The drive was beautiful with stunning views, famous golf courses and resorts, plenty of deer (of course!) and the most unbelievable mansions (actually, calling them chateaux or castles wouldn't be stretching things much - Beverly Hills looks like a slum compared to some of these places). Each one seemed more fabulous than the last and we had quite the discussion about which one might belong to Clint Eastwood (he was the Mayor of Carmel for a while).
The one place that I was convinced had to be his had a fenced off area leading down to a private cove that is probably one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen. Of course, the closest I could get was sticking my lens through fencing and taking a few shots of the lucky residents:
The fence might keep out the riff-raff, but the Harbor Seals took full advantage of the exclusive site. I didn't notice it at the time, but now that I've blown up the photos a bit, I can see that the small seal in the center has some kind of injury.
They always appear to be smiling...guess I'd be smiling too if I got to snooze in such an amazing place. This shot also shows several different varieties of algae including the giant kelp that is the mainstay of the local ecosystem.
Extreme wind gusts led to some blurry photos, but I thought this seal was one of the prettiest with its pale silvery coat.
One of the few other places we stopped was to see the Lone Cypress.
This is the view looking south towards Carmel.
In this close up, you can see the cables and wall that have been put in place to try to protect the tree.
After this, it was on into the Village of Carmel where we did a lot of window shopping and had a wonderful mid-afternoon snack at the Treehouse Cafe. In fact, it was so good and we enjoyed their outdoor patio so much that we went back to the same restaurant for dinner! It had heaters and was sheltered from the wind by the surrounding buildings, but still allowed for some fun people watching. After dinner, Ryan had a great time checking out Thinker Toys which was right close by.
The one other place we stopped was to see the Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo. My mother has a real bee in her bonnet about visiting the mission sites whenever we are near one. They really are a significant part of the history of California, but since Ryan studied them extensively (as did I) in 4th grade and we live only about 15 minutes from Mission San Juan Capistrano (probably the most well-known site), they don't really hold much interest for me. However, it makes her happy so we did stop by to take a quick peek.
Then, it was back home to get a good night's rest so that we could tackle the Monterey Bay Aquarium the next day.