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The Carmel Journals | Fairy Tale Cottages & Historic Buildings Tour – part 2



So, where were we…. Oh yes, at L’Auberge Carmel on Monte Verde street. For those of you who are only now tuning in, this is part 2 of the fairy tale cottages and historic building walking tour of Carmel-by-the-Sea. If you would like to start from the beginning, you can click here.


Not on the tour, but still one of the oldest buildings is the very pretty Normandy Inn, located along Ocean Avenue (on the left if looking at the ocean), between Monte Verde and Casanova. This was part of the detour, by the way. I tell you, pretty houses and buildings in Carmel can keep you detouring forever.




Walking back uphill on Ocean to find the next spot on my map, I saw this other pretty building on the corner with Monte Verde. It houses a boutique, and they were renovating the interior when I stopped by. This means a new visit next time I am in Carmel in the fall.




Above is another pretty Tudor-ish style building on the corner of Ocean and Monte Verde housing some boutiques. I will be covering this in later posts, but shopping and window shopping in Carmel is really a treat. Besides the many art galleries, there are a lot of charming shops and boutiques.

The pretty pink cottage below was built by Michael J. Murphy, and used to be a tea shop. Alas it is no more! It now houses a business selling skin care, and I hope they will have a new sign up soon, because without one the building looks naked. I will take more photos, also of the beautiful interior, next trip, when hopefully the sign will be up. I still think a tea shop was better suited to this style of building, but…




The charming pink bon-bon is part of The Court of the Golden Bough, where another famous fairy tale cottage by Comstock is located: the very popular Cottage of Sweets, which sells assorted chocolates and candy mostly imported from England. This is historic building nr. 4 on the tour map.

The cottage was originally built in 1922, and used to be a loom shop located on Dolores and Ocean, so further up the street. It was moved to the current location in 1923 by Edward Kuster, and turned into a fanciful ticket booth for his new Golden Bough Playhouse. Unfortunately, in 1935 the theater burned down during a play called “By Candlelight”. A new theater was built on Monte Verde between 8th and 9th, but that burned down, too, in 1949, again while showing “By Candlelight”. A third theater was built there, and luckily it remains today. They must have stopped showing the “By Candlelight” play.




As part of the court is also the pretty Tudor style (non-historic) building that houses PortaBella restaurant downstairs, and the magical shop that is The White Rabbit upstairs. You can find out more about the whimsical White Rabbit shop at this post. Designed by Lee Gottfried, this cottage was commissioned by novelist Harry Leon to house his third wife’s flower shop, The Blooming Basement.




Above: the back of The Cottage of Sweets. Below: the back of the cute pink cottage.




The Tudor-ish style building at the opening of Morgan Court above is located on Lincoln Street on the way to the next historical building, number 3 on the tour map. This would be Cypress Inn in the images below. Cypress Inn opened in 1929 and was then called Hotel La Ribera. At the time, the local press hailed it as “one of the show pieces of the Monterey Peninsula.”




A hop and a skip back up on Ocean Avenue, and by skip I also mean that I skipped two of the historic buildings because they were nothing special and difficult to photograph, I arrived back at Carmel Bakery. I already reviewed the bakery itself in a previous post about my first walk around town, but I am now featuring it as historic building nr. 10. The Carmel Bakery building was built in 1904 and has always been a bakery.




Next to the bakery there is another pretty (non-historic) fairy-tale style building. It houses a jewelry shop, and also the access to Der Ling Lane. If you follow this alleyway you can reach the back courtyard where you will find the Thomas Kinkade Gallery. If you continue through the courtyard and out the other side, you access Morgan Court. All very much interconnected, sometimes anyway. You can view images of the courtyard and gallery in my other post, too.




After that I found myself back on Dolores Street, but on the south side of Ocean this time. Here I kept zigzagging across the street (lucky there was not much traffic that morning) to photograph all the pretty hispanic style buildings on either side, usually housing art galleries, pretty shops and restaurants.




The non-historic but very pretty cottage above houses The Soiled Doves Bathhouse. Isn’t that a wonderful name? The shop sells a curated assortment of wonderful items for your home spa, and is looking to expand and offer actual spa services. Unfortunately, when I walked past it the shop was already closed, and I look forward to exploring it and taking photographs to share with you in the fall. Since I will be staying in Carmel three months, or possibly longer, I will have the leisure to reconnoitre to my heart’s content. And yours, I hope!




Above is historic building nr. 12, the China Art Center on Dolores street. It was designed and built by Comstock in 1930, and it originally housed the Monterey Savings and Loan Bank. Jo Mora did much of the artwork, including the bas-relief outside and paintings inside.


Below is another non-historic-but-pretty Tudor-style building on Dolores, and it houses three art galleries. Right next to that, and across from the China Art Center above is….




…. Historic building nr. 15!! The famous Tuck Box, built by Comstock in 1926. You can see the inside and read more about the story of the Tuck Box in this dedicated post.

And yes, the adorable shop you see on the right of the Tuck Box, and housed within the same historical building complex, is a hat shop called The Prestige. The Prestige, and its companion shop, The Hat Shop, are quite special, so they will have their own feature very soon.




Next to the Tuck Box is another beautiful historic building, nr. 14 on the map. This Mediterranean style building features the beautiful Spanish mosaic tile stairway and fountain above and below, and gives access to El Paseo Courtyard, where you can sit and enjoy some pizza and do wine tasting.




Across from El Paseo, on the corner of Dolores and 7th, is the historic building that now houses La Bicyclette restaurant. Nr. 13 on the tour map, this building was originally a pharmacy with doctors’ offices upstairs accessible from 7th Avenue.

During my foggy morning walking tour (my second) I paused at La Bicyclette for breakfast. I enjoyed it so much I went back on another day for lunch. That was wonderful, too, so I will be giving La Bicyclette their own feature and review, but know already that I heartily recommend eating here. Their menu is limited and more intentional, but the quality is high. And you should see the wines on their shelves! Anyway, more on La Bicyclette soon.





This pretty boutique on Plaza San Carlos, accessible both from 7th and San Carlos, concludes out walking tour. There are, of course, many more pretty cottages all over Carmel, and I will be sharing them with you by and by as I return in the fall and walk around the residential streets. I plan to walk up and down each and every Carmel street all the way to the ocean. From what I have seen while driving, I know already it will take me twice the time that it would take anyone else, as I will be stopping to photograph just about every house. Some look like small fairy tale castles!


Have I inspired you to visit beautiful Carmel? If you are in Carmel already, or are making plans to visit soon, you can find out more about self-guided and guided walking tours at Carmel Walks, and also at the Carmel Chamber of Commerce website. There is also a Visitors Center on San Carlos between 5th and 6th, and printed guides to Carmel are available in just about all the newspaper vending spots around town.


I hope you have enjoyed this virtual tour, and are enjoying the rest of my Carmel Journals. If you are, please feel free to share them with your friends and family.

More coming soon…


Other chapters in The Carmel Journals you might enjoy:


And just beyond Carmel:



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