Sunday, October 20, 2019

California Coast, Part 1: Carmel and Monterey

10/18/19 Cypress tree and marina, Monterey

To celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, we took a trip to the Monterey Bay area, including a drive down Highway 1 along the California coast. In my sketchbook, the trip ended up being more about nature studies and landscapes than urban views, but we did spend some time in the towns of Carmel and Monterey.

One of few fairytale cottages
I saw without a fence around it.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is a cute town of shops and restaurants that is probably overrun by tourists in the summer, but in mid-October, it was pleasant and fun. One thing it is known for are the fairytale cottages. You can learn all about how Hugh Comstock came to design the cottages in the 1920s. Many of the cottages are now shops and other businesses, but some remain residential homes (apparently priced at $4 million each for these tiny, tiny houses). We drove through the residential streets to see them all (following a map provided by the Chamber of Commerce), but many are concealed by large trees and especially tall fences. I guess owners get tired of tourists driving by to gawk. I had hoped to sketch one, but the streets are more like very narrow alleys where there’s little room to stand, let alone park the car.

I resigned myself to sketching the Church of the Wayfarer’s steeple, which had a bit of a storybook look to it, too.

10/14/19 Church of the Wayfarer, Carmel

Sketching the Carmel Mission Basilica, which was founded in 1771, was also on my list. We arrived late in the afternoon, which put the front of the basilica in full shade, so I went around to the back where the dome was beautifully lighted. The Mission’s grounds have statuary and a fascinating, old cemetery of gravestones marked by abalone shells.
10/15/19 Carmel Mission Basilica

Carmel Mission statuary
Grave marker in mission cemetery

Doc's lab in Cannery Row
The hotel where we stayed was in Monterey, known for its Cannery Row made famous by the John Steinbeck novel. I read Cannery Row on the flight there to gain a bit of historical perspective. Although not much of Depression-era Monterey is visible on Cannery Row, I did spot the Pacific Biological Laboratories building, which features prominently in the novel.

On our last morning before flying home, we took a walk at the marina near our hotel, where I sketched one of the ubiquitous Monterey Cypress trees (top of post; tomorrow you’ll see one more), which are native to the area. Earlier in the trip, we had visited both of the only two naturally occurring Monterey Cypress forests in the world.

1 comment:

  1. Carmel and Monterey were two of our favorite stops along the coast there. At the time I was looking for Clint Eastwood. lol


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