No, I'm not talking about the heavenly, fattening, gooey stuff you put on ice cream. I'm talking about the little coastal town south of San Francisco that is possibly one of the most charming, quaint and lovely little places in the U.S.
Maybe even the world.
And it's pronounced Car-MEL. As in Scary Spice's real first name.
My parents have been going to Carmel every year on my dad's birthday for as long as I can remember. I always thought it would be such a romantic place to get away with my one true love. I imagined staying at a beautiful bed and breakfast, walking hand in hand through all the little shops, dining on fine food at one of the bazillion four-star restaurants and frolicking on the beach at sunset.
Before I met Reece, the man in that dream was George Clooney.
Just thought it should be noted.
Anyway, I insisted when we planned our trip that we spend at least one night in this lovely little town, just so I could feel like a grown up and tell people I have "vacationed" in Carmel with my dashing husband.
Pathetic? Maybe a bit.
And remember these?
Our wonderful photographers Justin and Camille Wheatley from that shoot are now expecting a baby of their own, so we got to return the favor. Instead of a meadow, they had the ocean.
All jokes aside, it was a beautiful sight to behold. We can officially check "watching a Carmel sunset" off our Bucket Lists. On second thought, Reece will probably kill me for insinuating that anything related to a sunset is on his personal Bucket List.
Following our beach walk, we walked up and down nearly every little street looking for the perfect restaurant. "Perfect" meaning affordable. Easier said than done, let me assure you.
We finally settled on a little pub. Reece got his fish and chips, so he was happy. We dragged our lifeless bodies back to our inn, watched "Sweet Home Alabama" and said goodnight.
I don't think I've slept that long and that well for over a year.
We woke up to a beautiful, sunny Easter morning and ate breakfast at a delicious little bakery on Ocean Avenue. Steel cut oats with berries for me, breakfast burrito for Reece. Food choices can reveal so much about a relationship...
We had to grab a shot with our rental car, lovingly nicknamed "Lucille" or "The Cruiser." This little lady did not exactly fit in. Plus, I think we are all going to get lung cancer from the second-hand smoke that radiated from every inch of her. And how I will miss her 15-point turns.
Though our stay in Carmel was wonderful, I failed to take into consideration the fact that many shop owners would want to spend their Easter Sundays at home. Not the best weekend to shop.
Next up: the famed "17 Mile Drive" along the Carmel/Pebble Beach coastline. Breathtaking views, gorgeous beaches and lots of conversation centered on the Tiger Woods scandal.
Here we are at the highest point of the drive.
Next stop: Spanish Beach. A perfect place for a picnic. Wouldn't you agree?
We thought so too. That is, until the attack.
I pulled out my food, placed it on the picnic table, turned around for just a second and turned back to discover a giant, dirty seagull swooping towards my face. I quickly realized the situation was even more horrifying than I had initially believed -- the seagull was not after my face, it was after my beautiful sandwich.
It actually landed 6 inches away from me and managed to grab the top of my ciabatta bread. Luckily my quick-thinking husband swatted at the beastly bird with our 133975497 gallon water bottle, forcing it to drop my bread and retreat.
There's no way Reece will give me crap for toting that water bottle around ever again.
Just as I had collected myself (and stopped the screaming), the winged Satan pulled a U-turn and dove right back in my direction. I grabbed my sandwich, ran to the car and left the others to fend for themselves.
Really guys, it was an amazing sandwich.
So instead of our ocean picnic, we ate our lunches in the smoke-filled Cruiser.
I promise this post will end eventually.
Aside from the life-altering seagull attack, the drive was the perfect way to spend an Easter Sunday away from home. I have a hard time believing that anyone can deny the existence of a Heavenly Father when surrounded by this kind of beauty. (And no, I'm not talking about the wind-blown Ivins)