Architecture, Carmel Beach, Carmel Point, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Clint Eastwood,, Scenic Bluff Pathway, Scenic Loop Walking Tour, Scenic Road, Self Guided, Self Guided Walk

Carmel-by-the-Sea Scenic Loop Walking Tour – Part I – Scenic Bluff Pathway Along Carmel Beach

Scenic Loop Walking Tour – Part I 

Scenic Bluff Pathway Along Carmel Beach
1 mile 

Those who visit our village may only have a few hours to spend in Carmel-by-the-Sea.  Some enjoy shopping, some love to eat, others enjoy a walk.  The Scenic Loop Walking Tour is a series of two blog posts.  They are a self-guided walking tour of what I believe feature three miles of natures most impressive beauty.  If time does not permit, this first part can be walked as 1 1/2 miles round trip – Just turn around at the new restrooms on Santa Lucia and Scenic where this blog ends.

So that you are not constrained by the two hour parking limit in town,  I suggest you park in the parking lot at the end of Ocean Avenue by Carmel Beach.  There is no time limit here on parking during the day.  

There are three public restrooms along this walking tour. One at the beginning, base of Ocean Avenue, at the end of Part 1 at Santa Lucia and Scenic, and next to the parking lot at Carmel River Beach.   

This walk is fairly level but weather conditions can be windy and cold.  A windbreaker or sweater is recommended, dark glasses, camera, and binoculars are useful.

Follow along on this google map which marks highlights of the Scenic Loop Walking Tour of Carmel-by-the-Sea.  

Start this walk at the Carmel North Dunes Habitat Restoration Site (northwest corner of Ocean and San Antonio* next to the Carmel Beach parking lot) under one of Carmel’s heritage trees, a Blue Gum Eucalyptus. 

This tree, the largest in the Village, (the trunk measures over 22 feet around) just underwent a haircut in readiness for (hopefully) the impending El Nino.  This Eucalyptus is thought to have been planted in the 1850’s. 

Before we continue on to Carmel Beach take a moment to look beyond the ropes at the Habitat Restoration project. The Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club began this project in 2009 to “correct a century of  human disturbance which had greatly affected the natural state of the dunes.”

The non-native and invasive ice plant was removed.  Though the battle continues – as ice plant pushes through the native Pacific Dune Grass shown below.

With the ice plant gone (for the most part) the natural dune plants have begun to reappear.  For the majority of the year I have to say the natural dune plants are not much to look at. Still I understand and embrace the concept – at least in small doses.  

At times during the spring, summer, and fall we now see glimpses of native plants, delicate Pink, 

and Yellow Sand Verbena, 

Beach Evening Primrose,

and the Dune Sagewort. 

Continue your walk down Ocean Avenue toward the ocean. After the restrooms, follow the boardwalk past the Ghost Tree (a dead Monterey Cypress planted early in the 1900’s)

to the Carmel Beach Overlook.  

Take in the unobstructed view of Pebble Beach to the north (shown below) and south to Point Lobos.

Walk, back tracking to the parking lot and cross the street following the brick path to the south side of Ocean Avenue.

Here you will find a unique rusted steel sculpture attached to the fence.

This is actually the second sculpture at this location, the first one designed by Mark Periman was damaged over the years and replaced in 2005 with this one by artist Michael Largent.
For fellow Geocachers, (I know you are out there) this is the site of one of our numerous caches in town, called The End of Ocean Avenue

Continue one block back toward town to Scenic Drive.  On the southeast corner is a large Spanish style home.  

In 1937 this two story home was built for the President of Zellerbach Paper Company, Harold Lionel Zellerbach. Harold’s grandfather, Anthony Zellerbach founded the paper company in 1868. 

 Continue south along Scenic Drive to Eighth Avenue.  

It is here you will start the walk along the Scenic Bluff Pathway which parallels Scenic Road on the bluffs above Carmel Beach.

Just in case you are interested, here is a little background on how the Scenic Bluff Pathway came to be.  

In March of 1983 a disastrous storm (part of the 1982-83 very strong El Nino weather system) thundered through Monterey County. Almost overnight the beach slopes along Carmel Beach became beach cliffs.  Sixteen large cypress trees fell and five beach stairways were damaged.  Four of which were reduced to rubble. 

In 1983, Mayor Charlotte Townsend formed the Beach Task Force to clean up the damage.  Phase I completed in 1985, consisted of beach clean-up, installation of long-term stabilization of the bluffs, and a new storm drain system.  The cost, $816,283.  

In January 1988, under Mayor Clint Eastwood, City Council approved the work for Phase II which would include a decomposed granite bluff-top walkway beginning at Eighth Avenue and ending at Santa Lucia, reconstruction of five stairways, addition of handicapped ramps, benches, landscaping and irrigation.  The cost, $825,000.  

Mayor Jean Grace, who had worked on the Beach Task Force before becoming mayor, cut the ribbon for the walkway in June 1988.  It had taken five years but Scenic Bluff Walkway was finally open. This pathway, marked by the blue and silver ocean sign, is a small section of the 1,200 mile California Coastal Trail from Oregon to Mexico. 

While  you enjoy the beauty of this first half mile, here are a few things to keep an eye out for.

If you are able to take your eyes off the breathtaking beauty of Carmel Beach, the houses that line Scenic are quite stunning themselves. We have many styles, no tract housing here, and some have had famous residents. 

The three story Spanish Eclectic style home, with the massive brick chimney named Anything Goes**, was the home of Richard Cox.
Richard was born in Carmel in 1930, his father Elmer was a WWI veteran, his mother the silent film actress Ruth Powell. Richard majored in Drama at Stanford and took the stage name Dick Sargent. For those of my generation we remember Richard as Darrin Stephens from the TV show Bewitched.  
Just after the Ninth Avenue pass-through to San Antonio Avenue is Las Ondas, a three story house with tile roof. Built in 1933, this was the home of former Carmel mayor, Clint Eastwood during the 1980’s and 90’s.  The name Las Ondas is visible on the gate on San Antonio Street which you will pass on Part 2 of the Scenic Loop Walking Tour.
In the next block (between Ninth and Tenth Avenues) there is a proliferation of mid-century modern homes.  This style has grown on me over the years.  Ad Tearman a 1,950 square foot Japanese-style two-story wood home was featured in the January 2011 Architectural Digest.  Here is a slide show of the interior.      
Between Twelfth and Thirteenth look for the white stucco cottage with tile roof named Periwinkle and Sea Urchin. They were originally built in 1915 as two fisherman’s huts. Between 1930 and 1981, five different additions and renovations were made to the dwellings.  My mother told me stories of visiting them in the 1930’s. I took the picture below in the 1990’s when the homes were still divided as two separate units. 
In 2000 Periwinkle and Sea Urchin were united as one by a hall. You can see this in the picture below. 
At Thirteenth Avenue Carmel stone stairs lead to Cooke’s Cove. 

Named after the MacGowan – Cooke sisters who lived in the large Tudor style residence two blocks east of the cove on Thirteenth.

Alice MacGowan and Grace MacGowan Cooke came to Carmel in 1908, prior to that they lived in Helicon Hall, in Englewood, New Jersey.  Helicon Hall was a social experiment in socialist living designed by Upton Sinclair which burnt down five months after its inception.

After the failed experiment, Sinclair Lewis came to Carmel, and the MacGowan sisters followed.  They purchased the large home, which was built in 1905, on the bluff above the cove.  At the time, it was the only house in the area. In Part 2 of this walking tour we will have a chance to see their house. But for now we continue south on the Scenic Bluff Walkway to Santa Lucia and Carmel’s newest public restroom.

As with everything in Carmel, things take time.  Our new restrooms began life in 1991 as a suggestion by the 2016 Centennial Committee. Twenty-three years after the suggestion, in December of 2014 they opened to the public.

Built to blend in with the architecture and geography of Scenic Road they are hardly visible from the beach level or Street level. Cost to the village $595,000.

This is where we leave off Part 1 of the Scenic Loop Walking Tour. Part 2 will loop around Carmel Point to Carmel River Beach and back to the Carmel Beach parking lot via San Antonio Avenue.


* Carmel-by-the-Sea does not have addresses we have coordinates.
** Many houses in Carmel-by-the-Sea are referred to by their name.

All photography by L. A. Momboisse unless listed below:
Black and white photo of Mayor Eastwood’s swearing in, from Carmel Magazine, Spring/Summer 2012. 

Carmel Beach, Carmel Wine Walk, Comstock Historical Hill District,, Walking Tour Carmel

Carmel-by-the-Sea In One Day – Do it All – Beach, Wine, Shopping, History, Doggies

In One Day

Actually it is impossible to see all there is to see in our 1 mile square village by the sea, but if that is all you have.  Here are a few ideas. 

Ocean Avenue 

Take this walking tour of our business district, grab a cup of coffee from one of our great coffee houses and enjoy the quaint village we call Carmel-by-the-Sea. 

Carmel Beach 

Add on this walking tour mid way to the Ocean Avenue tour and visit one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world, Carmel Beach.  Note on the NW Corner of Camino Real and Ocean a Craftsman style home built in 1913.  This was the home of our first mayor Alfred P. Fraser.  He served our village from it’s inception in 1916 to 1920.  

Breakfast (or Lunch) 

Hungry?  We have many restaurants serving breakfast and lunch. Some are happy to feed your doggie friends.  

Fairy Tale Architecture 

Hugh W. Comstock, the Builder of Dreams, arrived in town, fell in love, and built his first house in 1924.  The majority of his fairy tale house are located in the Historical Hill District.  A bit of a hike but worth it. 


Still time in your day.  We have more wine bars per square mile than – well probably any place on the planet.  Each one is a destination on its own.  

I hope that keeps you busy enough – Really there is so much to do.  I haven’t even touched the hiking, birding, and biking.  

Carmel, Carmel Beach,, Map, Ocean Avenue, Walk, Walking Tour Carmel

Carmel-by-the-Sea Walk Ocean Avenue to the Beach Tour and Map

One Hour Walking Tour from Tour Bus Stop
Down Ocean Avenue to the Beach and Back 
(with no stops or lollygagging 40 minutes) 
Welcome to Carmel-by-the-Sea! Tour buses roll down Ocean Avenue and (1) park at the corner of Junipero and Ocean, behind the (2) Carmel Plaza.  Numbers refer to the zeemap at the end of this post or open in a separate window here
Bus drivers give their fare one hour (sometimes more, sometimes less) to tour town on their own.  The purpose of these walking tours is to offer some direction for a short time well spent in our quaint town. 
From Carmel Plaza it is 10 blocks to the beach.  The last five blocks (from Monte Verde) down and back are moderately steep. There are benches along the way for resting, but remember it takes about 40 minutes to walk down and back at a medium pace without stopping.

Here is a sneak peak at the Carmel Beach
 at the foot of Ocean Avenue.
Of course I can not guarantee the
weather, but even in the fog
the white sands are beautiful. 
Begin by crossing Ocean Avenue and heading down the north side of Ocean toward the beach. For more information on the shops between Mission Street and Monte Verde see the Window Shopping Ocean Avenue Tour.
To your right is (3) Devendorf Park named after the Father of Carmel, Frank Devendof. There is a public restroom at the northeast corner of the park, and at the southwest corner the largest specimen of the Coastal Live Oak in the village. Cross Mission and stop by (4) Cafe Carmel for coffee or snack to carry with you on your walk.  
Three more blocks and you will pass the (5) Pine Inn Carmel’s oldest hotel, built in 1889 by city founders Frank Devendorf and Frank Powers.   
It is worth a peak inside, 
so make a quick detour and 
walk up the red carpeted stairway

 to the lobby and back out.
At the corner, cross Monte Verde pass the
(6) Lobos Lodge which runs the entire block.

After Lobos Lodge cross Casanova and you will be entering the residential area and last four block decent to the beach.  If you find it difficult walking down hill, remember you will be walking up the same blocks in about 20 minutes.  If you think it is too strenuous cross Ocean Avenue at any point and make your way back toward the bus stop on the south side of Ocean Avenue. Or if part of your group wants to go further, and you don’t, cross Ocean Avenue and make yourself comfortable on one of the benches and wait for your party to return to you.  
The landscape changes dramatically after crossing Casanova.  Much of your walk now will be covered by meandering tree limbs, which have the right-of-way so watch where you walk.

Behind the orange heart and 

and green moon gate 
on the northwest corner of Casanova and Ocean are two historical cottages built in 1925 for (7) Charles and Eleanor Halstead Yates by master-builder Michael J. Murphy.  It is estimated that Murphy built 80% of the homes in the village by the 1930’s.  Behind a bougainvillea and ivy covered fence,

  the two cottages share a front yard.  

 Murphy built them in a “T” style and 
they remain largely original.  

From the Yates Cottages to the end of the block watch out for  the low growing limbs of the Coastal Live Oak

Cross Camino Real.  At the northwest corner behind a fence covered with shrubbery sits another historical home, the (8) Alfred P. Fraser House a wood framed Craftsman style house built in 1913.   

The house is built on three lots and does not become visible until midway down the block behind the grape stake fence.

Alfred P. Fraser was Carmel’s first mayor, elected at the town’s inception in 1916; he served until 1920 during the formative period of the Carmel city government.  Fraser also served as Carmel’s police court judge and superintendent of streets. 

Interspersed amongst the smooth light color trunks of the Coastal Live Oak are the dark deeply-grooved trucks of the Monterey Pine. This tree grows tall and straight with few lower branches.

Rare in the wild, the Monterey Pine occurs naturally in three areas along the California coast, one is here on the Monterey  Peninsula. You will see quite a few on this walk. Leaves (needles) are in threes.

At the northwest corner of San Antonio and Ocean is that largest tree in the village, a (9) Blue Gum Eucalyptus.

At the gateway to Carmel Beach, the Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club began a dunes restoration project in 2009 to return the dunes to their natural state.

The goal of the restoration project, conducted under the supervision of a dunes restoration biologist, is to eliminate the invasive non-native plants such as those in the Ice Plant Family,

 and recreate a self-sustaining natural dunes ecosystem with thriving populations of native species, such as the Pink Sand Verbena.

This will take some time and there will be a transition period.  Depending on the time of year you happen upon our dune restoration area you might see Dune Sagewort

 in various degrees of growth.  Small silvery gray mounds send out a spike of yellow flowers that dry out and die off.

Among the Sagewort, Narrow-leaved Ice Plant (non-native and very invasive) poke through the sand.

If left the Ice Plant will take over

and choke out the other native
 plants such as the Beach Evening Primrose 

or the Yellow Sand Verbena. 

  Continue down the sidewalk  past the dunes restoration project and stand of  Monterey Cypress,

 past the public restroom, 

the “Ghost Trees” Monterey Cypress 
 that have died off, 

to the wooden board walk
 and the (10) Carmel Beach Overlook
You have arrived at the
beautiful white sand Carmel Beach. 
 To the left in the distance is Point Lobos, and 
to the right, Pebble Beach. 
Time to make the hike back to the bus stop.  At the parking lot follow the brick pathway across to the south side of Ocean Avenue. On the corner is a (11) rusty steel sculpture with no official name, but it was created in 2005 by local artist Michael Largent.  

Originally there was a similar sculpture here done by Mark Perlman, but over the years it became damaged and was replaced by the current piece. I have heard that there is a Geocache hidden somewhere on this sculpture.

The next five blocks back to the bus stop will be a bit steep, but there are still things to see.   At the end of the first block is Scenic Avenue. Worth a right turn, if you have an extra hour to walk along the beach via Scenic, if not stay on target and keep hiking up Ocean.

As you make your way back up Ocean Avenue there are two homes which always catch my eye.  They are not historical but do show off the unusual character that is Carmel-by-the-Sea.  No two homes will be alike here.

On the south east corner of Ocean
 and Scenic the house
behind the wrought iron gate, 

has a Spanish Eclectic style. 

One block further and you will pass “Ocean’s End” 
with the garden that never fails to amaze

 no matter what the season. 
Cross Carmelo Street and pass an old wooden door with chipped paint surrounded by ivy. There is nothing behind this door right now, the house was taken down to the ground.  But the door, stayed.

Cross Camino Real and you are back in the commercial district.  On the corner find (12) the historical Lamp Lighter Inn  a charming pet friendly Carmel Boutique Inn. 
The first structure of the Lamp Lighter Inn was built in 1924 on the north east corner of Camino Real, today this cottage is known as the Hansel and Gretel Cottage.  
Two more cottages were added by
 owner builder Maude Arndt in 1926. 

She selected a medieval English cottage style because of her intense interest in the character of Peter Pan, for whom the Inn was originally named.  
Cross Casanova to (13) Normandy Inn nestled in a beautiful garden setting. 
This historical hotel began life in the early 1920’s when architect Robert A. Stanton designed his office in French Norman style.
  In 1936 he designed the main part of the hotel to emulate a French country manor house and grounds. 
Stanton continued to add to the hotel over the years, adding the current office and entrance to the Normandy Inn in 1958.
From  here it is five blocks back to the tour bus stop at Carmel Plaza. For more information on the shops between Monte Verde and Mission Street see the Window Shopping Ocean Avenue Tour
Thank you for visiting! 



Photos by L. A. Momboisse –

Carmel Beach, Great Sand Castle Contest,

Beatniks & Bohemians – The Great Sand Castle Contest


Beatniks and Bohemians
Great Sand Castle Contest
Carmel Beach

Last weekend the AIA of Monterey Bay and the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea co-sponsored the 52nd annual Great Sand Castle Contest on Carmel Beach. 

For a precious few hours goatees, berets, bongos, and bass were the rage as participants of all ages raced against the clock and the tide to create their best interpretation of this year’s theme, Bohemian’s and Beatnik’s. 

Our canine friends were most unusually confined to their leash for the duration of the contest.  Well most of them.