Downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea In One Hour - A Walking Tour

If you are interested in this walking tour as an audio tour, our companion audio tour is now available on VoiceMap under Monterey Peninsula.   To use VoiceMap, you will need to download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play.  The app is free, the audio tour will be $5.99. 


This Downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea In One Hour Walking Tour is a collaboration by Carmel Residents Association members Lynn Momboisse and Dale Byrne.  Happy Adventures!

In the one square mile village of Carmel-by-the-Sea we have around 20 wine rooms, nearly 60 art galleries, approximately 50 restaurants, and over 40 hotels.  Though you will not see all of them today, as this tour has been especially designed as an overview of the downtown area, you will have the opportunity to explore some of Carmel's quaint courtyards and passageways.  Walk by a number of our wine rooms, art galleries, restaurants and hotels.  

We feel that once you have experience this tour of Carmel in one hour, you will be excited to come back soon and spend more time in our little town.  Of course, if you have more than one hour feel free to explore the wine rooms, art galleries and hotels we pass by.  

This tour is about 1 1/2 miles of walking and begins and ends at the Carmel Plaza on Junipero Street and Ocean Avenue.  There are three public restrooms located along this walk, one on the third level of Carmel Plaza, one in Devendorf Park, and one in Piccadilly Park.  There are two ATM's located on this tour, one on the second level of the Carmel Plaza and  inside the Doud Arcade.  

If you arrived by bus, your bus will probably be parked on the east side of the Carmel Plaza.  If you arrived by car, park as close as possible to the Carmel Plaza.  Parking downtown has a two hour parking limit.  So if you want to avoid this limit try some of the residential side streets near the Plaza.  Or if you don't mind paying for your parking there is a pubic parking garage under Carmel Plaza.  Reach this via Mission Street between 7th Avenue and Ocean Avenue.  

Okay, you should be standing at the Ocean Avenue entrance to the Carmel Plaza across from Devendorf Park.  

Before this plaza opened as an unusually large shopping mall for Carmel in 1972, this site served as Carmel's prolific builder M. J. Murphy's lumber yard, Carmel's movie theater, a soda fountain and a parking lot.  

It took some time for the plaza to take shape but today you will find many retail stores, restaurants, wine rooms and the Carmel Visitors Center located off the plaza courtyard.  

Now take a look at the bronze statue here at the entrance of the plaza. It is called Trumpeter Draped and is by world-famous contemporary figurative artist, Richard MacDonald.  MacDonald works with dancers, performers and athletes to create sculptures that portray the beauty and spirit of the human body.  We will be walking by his gallery later on this tour.  

Now it is time to get moving as there is much more to see.  So with the Trumpeter Draped to your right and Bottega Veneta behind you, start walking up Ocean Avenue.  You will pass Kahki's Men's Clothing store as you proceed to the corner.  

At the corner, turn left and carefully cross Ocean Avenue to Devendorf Park.  This is a very busy and complex intersection, so be cautious and courteous.  Try and make eye contact with all the drivers as you make your way across the street. 

Once you arrive at the other side of the street.  Look for the red brick sidewalk.  Off that sidewalk is a cement gray pebble stone path.  This leads past a little wooden bridge, which will be to your right, into Devendorf Park.  

Just after entering the park, look to your right, down a path, for the bronze bust of Carmel's co-founder James Franklin Devendorf sitting on top of a large boulder.  It was sculpted by one of Devendorf's daughter's, Edwina.  Despite being born a def mute, she became an accomplished painter and sculptor. 

The quote on the plaque reads, "Creation is a combination of vision and will.   Vision gives the plan, but will is the human energy that builds to completion." 

Frank Devendorf  1905 

Frank was born in Michigan in 1856 and moved to San Jose in 1874.  He married Lillie Potter five years later and they had five daughters.  Frank was selling real estate in San Jose and the family made a good living.  Then, one day in the summer of 1900, while picnicking with his family above the white sand of Carmel Beach, Frank announced, "Girls, I'm going to build a town there!"  And that he did. 

 Powers and Devendorf in Carmel  c. 1905

Devendorf got together with San Francisco attorney Frank Powers who owned 80% of the land in Carmel and they formed Carmel Development Company in 1902.  Devendorf was in charge of selling the lots and he received 25% of the sales price. 

This land where Devendorf Park is now located was donated to the city by Frank Devendorf in 1922 and it became Carmel's central gathering place.   

Walk back out to the path and look ahead of you along the path.  Do you see the small pond up ahead?  Head along the path and stop just to the right of the pond. 

In the pond you will find Koi Carp swimming among the lily pads.  Now look behind you for the redwood carving sheltered by oak trees. 

This is a carving of Saint Junipero Serra, the founder of the Carmel Mission.  Serra actually founded nine of California's 21 Spanish missions.  Carmel Mission was his home and this is where he is buried. 

The sculpture was designed in 1937 by Carmel resident and sculptor Remo Scardigli.  Behind the statue is the first of three public restrooms along this tour.  This restroom was added while actor and resident Clint Eastwood was mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea.  

Now look to the left of the pond, back out toward Ocean Avenue.  That magnificent coast live oak is one of Carmel's heritage trees.  

Coast Live Oak Devendorf Park

In the early days, there were forested areas to the north and east but only Manzanita brush and a few pine trees downtown. 

With a vision of making Carmel a Village in the Forest, the founders became prodigious tree planters and the results are clearly visible around us.  The picture below shows Ocean Avenue after Devendorf planted Monterey pine trees down the center of the dirt road.  

Ocean Avenue  c. 1910

Yes, Carmelites love their trees and Devendorf Park has a nice collection.  It is pretty amazing that the Monterey pines are native only to this peninsula and two other places in California.  And that the Monterey cypress are native only to the Monterey Peninsula.  Here in the park you will also find redwoods, cedars and the non-native eucalyptus.  

To the right of that large coast live oak is a stone memorial.  This and two others like it are dedications to Carmel community heroes from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  The one next to the oak is for Korea and World War II is by the flag pole.

Continue walking around the pond to the right and walk behind the flag pole on the path.  As you get close to the exit, look to your left to see the memorial to Vietnam and and I-beam from the Twin Towers that was brought here by our local firefighters.  It serves as a memorial to 9/11. 

Exit the park by walking up the stairs that are behind the 6th Avenue bus stop.  At the corner turn right and cautiously cross 6th Avenue. 

Then continue walking straight on Mission Street.  If you happen to be here on a Thursday between 10 am and 2 pm this is also the location of Carmel Farmer's Market.  

The building on this northeast corner of Mission and 6th is the Harrison Memorial Park Branch.  It was designed by local architect Olof Dahlstrand originally as a Crocker Bank branch.  The bank closed in 1986.  Two years later, Clint Eastwood's City Council approve this building as an annex to the main library.  Today it houses the Children's Library and amazing Local History Department.  I have spend a lot of time in the local history room! 

Just past the driveway to the library is a Fairy Tale-style wood cabinet filled with books.  This is the Library Book Shrine.  You may leave a book and take a book.  It was made from cedar and redwood salvaged from a Comstock remodel by my partner in these walking tours, Dale Byrne and his contractor friends.   

Turn around and walk back to the corner.  Then turn right and cross Mission Street towards Grasing's Restaurant.  

Chef Kurt Grasing opened his namesake restaurant in 1998.  The lounge bar is extremely popular with locals as is the dog-friendly patio with cushy dog beds out back.  

Continue walking past Grasing's restaurant and have a look across the street at the Carmel Fire Station. 

In 1908 twenty Carmel residents, led by Robert Leidig, established a volunteer fire department.  They stored their 12 one-gallon buckets and several long handled shovels in a tent on 6th Avenue.  The bell at the Wayfarer Methodist Church, which we will see later, was used to sound the alarm when fire broke out in the Village. 

After years of confusion as to whether it was time for a church service or to run and get your shovel to fight a fire, Carmel invested in a siren and a Mack pumper fire truck. 

Carmel Fire Station  c. 1937 

In 1935, Carmel received federal Works Progress Administration funds and a city bond to finance the building of this fire house. It was designed by local architect Milton Latham and M. J. Murphy built it with metal smith Francis Whitaker fabricating the engine bay doors. The station opened in 1937 and has been in use ever since.

Continue walking to the corner and then turn right and walk straight along San Carlos Street.

Carmel is famous for its many courtyards and secret passageways.  I will point them out as we pass by them.  If you have more time you might want to venture into the courtyards. 

Up ahead on your right is a sign that reads San Carlos Square.  This is one of those courtyards I was talking about.  It is also known as Artisan's Row.  It is a very active place these days with eight different craft stores where you will find Made in Carmel products being created right in front of your eyes.   

It is also the home to Anthony and Alissa Carnazzo's  Stationaery Restaurant where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner or just pick up a great cup of coffee or espresso!

Keep walking straight on San Carlos and stop outside Firok Shield's Carmel's Bistro Giovanni, which is well-known for its Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. 
 Take a look at the menu outside, you might just be back. 

Now look across the street at the brown two-story building with the shake wood siding.  That is the Eastwood Building. 

Back in 1986, actor and Carmel resident Clint Eastwood applied for a permit with the city of Carmel to build a commercial building here but he was turned down.  So, Clint ran for and was elected mayor later that year.  He changed out the Planning Commission and this Bay Area tradition style Eastwood Building was approved and built 3 years later, his last year as mayor.  

Our VoiceMap Scenic Road Pathway Walking Tour covers more about Clint Eastwood and his ties to Carmel. 

Just to the left of this building you will find a wood carved boar's head sitting on top of a wooden post.  

In 1972 resident and actor Cline Eastwood opened this Hog's Breath Inn with business partner Walter Becker. The Inn's mascot was carved by local artist Earl Bozlee.

While Clint sold his portion of the business in 1999 the charming restaurant, patio and bar are still filled with Eastwood posters and photographs and it is OK to go in and check them out if you have time later.
But for now continue walking straight on San Carlos. 

As you come to the corner here on your right, notice the Shell gas station.  This Shell station is one of two gas stations in the village, the other being a couple blocks away on Junipero. The uniqueness of this station's design, including Japanese pergolas and decorative concrete seashell motif was the result of the Carmel Planning Commission’s insistence that a “manufactured service station” never be built in Carmel. 

It is also the only Shell station in the world that has a carved wood Shell sign. Completed in 1964, the project earned a  Governor’s Design Award.  

Casanova Restaurant

Up 5th Avenue and on the back side of this station is a famous Carmel restaurant called Casanova.  It was started by the Georis's who have many business interests in Carmel and Carmel Valley. Another block up 5th is the famous Forge restaurant where Francis Whitaker created much of the ironwork around town.  But not enough time on this tour to walk there.  Another time perhaps. 

From the Shell station, turn left at the corner, cross San Carlos and continue straight downhill on 5th Avenue.  

5th Street Deli

As you continue downhill, you will be passing the 5th Avenue Deli which is a great place to pick up drinks, custom-made sandwiches or other deli items during your stay.

We are now headed to Carmel's iconic Post Office. One of the unique features of Carmel-by-the-Sea is that we do not have normal addresses and mail service. So every day, or whenever we feel like it, residents go to the Post Office to pick up their mail and meet their friends.

If it is past 10 am Monday through Friday the glass doors to the lobby should be open.  If so, go in and have a look around. 

Otherwise just peek through the glass and look up high on the lobby walls.  There you will find some posters of cartoons, that are very humorous but also quite accurately illustrate life in Carmel. These are by the late and beloved resident Bill Bates who, for 36 years, worked as a cartoonist for our local newspaper, the Carmel Pine Cone. You can pick up the Pine Cone around town or read it online. 

When you're finished looking at the cartoons, enter the glass doors just to the right of the lobby glass doors. These doors are always open as they lead to resident’s post office boxes.

Years ago, there were plans to close this Post Office and consolidate everything to a much larger facility at the mouth of Carmel Valley.  A group of Carmelites, headed up by long-time resident Mike Brown, organized a movement to stop it, and they did just that.

After entering, go around the corner to the left and continue walking by our antique mail boxes with two different kinds of old fashioned combination locks. 

Nowadays, if you have a hardship, you can request having your mail delivered to your house.  UPS and Fedex, however, currently deliver directly to your door.  But, most Carmelites come here to get their mail.  You might say it is a ritual of sorts for the locals.

When you come to the end of the post office boxes turn right and exit the glass doors. Walk straight on a covered walkway to the sidewalk. Then turn left and continue straight on Dolores Street.  

Coming up on your left is Etats Unis, French for United States. It is Soerke Peter's latest Carmel restaurant. 

Stop here for a moment in front of Etas-Unis restaurant and look to your right across the street.  

Do you see the Carmel stone steps, and the sign that says, Gallery Carmel Art Association?  There is also a colorful sculpture garden out in front.  This is the home of the Carmel 
Art Association. 

On August 8, 1927, a group of 19 artists met at the home of artists Josephine Culbertson and Ida Johnson to establish an association for the advancement of art and cooperation among Carmel's large artist community.  A month later, the Carmel Art Association was founded.  

At first they rented a room in the Seven Arts building on the corner of Ocean Avenue and Lincoln for $30 a month, but lost that lease during the Great Depression in 1929. 

Now, as happens many times with our old-time Bohemians, this is where the story gets a little somber. Artist, poet, writer and actor, Ira “Rem” Remson lived with his wife, Carmel’s “flaxen-haired beauty”, Yodi, in a cottage right across the street. Yodi liked to socialize, Rem did not. 

In 1928, Yodi left Rem for another man and Rem never recovered from the loss. That Thanksgiving, he invited a number of his friends for dinner. When they arrived, they found Rem hanging from the beam in what is now the Beardsley Room of the Carmel Art Association. 

In 1933, the Carmel Art Association took up residence in Rem and Yodi’s former house.  The Carmel Art Association is now the second oldest art cooperative in the US.  

Now continue walking straight on Dolores and take a look down the bamboo-lined alley on your left next to Pilgrim's Way Book Store.  This is the entrance to the Secret Garden passageway. 

Zoe Landria purchased the garden and attached bookstore  in 1980. The property was passed on to Zoe’s son Paul Friedlund and he and his wife Cynthia Fernandes now run the only remaining book store in the village. 

The passageway and garden are a peaceful oases filled with trickling fountains and tinkling wind chimes and the bookstore has a great section on local subjects and authors as well as children's books. It is well worth a visit when you have the time. 

Continue walking on Dolores.  Coming up on our left at the corner is the Village Corner Restaurant.  It is the beige cement block building with blue trim. 

Established in 1948, this Carmel mainstay almost went the way of the dodo in 1976 when the owners lost their lease and the city entertained the possibility of turning the area into another shopping mall to cater to Carmel’s booming tourist industry. Over 300 Carmelites rallied together and formed a powerful organization called Old Carmel and saved the Village Corner from being closed.

Old Carmel was the foundation for the Carmel Heritage Society which still operates today out of the historic First Murphy House which you’ll soon see.

Over 70 years later, the Village Corner is now owned and run by Ken Spilfogel who also owns Flayerty’s Seafood across the street. Village Corner has strictly sustainable fare and is the second certified Green Restaurant in Carmel. The first was Basil Seasonal Dining which we'll be passing later on San Carlos.

When you're ready, cross Dolores Street over to the other side, then turn right and walk back up Dolores in the direction you just came from but on the other side of the street.  Be careful as this is another street where cross traffic doesn't have a stop sign. 

To your left look for the entrance sign to the Su Vecino Courtyard.  Turn left and enter the courtyard and look to your left for Steven Whyte’s Sculpture Studio.

If you have time you should go inside.  You might catch the artist at work.  There is also a display that explains the process of creating bronze sculptures.  

Steven is an internationally acclaimed figurative sculptor known for producing large sculptures including life-size characters on display here and on Cannery Row in Monterey.

With the Whyte studio to your left continue walking straight through the courtyard.  

This courtyard grew up around the terrace of Su Vecino’s Mexican restaurant that opened here in the 1950’s. For a while, the serape worn by Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly found its home in that restaurant. The square was later known as Jack London Square and featured a namesake restaurant pub. 

Though Su Vecino’s and Jack London’s are gone, along with the the serape, Cultura restaurant has taken their place. You passed by it on your left as you walked through the courtyard. 

It is a great restaurant owned by Sarah Kabat-Marcy and John Cox where you can actually order seasoned grasshoppers with your Mezcal!

At the end of this passageway, descend the few stairs onto Lincoln Street.

Once on Lincoln Street, carefully cross the street and then stop when you have a good view of the single-story white wood-framed house with a red-brick chimney.  This is First Murphy House. 

M. J. Murphy was born in 1885 in Utah. In 1902, M.J., his mother Emma, and his sister Myrtle traveled to Carmel to meet with Frank Devendorf who had promised M. J. work building homes in the Village. That same year, at the age of 17, Murphy built his first home for his mother and sister and, by 1904, he had become an associate with Frank Devendorf as a builder for the Carmel Development Company. 

Murphy would go on to build over 300 homes and businesses in the Carmel area including many of the large and important ones we are seeing today on this tour. 

This First Murphy House, the one he built for his mother in 1902, was moved here from across town and is now a small museum operated by the Carmel Heritage Society.

Look to the right of the front door. Do you see the tall brown wooden cupboard? That cupboard is the only surviving full-scale wooden Milk Shrine left in the Village.

The Milk Shrine concept was created by Perry McDonald who operated the first dairy in Carmel. McDonald had these structures installed every block-and-a-half throughout Carmel in 1916 and residents would leave their money, milk jug and their order on the shelf and McDonald would fill their orders daily.

Continue walking to the corner of Lincoln and 6th.  There you will find an elderly couple sitting on a bench.  They haven't moved in years!

This bronze sculpture figure by George Wayne Lundeen is called The Valentine. It was purchased by the City of Carmel for $40,000 and installed here in First Murphy Park in 1994. It is a popular spot for selfies.

Just behind the statue, at the western edge of First Murphy Park along 6th Avenue, is a public restroom. 

Now turn to the left and cross Lincoln Street and head up 6th Avenue to the Dawson Cole Fine Art Gallery.

Established in 1993, they specialize in Contemporary and Modern sculptures. Here you'll find more work by Richard MacDonald, the same artist who produced Trumpeter Draped at the Carmel Plaza. It's a spectacular gallery well worth a visit if you have time. 

Coming up on your left, here as you continue walking up 6th Avenue, will be the Weston Gallery.

Edward Weston is considered one of the masters of 20th century photography. This gallery was established in 1975 by Maggi Weston and is currently owned and operated by Matthew Weston, Edward's grandson, and his wife Davi Weston. They exhibit a wonderful collection of photography by Weston and another legendary local, Ansel Adams. 

Our next stop is a little further along 6th Ave, but on the other side of the street. So, at the corner of Dolores and 6th, turn right and cross 6th Avenue over to the other side, then turn left and cross Dolores street and continue along 6th in the same direction you've been going. Be careful, cross traffic doesn’t have a stop sign.

Just ahead notice the unique sign shaped as a painters palette with the name Delia. Actually unique might be redundant, as all the store front signs in Carmel must be distinctive to their commercial establishment and approved by the City. 

This is the art studio of Delia Bradford. Delia grew up in Big Sur and is the daughter of two professional artists.  When she is in studio she can be found wearing her painter’s apron that is covered with thick multi-colored layers of acrylic paint. She welcomes visitors and is a joy to watch as she creates her colorful landscapes. 

Next door to Delia's is Flaherty’s Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar. Make your way over to it. 

Just past the menu displayed on the wall is the entrance to what Carmelites call Cinderella Lane. Though there is no sign stating that, Cinderella Lane is the alleyway that runs between the two halves of Ken Spilfogel's Flaherty’s restaurant.  Turn right here and enter the alley and keep walking. 

This quirky alley is named after the Cinderella Shop, a clothing store that opened here in 1916 and remained in business for over 50 years.

This alley now serves as a home for the lobsters who await their unavoidable destiny, a boiling pot of water in the Flaherty kitchen. You'll also pass the side entrance to the Fine Art Turkish Gallery and eventually see that this is a shortcut from 6th Avenue to Ocean Avenue. 

At the end of the alley, turn right and head to the corner of Dolores and Ocean Avenue.

As you approach the corner, look to your right. You will see a building with two large bas-reliefs carved into the exterior stucco near the roof line.  

This building was designed by Carmel architect C. J. Ryland in 1938. It originally served as the Bank of Carmel and was built in the Art Deco-style.  Unfortunately, when this building was renovated in 1972 to turn the space into a retail location, many of the Art Deco features were removed. However, the bas-relief figures, which were created by artist Paul Whitman have survived.

Currently this location is home to Carmel Classics which is a great place to pick up some Carmel-wear and other types of Carmel memorabilia. 

Keep walking, and at the corner cross Dolores Street. 

The building on this corner, now home to a Monterey Coast Realty office, was constructed in 1905 by the Wilson family.  In 1917, shortly after Carmel-by-the-Sea was incorporated, the City rented this building for $17.80 a month and it served as Carmel’s first City Hall. The flag pole is a replica of the original. 

Now continue walking straight down Ocean Avenue as we head to the main library.

When Carmel was incorporated, Ocean Avenue was a dirt road and a muddy mess when it rained. In 1921, groups started battling over whether it should be paved. Some warned paving would lead to hurdy gurdys and peanut stands on the beach. However, a year later, Ocean Avenue was paved. While there are still no peanut stands the city has certainly become much more commercialized.

Here at the corner of Lincoln and Dolores is the Spanish Eclectic-style Harrison Memorial Library.

One of Carmel’s first public works buildings, the library was constructed in 1927 and is named for Mrs. Ella Reid Harrison and her husband Supreme Court Justice Ralph Chandler Harrison. Mrs. Harrison was an avid supporter of the Carmel Free Library. Her estate left the city funds to establish this library in memory of her husband and it continues to be an important part of the community today.  The garden is beautifully maintained by the Carmel Garden Club which we'll learn about later.

For now, at the corner, cross Lincoln and continue straight on Ocean Avenue.  

That iron archway to your right is the courtyard where our Off the Beaten Path VoiceMap tour begins before it heads to the north part of town.

As you walk, notice the large white stucco building to your right.  This is the historic Pine Inn Hotel, and takes up this entire city block.

In the late 1800s, the first hotel in Carmel, Hotel Carmelo, was built on Ocean Avenue and Junipero, not far from where this tour started. 

Pine Inn  c.1921 

In 1903, Carmel Development Company purchased the hotel and decided it should be closer to the beach. So it was hoisted onto pine logs, and pulled to its current location by mule. On July 4, 1903, Hotel Carmelo reopened as the Pine Inn.  It now has a beautiful lobby, Il Fornaio restaurant and their bakery is a popular spot with locals in the morning.

At the corner, turn left and cross Ocean Avenue, then left again to head back along Ocean Ave. If there are people inviting you into stores up ahead just politely walk by them. 

The pink Tudor storybook-style building with the mini turrets on your right was designed by Edward Kuster as part of the medieval European village that surrounded his Golden Bough Theater.

The cute little shop just to the left is the Cottage of Sweets. It is the one-story Tudor-style shop with the rolled eaves.

Then next to that, also with a rolled roof line is Portabella restaurant.  Constructed in 1925 this served as the eastern anchor shop to the Court of the Golden Bough.

After Prohibition ended in 1933, Sade Latham purchased the building and opened Sadie’s bar on the first floor. It was quite popular with local writers and artists. In the 1980’s it was co-owned by actress and one-time Big Sur resident, Kim Novak.  But I am getting ahead of myself.   

Theater of the Golden Bough and Court of the Golden Bough c. 1924

The Theater of the Golden Bough was the vision of successful Los Angeles attorney Edward Kuster. Edward moved to Carmel in 1919, at the suggestion of his ex-wife Una Jeffers.  Una divorced Edward in 1913 and the day after her divorce was finalized, she married poet Robinson Jeffers. We cover the story of Robin and Una Jeffers extensively in our “Off the Beaten Path” and “Carmel Point” VoiceMap tours.    

In the early 1920’s, after Edward moved to Carmel and built a large stone house a mere two blocks from Robin and Una’s now-famous stone Tor House on Carmel Point, he decided to open an experimental theater and professional drama school in downtown Carmel. Lee Gottfried, who had built Kuster’s home, also designed the theater. 

The Theater of the Golden Bough, with its neat rows of wicker chairs for the audience, opened in 1924. Then, on May 19, 1935 during a production of By Candlelight, the wicker chairs became kindling for the fire that destroyed the theater. Arson was suspected but the perpetrators were never caught.  

Edward Kuster decided not to re-open his theater in this location. In 1941, he opened the Theater of the Golden Bough on Monte Verde between 8th and 9th Avenue.  Everything was going well until May 21, 1949 during a run of By Candlelight, and in an eerie re-enactment, the theater once again burned to the ground. This time, overhead lighting was blamed. Edward then rebuilt his theater on Monte Verde and it is still very active managed by Pacific Repertory Theater.  

Now, enter the Court of the Golden Bough by walking between Portabella Restaurant and the Cottage of Sweets.

As you get to the back of the Cottage of Sweets, look for the original ticket booth for the theater.  It will be right next to the brick chimney.

There is also an informative historic plaque here behind the Cottage of Sweets where you will find more information on this courtyard and some historic pictures.  This was placed here by Carmel real-estate investor Denny LeVett. 

Now we are going to navigate the shortcut that leads from Ocean Avenue to City Hall.  

So enter the covered passageway between Jolie by the Sea, and Jane Austin at Home.  This area is also the sight Clint Eastwood used for a scene from his 1971 film, Play Misty for Me.  

Descend the stairs and to the right you’ll see the Italian restaurant, Il Tagamino.  Turn left and walk around the patio dining area for II Tagamino, past Intima Lingerie.  You can't miss the mannequins in the window. 

At the end of the courtyard you will be in front of Denny LeVett’s office.  Turn right and follow the alley. Descend another few stairs and enter the parking lot for Monte Verde Inn East.  Head straight through the parking lot to Monte Verde Street and turn left.  

To your left will be a brown wooden building that looks kind of like a church.  Well it should. As it was originally constructed  in 1913 as the All Saints Episcopal Church 
by M. J. Murphy.  

It remained a church until 1946 when All Saints Church relocated to a larger property on Dolores and 9th and sold their old church to the city of Carmel for $10,000. It was here that film icon and Carmel resident Clint Eastwood served his stint as mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea.  

On a side note, did you know that Carmel has a municipal code that bans wearing high heels in town without a permit?  While the local police do not cite those in violation of the ordinance, this seemingly peculiar law was enacted in October of 1963 to defend the city from lawsuits resulting from wearers of high-heeled shoes who tripped over sidewalks distorted by tree roots.  The law, which is still in effect, requires anyone wearing shoes with heels in excess of two inches in height or with a base of less than one square inch obtain a permit for them.  So, if you find yourself out of compliance with city rules on high heels, permits are available without charge here at City Hall.  You will have to show a valid ID and sign for your permit.   

Keep walking straight on Monte Verde Street.  Up ahead on your left just past the parking lot for City Hall will be a three-story building with light green shutters. The name painted on the wall next to the arched front entrance is L'Auberge Carmel. 

It was originally built as Carmel's first apartment complex, The Sundial Court Apartments, in 1929. The building was then acquired by David Fink, extensively remodeled in 2003 and opened as L'Auberge Carmel. This Relais & Chateaux luxury hotel earned a coveted star in the 2019 Michelin Guide.  

At the corner of Monte Verde and 7th Avenue, turn left and keep walking straight. 

Ahead you will see a red brick sidewalk.  Once you reach that sidewalk, look for the entrance on your left to the Church of the Wayfarer Garden. 

Turn left into the garden and follow any of the paths that wind through the garden and head toward the church steeple.  

In 1940, Alice Beardsley, whose husband George was an early Trustee in Carmel and who had long supported the library and this church, donated the funds and Butler Sturtevant designed this beautiful garden.  It was featured in Sunset Magazine in January 1941.

Up ahead you will come to a small patio outside the Church of the Wayfarer. Take a seat for a moment while I explain how this church came to be built.

Early on, Catholic residents could walk to Mass at the Carmel Mission. But Protestants who wanted to attend services had to travel five miles by horse and buggy to Monterey. In 1902, Carmelites met to plan a place of worship for the Protestant community. In 1903, Frank Devendorf donated two large lots and this Methodist church was erected two years later. In 1940, the congregation voted to change the name to The Church of the Wayfarer.

If you have time and the church is open you might want to view the exquisite stained glass windows and see how the church bell is rung at noon everyday.  This is the very same bell that was rung by the volunteer fire brigade. 

Proceed from the courtyard of the church out on to Lincoln Street and turn right.  Keep walking toward 7th Avenue.  At the corner turn left and cross 7th Avenue and keep walking straight.

On your left will be the entrance to Terry's Lounge and the Cypress Inn.  It will be through a decorative wrought iron fence. 

Turn left into the side patio of the Cypress Inn and Terry’s Lounge.

That mural of Charlie Chaplin surrounded by a pink heart was painted in 2010 by French street artist Mr. Brainwash. Chaplin was a regular visitor to Carmel in the 1930's. 

Now I want to call your attention to the Spanish Eclectic and some say Moorish-style building of the Cypress Inn.

It was designed in 1929 by the Oakland architectural firm of Blaine and Olsen for Dr. Kocher, one of Carmel’s two physicians at the time. The design complimented the two other Spanish Eclectic buildings nearby. Dr. Kocher opened this building as the La Ribera Hotel. In 1985, real-estate developer Denny LeVett and the late actress Doris Day purchased the hotel. Ms. Day had just one non-negotiable condition.  The hotel must welcome pets. After renovations, it was opened as the Cypress Inn, Carmel’s first pet-friendly hotel. This would forever cement Carmel’s reputation as a dog-friendly destination and it is now considered one of the most pet-friendly hotels in the world. Doris continues to help pets of all type through her foundation even after she passed in 2019.

Keep walking straight under the covered walkway. The dining patio will be on your right and the large picture windows to the Doris Day Room will be on your left. 

Several nights a week there is live entertainment there and also on this patio for Sunday brunch.

Enter the lobby through the door ahead at the end of the covered walkway. Inside you will see quite a number of posters and pictures which feature Ms. Day and her co-stars. The décor was inspired by Doris’ time in Morocco filming the fabulous movie “The Man Who Knew too Much” with Jimmy Stewart. 

Turn left in the lobby and walk by the front desk out the entrance and back onto Lincoln Avenue.

Once back on Lincoln, turn right and continue walking.

You'll be passing The Cottage Restaurant just ahead on the left across the street.  It is another of Carmel's favorite breakfast spots and there is often bit of a wait on busy mornings. 

At the corner of Lincoln and Ocean, turn right.  This is the location of  Dametra Cafe, one of the three restaurants owned by Bashar Sneeh, who is from Syria, and Faisal Nimri, who is from Jordan. Hence, Damascus and Petra or Dametra! 

Possibly the busiest restaurant in Carmel, the staff and owners have lots of fun dancing and singing and serving reasonably priced Mediterranean fare. Feel free to stop and check out their menu.

Next door to Demetra is world-famous photographer Aaron Chang's Ocean Art Gallery, a visually stunning place to look at while you continue up the street. 

Look ahead of you for the sign shaped like a pretzel and reads Carmel Bakery.

This historic downtown building was built sometime around 1899 in the Western false-front style that was popular at the time. It was Carmel’s first bakery and to this day, is still a bakery.

Now owned by Chef Pépe, this is one of his five venues in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Pépe is very proud of his heritage.  His grandparents emigrated from Southern Italy through Ellis Island before World War I and brought with them their Italian culture. Pépe continues to preserve this culture through his bakery and restaurants and is active in all of them. This bakery has provided the first job for many of our youth.  

Now continue walking straight just two doors down to an arched doorway.  Over the archway the sign reads Thomas Kinkaide and Der Ling Lane. Stop in front of it for a moment and take a peek inside if the door is open.  

This is another one of Carmel’s interesting and charming passageways and it goes all the way through to Dolores Street after passing by the Kinkaide Gallery and Galante's wine room.

Carmel Sunset on Ocean Avenue - Thomas Kinkade 

Kinkaide was known as "the Painter of Light" and was famous for his very "Carmelly" scenes that included gardens, streams and stone cottages. He became the most collected artist of his time.  At one time there were 350 Kinkade galleries including the one at the end of this passageway. 

Dolores Street as seen from Ocean Avenue c. 1931

Continue walking straight on up Ocean Avenue and turn right at the corner on to Dolores. 

Dolores between Ocean and 7th East Side c. 1929 

As you walk along this very historic block of Dolores, take note of the wide diversity of commercial designs. 

Both sides are lined with historic buildings that at one time housed Carmel’s Post Office, Police Station, City Hall, Pine Cone newspaper, Carmel Cleaners, Vinings Meat Market and an auto dealership. It's been the heart of Carmel’s downtown commercial district since the 1920’s. 

Keep walking to the park just ahead of you on your right.  This is Piccadilly Park.

In 1979, the Piccadilly Nursery, which was located on this site, went out of business. The City Council was divided over whether to sell the property for development or to keep it as a park. 

The following year, Carol Stratton and Jean Mitchell formed the Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club. One of their first community projects was to save the old Piccadilly Nursery property from commercial development.

Nothing happens overnight in Carmel so 16 years later, in 1996, the Council finally voted to let the Garden Club restore the vacant lot. Landscape architect Walter Guthrie designed the plan and, in 1997, the property was formally rezoned as a city park. The Club continues to help maintain this peaceful open space in the middle of Carmel’s commercial district. 

Near the back of this park on the left side there is a public restroom. On the right side is the back end of Der Ling Lane and Galante Wines, which was the first wine tasting room to open in Carmel. 

Dolores Street West Side from 7th Avenue c. 1930 

Carmel takes historic preservation very seriously and nearly 300 houses are deemed historic and most downtown buildings are architecturally significant. The commission that is responsible for historic preservation in Carmel's City government is the Historic Resources Board.   The HRB advises the Council and Planning Commission on issues related to those buildings. This can get complicated and time consuming but is an important part of keeping Carmel-by-the-Sea's heritage intact.


Keep walking and look for the sign with a bicycle.  This is La Bicyclette restaurant. 

This was the first building designed by the Oakland architectural firm Blaine & Olsen on what Carmelites call Spanish Hill.  It was built in 1927 for the same Dr. Kocher that built the Cypress Inn. He used this as his medical office. This Spanish Eclectic style commercial building features decorative grill work by Whitaker, bright tile work, and a Moorish style tower.  

Dolores Street from 7th - November 2019 

Now with La Bicyclette on your right, turn left at the corner to cross Dolores over to the other side. 

Do you see the Italian flags flying proudly over the blue and yellow awning?  This building is home to Chef Pépe’s Little Napoli restaurant and Vino Napoli wine bar. 

Inspired by the Old World charm of Spain, this Spanish Eclectic style building was also designed by Blaine & Olsen. This one in 1928 for businessman L. C. Merrill. The various ceramic tiles on the stairway and fountain were imported from Spain.  

Mr. Merrill hired artist Jo Mora to create a figurative piece for the interior courtyard. This piece is the most readily available of the three pieces of artwork by Mora in Carmel.  

If time permits, you may view the terra cotta sculpture of a pair of early Californios entitled El Paseo in the back of the courtyard.  Above the entrance to this courtyard will be painted the words El Paseo Building.

When you're ready, make your way back up Dolores towards Ocean Avenue. Our next stop is the iconic building, the Tuck Box located next door.  

This quintessential landmark is internationally known and associated with the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea. It was designed and built  in 1926 by Hugh Comstock, Carmel’s Builder of Dreams, at the cost of $1,200.  Comstock added the building in the rear off the patio courtyard in 1929 and the kiosk to the right of the patio in 1931.  

Around 1940, two sisters from England, Mrs. Bumbridge and Mrs. Watson, established this as an English Tea room and named it the Tuck Box. It has changed hands over the years but remains a little English tea room tucked back off the street. 

Although you will see elements of this style used by other architects throughout the village, it is the only commercial application of the Fairy-Tale style by Comstock. If you are interested in seeing more Fairy-Tale cottages, our one hour VoiceMap Fairy Tale Houses Walking Tour covers 13 of these in the Historic Hill District of Carmel.

Be sure to get someone to take a picture of you in front of the Tuck Box so you’ll remember you were here years from now. We promise you will treasure it!

When you're ready continue walking straight on Dolores.

You will pass by a great gallery run by world-famous landscape photographer Robert Knight and Chris Winfield's gallery with a wide range of artwork.  You'll also pass by the fantastic Jan de Luz Linens where the very French owner Brigitte will be buzzing around keeping her customers happy and further down you’ll find Trio Carmel where you can get great olive oil and do some wine tasting while viewing artwork.  

Up ahead, look for the sign for Mulligan’s Public House restaurant.

Once you pass the front door for Mulligan’s look for a passageway on your right.

There will be a green awning on your left and a white awning on your right. This is the Las Tiendas Passageway, a well-traveled shortcut from Dolores Street to Ocean Avenue.

Turn right and continue walking down this passageway. When you come to the end of the alley, straight ahead of you will be the art studio of Robin Winfield.

Robin’s style is quite unique as her paintings start with a photograph. Then she adds colors and textures to express a mood or some other aspect of the human condition to complete her art work. 

Now turn left and continue walking.  Past Carmel Coffee House, where freshly roasted organic coffee is brewed all day long. 

Then straight under the covered archway of the Las Tiendas building. Designed with a nostalgic feel of Old Mexico, this building was constructed in 1930 for Carmel realtor and former California State Assemblyman, Ray DeYoe. 

Once on Ocean Avenue, turn right and keep walking.  To your right will be the entrance to the Doud Arcade.

Here you'll find Kris Kringle of Carmel, where it is Christmas 365 days of the year to the right of the entrance and A. W. Shucks Cocktail and Oyster Bar, where oyster shucking is a craft best left to the professionals behind the bar, to the left.  

In the mid 1950’s, this arcade began as a Craft Center with small craft studios for sculpting, printing, ceramics and other art forms. Today, you can find anything from socks, candles, hats, lamps, and even Turkish rugs and boots! Now continue walking to the corner ahead.  

The last store to your right, Laub's Country Store, on this block has a wide range of Carmel-related goods.  This is your last chance on the tour for this.  But, before you check it out I have another story to tell you.   

Ocean Avenue and San Carlos - Drug Store and Water Trough c. 1908

The building that houses Laub's Country Store on the corner was built in 1905 as Dr. J.E. Beck's office and Carmel's first drug store.  The doctor was also an early member of the Arts and Crafts Club and the Forest Theatre Society.  He later moved his office further down San Carlos to what is now called “Doc’s Cottage”.

Ocean Avenue and San Carlos Ground Breaking WWI Memorial November 11, 1921

Now take a look to the center median of Ocean Avenue across from the Coach store.

There you will see the World War I Memorial Arch. This arch was designed in 1919 by renowned architect and resident Charles Sumner Greene, and dedicated on Veterans Day in 1921. It is maintained by Carmel's American Legion Post 512 and is dedicated "In honor of those who served.  In memory of those who died."

This was also the location of the water trough where early residents had to come to get their drinking water before a water system was installed.

Ok, now turn right onto San Carlos, and continue walking.

Up ahead is Enzo’s, a charming Italian restaurant. Right after that will be the back entrance to the Doud Arcade and also the entrance to Carmel Belle, which is famous for being one of only two restaurants in town where you order at the counter and then wait for your food at your table.  

Next I want to call your attention to the colorful mural on the wall outside the back entrance to the Doud Arcade. 

In 1955 Mary Miller Klepich painted this mural, California Del Norte via el Camino Real which depicts historic figures from pre-statehood California. It was restored in 2002 by artist and woodcarver Earl Bozlee. Bozlee was the one who carved the boars head on the Hog’s Breath Inn sign we saw earlier on this tour.

Now keep walking straight on San Carlos up ahead you will pass the compact Paseo San Carlos courtyard.  This houses a great example of retail diversity.  It has Kocek’s jewelry store, two tasting rooms, an art gallery, Basil restaurant and a home furnishing store. 

A little way further up this block is the Plaza San Carlos passageway.  It will be to your right between two Spanish style buildings with the tile roof. One is brick and the other white stucco. 

Turn right into the passageway.  Thinker Toys will be on your left  and Dawn’s Dream Wine Room ahead at the end of the passageway. 

Dawn is the wife of Jack Galante, whose wine room was near Piccadilly Park.  Jack has big reds and Dawn specializes in Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs.   

Turn left and go down the stairs to exit the Plaza San Carlos passageway. You will pop out on 7th Avenue.  

To your right  as you come out on 7th is a wine room run by Alan Sylvestri, who is a famous composer for over 100 movie soundtracks including Forest Gump.

Holman Ranch tasting room is right across the street.  And if you look to your left and diagonally across the street you will find Scheid, one of the most popular wine rooms in Carmel. I told you we have a lot of wine rooms.  But Monterey County makes great wine!!!!!

Anyway we are on a time schedule.  Turn left on 7th and continue to the corner.  Cross San Carlos Street and you will be outside Nielsen Brothers Market, a great place to pick up just about anything you need including low-cost hot food items out front during lunch and custom-made sandwiches at the butcher counter.

To the left of the store is a huge mural of Carmel created by Bill Bates and artist Carol Minou in the 1980’s.  It’s provides a light-hearted view of the area.

When you're ready, continue along 7th Ave.  After the underground parking lot for Nielson's look to your left for a set of stairs.  This is the side entrance to the Court of the Fountains off 7th.  Take those stairs and straight ahead you will see a glass gazebo.

Walk straight past the gazebo to the beautiful blue pool with three fountains. This courtyard seems to be aptly named wouldn’t you say? This is the dining patio for Tony Salumeh's Anton & Michel restaurant, which has been another exceptional dining experience in Carmel for nearly 40 years. 

Ahead of you is another copper-roofed gazebo that is home to Lisa Bryan’s art studio. Famous for her souvenir “Carmel Treasure Map”, Lisa also will happily paint a portrait of your furry friend or your larger equestrian companion. She works comfortably with oils, watercolors and mixed media and is many times working in the studio. 

Following the courtyard around you’ll see the only old-fashioned barber shop in town. Owned by barbers Rachel and Anthony Amaya, it has antique barber chairs and you can even get a straight-edge razor shave. The newest wine room, Kori is next followed by Lulu’s Chocolates. 

When you're done, exit Court of the Fountains onto Mission Street and turn left. 

Here on your left is Carmel Bouchee, a very nice French restaurant. And just across the street is a charming French country cafe, Pattiserie Boussiere where you can get incredible desserts with an espresso.

Keep walking along Mission Street. On the left is Carmel-by-the-Sea’s only village cycling shop. Its is not just an ordinary bike store. They sell and rent cool electric and vintage bikes. If you see a bike with a side car around town, sometimes with a dog in it, that came from Mad Dogs and Englishmen. They can also organize guided tours for groups. 

When you get to the corner, turn right and cross Mission.
Once across Mission, stop on the corner near Tiffany & Co., and look diagonally across Ocean Avenue to the white stucco building.

Does the building on the corner look a little like a milk bottle to you?  It should because this building started life in 1932 as Graft’s Carmel Dairy. This is where those milk bottles came from to stock all those milk shrines around town. You can see the words Carmel Dairy on the side. It is now Paloma's Home Furnishings, stocked with Dave Winan's interesting hand-crafted finds from around the world.   

We are back where we started at the Carmel Plaza. I think we did that in one hour.  Until next time Happy Adventures!

All pictures by L. A. Momboisse unless listed below. 

Picture of Frank Devendorf in front of Carmel Development Company 1905, and Devendorf and Powers in Carmel,  courtesy of The Carmel Residents Association Presents "Reliving Our History," The Centennial Series, Part 1:  Jack Galante on his great-grandfather, Frank Devendorf, The "Father of Carmel." 

Pictures courtesy of Harrison Memorial Library: 

Picture of Ocean Avenue in 1910 by L. S. Slevin
Picture of Carmel Fire Station in 1934 
Picture Pine Inn 1921
Picture of Theater of the Golden Bough and the Court of the Golden Bough c. 1924
Picture of Dolores Street as seen from Ocean Avenue c. 1931
Picture of Dolores Street West Side as seen from 7th Avenue c. 1930
Picture of Intersection of Ocean Avenue and San Carlos with Drug Store and Water Trough c. 1908
Picture of Intersection of Ocean Avenue and San Carlos during Ground Breaking for WWI Memorial Arch November 11, 1921


Post a Comment