Carmel, California, is the kind of place where a person might hand you a poem in the street. It's where at dawn you can get a strong cup of coffee in hand and take a long walk down the beach. You can learn anything you want about dogs, have an authentic Ayurvedic massage and watch the setting sun go flat as a disc on the ocean horizon, then turn around and observe waterfowl leaving skims of silver wake on the Carmel River before daylight disappears.
At night you can stay up late singing to a crowd at Clint Eastwood's Mission Ranch piano bar, catch a new play in a small theater, cuddle around a beach campfire and stroll back to your hotel along sleepy streets under the stars. You can spend a lot of money in glitzy boutique stores or spend very little at Point Lobos State Nature Reserve.
A place of romance, beauty and culture, Carmel was developed in the early 20th century by artists, poets and visionaries, and its residents have retained its friendly, small-town, sophisticated character. You might even be inspired to write your own verse—and share it back.
Carmel is located at the southern end of Monterey Peninsula, just a few miles/kilometers south of Monterey. The town's refreshingly calm atmosphere results, in part, from strict zoning laws that ban neon, traffic lights and other trappings of urban development. (The town also seems to have banned empty parking spaces: Expect to spend some time searching for one.)
The residential district has no sidewalks or streetlights, and there is no mail delivery. Homes are known by their names rather than addresses. Carmel received a lot of press in the mid-1980s when Clint Eastwood was its mayor.
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