"Clinton Eastwood's Hamlet is Worth the Visit" Carmel-by-the-Sea by atufft

Carmel-by-the-Sea Travel Guide: 378 reviews and 1,055 photos

Carmel is a traditional California community

The mission is second oldest in Alta California after San Diego and is located along the north side of the open grasslands of the estuary of the Carmel Valley. The town of Carmel grew to the north of the Mission and reaches down to the coast. The downtown is within a long walk or short bicycle ride of the mission. For many years, the mission was neglected but after an earthquake virtually destroyed it in the last century, a complete restoration was undertaken. Regular Catholic Mass services are held in the mission, and there's a gift shop that has a good collection of books on the missions, California Indians, and Rancho Life.

Mission revival and beach bungalow

In the 20's through the 40's, Carmel was a artist's get-a-away where beach bungalows were built to maximize landscape views of the sea. Now, these bungalows are virtually all completely rebuilt and expanded, but local codes forbid building higher than a neighbor's view of the coast. These homes are now very pricey, and so their restoration is something of an architects dream. Browse through Sunset magazine to see regular contributions. Much of the lifestyle an ambiance of the area has its roots in the relaxed Mission life.

Landscape gardening is a favorite pastime here

The Mission was much less productive of fruits and vegetables than, for example, Mission Santa Clara. However, the pine trees and natural vegetation were mixed with ornamentals from around the world. The bouganvia is a popular ornamental in Carmel. Although Carmel has been the haunt of the rich and famous for several generations, Hollywood actor, director, and former mayor Clint Eastwood is perhaps the town's most famous resident.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Wonderful landscapes mixed with quaint residential architecture
  • Cons:Can be touristy on summer days
  • In a nutshell:Window shopping along the quaint downtown is worth a day
  • Last visit to Carmel-by-the-Sea: Jun 2007
  • Intro Updated Feb 1, 2008
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Reviews (7)

Comments (9)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    May 4, 2009 at 3:44 PM

    I was here and just missed seeing the guy back in 1978. The town is great and your depiction as much so.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Apr 4, 2009 at 9:29 PM

    Carmel sounds absolutely wonderful. It is on my list of places to see. Wonderful tips!

  • SteveOSF's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2008 at 2:43 PM

    Nice tips and overview of Carmel.

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Nov 25, 2007 at 3:20 AM

    The beach houses in Carmel are marvellous and the sea life seems to be a big attraction! I'm sure I would like Flying Fish Grill - the seafood sounds really tempting and the wine as well :)

  • Sue08080's Profile Photo
    Jul 14, 2007 at 5:03 PM

    Thanks for the birthday greeting, Alan! My husband and I are teachers also. Carmel is a beauty!

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
    Mar 18, 2007 at 11:10 PM

    I've been trying to figure out that orange construction fence suspended in the air along the beach houses for months. I thought it was some crazy way to keep seagulls away or perhaps ward off evil spirits. Another mystery solved thanks to VT!

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2007 at 2:52 AM

    Ah, but the real Carmel by the Sea is in Haifa. Very beautiful!

  • jamie04's Profile Photo
    Sep 11, 2005 at 1:43 PM

    This is Jamie Sartori from your Critical Inquiry class. I enjoyed viewing your site, especially this page on Carmel. I went there for my birthday a few years ago. I stood right there in front of the mission. It was a great trip. Carmel is beautiful.

  • Aug 31, 2005 at 4:08 PM

    Hi Mr Tufft, this is Angela Ivani from Engl 41. I'll admit I was a little skeptic about my English teacher referring me to a travel website, but it's definitely worthwhile. See you tomorrow.

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