The peaceful s eas ide charms of Carmel are an eas y four-hour drive from Santa Barbara.
Where to Stay
Vendange Carmel Inn & Suites (24815 Carpenter St., Carmel, 831/624-6400, vendangecarmel.com) is a charming wine-themed inn with the homey vibe of a bed & breakfas t. Jus t minutes away from res taurants , s hops , galleries and tas ting rooms , this boutique inn’s intimate gardens offer a lovely s etting to enjoy a glas s of wine or a cozy cup of tea. We stayed in the delightful Twisted Roots room. Other partnered wineries and themed rooms include: Blair Estate Wines, Cima Collina Winery, Dawn’s Dream Winery, Galante Vineyards, Holman Ranch Wines, Joullian Vineyards, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Manzoni Cellars, McIntyre Vineyards, Tudor Wines and Ventana Vineyards.
Nes tled upon a s cenic clifftop overlooking the s tunning Big Sur coas t and celebrating its 100th annivers ary in 2017, Hyatt Carmel Highlands (120 Highlands Dr., Carmel, 831/620-1234) offers spectacular views in an amazing s etting. The legendary inn’s impeccable s ervice was evident from the moment we arrived and were greeted with flutes of Pros ecco to the umbrellas that magically appeared when raindrops s tarted to threaten our departure. The gorgeous s liding glas s door views and wood-burning fireplace in our room made it hard to leave this relaxing, romantic getaway.
Where to Eat
At Whaling Station (763 Wave St., Monterey, 831/373-3778) in nearby Monterey, an old-s chool s teakhous e with on-s ite dry-age room, diners choos e their own prime cuts of beef. As you s elect your USDA Prime cut of aged beef from a s ilver tray, then watch them s lice Prime Rib from an antique s ilver carving trolley, it’s eas y to s ee why Whaling Station has been voted the county’s #1 s teakhous e for 40 years in a row.
California Market at Pacific’s Edge at Hyatt Carmel Highlands (120 Highlands Dr., Carmel, 831/622-5450) has a newly remodeled 1,200-square-foot deck, featuring louvered roof and glas s -panel walls with dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean and the Big Sur coas t. The food is jus t as impres s ive as the views , and the extens ive menu features the wares of local producers s uch as Bellwether Farms Creamery in Sonoma, Swank Farms in Hollis ter and Monterey Abalone Company in Monterey.
Things to Do
Wine tasting in Carmel Valley is a great way to s pend an afternoon, with 24 wineries and tas ting rooms to choos e from. Be s ure to s top and s ay hello to Jos h & Julie Ruiz of Twisted Roots Winery & Vineyard (located in Lyons Head Art Gallery, 12 Del Fino Pl., Carmel Valley, 831/594-8282), whos e warm hos pitality at this family-owned tas ting room is jus t as delicious as their old-vine wines . We als o enjoyed s ipping on the patio at Joyce Vineyards Tasting Room (1 E. Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel Valley, 831/659-2885). Golfers love Pebble Beach, and the famous 17-Mile Drive is a s cenic treat. Big Sur and Monterey Bay Aquarium are jus t a s hort drive away as well, offering more than enough entertainment for the entire family.
This story was originally published in the Winter 2017-18 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.