loop for less than a half mile before making a slight detour on the Mesa Trail to check out the Rumsen Grinding Rock which was used by local natives to grind acorns into flour. Our next stop was just 5-10 minutes away at the Siesta Point Overlook, where we relaxed on a bench and had a picnic lunch. Then we moved on along the Cliff Trail hoping to see the waterfall in the small stream that was unfortunately dry. We ended our trip by heading over to the visitors center via Sycamore Trail and Lupine Loop, back across the flat, open former ranch lands. The visitors center was closed, but there were plenty of brochures about native plants and animals, park maps, and mountain lion and rattlesnake warnings.
The park has numerous other historical, recreational, and nature opportunities for visitors. History buffs might enjoy the old barns, corrals, and homesteads of the old Garland Ranch. People seeking recreational opportunities other than hiking the 50 miles of trails might enjoy the more limited number of trails open to horses and bikes, as well as the athletic fields located near the town of Carmel Valley. Nature opportunities include the Buckeye Nature Trail, the Fern, Stock, Veeder, and Mesa Ponds, as well as the variety of plant and animal life through the park.
Besides the main parking area along Carmel Valley Road, visitors can access the park from Via Las Encinas Road, East Garzas Road, Paso Hondo Road, De Los Helichos Road, and Hitchcock Canyon Road (via Southbank Road and Esquiline Road). Water for people, horses, and dogs is available throughout the park.
The Monterey Peninsula Regional Parks District has been in existence since 1972, and its mission is to preserve open space in the area around Big Sur, Monterey and Carmel. Since its inception the parks district has secured 20,000 acres of land in 24 parks and open spaces all preserved for environmental and recreational reasons. The parks district is funded by a 1/2 percent allocation of the property tax collected in the region (comes to about $5 for the district for every $100,000 of property value). Since 2004 residents have paid an additional $19 per household per year to increase the scope of this open space preservation.
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