Set along the rugged coast of Monterey, is the enchanting town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. It’s lined with an eclectic mix of structures that look like they’re were crafted in a children’s storybook. To add to that, it’s framed by stunning white sand beaches, rolling hills covered in wildflowers and dotted with Cypress trees. Being a single square mile with only 4,000 residents it’s the smallest town in the county, but it’s without a doubt the most charming.
Once you step foot in this Europe-like hamlet, the swayback roofs, flared eaves and half-timbered structures will transport you to a fairytale world—it also helps that the town’s unique aesthetics are protected by laws, so there’ll be very little trace of the big city life. Wander the hidden passageways and marvel at the rows of Victorian buildings, cottage-style abodes and Tudor-inspired boutiques. Stop in lush courtyards with vivid flowers spilling from every corner and enjoy delicious offerings, made by passionate artisans.
Much of Carmel’s “fairytale” architecture can be attributed to designer Hugh Comstock. He was the first to introduce the style to the seaside village when he built his wife a fitting dwelling for her growing collection of hand-crafted dolls. Once other residents caught sight of it, they requested “Hansel and Gretal” look for their own homes too.
Apart from the breathtaking natural scenery like Carmel River State Beach, the town boasts a rich history. It was home to many musicians, writers, painters and other artists which quickly turned it into a small arts colony after the Carmel Arts and Crafts Club was established in 1905. This shaped the style of the town and created its irresistible charm that has endured the ever-changing coast.
Amongst the notable artists who lived in or visited Carmel-by-the-Sea were Mary Austin, Nora May French, Robinson Jeffers, Sinclair Lewis, George Sterling and Upton Sinclair. V. You can visit the homes of some such as the stone masterpiece of poet Robinson Jeffers dubbed the Tor House. After you’ve satisfied your cultural appetite you can fill up on delicious pastries, fine wines and other refined goods.