Mr Bell In California: Monterey & Carmel

San Francisco’s a great city but sometimes you want to get out of the city and do some exploring further afield, so on this particular trip I did. Myself and a couple of friends decided to hire a car and drive down to Monterey and Carmel by the Sea. Here’s what happened.

After driving for a couple of hours we arrived in Monterey, it was mid morning and we all needed some coffee and food so we stopped at this little place called Lou Lou’s Griddle In The Middle. It was basically a shed on the pier but the food was fantastic.

After being fed and watered we set off to explore Monterey. Along the way we found the most amazing antique warehouse, I could have spent hours in there but we just didn’t have the time. We ended up in the historic Cannery Row filled with its shops and restaurants, nice but a little bit too touristy for me.

Just a short drive away we stopped at this lovely park bordered by some beautiful old Victorian houses that overlooked the ocean.

From here we headed off to see the famous 17 mile drive and pebble beach. Our first stop was Spanish Bay, it was here in 1769 that Spanish explorer Don Gaspar de Portola and his crew camped whilst searching for Monterey Bay.

Point Joe was often mistaken by early mariners as the entrance to Monterey Bay and as a result many ships often crashed upon the rocks here.

Bird Rock as its name suggests is home to the many countless shore birds as well as groups of harbour seals and sea lions. The coastline here is stunning.

Following the road we arrived at the Fanshell Overlook. This pretty unspoilt beach of pure white sand is where the harbour seals return to every spring to bear their young. Apparently the seals like it all year round as there were some there lounging on the rocks when we arrived.

Next stop was the Lone Cypress, an enduring landmark of California. The Lone Cypress tree has sat on its rocky perch for more than 250 years. From here there are some beautiful views of the rugged coastline.

Our final stop on the 17 mile drive was the Ghost Tree, a sinister looking thing, its trunk bleached white from the wind. As we drove off towards the exit I wish we’d had a little more time to spend exploring as the scenery really is incredible but we needed to move on, next stop Carmel by the Sea.

I’d describe Carmel as a very pretty town, quite quaint but very touristy. There are lots of little shops, restaurants, and art galleries here.

We parked up and wandered off towards the beach, a long stretch of white sand, which I could imagine in the warmer weather would be packed with people enjoying it.

Back in town we took some time to stroll around looking in some of the pretty shops. It sort of reminded me a bit of Disneyland or a film set, lovely to look at but not quite real.

I really did like Carmel, but a couple of hours and I was done, so after a short refreshment break we started the journey back to the city.


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