Carmel-by-the-Sea (Part 2)

In a town built out of the stuff of dreams, can you expect anything less than Fairy Tale Hill?


Note: Before we even start, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge two sites that proved invaluable in tracking down the houses that we’ve included in the post—Once Upon a Time…Tales from Carmel-by-the-Sea (it has some great photos, too) and Carmel-by-the-Sea–Adventures of a Hometown Tourist. Check them out when you get the chance.

Another Note: You can find Part 1 of our Carmel series here.

house_1_smallWe have a kind of weird relationship with Carmel. Even though we’ve lived on the Monterey Peninsula for 20 years and it’s probably less than five miles away from where we live now, we don’t get over there much. When we do it’s mostly for special events like birthdays and anniversaries, many times just to give out-of-town guests the tour: downtown, the beach, the mission, a restaurant or two, etc. It seems a place more built for travelers than locals, a kind of fully functional tourist park: a town built out of the stuff of dreams, or more specifically, the stuff of Old World European dreams. Not much there that’s relevant to a local’s everyday routines. Plus we have grandkids with whom we spend a lot of time and they get kind of bored there, unless they’re eating and you can’t do that all day. Well, they probably could, but that’s another story.

Bohemian Chic Clothing

Bohemian Chic Clothing

The thing is, we didn’t really take the time to think about how little consideration we gave to Carmel until it hit us a few weeks ago when we began to plan this blog series. When we posted series on Pacific Grove and Monterey, we knew where to go, what to check out, and what you might like to see. We took our iPhone, walked out our door, and in a few hours we had more than enough material to post. It was like breathing.

The Tuck Box, now a restaurant.

The Tuck Box, now a restaurant.

Carmel’s not like that for us. We had to think out our approach a bit before we proceeded. At just around a square mile the town isn’t very big, but nonetheless, we hadn’t seen a whole lot of it outside of its most well-traveled streets. We even had to engage in a little bit of research, and for the first time, if you can believe it, we became acutely aware of what’s referred to as Carmel’s “fairy tale architecture”.

Yeah, we knew about the Tuck Box, after all it’s just off Ocean Avenue, Carmel’s main commercial thoroughfare. But we were amazed that there were so many homes, house3_smallliterally just blocks away from where we had walked for the past two decades, which were constructed with this unique design. They’re all kind of clustered together in an area that I never even knew had a name (it’s a mouthful): The Fairy Tale Homes Historical Hill District.

We won’t go into all the background details—the sites we linked up for you will give you more than enough information—but it turns out most of these homes were built, beginning in the 1920s, by a man named Hugh Comstock. Today, for the most part they remain real, lived in homes and each has its own unique and interesting story. Most have names.

Last Sunday evening we told our wife that we had discovered something house6_smallnew about Carmel and that we should take a walk and see what Fairy Tale Hill was all about (she’s wasn’t aware of it and she’s spent a fair amount of time working in Carmel). I figured if we were going to be serious about giving readers from around the globe a sense of what Carmel was all about, we had to provide coverage of what is obviously a unique characteristic of a unique town.

mapSo that’s what we’ve put together for your viewing pleasure this time around. For the most part, these structures speak for themselves, and we hope you enjoy them. Heck, maybe when you come out to visit SSCS, you can take a tour and see them for yourself.

Well, that’s all for now. We’ll be closing out our trilogy on Carmel next week just as prime vacation time comes to an end. Oh, well, maybe next year.