24 Hours in Carmel-by-the-Sea

A few weeks ago my husband and I snuck away for a night while my mom was in town visiting. The two of us were supposed to go to Maui in May, which was going to be our first BIG trip away from the kids. After what a crazy year it’s been, I knew we needed a little recharge.

We are so fortunate to live in the Bay Area, where we have multiple options of amazing destinations within one to two hours from us. Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of them. It’s about an hour and a half drive south of us, and boasts famous sights such as Pebble Beach, the 17-mile drive, and the historic Carmel Mission Basilica.

It’s been a very warm autumn for us, and temperatures have been in the 80s and even 90s up until a week ago. So when I was packing for our getaway, I was excited to finally get to wear my fuzzy sweaters as the weather was 20+ degrees cooler on the coast. We stayed at the Carmel Mission Inn, which is a charming boutique hotel in the Carmel Valley. This was our second time (my third time) staying here. The rooms are modern and newly renovated, there is a pool and hot tub, and it is conveniently located across from a shopping plaza and only 7 minutes to Carmel Beach and Point Lobos state park. The only bummer was that they weren’t serving breakfast due to Covid, but we didn’t mind.

After checking in to the hotel, we went to get massages at The Refuge, which is the first co-ed outdoor relaxation spa in America. Due to the pandemic, they didn’t have the steam room/saunas open, but their hot & warm pools with thermal waterfalls were amazing! They also have cool and cold pools, which I was not interested in trying but Kendrick convinced me to sit for 2 minutes in the “cool” pool which is the temperature of the Pacific Ocean.

Before entering the spa, they took our temperature and required us to wear a mask during the massage, which was outdoors in a tent. I actually loved getting my massage outdoors, because my tent was setup right next to a waterfall which acted as a natural sound machine. When my masseuse found out I was a mom, she told me, “the best thing in life you can be is a mama.” 🙂 I couldn’t agree more.

A “rule” of theirs is no phones allowed anywhere outside the locker room. Kendrick and I had decided that we weren’t going to use social media at all during our trip, so this didn’t bother us and I love that they enforce this so couples can focus on connecting with each other.

After enjoying a few hours at the spa, we hurried back to the hotel for a quick change, so we could catch the sunset at the beach before dinner.

We dined at The Flying Fish Grill which I highly recommend! It was our first time there, and I decided to try it after reading so many five star reviews. Kendrick loved the complimentary wonton chips they gave us with mango salsa. I ordered the almond sea bass and Kendrick had the seafood pasta. Make sure to leave room for dessert because the warm banana sundae was the perfect ending!

I was hoping to catch the sunrise on the beach the next morning, but it was too foggy. We grabbed coffee (I ordered my first PSL of the season!) and walked down the beach. What a wonderful change of scene to our normal routine with the kids. 😉

Covid times selfie 🙂
First PSL of the season
Funky fairytale looking homes along Scenic Road
Check out the chimney!

After, we went to hike at Point Lobos state reserve. I fell in love with the Spanish moss trees that had such an eerie beauty amidst the fog. We didn’t see the sea lions which are popular there, but we did hear them!

Matching sneaks 😉
These trees felt so magical to me.

We couldn’t leave without shopping downtown for our kiddos. Thinker Toys was a cute shop and we found the perfect gifts for them there. My favorite was Kris Kringle of Carmel; a quaint Christmas shop with ornament personalization. We bought a 2020 ornament and customized it with our names. Our sweet tooth led us into Carmel Bakery, where we picked up some treats for the ride home including cannolis for our neighbors.

Overall, we felt Carmel is doing an A+ job handling tourism during the pandemic. There were signs posted everywhere downtown with a notice of a $100 fine for not wearing a mask. We didn’t see a single person not wearing a mask, even walking on the beach.

Getting away, even for 24 hours, was so revitalizing for our marriage. I truly love spending time with my husband; he’s my favorite person in the world and I always learn something new about him when we travel. Someone told us once, “you two are like the steering wheel of a car; if the steering breaks, the car spins out of control. But, if the steering is in tact, the car can drive smoothly.”

Thanks for steering with me, babe. No one else I’d rather drive with. ❤

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