Ocean Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea / Behind the Front Window Self-Guided Walking Tour 2019

The following, Ocean Avenue - Behind the Front Window, is a collaboration by Carmel Residents Association members, Dale Byrne, and Lynn Momboisse.  This is the first of what we hope will be many more episodes.  Happy Adventures!


Since it is highly likely you got to this tour from a link on the Carmel Residents Association (CRA) website, you are already familiar with Carmel-by-the-Sea and its historical "Main Street", Ocean Avenue.  This tour will be walking you around town and hopefully, introducing you to some things that you haven't seen before or possibly give you a new appreciation for things you haven't thought about in quite a while. 

This tour is adapted from a tour designed for visitors who arrive in our quaint village on a tour bus.  They park at the corner of Junipero and Ocean behind the Carmel Plaza.  Tour bus drivers usually give their passengers one hour to enjoy Carmel on their own. It is truly impossible to seriously explore even a small part of Carmel in one hour but, since you are actually a "Home Town Tourist", you can spend as much time as you want.

This walking tour is meant as an overview, providing a variety of options.  We suggest you read through it, make some notes about things of interest, then go out and explore them in more detail.

If you are like us, you have walked by these businesses hundreds of times and never gone behind the front window.  This time, walk inside and introduce yourself, meet the owners or their associates and ask some questions.  We hope that you will have as great a time on this walking tour, as we did cobbling it together. And by the way, our town depends on sales tax to finance city operations, so we also hope that you might find things to buy on your adventure. 

We have listed a number of suggested stops from cafes, to shopping, charming courtyards, to art galleries, and one wine room. Many other businesses that you will pass we have listed by name and linked to a web site if they have one.

As a quick summary, we will be covering the area from Junipero to about 30 feet west of Monte Verde, a total of 1560 feet.  In this short distance you will see 85 businesses -- which include 23 clothing stores, 13 restaurants, 8 jewelry stores, and 9 art galleries!  That's pretty incredible and it's all in your backyard.  No driving required and just over 1/2 mile of walking. 

Speaking of walking, we would like to remind you that Carmel is a small town with narrow roads, lots of cars, limited parking, and no traffic signals.  This can create a complicated situation for both drivers and pedestrians.  It is important that you are cautious when walking and make eye contact with drivers before entering an intersection.  Many times, drivers are looking for a parking spot and may go through stop signs without stopping.  

Ok, let's get started.  Head to Carmel Plaza on Ocean Avenue between Junipero and Mission Street. 

Carmel Plaza is an enigma in a town that prides itself on maintaining its quaint, Old World architecture and keeping out chain stores and typical retail signage.  But, right at the crest of Carmel you have what seems to be a shopping mall. 

The story of how this happened is interesting and we'll cover it in detail in a future episode that will take us on a detailed tour of the Plaza.  But, in a nutshell, the Plaza was developed on property which at one time housed a movie theater and soda fountain.  It was also the lumber yard for M. J. Murphy. This lumber yard was moved in 1946 to Carmel Valley. M. J. Murphy Lumber and Hardware is still family run and owned.    

The first development (just the northern third of the block along Ocean Avenue) was started in 1960 by Lesley and Marcella Fenton. The Fentons lived in Pebble Beach at the time and owned an antique shop.  Side note, Marcella was previously married to Charles S. Howard, who owned the famous thoroughbred Seabiscuit. Marcella is one of the subjects in Hillenbrand's book "Seabiscuit: An American Legend" and was portrayed in the film version by Elizabeth Banks! Anyway you will have to wait for the rest of the story because we digressed -- back to the tour. 

Since you are pretending to be a tourist today, let's start by going to the Carmel Chamber Visitor's Center on the west side of the second level of the Carmel Plaza.  They are open 10:00 - 5:00PM Monday - Saturday and 11:00 - 4:00PM Sunday.  One of about 20 of their friendly volunteers will be there to greet you. Go inside and introduce yourself as a Home Town Tourist and let them tell you how they can help you and your visiting friends get to know Carmel.  There is a wealth of information available and it is all free! 

Just as Carmelites used to gather around a bulletin board to get the important news, you might consider the Visitors Center as Carmel's modern bulletin board.  Inside you can pick up maps, magazines, brochures, and discount coupons. And yes there is a bulletin board with information on current happenings. 

What are the most asked questions at the Visitors Center? "I've got one hour, what should I do?" and "Where is a restroom?"  The answer to the first one varies depending on the volunteer but the answer to the second is always "go to the third floor and the southeast corner, take the stairs or the elevator." 

From Carmel Plaza, cross the street at Ocean Avenue.  You will avoid much of the "tour bus traffic" by heading down the north side of Ocean Avenue toward the beach. 

Look for the big green area, this is Devendorf Park named after the Father of Carmel-by-the-Sea, James Franklin "Frank" Devendof.  This park, which was usually a muddy mess back in Carmel's early days, was generously donated to the City by Frank Devendorf and his partner Frank Powers.  

The bust of Frank Devendorf that you will find upon entering the park was sculpted by his daughter Edwina.  She was born a deaf-mute but, as you can see, she became an accomplished artist.  The statement she worked into the monument is:  "Creation is a combination of Vision and Will.  Vision is the plan but Will is the human energy that builds to completion." Fortunately for us, Frank practiced what he preached and left the legacy of Carmel-by-the-Sea and Carmel Highlands.  

We suggest you contemplate Frank's accomplishments in this jewel of a park and, after thanking him for his efforts, take a short walk to the northeast corner of the park and the large wooden statue of another important figure of our community, Saint Junipero Serra.  

Directly behind this statue are
 public restrooms and bus stop. 

Dispersed throughout the park are memorials honoring residents of this area who paid the highest price for our freedom in World War II, Vietnam and Korea.  

Read through the names on the plaques and you will see many familiar names: Bain, Lewis, Leidig, Parkes, and Flanders on the World War II. 

We are sure many of you remember more than we do. 

memorial to 911  stands at the northwest corner of the park.  This actual I-beam from the Twin Towers was brought to Carmel by five firefighters from the Monterey Firefighters Association.  The memorial was installed in 2013.   

As you leave the park at the southwest corner you will walk by one of the largest trees in the Village, a Coastal Live oak.

From the west edge of the park, cross Mission Street to Palomas Home Furnishing. This stucco and tile building began its life in 1932 as Graft's Carmel Dairy. The corner of the building was made to look like a milk bottle, and the original dairy sign is painted to the right of the front door. 

Well, it's actually a re-creation because the original was damaged in 1933 by an errant driver who ran their car into the side of the building. 

When the dairy was in operation during the early years of Carmel, milk would be delivered to residents throughout the village via "Milk Shrines." You can see one at the First Murphy House on Lincoln and 6th.  The dairy closed after World War II and the space was leased for use as soda fountain.  In 1953, Italian grocer Joe Bileci moved his Mediterranean Market from San Carlos to this building.  For the next 58 years patrons entered through a heavy beaded curtain to an aromatic heaven of Italian deliciousness.  (What we would give for a picture of the Mediterranean Market!)

Above the door notice the iron light fixture which is really original to the dairy.  

Today, this building is home to Palomas Home Furnishing, a store filled with one of a kind hand crafted products from around the world including puppet greeters of various sizes,  hand blown glass and reclaimed teak furniture.  The owners of Palomas are also happy to create a piece to match your specific needs.  Have a chat with them about their amazing and surprisingly affordable products.

Next you will come to Hedi's Shoes.  The history of how Hedi Movadedi got into the shoe business over 30 years ago is quite a story, but for now, let's just say they have four stores including this one: the Barnyard, Del Monte Center, and Alvarado Street in Monterey.

Stop in and say "hi" to his daughter Shara and let her or one of her associates show you their great show selections.  Each of their stores will have some unique items, so don't be afraid to check them all out.  

When you see Mona Lisa looking down at you from her coffee cup you are at Cafe Carmel Coffee House.  

The front window is always seasonally decorated with delicious treats, and breakfast is served all day. Carmel Residents Association member Carl Iverson holds office hours at that back table at 8:00AM on weekday mornings.

Out in front of Cafe Carmel is a large wooden newspaper stand which will have the Pine Cone, our local newspaper, and other free items related to the downtown area.  Pick up a copy to read later.  

Continue to the end of the block past Pamplemousse Women's BoutiqueMark Areias JewlersAugustina's Clothier , and the Coach "outlet."

As you cross San Carlos, at the busiest intersection in the Village, you'll see the WWI Memorial Arch in the center median. The picture below shows Richard Kreitman getting ready to ring the Centennial Bell for the first time, November 11, 2016. 

Located in the spot of  the original wooden trough used by Carmel residents to gather water during the early 1900s, the World War I Memorial Arch was constructed of stone and dedicated November 11, 1921. The idea for the memorial, a reminder of the 56 Carmelites who served in WWI, came from Carmel American Legion Post 512. Post 512 and the City of Carmel share responsibility for the memorial. 

It was designed by famed architect and Carmel resident Charles Sumner Greene and constructed by stonemason, Joseph McEldowney. A time capsule was placed in the arch at the time of dedication. There was also a white stone bowl carved by Greene at the bottom of the monument.  This however was removed for "safe keeping" sometime in the 60s and no one can remember where it was placed.  If you know please alert CPD! 

On August 6, 1977 the north side of the arch was hit by an errant driver. This collision toppled much of the arch and exposed the mason jar time capsule. The time capsule was replaced in the north section, this time in a Tupperware container, when the stone monument was restored by Charles Greene's son and Joseph McEldowney's son later in 1977.  

Finally opened on January 8, 2016 at the kickoff celebration for Carmel's Centennial, former mayor Sue McCloud announced that after opening the time capsule, "we have a very nice collection of spiders...and an underwhelming collection of Pine Cone's and a postcard, and that is about the size of it." 

The original bell that was designed by Greene was not cast due to lack of funding at the time.  So for 45 years the arch was empty.  In 1966 Harry Downie donated one of the Carmel Mission bells.  This antique bell, which now resides safely in the Harrison Memorial Library vault, hung in the arch until October 2016.  American Legion Post 512 and a number of Carmel residents commissioned to have a Centennial Bell cast.  It was installed October 31, 2016.  

In the next block you will come to Coast Carmel which has a nice collection of beach casual wear and features Pantagonia.  The owners of this store also own Laub's Country Store which we'll come to towards the end of this tour.  

Galerie Rue Toulouse is next door, so step in and chat with the Gallery Director Kiani.  

This is one of two unique galleries owned by the French Art Network, a 4th generation New Orleans-based business, and features collectible art by 8 artists including De Von, who was a protégé of Andy Warhol.  

Next you will come to Carmel Drug Store, this, along with Coast Carmel and Galerie Rue Toulouse compose the oldest three bay commercial business block in Carmel. Constructed between 1902 and 1903, it was also Carmel's first "fireproof" concrete building. Originally this block (west to east) was the home of Powers & Devendorf's Carmel Development Co., the T. A. Work Hardware Store, and Poeble Grocery.  

The Carmel Drug Store, originally called the Palace Drug Store, opened around 1905 compete with marquee lighting. In 1910 the Palace became the Carmel Drug Store.  Fifteen years later Carmel passed an ordinance restricting the size and style of all store front signs.   For some reason the Carmel Drug Store sign was left along with the marquee above.  This is the only neon light in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Look up, it is still there.  Not lit of course and missing a few light bulbs. 

If you are in need of any odds and ends, toiletries, postcards, or over the counter remedies, The Carmel Drug Store will never let  you down.  Not willing to get in the car and drive to CVS, I (Lynn) walked down to the drug store and they had exactly what I needed - they always do.  We like to say that between Nielsen's Market, Bruno's and Carmel Drug Store, Safeway is kind of redundant. 

The picture below of Ocean Avenue in 1909 taken by L. S. Slevin shows the Carmel Development Co.  Many other historic buildings can be spotted as well.  

One of the newer businesses in town is Olivier-by-the-Sea.  They don't even have sign up yet but they promised us that they are working on it.  The business was started 20 years ago by Chef Eric Klein in Napa. He grew the business by making products for Williams Sonoma. 

Olivier-by-the-Sea makes everything in the store.  They are famous for their aged balsamic vinegar, which is a popular item for all the chefs at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine event.  They also have olive oil from their own groves and authentic olive wood items from France.  Step inside and talk to their manager Karen Provence and enjoy a great retail experience! 

After passing Sotheby's  you'll come to an interesting shop called Whittakers of Carmel. The owner, Willa Aylaian, is an artist and the store is full of her Carmel whimsical oil paintings and posters, hand-painted pottery, hand-crafted chairs and tables, lamps, French linens and lots of dog needle point pillows.  I (Dale) talked with Athena Taylor, who was painting a water color at the sales counter and had a delightful chat with her about the store.  You should do the same.

Continue down this block to Fine Art Turkish Gallery. The owner, Chiat Dalmis, has owned this store for five years and another on Cannery Row for ten. 

Stepping inside is like taking a trip to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul with beautiful and colorful lamps, plates, jewelry and more.  Let Marie or Flavia show you around.  

Continue on past Carmel Beauty Boutique.  Ignore the hawkers if they call out to you and beware buying anything from them and the two other similar operations on the other side of Ocean. 

Carmel Classics is a great place to pick up some Carmel-ware and other types of memorabilia.  You'll have a chance to do this at two other stores towards the end of our tour, but if you see something you like, get it now.  

Carmel Classics resides a building designed by architect and Carmel resident C. J. Ryland in 1938.  It is the only 1930s Art Deco style building in Carmel and originally served as a commercial bank.  In 1972 it was renovated for retail and many of the Art Deco features were removed. 

Fortunately the two bas-reliefs by Paul Whitman remain. Whitman was a founding member of the Carmel Art Association and lived on the Monterey Peninsula for 20 plus years. 

Cross Dolores and the business in front of you is Alain Pinel Realtors.

Built in 1905, this structure served as Carmel's first official City Hall.   The flag pole is a replica of the original erected on June 6, 1917.  

Your next stop will be J. McLaughlin, a modern classic sportswear and accessories brand for men and women with a distinctive flair for color and signature portfolio of prints.  They have world-class quality silks, sporty cottons, and cashmeres.  You will also find  tongue-in-chic martini-glass embroidered Bermudas, feather minis and statement-making hybrid prints like "Trelis Flora" and "Zebra Chain Link". The print of a best selling shawl can reverse from equestrian to cheetah.  Never a dull design moment here. 

Take a look inside Jim Miller Art Gallery.  Jim has been creating beautiful art for over 40 years and is famous for his ability to simulate reflections in water, especially in his fantastic representations of Venice, Italy.  His works are featured in the White House and the Wells Fargo headquarters.  Jim is one of the remaining ateliers in Carmel, meaning that this shop is also an active workshop creating new pieces of art.  Originally, all galleries had to have an artist actively painting onsite. 

Next is Bohemian Boutique featuring women and children's clothing and accessories.

Tamara G Fine Art Galery's foundeer, Tamara Gear has a passion for Andrea Stella, Bruno Paoli and Norberto Martin and other artists.  

There are some very interesting mixed media pieces here.  Drop in and let her show you around the gallery and tell you about their works.  

One of the newest restaurants in Carmel, Pangaea Grill, was opened by the owners of Carmel Coffee & Cocoa Bar in Carmel Plaza.  They are famous for having pictures of all their dishes up on the wall around the restaurant and they have pictures here too, along with a modern flair to the decor. 

 Pangaea Grill features a Korean - American fusion menu, and you will find a wide variety of options.  They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Based on their high rankings on Yelp you should go check it out! 

After passing Coldwell Banker's Ocean Avenue office, you' see that the Burn's Cowboy Shop has moved across the street into smaller quarters.  They are now located in the historic Fee Building, a Spanish Colonial Revival style mixed use (commercial and residential) structure designed and built by M. J. Murphy in 1935.  

As soon as you walk into the shop you will know by the unmistakable smell of leather that you are surrounded by an incredible selection of leather products, as well as hats, shirts, belts, buckles and other accessories.  Everything you need to be a real cowboy or cowgirl.  Headquartered in Salina Utah, Burns Cowboy Shop is the oldest same family owned (since 1876) western retail business in the world. 

Keeping with the Spanish style, our next stop is the the Harrison Memorial LibraryThis was designed and built by M. J. Murphy in 1926.   If you want to see the Daffodils and Freesia in bloom, come visit in March - and thank Carmel Garden Club!  

If you haven't been in the library lately you owe it to yourself to go in, get a library card and immerse yourself in all the great things they  have to offer.  The library also has a great art collection, internet access and they can show you all the new ways you can get books and movies on your iPads and computers at home for free! 

At the corner of Ocean and Lincoln check your time on the Rolex clock outside Fourtane Estate Jewelry.

As you cross the street at Lincoln you are heading to your right mid-block toward the Pine Inn wrought iron arch. The iron work of this arch was done by John Hudson a local blacksmith in 1975.  His wife Monica is an author, historian and local tour guide.

While this will take you off our Ocean Avenue tour, to the right of the arch is the new Windy Oaks wine tasting room, Optique America optical shop and Preferred Properties.  All three are great places to stop in and have a friendly chat and take a look around at their products. 

Enter the Pine Inn Courtyard and Passageway and you'll be passing by Fjorn Scandinavian.  The founder, Sigurd Hadland sought out the most beautiful tabletop brands, luxury Swedish linens, soft and warm hand-made Norwegian woolens, lovable children's things, cozy and colorful blankets and sweaters all in an array of great designs.  They invite you to enjoy, cuddle, laugh, dream and play as you enter the world of FJORN Scandinavian.  So why not step in and take a look around? 

Next you will arrive at the Pine Inn Gazebo.  
The sign outside will say Il Fornaio.  

Inside the Gazebo, which was added to the Pine Inn in 1973 by former owner Carroll McKee, is Il Fornaio Panetteria a bakery and deli serving, among other things, coffee, panini and pizza.  

Guests of the hotel and locals gather daily
 at the large round table in front of the fireplace.  

Off the Panetteria is the main dining room for Il Fornaio, the Pine Inn restaurant.

The Pine Inn was originally built on the corner of Ocean and Broadway (now Junipero)  in 1889 as the Hotel Carmelo. Owners, Devendorf and Powers, decided to bring their hotel guests closer to the ocean, so they placed the hotel on pine logs pulled by mules and moved it to its present location at Ocean and Monte Verde in 1903.  Things were simpler then.  

After the Hotel Carmelo was moved in 1903, owners originally had simple tent cabins built to house the overflow of guests to the hotel.  M. J. Murphy was later hired to enlarge the hotel and add a sun room in the south west corner.  On July 4, 1903 the hotel reopened as the Pine Inn.  The sun room is now part of Il Fornaio, a cozy room that offers great sunset views. 

 If you don't have time to cook from time to time, or, if you just want to get that "cruise ship" experience we've been talking about in The Voice newsletter, you can drop by between 4 and 6PM Monday through Friday to check out their Happy Hour. 

While the prices have gone up a little on the pizzas the last couple of years, they still have a great selection of $6 drinks and half price appetizers.  It's a great place to hang out with friends! 

Walk back through the restaurant toward the gazebo and make a right through the door after the bar area.  This will take you to the lobby of the Pine Inn Hotel. 

The current owners of the Pine Inn (and the nearby Tally Ho Inn) are Richard and Mimi Gunner.  Using beautiful furniture from their world travels, and working with their decorator, Max Davis from Honolulu, the Gunner's have brought back an elegant feel of years gone by to their hotels.  But there is no time to sit and day dream, we still have the other side of Ocean Avenue to explore.

Exit the Pine Inn via 
the wide red carpeted stairway.  

When you exit the hotel, turn left (uphill away from the ocean).  We missed a couple of stores by taking the back entrance to the hotel.  So walk to the Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetic store (or follow your nose).

It seems that they have moved things around a bit to move the soaps to the back of the store but this has always been an interesting retail environment. The interesting aromas will pretty much knock you over as you step inside.  Take a walk around and it's likely you'll find something interesting to purchase.    

Stepping outside, you will next find Elizabeth W which is two floors of fascinating items.

Elizabeth W started in 1995 as a perfumery in San Francisco and now has a store in Ghiradelli Square and here on Ocean Avenue.  It is hard to imagine anyone spending some time here and not finding something to buy for yourself or a gift for a friend.  

Head down the hill again and, after passing the Pine Inn entrance, you'll come to one of the most famous retail stores in Carmel, Diggity Dog

It used to be on Mission Avenue but relocated to these new "digs" a couple of years back.  They have a great selection of pet products and a knowledgeable staff to help you. 

Continue downhill toward the beach and cross Monte Verde.  Here, in the lovely courtyard of the Lobos Lodge, you will find the Two Sisters Designs store and La Coiffure Salon.  

Two Sisters is a small gift shop that is loaded with items, many handmade by the owners and all at "friendly" prices.  

After spending some time inside, head across Ocean Avenue and you'll see the Normandy Inn just to the right and The Collection retail store on the southwest corner. 

The landscaping surrounding these buildings is refreshed throughout the year and could win the prize for most beautiful in the entire city. 

Both of these buildings used to be part of the Normandy Inn. The area to the south of The Collection on Monte Verde was designed by architect Robert Stanton and built in 1925 as his office.  You can see the original andirons in the window. 

Stanton added the hotel portion, what we know as the Normandy Inn, in 1936. If you have a minute, enter the hotel lobby to see what a lovely place it is. 

Kudos to the owner, Mike Noble for taking such pride in this historic property and making tasteful improvements over the past years.  

The building occupied by The Collection was added by Stanton to the hotel in 1951, originally as a restaurant. Enter The Collection store and you'll see that much of the original building remains, including the huge fireplace.

This women's clothing store is owned by Sharleen Esfahani and she is also the Creative Director who designs all of the knitted products hanging in the middle of the store.  Each is custom designed and hand-made. In fact, all the items in the store are hand-made.  

Head across Monte Verde, here notice the two story building of clinker brick and stucco with half timbering and a blue gabled roof.  This building was built in 1924 for pediatrician Dr. Amelia L. Gates as a retirement investment property. 

Today it houses Kashmir Treasures, a store which was started by VN Kapur, a native Indian man, who has been working with Indian art and gift makers for much of his life.  

He met his wife Mary, who was an American, at the Taj Mahal and they immediately got married.  After starting a business of the same name in Carmel, Indiana (pronounced like the candy)  he retired to Carmel, California in 1977.  He swears it wasn't because of the similar names but, India/Indiana, Carmel/Carmel, it's hard to believe he didn't have a plan! 

After settling here with Mary, VN felt that something was missing in their life.  So, in 2015 he opened this exquisite shop.  Walk carefully down the very steep brick steps and explore the interesting Indian world he has created.  You'll definitely be able to find a treasure and VN loves to talk about his work helping to maintain the legacy of the hand-made craft industry in India.  

In fact, I (Dale) talked my wife into exploring the store after I completed this tour.  She had a great time with VN and Mary and ended up buying two beautiful hand-made scarves and a hand-made brass fish lock.  All the prices were negotiated, and everyone felt good about the transaction.  We've visited India and we felt like we had just been transported to Agar for 30 minutes! 

Next door is Meuse gallery, and the colorful art of Simon Bull.  Bold paintings, with incredible colors meet your eyes upon entering.  Go in and explore.  It is absolutely wonderful that we have so many world-class shops and galleries a hop, skip and a jump from our front doors. 

Continue north on Ocean Avenue and ignore the hawkers at Senselife and Body Frenzy. Pretend they are trying to sell you a timeshare, smile and keep on walking.  You will now see the Cottage of Sweets which has been in operation since 1959.   This building has a storied history and plenty of sweets to suit your tastes and those of any kids you have with you. So enter the world of fudge, taffy and licorice. 

Along with the Tuck Box on Dolores Street the Cottage of Sweets is one of the best spots to take a picture with your friends, so they remember they've been to Carmel.

We will tell you how this candy store found its way from two blocks to the east in a bit but, for now, enter the lower courtyard of what used to be the Golden Bough Theater.  

To the left is the charming Portabella restaurant.  They have a cute patio out front, a living room setting with a fireplace and a dog-friendly indoor heated patio in the back.  

Walk behind the Cottage of Sweets into the courtyard. Here you will find a historic placard placed there by commercial realtor and co-owner of Cypress Inn, Denny Levett. His office is in the back of the inner courtyard.

In the back of this front courtyard you'll find Jolie by the Sea with their mannequin-filled window to the left 

and Jane Austin at Home with its wide array of cards and curiosities on the right. Walk between the shops and down the steps to Il Tegamino, an authentic Italian restaurant and 7 Chakras, a metaphysical gift shop. These two businesses are located in the building that was the original Golden Bough Theater.  You'll hear that story soon.  

The Panzuto brother's Giuseppe and Salvatore opened Il Tegamino in 2015.  The brothers grew up in Napoli, and wanted to create a restaurant that reminded them of family, home and Italian comfort food.  They believe they have accomplished just that.  The restaurant has a cozy dining room, or you may eat out on the patio under the heaters.  Blankets are also provided. And of course your dogs are welcome.

The last store in this courtyard is Intima Lingerie, which moved to this location from San Carlos a few years ago. 

Now for one of the best true stories from Carmel's past.  The Golden Bough Theater came about because a successful Los Angeles attorney named Edward Kuster had moved to Carmel in 1919.  He moved here at the suggestion of his first wife Una Jeffers who had previously run off with and married the famous poet Robinson Jeffers. 

Court of the Golden Bough c. 1924

Court of the Golden Bough c. 2018

The story gets better.  In the early 1920's, he decided to open an experimental theater and professional drama school in the Village. He hired Lee Gottfried to build him this theater.  Gottfried had just built Kuster a stone home on Carmel Point, a mere two blocks from his ex-wife Una's.  

Here is a picture of Edward Kuster with his first school of theater at the Golden Bough during the summer of 1924.  They are pictured in front of the doors to the theater.  The Golden Bough opened that same year, at the very location you are now standing, with rows of wicker chairs as seating.

Even during the depression, while Broadway was doing very poorly, Kuster's theater was prospering.  Then during  a production of By Candlelight on May 19, 1935 the neat rows of wicker chairs became kindling for the fire that destroyed the theater.  Arson was suspected but the perpetrators never exposed.  Some felt it was jealous competitors, but we will never know.   

Kuster decided not to re-open a theater at this location but, in 1941 he opened another Golden Bough Theater at its present location on Monte Verde between Eighth and Ninth.  Everything was great until May 21, 1949 when he decided to give By Candlelight another try. In an eerie re-enactment, the theater once again burned to the ground. This time overhead lighting was blamed, but we'll never really know.

Now walk back to the courtyard behind the Cottage of Sweets.  You are standing behind what was once the Carmel Weavers Studio.  This building was also constructed by Lee Gottfried. The Carmel Weaver Studio began life in 1922 on the southeast corner of Ocean and Dolores as a weaving shop operated by Kuster's wife Ruth. 

In July of 1923, just like the Pine Inn, it was rolled on logs a block and a half down Ocean to its present location where as well as being the Weavers Studio, it "moonlighted" as the ticket booth for the Golden Bough Theater. Today it is a successful candy shop, because it is rumored to have just changed hands for a seven figure number, without the real estate! 

When Edward Kuster planned his theater he envisioned it surrounded by small shops with a medieval European style.  Kuster designed the historic Seven Arts Shop and commissioned M. J. Murphy to build this cute pastel pink building with mini turrets in 1923. 

Today it is the home of the last of the beauty supply companies you will see on this tour.  Most of us remember it when it was the Tea Rose Collection with the hanging pink teapot sign.  We can thank Kuster for his vision, and leaving us one of the most famous courtyards in all of Carmel.  For a lot more details about Kuster and his theater please see this site.  

Head back up the hill again and you will pass Mediterranean Restaurant and Carmel Valley Roasting Co., which is a popular place for locals to get their coffee fix and a nice cozy place to sit and talk with friends or read the morning paper.  

You are now at the southwest corner of Lincoln and Ocean and the Carmel Bay Company.  This is a great store that has two floors of all kinds of interesting items for sale.  Books, clever stuff, clothing, you name it.  You have to experience it yourself and, once again, it will be hard for you to escape without buying something.  And don't forget to flash your CRA VIP card for a 10% discount on clothing! 

The building which houses the Carmel Bay Company is historically known as the Seven Arts Building.  This was designed in 1925 by Monterey resident Albert B. Coats, who specialized in Spanish architecture, but this building he designed in the Tudor Revival style with Thermotite brick framing.   

Herbert Heron, the original owner of the building, used the building to house his book shop and publishing facility. Heron, who came to Carmel in 1908, founded the Forest Theater in 1910 and went on to serve as Mayor of Carmel from 1930-1932 and 1938-1940.  The Carmel Art Association began in the Seven Arts Building. 

Now, cross Lincoln toward the brick building with rust color awnings.  This is home to Dametra Cafe, which is widely considered to be the busiest and by some measures, the most fun restaurant in Carmel. 


The name stands for Damascus (Syria) and Petra (Jordan), the home countries of the two owners.  You will often find a line out the door waiting for tables as people love the reasonably priced Mediterranean food and the singing, dancing and just plain lively environment that the wait staff and owners create every day.  Below you can see their performance in full swing.  Notice the couple dancing to the right.  

Because of the popularity of their first restaurant, business partners Faisal Nimri and Bashar Sneeh took over two long time restaurants on Ocean Avenue, Merlot Bistro and PortaBella.  Both have undergone tasteful renovations and reopened.  Merlot Bistro is now the aforementioned Mediterranean, which also features performing staff, and PortaBella which has retained its name and original ambiance.

After passing Dametra heading east on the south side of Ocean, you will find the newest gallery in town, Aaron Chang Ocean Art.  This world-renowned photographer has an extensive collection of photography from his 30 years of travelling the world.  Step inside and see the dramatic colors and exquisite details that draw you in and create a unique Carmel experience.  His works are featured in residences, businesses and corporate facilities as well as a book on Carmel-by-the-Sea art.

Johnny Was, one of the newer apparel stores on Ocean Avenue, features a bohemian chic style of high-end women's fashion.  

The next building we come to is historically known as the Schweinger Building.  It along with the Adam Fox Building we will see a bit later, are some of the oldest on Ocean Avenue, dating back to between 1899 and 1910. Both buildings have been in commercial use continually since before Carmel was incorporated in 1916.  Ernest "Fritz" Schweinger opened his bakery in 1906 and a bakery has occupied this space ever since.  

Today this building is home to Chef Rich Pepé's Carmel Bakery Coffee Co. If you are hungry for a tasty pastry or ice cream, stop in.  

Next we come Pat Areiars and B & G Jewelers, they share the store that was originally named Der Ling, hence the name of the alley, Der Ling Lane. 

Der Ling was owned by Hallie and Adolf Lafrenz who decided on the name after a buying trip to Peking in 1920 where they met Chinese Princes Der Ling.  This kind of influence was quite common back in that era with both the naming and the design of buildings.  

B & G Jewelers offers high quality jewelry including some consignment merchandise.  Talk to Peter and he can point out items that are exceptional values and also items that are custom made by his brother Alex.  Besides custom work, they do onsite repairs and will clean rings.  

Pat Areias makes custom belts and silver jewelry for men and women that are quite unique.  Go in and look around for something that strikes your fancy. 

Der Ling Lane is one of Carmel's famous "secret" passageways.  If the gate under the sign is open (usually after 11AM) you should enter.  During the winter months when the sun sets early, the twinkle lights add a magical glow to the archway. 

Walk to the end of the alley and, at the inner courtyard, you will see a cute English-style cottage. The world-famous artist Thomas Kinkade was so enamored by this cottage that it became the subject of his sold-out collectors piece "Studio in a Garden" and then actually became his Thomas Kinkade Studio in the Garden in real life. Thomas lived on Carmel Point and passed away several years ago, but the studio lives on for you to explore.  

To the left of the entrance of Thomas Kinkade Studio in the Garden is a wrought iron gate decorated with grape bunches. 

Pass through the gate and turn right to Galante Vineyard Tasting Room.  If you see Cowboy Slim out-front stop in and visit.  

At Galante Tasting Room you may taste about six different varietals which are grown on Jack Galante's Ranch in Carmel Valley. It is interesting to note that Jack's great grandfather was James Franklin Devendof, of Devendorf Park fame.  After doing a little tasting and having a nice chat with your Galante tasting expert, reverse your path out of the passageway and turn right at Ocean Avenue.  

Cage Clothing is another new clothing store on Ocean Avenue.  It has a nice selection of reasonably priced women's apparel. 

Carmel Realty always has some beautiful estate homes in their window and at the time we put this tour together, Luciano Barbera, next door, was a work in process.  They plan on being open early May 2019.  This high quality Italian men's clothing store moved from the La Ramba building on Lincoln and is the latest project for the owners.  They also own the Club di Lusso store which will be expanding at La Ramba and the Club store we will be passing on Ocean Avenue shortly.  

At the southwest corner of Dolores and Ocean Avenue you will arrive at the Classics Art Galleries.  This gallery is actually one of two locations in Carmel, the other is at San Carlos and Sixth.  Classics Art Galleries was the vision of owners Jovan and Sanya Micovic who opened their first gallery in Carmel in 1992.  Their emphases is on traditional oil paintings and sculptures and their two galleries represent over 60 internationally recognized artists.  

The building at the southwest corner is historically known as the Mary Dummage Shop. The land here was the site of the one of Carmel's first restaurants, a tent on top of a wood platform.  Frank Devendorf had this tent set up for Mary Norton in 1903.  Mary's father was Robert Norton, one of Carmel's first Police Chiefs.  Mary married Dummage and hired Earl Percy Parks to design and build this Pueblo Revival style building in 1924. Many will remember this as the Corner Cupboard Gift Shop.  

Before crossing the street just take a look to your right down Dolores. This single block has the highest concentration of historic properties in downtown Carmel.  

Cross Dolores Street to the classic Spanish tiled building that is the home to Paloosh, a women's clothing store. 

Next is Lloyd's Shoes

then you will be at the historic Las Tiendas building.  Built in 1929, the stairway, tile and grill work in this courtyard are all original.  

Between the two signs that say, The Club (remember this store is related to Luciano Barbera and Club di Lusso) is an archway which leads into the courtyard of Las Tiendas building.  

Follow the brick path to Carmel Coffee House, almost the last place to get a cup of  coffee or snack before the end of our tour.  Almost...

Keep going past the Carmel Coffee House just a wee bit further to Robin Winfield's Gallery.  She is a long time Carmel resident and creates stunning contemporary art.  

While you might be tempted to go just around the corner and have a fun time at Mulligans Public House we are on an Ocean Avenue tour so we'll have to, once again, retrace our steps back out to Ocean and turn right. 

There you will find Kris Kringle of Carmel, where it is Christmas 365 days of the year.  Across the way is A W Shucks Cocktail and Oyster Bar, a fantastic place to sit at the bar and enjoy a wide selection of seafood and other delicious items. 

You can continue up Ocean Avenue, as we are going to do, but first take a detour into another famous Carmel passageway that is chocked full of interesting shops, the Doud Arcade.

The Doud Arcade is an eclectic covered passageway filled with 12 shops, 2 restaurants and an ATM machine (near the entrance to the right).  Need to check your time?  There is a large clock on the wall opposite Wicks and Wax.

You could spend hours here exploring Sockshop of Carmel, the Hat Shop, Nazar Turkish Imports and so much more including... 

Amelia's, and Robin's Jewelry, Artemis Boots and Artemis Collections Turkish rug store. 

At the end of the arcade is Carmel Belle, a unique restaurant experience in Carmel.  This IS your last opportunity for a cup of coffee or snack before our Home Town Tourists have to run to catch their "tour bus" home. 

Now for the purpose of this tour, retrace your steps back to Ocean Avenue and turn right.

Here you will find two stores dedicated to all things that say Carmel, Forever Carmel and Laub's Country Store. 

This will be your last place to purchase something that says Carmel on this tour. 

After completing your souvenir clothing purchases, cross San Carlos to Carrigg's Of Carmel.

Decorated from floor to ceiling, this store changes with the seasons.  

Here you will find unique furniture, kitchen items, home accessories, lighting and many specialty items, definitely worth a walk through.

From Carrigg's step into Bittner Fine Pens and Paper

Be a part of keeping the fine art of writing alive. 

The next set of businesses, Adam Fox and Romanoos Fine Jewelry occupy one of the oldest historic buildings on Ocean Avenue.  Similar to the building that houses Carmel Bakery, these two buildings have been around since the turn of the 1900s. The building style stands out with its Victorian wood fame facade.

The Adam Fox's shop is wall to wall fun.  Years ago, I (Lynn) purchased a cowboy hat here which featured a rattlesnake head, mouth open wide with fangs prominent.  It was for my father-in-law and was a great hit.  You never know what you will find. 

While we are in front of this building, look up and you'll see a common sight in much of downtown Carmel.  Apartments built above the building.  Many of our historic downtown buildings were originally built with a mixed use in mind, commercial and residential.  Over 650 people live downtown and, with development continuing, that number is going up. 

Next up is Star Child with a beautiful display of geraniums out front.  Monique and Ahs Vasaji have put over 20 years of their experience in all aspects of the fashion world and previous successful boutiques into this children's boutique. They also run Heaven Children's Wear on Lincoln. 

Next door is Jazzy Sassy Apparel, owned by Christin Johnson, this shop has a nice collection of moderately priced stylish women's clothing.  

If you are in the mood for Mexican food you are now in the right place.  Villa Sombrero is a recent addition to the Ocean Avenue food scene. 

I (Lynn) have eaten there a few times with our family.  We enjoyed authentic Mexican cuisine with homemade sauces and fresh hand-rolled tortillas!  

Next door to Villa Sombrero is Carmel Sport, which specializes in high quality women's clothing, with a slant towards sports.  

On the southwest corner of Mission and Ocean, one of the best locations in town, find Jewels on Ocean.  This store is owned by Linda Miller, the wife of artist Jim Miller who we met back on the other side of Ocean at his art gallery.  She makes buying trips around the country to find interesting and unique gifts, home items and jewelry and sells them at reasonable prices.  She feels strongly about carrying items that you can't find anywhere else. 

Last year I (Lynn) purchased a "glass" Christmas ornament with the image of a beagle.  Linda intentionally dropped the ornament before bagging it up.  I gasped, but found that these ornaments are non-breakable!  It is a lovely memorial to our pet of 16 years, Brandy. 

Cross Mission to the Carmel Plaza and we find ourselves back to where we started. You are now in front of the famous retailer, Tiffany & Co. There is still time to pick up an item packaged in one of those world famous teal blue bags. No one ever made a mistake giving the gift of Tiffany, no matter what the price! 

Next door is Bottega Veneta Carmel, it is one of 251 boutiques in 43 countries.  They are a very high end producer of handcrafted luxury goods with many featuring their signature intrecciato weave design.  Products include handbags, small leather goods, luggage, shoes, women's ready-wear, jewelry, men's ready-to-wear, furniture, home accessories, watches, and fragrances.  

Behind the fountain, find Kate Spade New York.  It is part of the Tapestry Company, which also owns Coach.  It is a global life and style store where you'll find handbags, clothes, shoes, jewelry, home decor, and tech accessories.  

Finally, Khaki's is one of the premier retailers of fine men's clothing.  Owner Jim Ocker says, "Getting up and going to work each morning is just like the first day I went.  It's my passion, it's my love, and it's an opportunity to service the Carmel area.  We're a home-grown, authentic merchandising business and family values are at the core of everything."  You should go in and check out this great retail experience.  

So here we are at the end of our tour of historic Ocean Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Your "bus" will be waiting.  Oh that's right, you are a Home Town Tourist, you can just walk home or go grab a bite to eat at your favorite restaurant! 

Thank you for joining us. Until next time, Happy Adventures!
All Photos by 
L.A. Momboisse www.carmelbytheseaca.blogspot.com
Dale Byrne
Unless listed below

1) Black and White Photo of Ocean Avenue 1909 by L. S. Slevin - Harrison Memorial Library Henry Meade Williams Local History Department

2) Black and White Photo of Carmel Bulletin Board c. 1950's - 
Harrison Memorial Library Henry Meade Williams Local History Department

3) Black and White Photo of Carmel Dairy - Monica Hudson, Images of America Carmel by the Sea, Arcadia Press, 2006, p. 47.  Photo from Pat Sippel Collection.

4) Black and White Photo of the front of Golden Bough Theater and Court of the Golden Bough - Harrison Memorial Library Henry Meade Williams Local History Department, Edward Kuster Collection. 

5) The front of the door to the Golden Bough Theater.  Today this area is the arched courtyard that leads to the inner courtyard, it can be found directly behind the Cottage of Sweets.  Pictured here are the students and faculty of the School of Theatre of the Golden Bough in Summer 1924.  Faculty members were Maurice Browne and wife Ellen van Volkenbreg, Hedwinga Reicher, Rose Bogdanoff, Paul Stephenson, Betty Merle Horst and Edward Kuster. Harrison Memorial Library Henry Meade Williams Local History Department, Edward Kuster Collection. 

6) Black and White Photo of inside of Golden Bough Theater 1925 from Pacific Repertory Theater files.

7) Black and White Photo of inside Golden Bough Theater after fire in 1935 from Pacific Repertory Theater files.

8) Black and White Photo of the Carmel Weavers Studio and Golden Bough Ticket Booth from 1923 from Pacific Repertory Theater files.


For an interactive map of Carmel walking tours please visit GPSmyCity here.


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