The drive up Highway 1, from San Luis Obispo to Carmel, is the reason the automobile was invented (not true by any stretch of the imagination, but sounds nicer than “is a pretty drive”). Oh, you can take the 101, but you better take some NoDoz while you’re at it and splash yourself with some cold water every few miles (you know, from the dashboard sink), as its nothing but mostly arid farmland with the occasional sign complaining about how there’s not enough water, some sort of call to action if you’re still reading, and of course you are because what else do you have going on?
So, Carmel. It was a roundabout way of getting here, but whatever. You’ve arrived when you make the left onto Ocean Avenue. Art galleries, cafés and shops abound for blocks to the north and south in what is one of the most charming shopping districts in America: Carmel-by-the-Sea. Dogs of all breeds are practically on parade on the sidewalks of this canine-friendly town. The friendliest joint in town is the Cypress Inn, co-owned by animal activist and silver screen legend Doris Day.
The Cypress is one of those places in the world that time does not tarnish. The friendly staff is as enduring as the towering pines, as the ivy on the walls, as the films of Ms. Day. Terry’s Lounge is as timeless as the old-time cocktails that have drawn locals and visitors alike. A five-minute walk down to the beach (also dog-friendly) and one actually goes back in time (but not really, as that’s impossible) to a pristine shoreline that drew settlers here in the first place.
The Cypress Inn
Lincoln & 7th Street
Carmel, CA 93921
All photos courtesy of Scott Bridges.