Cottages and Coastlines
Trip Start May 14, 2009
16Trip End May 29, 2009
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We started off the morning slowly, taking it easy and not getting out the door until about 10:30.
First stop this morning was to hunt for the fairy tale cottages. Which, surprisingly, few people know much about. Using the map from the Tuck Box Tearoom, we struck out first by driving to within a block or two. We lucked out on a parking spot just about two blocks from the main row of cottages, and on top of the main hills, *and* in 48 hour parking rather than the very prevalent 2 hour parking. I tried to parallel park, really I did....
Mom finally got frustrated and said "gimme". *laughs* She had it up next to the curb in one move. I would have gotten it there... eventually. We were laughing about it the whole way to the cottages.
For the next, oh, hour and a half, we wandered a few blocks looking for the fairy tale cottages. We found all of them (at least all on our map) as well. And we were glad not only that we'd found the cottages, but that we'd opted to head out of town after finding them. Turns out there was a "festival of some sort" going on today, so Ocean Ave was *packed*. Found out after we got back that it's an art festival, so we hope to hit that tomorrow morning :)
After our tour of Carmel's residential section, we ended up at a market where we picked up a picnic (BBQ, very good, too), some drinks, some ice, and an ice chest. Once I got the car and picked up mom and the goodies (do you really think I was going to carry an ice chest 3+ blocks uphill? HAH!) we headed out to Highway 1. Destination: Point Lobos State Reserve.
When we got there, Whaler's Cove was unfortunately "full". Either it stayed full all day, or mom had the right idea and they were having a "Plein Air" painting contest out there. We know there was one somewhere in the region.
So we went out to the South Coast Trail just above the Weston Beach. We had a FANTASTIC view of the tide coming in while we ate our lunch in the car. Then we hiked the trail up to Headland Cove, which took us past "The Slot", "Sand Hill Cove" (where we saw several sea lions and seals and otters), "Sea Lion Cove" (with more sea lions and seals), "Devil's Cauldron", and to "Headland Cove".
By then, the second "wave" of the incoming tide was coming in. It seemed to be near low tide while we ate, then came in to a midpoint and stalled, then started coming in again with a vengeance. Seriously, I was standing out on one point looking at a tide pool and watching the water crashing out on a rock (I think "South Point") and in the fifteen minutes or so that I was out on the point, the water came in at least 10 feet.
Once I finished watching the GORGEOUS water and breakers, I went out to the rocky beach at Sea Lion Cove and discovered something.... the pebble beaches out here... sing. Whenever the water rushed back out from a wave, it would tinkle and sound like music. Very magical.
But, by then mom and I were both thirsty and getting sunburned (and yes, we did use the sunblock... so much for 'water resistant') so we returned to the car. Only about a 1.3 mile hike round trip, probably closer to 1.5 with all the hopping around I did on the rocks, but still we were tuckered.
Other things we saw on the trail: 3 deer (we're not sure what type, but they had HUGE ears and weren't the slightest bit afraid of people) almost right on the trail, and two very friendly squirrels who were eating the flowers. Speaking of, some very neat flowers as well. Several succulents that we can't identify beyond calling them "succulents", and more flower types than we know how to identify. Also saw several crabs in one of the tide pools, including two little hermit crabs that got into a pinching fight over the same little cave in the rock. And there was a clicking noise all around those pools that I suspect was being made by those crabs. Saw a couple of anemones, but not nearly as many or as colorful as the ones I saw at Endert's Beach last year. Saw one shell in the water that I think was an urchin... it didn't have the pricklies on it, but it was a gorgeous shell. Several stalks of "something" that when I went out to investigate I found were seaweed stalks. And there were flocks and flocks of sea birds flying in V formation that I swear were pelicans... Don't forget the kelp beds and water of the most gorgeous blue that it rivals Hawaii. And of course there was the amazing geology... HUGE conglomerates, some of the most obvious conglomerate we've seen, mixed in with fine sandstone and granite.
For people who appreciate the beauty of nature, Point Lobos had it in spades.
I toyed with driving out along Big Sur, but we decided to go back to the room and take it easy for the rest of the night instead.
That plan still changed when mom spotted the spires of a Spanish style church of some sort. So we ducked in and found ourselves at the gates of the Carmel Monastary with all of 15 minutes to see the grounds. Very lovely buildings with nice Spanish architecture, apparently founded in 1925. They've done a very nice job with the grounds, and the light was perfect.
After leaving there, we decided to swing by the Carmel Mission (which was founded in 1771). I didn't expect to be able to actually go in since it was after 4:30, but we got there just before they closed the gates. We only had 15 minutes to do a quick tour, but what we saw was absolutely amazing. Wonderful architecture, *fantastic* gardens... I wouldn't mind going back for more pictures and to take our time. You could practically feel Zorro running around... >.> Of course, he would have been in his Del La Vega guise...
When we left the Mission, we returned to Carmel along Junipero Street where we drove down to the beach only to turn around immediately because of the crowds. Nowhere to park and a line waiting for places. So we spent a little time in Carmel itself looking in a few shops and getting dinner at the Patisserie Boissiere Café and Restaurant on Mission Street. Mom had their special, I had their pasta, and we both got dessert. Everything we had was fantastic, and the people were very friendly.
After that, we returned to the room to crash and look at pictures. :D