Peter had a rare day to spare on Sunday, so we made an excursion to a nearby tourist spot most of us hadn’t been before: Carmel. As charming as it’s known to be, it’s also renowned (locally at least) for being very pricey and snobby. It’s more “romantic getaway” than “family vacation,” and frankly, when you have young children, romantic getaway is spelled “babysitter,” not “$200-a-night bed-and- breakfast.” But I’m always up for a new adventure, and I was curious what the whole Carmel thing was about.
The downtown tourist area pretty much lived up to its reputation. There were lots of cute, very-well-maintained cottages housing upscale galleries and boutiques of various sorts, some more intriguing than others. This house focused on the work of a sculptor who made sculptures of athletes, very pointedly influenced by Degas. It also had two Picasso drawings, and a late Miro.
Most of the businesses weren’t particularly comfortable with young children present, and as we had some $4 scoops of ice cream in a coffee shop, Peter looked at the local newspaper and laughed at the letters from people angry about neighbors with too-bright pool lights in their $5 million cottages. I thought Carmel would at least have cobblestones, since the recent AAA tour book I’d looked at on the way down mentioned them, in the same breath as the fact that high heels are outlawed. If there were any cobblestones, they’re long gone: the sidewalks were brick.
Peter saw someone from Thomas Kincaid Galleries taking a picture of one of the houses, presumably to send them to some desperate corporate slave of an artist, who will then paint that house, to be turned into overpriced limited prints to be sold in suburban malls.
The best part of our Carmel trip came when we walked down the hill from the tourist area and discovered the beach. In an area of pretty beaches, Carmel’s is particularly spectacular:
The beach is why clearly the reason why people wanted to move to Carmel and turn it into a cute little beach town in the first place. I was curious about a building I saw embedded in the embankment, but I never got closer than this:
Kelly had already torn off her shoes and socks. I followed suit, and despite the bitter cold (and the signs warning us against wading in the dangerous surf), we were soon romping in the waves. Somewhere in Peter’s camera is a picture of us jumping up and down screaming “bathing suits!” because we hadn’t brought any.
So, Carmel’s a great place for photographs, but for families, meh….