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Carmel: Fairy tale village
on Monterey Peninsula
By CARY ORDWAY
Tucked neatly along the southern shore of the Monterey Peninsula is the one-square-mile village called Carmel-by-the-sea, a name that seems fitting for a place known for its fairy-tale architecture and its popularity with artists. Just 4,500 people live in Carmel, but travelers from all over the world find the town an irresistible tourist attraction.
Maybe it's all the press Carmel used to get when its most famous resident—actor Clint Eastwood —was the hands-on local mayor. Or maybe it's the gorgeous white sand beach that's said to be the best on the Monterey Peninsula. Then again, it could just be all of those storybook cottages —the ones with names instead of street addresses —that make Carmel seem like a storybook village just beckoning travelers to visit.
Judging from our recent visit, the appeal of Carmel is all of the above plus a good dose of California history and an excellent selection of top-notch resorts, hotels and tourist attractions either in Carmel or within a few miles. If you're planning a Northern California vacation, be sure to include a stop in Carmel.
The village itself is located on a gradual slope down to the beach, the trees in this area thick and hearty and adding just a little of that Hansel-and-Gretel forest feel to go with the storybook cottages. This is no ordinary downtown, mind you—there are subtle differences. For example, there are no street addresses or neon signs. A local realtor points out it requires a permit to wear high heels. And it was once illegal to eat ice cream on the street, although Clint Eastwood's administration made our kid's day by repealing that ordinance.