I tell you, Carmel is not big, but I dare you to find another place more filled with so many unique treasures all within a few short blocks. From Junipero to Monte Verde that is five blocks down, and from 5th to 8th, that is four blocks across, as with few exceptions that is the area where most shops, art galleries and restaurants are located. I have been here a total of four months, and yet each time I go out for a walk I manage to find yet another unexplored alley or courtyard, and yet more treasures. And everything is housed in quaint buildings and is beautifully displayed.
The other thing that has pleased me a lot it that, in spite of what I had heard, most shops, and certainly the ones I particularly enjoyed, are owned by local people who truly put their heart and soul into their business. So join me on another walk through lovely Carmel-by-the-Sea and explore these lovely treasures.
Might as well start with the recently discovered (by me) Carmel Pipe Shop, which is a quaint little shop on the west side of Lincoln Street that is the delight of serious tobacco appreciators. That would not be me, but I still love crossing paths with a sweet waft of pipe tobacco. This little shop brought back memories of when my Dad used to smoke a pipe (wish he still did instead of those nasty cigarettes) and had quite a collection, including a Meerschaum one.
There I was, inside the shop, staring at a wall of pipes and thinking that this would be more of a man thing, then not five minutes later I observed a couple walking past me and the woman was smoking a pipe. That was my first time seeing a woman smoke a pipe for pleasure (as opposed to ceremony), not only on the street, but anywhere, unless it was in a movie. That was me told!
I did not go in, but next to The Pipe Shop I found this lovely children’s clothing boutique called Heaven. My niece and nephew are too grown up for this, but I know some of my friends with young children would love it!
At the other end of the building towards Ocean Ave I found yet another little courtyard as well as the fantastic Carmel Music Box Co., a shop selling antique gramophones and music boxes of all kinds, as well as music clocks, wooden music boxes, hand made eggs and hand painted glass. Janna and Ted Martynoff are welcoming and friendly, and will let you listen to the songs. I cannot offer you a website for Carmel Music Box Company because there isn’t one. If you wish to explore this incredible collection, you will have to sacrifice yourself and enjoy a few days in lovely Carmel. You can also contact Janna and Ted at CarmelMusicBox@att.net or by phone (831) 625-0288.
As you get to Ocean Avenue and walk downhill towards Monte Verde, you will find the colorful and famous Court of the Golden Bough, already featured in part 2 of the historic building tour (part 1 here). Walk behind The Cottage of Sweets and continue under the arch (on the right in the image below) into another courtyard. Besides the very tempting Il Tegamino restaurant, which I have yet to try but I am hearing wonderful things about, you will find Elizabeth Bennett and Mister Darcy.
Owned by Edeen Hill, Jane Austen at Home features an array of Jane Austen inspired items, from cards to figurines, from tea cups to furnishings, current, vintage and even some antiques. Fitzwilliam Darcy, aka Colin Firth, shows up frequently in the store (in photographs).
If you are ready for a break and a snack, and sweets from the cottage are not your thing, you can head up to Dolores Street (between Ocean and 7th) and get a sandwich from Salumeria Luca, a scrumptious gourmet market and deli featuring authentic Italian products, most of them anyway. They bake their own bread in the wood fired oven that also serves Cantinetta Luca next door, and they even make their own ice cream and sorbetto, which makes this the only place in Carmel that does that.
Otherwise you can walk up two more short blocks to Mission and stop at Patisserie Boissiere for dessert. My favorite is their divine Chocolate Chip Bread pudding baked in a muffin tin. Let me get my hands on a full kitchen (coming soon) and I will be recreating that!
Patisserie Boissiere (also featured in this earlier post about Carmel) is a reference point in Carmel as they have been here for fifty-five years, long before Carmel Plaza was built around them. They are not only the best bakery in Carmel-by-the-Sea, but also a really good French-style bistro where you can enjoy brunch, lunch and dinner, and even pick up a picnic.
Nurtured and revived, proceed across the street and to the left from Boissiere, just past Anton & Michel, and you will find The Mole Hole, one of Carmel’s oldest gift shops. Known for its imaginative and unique home accents, accessories and gifts, in December The Mole Hole (I just love the name!) turns into a place where Santa Claus would feel at home, and where I enjoyed a thorough exploration.
Peter hand picks each item featured in his store, and he is particularly proud to have been a long time representative of the enchanting and whimsical Wee Forest Folk.
Alas there is no website for The Mole Hole, but you can find it as part of the Court of the Fountains on Mission Street between Ocean Avenue and 7th Street. You can also contact Peter via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at (831) 626-1640.
Dashing not through the snow, but back to Dolores Street (between Ocean and 6th) is a place where your pooch can be truly spoiled as he or she deserves: The Dog House. I dare you to find a more perfect name!
Created for dog lovers by dog lovers, at The Dog House you will find it all: from the best dog food and treats, to toys, collars and leashes, to apparel and travel gear and so much more.
See that bicycle stroller attachment above left? That and a bicycle are on my buy-as-soon-as-it-makes-sense list.
And these cool T-bird vests are worthy of Fonzie. Though my Boyz are not clothes-wearing pups (too much fluff), I can think of a couple other dudes who would stop traffic in these: a jetsetting Frenchie named Tyson Leon, who lives between Monte Carlo and Switzerland, and an English Bullie named Prince (what else?) who lives in Honolulu.
This concludes our Carmel treasure hunt for today, but stay tuned as there is one more to come, plus a particularly special treasure trove.
In the meantime, more exploring in lovely Carmel can be done through these posts:
And just beyond Carmel: