My husband John, you know the one who likes to try on hats, had a two week training seminar in San Francisco, so for the weekend that he was out of town, I flew in to meet him and we drove up the coast to Carmel. (The up side of a spouse that travels a lot... tons of miles with Northwest Airlines!) I flew in Friday, and I mean all day Friday, and the next morning we were up and at 'em driving up the coast!
Like every tourist town, you can't just stay in a hotel for ONE night on a weekend, but I used my charms (begged) and we got a room at the Cypress. This was the view out of our window, and yes that is the ocean through the trees. We splurged and paid 250.00 for one night in a very small room with an even smaller bathroom. The bathroom was so small and the toilet was so close to the sink that John and I figured out the perk being you could do several things at once.... rooms with larger bathrooms were 450.00 per night. Losers....
My always informative girl Carol, mentioned that we should stop at Moss Landing on the way for fish and some quirky antiquing. Quirky being the key word.
After some junking around (btw junk in CA. is $$$$$) we went into this "Antique" shop across the street. There was the usual autographed movie posters and such, but I was glad we went because I've never seen a horse on a balcony.... didn't buy anything in Moss Landing but enjoyed the oddness all the less.
Ah, back to the hotel. Did I mention that The Cypress is owned by Doris Day? I have dogs... I love dogs... but do we need to vacation with other peoples dogs? Hands down yes. I have never seen so many well behaved fluffed up dogs in all my life. It was a hoot.
This tea room made me feel at home as if it were Chelsea and the Blue Willow right next door.
The difference between Door County and Carmel.... pools and fountains around the shops.
Back to the hotel....... we had cocktails with a couple of our new friends....
Loved this place! This is the courtyard right next to a flower shop called "Twigery" (say that 10 times fast) and it was exquisite. That brown pumpkin is real! Inside the shop they had scattered straw, not hay in the corners and around the edges with all kinds of fall florals displayed around.
This dog was waiting for his owner to come out! I'm telling you, that his owner came out with a huge basket of freshly made bread, whistled, and off they went to make a delivery!
Here are my tips if you are going to visit Carmel:
Make sure to go to Trouve (www.trouvehome.com). Tons of French imports, but on the casual side. I had a delightful experience there. After being there a few minutes, I realized that I had seen this shop featured in several national magazines. I made eye contact with the owner expecting that she knew we couldn't afford anything and was just hoping we'd move on, when out of my mouth came "this is the best shop I've seen today" (which was true). She said something that made me realize retail is retail is retail.... "Oh thank you sooo much! Could I pay you to march up and down the streets and make that announcement?".
Also visit Piccolo www.piccolocarmel.com. Now the first time we went into this tiny shop, a couple decided that they were so proud of their German Shepherd that he should shop as well. We could not even get to the gorgeous displays because of the size of this dog, well behaved as he was. So we went back the next day. It was after 10:00. The lights were all on, but the "closed" sign was still in place. John suggested that I just try the door thinking that she had forgotten to flip the sign. The door opened and I walked right into the owner who looked at me as if I were the last person she wanted to see.... after some fumbling she said I could come in. You know why she wasn't ready? She has a parakeet in a large square cage that is upholstered like a circus tent (with black and white silk fabric that pulls the flaps up) and was "readying" him for the day!!! (Maybe the German Shepherd had ruffled his feathers a bit too much). This was the only place I bought anything. Her one of a kind jewelry was to die for!!!! I also got great display ideas from her.
If you are in Carmel, I would recommend staying at the Cypress (if your budget allows) as the staff was very down to earth and gracious. The dogs are a delightful bonus (like children when you get to enjoy them knowing they are not going home with you). Also, Justin the concierge.... Okay, how cute is this when you're in the elevator with Justin who is toting your heavy bags, he asks where you're from and after you tell him, he looks at you genuinely and says "are you guys still sad about Brett? It must have really been just awful when he showed up a Viking". He was adorable. Not the snooty kind of concierge hiding behind a desk, but the kind that is all around the hotel and comes out of the kitchen and waves at you like old school pals.
My last tip is this.... if you are a decorator junkie and follow all the magazines, thinking you are up to date, you would want to visit Forget-Me-Nots. There was just one fabulous thing after another, sparking your vintage imagination like crazy! If you are looking for customer service or wanting to purchase something.... well you'd better be someone important... and I'll leave that at that!
So this is me at the end of a glorious day. I'm not sure of the last time I had felt so relaxed and just happy to be out of town, somewhere new and inspiring, with my favorite guy in the whole world.
It was a good thing I didn't know that at 6:10 the next morning I would board my flight, sit on the runway for two hours between two guys, one who was fresh as a daisy, winding up his weekend from his "Life Coach" seminar.......