Carmel Secret Walk
Carmel-by-the-Sea Travel Blog› entry 5 of 7 › view all entries
December 27th, 2007 – by: jenn79
We finally saw Carmel proper today! Short on time since it is our last day in Carmel and we hadn't yet seen the town, we got up "early" and headed out for the Carmel Secret Walk. A longtime resident named Grace leads 2 hour walks through the nooks and crannies of this very interesting village, hitting highlights, places you would not think to visit and mostly going through secret alleys instead of taking major streets. She charges $25 per person, which I thought was a little pricey but not terrible.
Carmel-by-the-sea a gorgeous small village near the ocean that is the definition of quaint and original. Small shops and homes that are 1 story tall stand along tree lined streets that boast all sorts of fall colors. I believe this town is one of the inspirations for Thomas Kinkade paintings, and sure enough - his first art gallery is located here.
Carmel-by-the-sea has a population is just over 4,000 and the town is approximately 1 square mile large. Many art galleries and wonderful little places to eat can be found here, but it is not really a place to spend more than a day. It is one of the more interesting little American towns you will find for 4 reasons. Old movie stars' continuing presence (such as Doris Day and Clint Eastwood), being America's most dog-friendly town, having been founded as a hippie art colony and all the strange and whimsicals laws they have that promote its natural beauty and quaint atmosphere.
There are more than a handful of hotels that welcome dogs, most restaurants have an actual dog menu, and practically all the stores have a water dish and dog treats right outside their front door.
So onto the strange laws. One of them is that no neon or plastic signage is allowed. Therefore you will see all shops (gas stations included) have hand carved wood signs. Another rule is that high heels are not allowed, but if you go to city hall and sign a waiver that you won't sue the city if you trip on their sidewalks, you are welcome to wear high heels and get a certificate indicating this.
Another interesting rule here is that there are no addresses! The community at large makes daily trips to the post office to collect their mail and interact with their neighbors. Because of this, you can call your home anything you like, and indicate the cross streets.
There is definitely no scarcity of restaurants in this little town. We literally had more than 5 suggestions from our tour guide ended up eating at 2 of them - one right after the other =) We went to the Hog's Breath because it had an interesting saloon vibe and had 7 fireplaces! Then we went to a French Boulangerie to try the best French onion soup in town - which actually exceeded our expectations! I think it's safe to say that though the variety is limited to Italian, French and American - the quality is very, very good.
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