Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Walk Carmel-by-the-Sea - Fairy Tale Homes Tour

Carmel by the Sea Adventures of a Home Town Tourist

One Hour Walking Tour From The Tour Bus Stop
Architecture - Fairy Tale Houses
Comstock Historical Hill District

Welcome to Carmel-by-the-Sea! Tour buses roll down Ocean Avenue and park at the corner of Junipero and Ocean, behind the Carmel Plaza.  

Tour bus drivers give their fare one hour (sometimes less) to tour town on their own.  I have put together a few ideas featuring different interests. This one architecture and the Fairy Tale Houses of the Comstock Historical Hill District.

If coffee or snack are necessary prerequisites for a walk, take a left at the corner of Junipero and Ocean. 

Look for the sculpture,

the alley between Bottega Veneta and Kate Spade

leads to the inner quadrangle of the second level.  To the left is an ATM machine.  At the opposite end of the plaza next to Anthropologie is the elevator to all levels.  

Take the stairs to the first level of the Plaza

 to  Carmel Coffee and Cocoa Bar
lower level Carmel Plaza

 on the corner to the right as you exit the stairs.    

Here you will find a wide selection of specialty 
coffees and teas, along with pastries,
 salads and sandwiches.
You will not go hungry
or thirsty in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

To reach the Comstock Historical Hill District, cross Ocean Avenue at Junipero and stroll (no dawdling, we have a time limit) through Devendorf Park. You will know that you are in the right place when you see the NO DOG signs.  One of the few places in Carmel where doggies are not allowed.  

The land for Devendorf Park was given to the city of Carmel by the Father of Carmel-by-the-Sea, James Franklin  Devendorf

 It was Mr. Devendorf along with developer Frank Powers who founded the town at the turn of the 20th century.  Besides the bust of Devendorf look for the wooden statue of  Saint Junipero Serra 

and the Veterans Memorials for
 World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.  

When you exit the park by the statue of Blessed Junipero Serra you will face Vesuvio one of our secret places  (shh...don't tell anyone) -

where most drinks and bar food are half off
for Happy Hour Friday and Saturday from 4 to 6PM.

But I digress, you have no time for that in one hour (unless your bus arrived at 4pm on a Friday or Saturday).  Not likely, so on with the tour. Before we go any further, does anyone in your party have to use the restroom? If so now is the perfect time.  You will find a public restroom (made possible by former Mayor Clint Eastwood) at the SW Corner of Junipero and 6th.   

Cross  Junipero and 6th to
Brunos Market and Deli, 

a perfect place to get a sandwich, made to order.  Or if you are in need of any toiletries or over the counter medication they have a good variety. 

In need of stamps for your postcards,
 you will find that at
Surf n Sand next door. 

Do not be tempted by Bruno's parking lot barbecue.  But do say hi to the cook when you walk by.  You will find him over the barbecue everyday, rain or shine until around 11 am.

Now we are off to visit the Comstock Fairy Tale Houses. Turn left at Torres and climb the hill to Hansel and Gretel. Hansel, the original Doll House was built in 1924 by Hugh Comstock for his wife Mayotta's Otsy-Totsy dolls.

 These are the views you will see from Torres Street
 Hansel above, Gretel below.

On the northeast corner of 6th and Torres is Hugh W. Comstock Residence, formerly known as "Obers," the residence that Hugh Comstock built for himself and his wife Mayotta in 1925.

Next door on the northwest corner of 6th and Santa Fe is The Studio, built by Comstock in 1927 originally as his office. 

Turn left at Santa Fe.  The fourth house from the corner on the west side of the street is  Our House

Mr. Comstock built this for his client, Elizabeth Armstrong in 1928.  This house is a bit difficult to see from Santa Fe, but you will know you have the correct house when you spot the narrow arched three-light casement window with a wood shutter of the same shape with heart shape cut out. 

Continue up to the end of the block to find A Storybook Cottage. The original 384 square foot cottage was built in 1926 by Mr. Comstock's father-in-law, Thomas M. Browne.  

Turn around and walk back to 6th Avenue and turn left up the hill.  The next five cottages were built by Hugh Comstock for his client real estate developer, W. O. Swain. 

The first cottage is  Honeymoon, reminiscent of a small Anne Hathaway Cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon. 

Next door on the southwest corner of 6th and Santa Rita is Birthday House, here Mr. Comstock used the New England "saltbox style" when designing this cottage for Mr. Swain.  Below is the elevation seen from 6th. 

Turn right at the corner of 6th and Santa Rita to see this elevation of Birthday House. 

Next door heading in the direction of Ocean Avenue is  Fables.  Mr. Swain asked that this cottage be built in a French country farmhouse style with a polygonal hipped roof.  Sure, Mr. Comstock said and produced this masterpiece. 

Next door find  Doll's House, also built for Mr. Swain. 

Turn right at Ocean and hug the "sidewalk," the first house you will pass is  Ocean House, an English Cotswold style, and the smallest of the cottages built for Mr. Swain.  

Continue down Ocean, cross Santa Fe to the northeast corner of Ocean and Torres.  This is the last of the eleven homes built by Comstock in this district,  The Woods,  built for Mary Young Hunter in 1927.  

From here you should be able to see your bus waiting for you two blocks away at the Carmel Plaza. At least I hope they are still waiting.  Continue down Ocean to Devendorf Park and cross over to Carmel Plaza. If someone in your party needs to use the restroom before getting back on the bus, there is a public restroom on the third level of Carmel Plaza, just to the left when you exit the elevator. 

Thank you for visiting! Happy Adventures.

For an interactive map from GPSmyCity for this blog post please visit this site

For an interactive map and guided walking tour covering this and many of our other  tours please be sure to download the GPSmyCity App from the iTunes store.  The  App covers an extensive library of articles and walking tours from over 470 cities worldwide, and now features articles from  Adventures of a Home Town Tourist covering Carmel and Monterey (with more cities on the way).  Click the City Walks logo below to get your free App today. 

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L.A. Momboisse www.carmelbytheseaca.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Carmel-by-the-Sea Gets Her Name

The name Carmel is roughly translated from the Hebrew as garden.   Mount Carmel is a coastal range on the Mediterranean Sea in Northern Israel.  It is this place that we read about in 1 Kings 18:19-39 where Elijah defended the God of Israel against the priests of Baal.  And it is Mount Carmel that is referred to as a symbol of beauty and fruitfulness in Isaiah 35:2.

In 1191 a group of hermits settled at the foot of Mount Carmel, and dedicated themselves to the Blessed Mother Mary.  They became known as the "Brothers of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel.  In the thirteenth century the Brothers of Saint Mary requested a Rule from Albert, the Patriarch of Jerusalem.  He wrote the text for the Brothers, sometime between 1206 and 1214.  This text was modified by Pope Innocent IV in 1247 and became the official Rule for Carmelites which is still in use today. 


In 1602 Sebastian Viszcaino following Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s route up the coast of what was then Alta California, anchored at Bahia de los Pinos and renamed it Puerto de Monterey. In his diary Vizcaino wrote, that “his men built a shelter under a great oak near the shore” where the three Carmelite friars who accompanied Viszcaino on his journey celebrated Mass on the beach.  

Sebastian Viszcaino stayed three weeks at Puerto de Monterey exploring the area.  After hiking over the hill to the south he wrote that he had found another good port at the mouth of a river. 

Viszcaino explored a
short distance up the river,

and named it
 "El Rio Carmelo"

in honor of Father Andrew of the Assumption, Father Anthony of the Ascension, and Father Thomas of Aquinas the three Carmelite friars who had accompanied him on the expedition. The friars were said to have told Viszcaino that the land area reminded them of Mount Carmel in Palestine.  

The Carmelites were granted as their missionary territory the area now known as California.  Yet it was a Franciscan, Blessed Father Junipero Serra who arrived in San Diego with Captain Gaspar de Portola in 1769 who established the first mission in Upper California at Presidio-Mission San Diego de Alcala. 

Serra went on to establish nine more missions, including the Carmel Mission, with a total of twenty-one missions eventually being established along the El Camino Real, from San Diego to Sonoma. 

The Carmelites finally did return to Carmel in 1925. Bishop John Bernard MacGinley of Monterey and Fresno desired to found a Carmelite monastery in his diocese, and with a promise from Mother Augustine in Santa Clara to send five nuns to the new foundation in Carmel, California, the Carmel of Our Lady and St Therese was established October 23, 1925.

So now you know that Carmel-by-the-Sea, the garden

  on the edge of a body of water,

takes her name from the Carmel River, El Rio Carmelo, which was named in honor of three Carmelite priests who thought the area reminded them of their monastery home at Mount Carmel.  

Black and White Photo Public Domain, Haifa Mount Carmel prior to 1899.
All other photos of Monterey Beach, Carmel River Beach, Carmel Mission, Carmelite Monastery, and Crespi Cross by L. A. Momboisse - www.carmelbytheseaca.blogspot.com

St. Albert Presents the Rule to the Carmelites - Pietro Lorenzetti
Blessed Junipero Serra's Landing Place in Monterey and Celebration of the First Mass - Leon Trousset