Thursday, October 30, 2008

Carmel-by-the-Sea & Monterey, California

Touring Carmel-by-the-Sea and more of Monterey

Today we decided to explore the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea before the forecasted rain hits the area over the next several days. From Monterey driving south for 10-15 minutes on Hwy 1, we took Ocean Avenue west which takes you into the heart of Carmel. The main shopping district extends 2 blocks on either side of Ocean Ave. There are a large variety of exclusive shops and art galleries as well as coffee houses and fine restaurants. What made this area so charming is the architecture, the hilly landscape and the many trees and well maintained flower beds. The building styles ranged from Spanish mission with adobe and tile roofs to old English cottages with rounded roof edges. It all worked together quite well and was very well maintained. The feeling you get instantly is that of an old quaint and charming village. Street parking is the game here. We were told that the 2 hour limit was strictly enforced, so we watched the time and moved the car as needed to avoid a citation. From the downtown area, you can drive west on Ocean Avenue and you will find a large wonderful sandy beach and park, which has views of the Pebble Beach Golf Course as well as the many beautiful homes that line the shoreline as far as you can see. From here we drove the small residential roads that followed the coastline, which provided amazing views of the bay on one side and views of exquisite houses on the other. Every house we saw was just gorgeous. Even the smallest and seemingly ordinary home in this town could be on our dream list. If anyone out there wants to, please feel free to buy us a home in would be very much appreciated.

After touring neighborhoods for a while, we then headed to the Carmel Mission. This Mission (or The Basilica of Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo) was founded in 1770. For $5 per adult, you are allowed to tour the restored and active Basilica, gardens, cemetery and several small museums. This mission provided a lot of historical information which helped us get a sense of what this area was like in its beginnings. There are many missions along the central California coast and we felt this one is a great one to visit.

Back in Monterey, we visited the Monterey Maritime and History Museum. The admission is free with a requested donation. So for a few bucks we toured this small museum that contained not only artifacts chronicling the history of the Monterey peninsula but also other maritime historical piece. For example, they have the Morse Code device that was used on the USS Missouri battleship that told the world that the treaty for the unconditional surrender of Japanese forces was signed. It also has the working prism of the historic Fresnel lens from the Point Sur Light Station.

Dining in Monterey

All this touring made us hungry, so we headed to Fisherman's Wharf which was nearby. We chose Crabby Jim's restaurant, and although Brad's fresh stuffed sole entry was good, the crab cakes that Suzanne ordered were terrible (more filler than crab - in fact, still wondering if there was crab in them), and the level of service that we received was terrible - the waiters disappeared continuously, never refreshed our drinking water, were unfriendly, and rushed. Needless to say, we do not recommend this restaurant. To redeem our dinner, we went into the Old Town area in search of dessert. We saw Rosine's Restaurant's dessert case through the window and had to go in - the desserts looked incredible! We were met with friendly and helpful staff that were eager to help us forget our dinner experience. If the desserts were half as good as the people were nice, then we were in for a treat. We weren't disappointed at all! The 3-layer carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and the 3-layer chocolate cake with layers of chocolate and cream cheese were fabulous, and in fact were so large that we brought more that half of each piece home. When the bill came we were greatly surprised at how inexpensive our wonderful desserts ended up being. This is a must if you want to great dessert and great service, all at a reasonable price. In fact, whomever it is who buys us our house in Carmel, we'll treat to a celebration dessert at Rosine's!


Anonymous said...

MMMMMMMmmmmmmm. that dessert sounds yummy. thanks for the description :)!!!

Suzanne and Brad said...

Did we mention that they have a wonderful birthday cake item that we may have to get before leaving Monterey.... :-)

Anonymous said...

Glad you found Rosine's after the wharf. Across the street from Rosine's is Jugem's. Best sushi and Japanese food anywhere. If you ever go back to the wharf try Cafe Fina. I lived there for quite awhile and its the only wharf restaurant I would eat at.

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