20th Anniversary Carmel Trip Report

Old Oct 14th, 2003, 11:00 PM
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20th Anniversary Carmel Trip Report

Carmel, CA ~ 20th Anniversary Trip Report ~ October 7-13, 2003

Tuesday, 10/7/03

ORD to a very foggy SFO. We drove north on 101 to Ghiradelli Square & ate lunch at McCormick & Kuletto's. Thanks so much grasshopper, this was a lovely spot for lunch, very romantic & relaxing after a 3 1/2 hour flight! The fog shortened our views, but no worries, it was lovely. Bought a great piece of artwork of the Golden Gate Bridge from a street vendor at the park across from the square next to the trolley car turn around. Far too inexpensive for her talent!

After a wonderful lunch, we drove over the GGB up the Marin Headlands. Fruitless in the fog, but an adventure anyway! We thought, we must do this again!!! We drove the Presidio past the Palace of Legion of Honor & Lincoln Park. Very lovely.

We attempted to drive down the coast, but headed inland as the fog got the best of our nerves. The sun awaited us.

We stopped in Santa Cruz, didn't eat, but quenched our thirst and were on our way to the Carmel Highlands. I really would like to spend more time in SC next time here!!

Circle Foods in Monterrey was our next stop for flowers from DH (ivory lilies) & goodies for the fridge at Tickle Pink. MMMMMM!

Arriving at Tickle Pink was heaven. What a refreshment after our drive. Before we knew it, we were in the tub enjoying the most panoramic, cliff-top, ocean, rock-crashing view we've ever seen from inside a tub! (Room 31 is the bomb!)

Fireplace, jacuzzi tub, quality furnishings, complimentary champagne w/ a pink rose, gourmet chocolates, candles, luxury terry/satin robes. We couldn't want for a thing. Heaven (not quite, but almost)! DH really liked the swivel TV & being able to watch the Cubs from the tub. Oh, the simple things in life!

It was a lovely evening. We were very tired but loved every minute of the day!

Did I mention the Cubs yet???? GO CUBS!

Wednesday, 10/8/03 (20th Anniversary ~10/8/83)

Happy Anniversary! Mimosas in the AM on the oversized lanai. Relaxed in the tub, then made our way to downtown Carmel for a romantic lunch at Little Napoli. Loved the artichokes! We shopped awhile and then went down to Carmel Beach for a long walk toward Pebble Beach. We enjoyed the soft sand & wind in our faces. It was a most lovely time on a beautiful beach!

We drove back to the highlands on the scenic coastal road looking at all of the beautiful homes on the ocean and were very surprised at the European whimsical style of many of them. Dutch-like, almost storybook Hansel & Gretel!

Took some exterior photos of the Carmel Mission, as the afternoon sun was lovely on the buildings. Stopped at Clint Eastwood's Mission Ranch for a drink, but they weren't open yet. Took some photos and then went back to the Tickle Pink for the wine and cheese reception. Had much fun enjoying the great view from the patio. We cancelled our sunset dinner reservation at the Pacific Edge, as it was foggy & we weren't very hungry. Enjoyed the privacy of our lanai & room views instead!

Thursday, 10/9/03

Had a completely relaxing AM at Tickle Pink. Breakfast of freshly baked croissants & sweets in our room followed with a leisurely drive through Pacific Grove. Many photos and a nice lunch at Fishwife... great food, service & prices. We did the 17 mile drive on the way back, and thought it was great. Can't believe all the poo poo's about this drive on this forum. Anyone that can't enjoy this area for it's beauty, homes and all must be blind. We loved this experience.

On the way back to the highlands we picked up a hitch-hiker and drove him just past the Bixby Bridge, as he was headed to meet friends at Nepenthe. Whew! Our appetites were whet for the drive here the next day!

Back at Tickle Pink, we met up with newlyweds and another very newlywed couple during the wine & cheese reception. After far too many bottles of great local Monterrey & Carmel wine, we closed the deck & retired to our rooms. Congrats to Stuart & Becka &
Matt & Heather! Fun time!

Friday, 10/10/03

DH ordered carry out Eggs Ben from Highlands Inn to compliment our fresh croissants and off we were to Big Sur.

SURREAL is the best word to describe this drive! Lovely, lovely!
My heart skipped much more than one beat on this drive. Not to be missed! We stopped at Nepenthe for lunch. What a trip! I still can't get over the views from out table on the deck and the bleachers fit with funky pillows are still etched on my mind. How could one complain about the wait in a spot like that!!

We drove down to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and were mesmerized by the McWay Cove waterfall splashing into the ocean.
Saw some wild young bucks hiking out onto some "forbidden" rocky areas of the park and held our breath until we saw that they were safe. Whew!

Went just past Lucia and turned around at Limekiln State Beach. DH was ready to head back "home"!

Did I mention the Cubs yet???? GO CUBS!

Saturday, 10/11/03

We kept thinking, we'll make it to the Aquarium in Monterrey, but this was yet not the day. Our thought was to head there first thing this AM, but the weather was once again clear, warm, and bright, so we thought we'd better take advantage of the warmth & sun & head out to Point Lobos Reserve with a picnic lunch and some Mimosa's.
Tickle Pink had graced us with yet another bottle of complimentary champagne, so we stopped off in Carmel for some OJ & sub sandwiches for a lovely picnic lunch.

I must say that Point Lobos was just about as much a highlight of the trip as Big Sur! Almost!!

We parked near Sea Lion Cove & enjoyed our picnic on a bench looking over the rocks watching the sea lions, seals, and birds flying under us for what seemed like hours. It was the best picnic I've ever enjoyed! (Thanks winerycat for the picnic insight!)

We stayed at Point Lobos for hours hiking to different areas, off the beaten path, and met up with both newlyweds and a couple celebrating their 40th Wedding Anniversary! What fun! A most wonderful place!

After our time there we headed into Monterrey for the 10th annual Seafood & Music Festival which was lively, and much fun. After some calamari, ribs, good live music, people watching, t-shirts and other goodies from the art & craft fair, we again headed "home" to the Tickle Pink to relax & enjoy the views. Another day of golden CA sun & fun!

Did I mention the Cubs yet???? GO CUBS!

Sunday, 10/12/03

Oh! last day. What to do?? We labored hard & long over what to do. Decided on the Carmel Mission for AM and what a great choice that was. The choir music coming out of the chapel was angelic. A place not to be missed, especially on Sunday morning. Great!

We opted to forgo the Aquarium in order to head back down Big Sur to Post Ranch for lunch. Great choice. The views were spectacular! If you can't afford to stay here, at least visit for a meal & the ambiance. We found a quiet bench after lunch for some relaxation before heading back to Carmel Highlands.

Going back to Big Sur for just a short ride was well worth the photo opportunities with a panoramic camera & some B&W film. I couldn't get enough of the views!

We stopped at the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and hiked up to Pfeiffer Falls. The hike through the redwoods was a highlight, and we'll never be able to get the fragrance of the woods out of our minds.

Again, we enjoyed the reception at the inn and skipped dinner. Silly, I know, but with the view we had from our room, we just couldn't pass the temptation to skip the crowds. Simply wonderful!

Enjoyed the rest of the day on the lanai. The sunsets for the past 4 days were spectacular & not to be missed. Packed up the suitcases after dark between baths and relaxation on the lanai.

Monday, 10/13/03

So sad to go! The only things that we felt we really missed were the Aquarium in Monterrey and the artichoke soup & ollalieberry pie at Duartes in Pescadero. Next time!

We left the Tickle Pink at 8:00 am in order to catch some of San Francisco in the sun. We headed for the Golden Gate Bridge, and much to our delight caught it in delightful weather. Drove over & up to the Marin Headlands for some awesome photos? Thanks Gekko!! Unbelievable!

Off to the airport & a 2:22 flight for Sweet Home Chicago.

Did I mention the Cubs yet???? GO CUBS!


The Tickle Pink Inn was everything and more than we could have hoped for. Normally we wouldn't spend more than $250 for an oceanfront room, but considering that this was our 20th anniversary, we decided to splurge. Anyone considering staying here, but hesitant to spend the money, just do it.
Having AAA helps!! We stayed in the ocean view suite w/ private balcony, fireplace & jacuzzi. Worth every penny. No regrets.
The service was great, and it is a place that seriously caters to those seeking privacy & romance. Any questions about TPI email me @ [email protected].

God blessed us with meeting many wonderful people, great guidance from many of you fodorites, warm sunny weather, and so many glorious places to experience!

My most memorable experience was the smell of the cypress & redwoods mingled with the fresh salt air, and views second to none!

Those of you traveling here, don't be without:

A convertible
Good maps
Layers of clothing
Collapsible cooler
Panoramic camera
An SLR & plenty of film
A great attitude!

Thanks to all of you who made this so easy and fun... we couldn't have done it w/o you!

Still smiling


ps. photos to follow. Hopefully w/in the next week. I'll post under the same heading.
makai1 is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2003, 06:14 AM
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Makai - thatnks for the great report and congratulations on your anniversary.
bennnie is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2003, 06:25 AM
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Sorry for the Monterey misspelling... it was late (or early) when I wrote this.

Also, must say a special thank you to Charlie & Ignacio at Tickle Pink. You made our stay very special!
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Old Oct 15th, 2003, 08:44 AM
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Hi, makai1!

Grreat report! So fun! Thanks for your spirited posting! I enjoyed reading everything!

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Old Oct 15th, 2003, 08:45 AM
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Makai, What a fantastic trip you had--loved every word of your report. Was this your first time there? Having lived in the area, let me tell you, you aced that trip!!! Pebble Beach,Tickle Pink, Pt. Lobos, Nepenthe, Julia-Pfeiffer Burns, Carmel beach, Post Ranch--you couldn't have done better.
Given the glorious weather you had, you were absolutely right to skip the Aquarium and do Big Sur. The Aquarium is great, but it will be there for your next trip--the sun may not.
I was also in SF and Pt. Reyes the week before you--foggy much of the time. Drove into Carmel, where it was sunny,enjoyed the Highlands, then ran into fog again at Nepenthe, so I missed one of my favorite views, but I imagined it while reading your report. You have to take advantage of that sun, cuz you never know when it might disappear.

I would have liked to have gone to Deetjen's in Big Sur, just South of Nepenthe for their fab breakfasts in a rustic Norwegian cabin (the essence of old Big Sur), or even better, had a candlelight dinner there--(food is really good), but no time. Can you tell me more about your meal at Sierra Mar (Post Ranch)? I posted my trip report on the US board a week or so ago, if you're interested. So glad you had such a fine trip.
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Old Oct 15th, 2003, 10:43 AM
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Your report is so beautifully told, I almost feel like we are visiting on the phone! Delightful writing! What a lovely memory you two have together forever. I'm thrilled you were able to have lunch at Sierra Mar in the unique Post Ranch. Billy Post is so generous to let us experence, enjoy and appreciate their magnificant land and history. What an exceptional family, and he's a charmer. We now all know for sure, you two definately had a fabulous Anniversary! So very happy for you!!!
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Old Oct 15th, 2003, 12:45 PM
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What a great trip you had! It sounds like you really sampled the best that the area has to offer. Isn't Point Lobos amazing?

Go Cubs! (and Cubs fans keep your cotton pickin hands out of the way!)
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Old Oct 15th, 2003, 03:28 PM
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Winerycat, yes this was our first trip to this area... it has been our dream to do the entire CA coast hwy on a motorcycle, but we didn't have the time to do it that way. Saving that for another time.

I also agree that we hit everything right on. No regrets. It was an enchanted time for us... very, very special.

Sierra Mar was stunning. We sat out on the deck... the day was warm & glorious. The menu was very simple... mostly salads, sandwiches. I thought about the curried chicken salad which many people were raving about, but opted for a salad, and DH had a BLT. They were both delicious. The wine list was also lovely.

The restaurant interior was crisp w/ floor to ceiling glass sitting up above the calm water. At lunchtime the water was just glistening. Very mesmerizing.

Again, Bodi, Jason, Grasshopper, Gekko,
Winerycat thanks for all of your planning help! You all helped to make it very special for us!

makai1 is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2003, 03:31 PM
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Did I mention the Cubs yet????

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Old Oct 15th, 2003, 03:54 PM
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It was enjoyable to read your report.

We are fortunate to live on the Monterey Peninsula and know we are in a great area. Sometimes being reminded about it as your report did just gets me to want to go out and explore it some more. There is always something to do in this area and never a dull moment. Glad you had such a great trip!
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Old Oct 29th, 2003, 02:01 AM
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I loved this report! After reading another post "Carmel Jaunt" ... I thought I would top this post. I'm with you - I think this is one of the most beautiful areas of the country! Glad you had such a wonderful time.
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Old Dec 25th, 2004, 07:38 PM
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Thank you for such a wonderful "you are there. . . " report! I am printing it and will take it with us when we visit that area in Jan.
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Old Dec 31st, 2004, 07:23 AM
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I live in the area( MTY PENN.) and enjoyed your trip report.You did more than i have living here my whole life!
One thing that stuck out in my mind was your comment about "the fragrance of the woods at Pfeiffer". This is so true. I camp down at that state park once or twice a year and as we are getting closer to the area that wonderful smell comes alive. It is such an "earthy" smell that just engulfs your senses.
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