Monday, March 13, 2017

Day 6 - Monterey, Carmel and the 17 Mile Drive

If you happen to visit San Francisco at any time in your life, taking a day off to drive down US highway 1 to Monterey and Carmel, and the 17 Mile Drive, should be an absolute must do. Spellbinding views of the ocean, majestic Cyprus trees, multi-million dollar homes, rolling greens and golf courses... it just can't get any better! Yes, there is Napa, and there is Yosemite, but trust me on this - nothing beats US Highway 1!

We set off in the early morning - SFO was blanketed in a thick layer of fog that completely blanked out Coit Tower and the Bay Bridge, but the weather changes dramatically as you pull out of SFO. Our first stop was at Montara, the breath taking cliffs looked just so dreamy!

It's been a long wet winter with lots of rain, and even though Spring isn't really here, the greens are absolutely beautiful, and carpeted with beautiful wild flowers.

Our driver was a jolly old brother, and pulled over to give us a peek at one of the weekly farmer's markets, for some gorgeous, fresh, organic, local produce! 

Monterey is a lovely seaside town with a "western" feel to it. I spent a few minutes at the local aquarium, which is worth a visit if you are travelling with kids.

A wonderful triple grill combo at Bubba Gump was food for my soul!

I had a sumptuous lunch, and then headed out to the piers - and was admiring the view when lo and behold, I heard some Konkani. It was the Kudchadkar couple from Panaji, along with Sanjay Bakal, my Prof from Goa Engg College way back in the 90s! Small world after all.

Things got even more exciting after Monterey, Between Monterey and Carmel, is what is known as the 17 Mile Drive - a gorgeous stretch that rolls between majestic forests of Cyprus trees, exclusive golf courses and multi-million dollar homes, all by the gorgeous ocean. Truly, #LifeGoals!

Carmel itself is a quaint little town, with Hansel Gretel homes, exclusive shopping and more of those gorgeous views of the ocean.

Now, besides being so beautiful, Carmel has a few other very quirky stories - none of which are untrue!

First, you need a permit to wear high heels (the permit is for free, but fines, never imposed, are 500 USD). Yes, no kidding! Selling and eating ice cream on the streets was banned (with a 50 USD fine), until Mayor Clint Eastwood (yes, the same one!) repealed it. A tradition that hasn't been repealed yet is one that bans houses from have street addresses. And no, you won't find a Starbucks or a MacDonalds in Carmel-by-the-sea. In fact, the village permits no chains!

For more details, do have a look at

After a long and wonderful day out on the coast, it was time to head back to SFO. A day well spent!

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