Clint Eastwood’s Carmel:
Absolutely nothing in this fairy tale town says ‘Dirty Harry’ to me. The actor-turned-chair-whisperer not only calls Carmel home, but he was the affluent town’s mayor for two years back in the late ’80s. Also neither here nor there, but interesting: Eastwood has seven children by five different women.
Okay, back to this hamlet that oozes with charm…dare I say too much charm. At first glance, I love it. The homes here look like something more along the lines of what I’d encounter in a small Mediterranean village in France or Italy rather than California.
As I walk up and down the side streets in the heart of town, I come across wood-shingled homes, clay tile gabled roofs, and what looks like storybook Hansel and Gretel cottages. This moneyed-by-the sea enclave formerly attracted artists and writers like Jack London. Perhaps it’s no longer a Call of the Wild kind of place with cobbled walkways, charming street lamps, and Land Rovers at every turn. I love charm as much as the next person, but it seems a little too drippy, in a slightly-unreal kind of way. But, I do appreciate that neon signs and billboards are forbidden (I really like this aesthetic) and even the trash receptacles are pretty.
The 17 Mile Drive
Even before the first commercial automobiles were made, the 17-Mile Drive was one of Monterey County’s top scenic drives. It began as a carriage road for guests at Monterey’s Hotel del Monte in the early 1880s, and since then has become a must-do for its magnificent scenery. During my drive, it is a bit grey and blustery, but still pretty. I cruise past natural, rocky beaches, wildlife like seals and sea lions, the famed Lone Cypress, astounding mansions, a championship golf course, and of course the legendary Lodge at Pebble Beach.
Ostentatious homes sit amidst craggy cypress trees, jagged rocks, and the crashing waves of the Pacific. There are several pull-offs to see the ocean vistas, but sometimes I would prefer a pull-off just to gawk at some of the crazy, huge mansions.
Disclosure: My trip to Big Sur was made possible by Samsung who also gifted me the Samsung Galaxy SIII with which I shot some of the photos shown here. As always the views expressed here are my own and do not reflect the views of Samsung.