By the C by the sea

Answer to the most frequently asked question around here: No, Clint Eastwood is no longer the mayor;  but he’s still Carmel’s most famous citizen.

Among other local oddities like no streetlights, no high heels and no eating ice cream on the street ( NOT urban legends but actual city ordinances)  my biggest surprise 15 years ago, when I moved to the otherwise charming Carmel-by-the-Sea is that there are no addresses.

Seriously.  And thankfully we don’t live in that part of town anymore.

Having no address was a monumental pain in the ass inconvenience—beginning with the fact that mail is not delivered, but has to be picked up at the post office.    We were leasing a house for what we thought would be 6 months— but when I got cancer,  it turned into 3 years that we had this official address:   Dolores,  sixth house southwest of Thirteenth.

Try telling that to UPS.    Try finding it.

This gave me some insight into another Carmel eccentricity—why so many people name their houses.

In my former world, you name a house if  you’re Donald Trump and you own Mar-a-Lago.

In Carmel, people name cottages.  And not what  they call “cottages”  in Newport, Rhode Island.

I mean real cottages….

…… where you could find Hansel and Gretel.

We haven’t named OUR house, but  I no longer think it’s pretentious…..I think it’s cute…just like Carmel.

Comments

  1. It sounds so funny and yet I’ve been living in the area for 20 years. I didn’t know high heels were against the ordinance!

  2. I am jealous – we were engaged in Carmel and I would love to live there. So quaint. Sadly, Uncle Sam will never pay us enough to even dream of one of those cottages by the sea. ENJOY!!!!!!

    • If you’re paid by Uncle Sam I’m guessing you’re military? We do have the Defense Language Institute and the Naval Postgraduate school in MOnterey, so you never know. AT least I hope you’ll get back to visit.
      If you are a military family, very much appreciate your service and sacrifices.

  3. Rick in Miami says:

    I wonder how many people read the word cottage and pictured something totally and radically different from your photos. For me, I thought of the bungalows that sat outside of White Lake, NY, right off of route 17B in the Catskills, 50 years ago.

    • IF they can call those mansions in Newport “cottages”, then the meaning of the word is obviously loosely defined.
      MOre importantly, I’m also VERY familiar with those bungalows in White Lake, NY —right where my father grew up and I went to camp throughout my entire childhood. Summer in the Catskills, growing up in MIami beach–we’ve led a parallel existence.

  4. I don’t think I knew that’s where you lived. Carmel – wow! So pretty. Is there a Roy’s restaurant there? My husband and I went to dinner in Carmel and I’m trying to remember if that’s the restaurant we went to. I didn’t know Carmel didn’t really have addresses either. Do they have a reason for that? Is it a place to move to when you’re being stalked because it’s so hard to find people there? (Boy look at me all full of questions. That’s OK you don’t even have to answer them if you don’t want to.

    • In your honor Margaret, just so I could answer at least SOME of your questions properly, I did something I NEVER do that I am ridiculously proud of–I figured out how to change my blog so I can now comment separately—instead of grouping replies all together. This is a huge breakthrough for a total technological dork like me. But enough patting myself on the back—

      #1. There’s a Roy’s at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach right next door—a gated community where people also tend to name their homes—many of which are much bigger “cottages.”

      #2. I have no idea why Carmel has no addresses. But you can see how eccentric this town is so probably it’s just to annoy people like me.

      #3. Someone is stalking you? Did you offend anyone who doesn’t share your taste in goats? LOL. Not sure Carmel is where you want to be—the town is so small it would be impossible to disappear into the Witness Protection Program.

  5. This is a neat area. I like the photos. My favorite is Garden Gables because of the fenced area. This sounds like a fun place to explore.

  6. Thank u–it really is a fun place to explore—lots of houses behind fences, whimsy and character everywhere. Think I’ll change up the beach walks and maybe share more shots in town.

  7. i think you should name your cottage:
    CLOONEY BALDWIN
    or perhaps, because i’m me and i adore you as everyone seems to … i would vote for you naming it:
    ONE OF THE BEST WOMEN IN THE WORLD LIVES HERE
    xoxox

    • Oh you are too adorable, Amy.
      At least Carmel doesn’t have those tour busses visiting homes of the Hollywood stars like L.A. Carmel is so small, I could name our house: “George Clooney Lives here”–and no one would ever notice.

  8. Denise Danches Fisher says:

    I visited Carmel in the 70′s went to the “Hog’s Breath Inn.” Didn’t see Clint, but fell in love with the city anyway!

    Next to Boulder, my pick. It is gorgeous, a wonderland. Everyday is a holiday there.

    Lucky girl you!

    • It is gorgeous, a different kind of wonderland than Boulder. So both of us are lucky—and a LONG way from Miami Beach for sure.
      I’m not sure the Hog’s Breath Inn (Clint’s original restaurant) is still open. But now that you mention it, I’ll find out— so next time a tourist asks me, I can give the right answer.

  9. Stephanie says:

    No high heels?? Where is the ACLU?? What’s up with that??
    I certainly wouldn’t walk around Carmel in high heels but what if someone wanted to wear them?? Short women…..women that want to visit their orthopaedic surgeons…..Totally unconstitutional…….it would be interesting to see how Clarence Thomas would vote on this issue.
    And the most important issue…..ICE CREAM…..you can’t eat ice cream on the street??? I would totally move away from there….

  10. Carmel is pretty eccentric, don’t you think?
    Repealing the law against eating ice cream was supposed to be Clint’s major contribution as mayor. Maybe he’ll run again on a platform to get rid of the high heels.

  11. What great cottages! I love the photos. But I’m sure it’s a little disconcerting to be without an address!

  12. I visited Carmel…once…a very long time ago, but I had no idea it was that quaint. Thanks for letting us know!

  13. Thank u both for comments.
    Yes,it’s definitely disconcerting without an address. And truly, at least in the US–there’s no place for quaint quite like Carmel.

  14. Yeah, Rhode Island ‘cottages’ you gotta laugh. I had no idea about the lack of addresses in Carmel. When we visited 22 years ago I thought it was just so beautiful. I remember we stopped into a little coffee shop for a pastry and coffee and I think it was $15. I thought my husband’s eyes were going to bulge out of his head! I laughed and said “pay it, we’re in Carmel.”

  15. Well you’re right that Carmel isn’t low-rent; the houses here aren’t bargains but at least our “cottages” are closer to the definition than in Newport, RI.

  16. LOL! We have only a vague address too – living as we do half way up a mountain with no road. DHL told us we don’t exist. Several times. Until I organised with them to drop parcels off with a neighbour whose house stands on the road. Then, they suddenly seemed to know all about us. Legs are made for walking, dudes! :-) Nice post.

  17. Stacy Steele says:

    HI Darryle,
    Just so ya know… The Hog’s Breath is still open for business on San Carlos Avenue. However, Clint Eastwood is no longer the owner. The building there is called the Eastwood Building and we are pretty sure he still MAY own the building. The little jazz radio station which recently closed its doors (next door to Hog’s Breath) is the same station that was in the movie Play Misty For Me.

    As for why no physical addresses… even 100 years ago the residents knew how special their forest was here. They decided then not to clutter up the streets with mailboxes and house numbers. Though they were riding horses to the post office to pick up the mail the town decided it would be a great place to meet and catch up with one another. At this time they decided the little squarer mile of Carmel by the Sea would always get their mail at the post office in order to do just that, catch up and visit.
    I heard this in one of the many historical lectures given throughout the year at the Harrison Memorial Library.
    Thanks for all of your pics. Love sharing my town (through your work) with friends and family on the opposite end of the country.

    • And thank YOU for the explanations and for sharing.
      Leave it to a teacher to provide lessons on CArmel History–and current events. I never knew any of this!! At least now the lack of addresses makes sense.

  18. Actually, Carmel-by-the-Sea is owned by Mailboxes Etc, which explains why it appears that 99% of the town lives on Crossroads Blvd.

  19. Vivian Ross says:

    We visited Carmel by the Sea in July of 2013 from Manitoba Canada. It really is a very pretty place.

  20. I love to viewing a pictures of houses but I think good idea, why not “Fairy House” LOL!

  21. Sylvia Apodaca Vergara says:

    In my early 20s in the 70s I lived in Monterey, Pacific Grove, Seaside but never rented in Carmel, probably couldn’t afford it. Regarding no street addresses, I was wondering how the cottages are listed in a real estate contract if they are being sold, where you would normally have to have an address on the contract. I am going back for a visit this September. Hope to see my brother Johnny Apodaca’s art gallery. He was the smart one who stayed living in the area, while his brothers and sister moved away and now have to visit.

    • I know your brother’s work! He’s really talented. I’m sure the real estate contracts describe the houses just as the post office does, something like “Monte Verde 3rd house southeast of 10th.” It’s really weird. Hope you enjoy your trip to Carmel!

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