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, Comstock Historical Hill District, Fairy Tale Houses,, One Hour Tour, Tour Bus

Walk Carmel-by-the-Sea – Fairy Tale Homes Tour and Map

Carmel by the Sea Adventures of a Home Town Tourist

One Hour Walking Tour From The Tour Bus Stop
Architecture – Fairy Tale Houses
Comstock Historical Hill District
Welcome to Carmel-by-the-Sea! Tour buses roll down Ocean Avenue and park at the corner of Junipero and Ocean, behind the (1) Carmel Plaza.  Numbers on this tour refer to the zeemap at the end of this post or click here. You may also print off a PDF map of this tour here.
Tour bus drivers give their fare one hour (sometimes less) to tour town on their own.  I have put together a few ideas featuring different interests. This one architecture and the Fairy Tale Houses of the Comstock Historical Hill District.

If coffee or snack are necessary prerequisites for a walk, take a left at the corner of Junipero and Ocean. 
Look for the sculpture,
the alley between Bottega Veneta and Kate Spade

leads to the inner quadrangle of the second level.  To the left is an ATM machine.  At the opposite end of the plaza next to Anthropologie is the elevator to all levels.  

Take the stairs to the first level of the Plaza

 to  (2) Carmel Coffee and Cocoa Bar
lower level Carmel Plaza

 on the corner to the right as you exit the stairs.    
Here you will find a wide selection of specialty 

coffees and teas, along with pastries,
 salads and sandwiches.
You will not go hungry
or thirsty in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

To reach the Comstock Historical Hill District, cross Ocean Avenue at Junipero and stroll (no dawdling, we have a time limit) through Devendorf Park. You will know that you are in the right place when you see the NO DOG signs.  One of the few places in Carmel where doggies are not allowed.  
The land for Devendorf Park was given to the city of Carmel by the Father of Carmel-by-the-Sea, J. Frank Devendorf. 
 It was Mr. Devendorf along with developer Frank Powers who founded the town at the turn of the 20th century.  Besides the bust of Devendorf look for the wooden statue of Blessed Junipero Serra 
and the Veterans Memorials for
 World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.  

When you exit the park by the statue of Blessed Junipero Serra you will face Vesuvio one of our secret places  (shh…don’t tell anyone) –
where most drinks and bar food are half off
for Happy Hour Friday and Saturday from 4 to 6PM.
But I digress, you have no time for that in one hour (unless your bus arrived at 4pm on a Friday or Saturday).  Not likely, so on with the tour. Before we go any further, does anyone in your party have to use the restroom? If so now is the perfect time.  You will find a public restroom (made possible by former Mayor Clint Eastwood) at the SW Corner of Junipero and 6th.   
Cross  Junipero and 6th to (3)
Brunos Market and Deli
a perfect place to get a sandwich, made to order.  Or if you are in need of any toiletries or over the counter medication they have a good variety. 
In need of stamps for your postcards,
 you will find that at
Surf n Sand next door. 
Do not be tempted by Bruno’s parking lot barbecue.  But do say hi to Johnny (some call him Smokey) when you walk by.  You will find him over the barbecue everyday, rain or shine until around 1pm.

Below in the highlighted area
 is the map for the tour
of the Comstock Historical Hill District.
Turn left at Torres and climb the hill to (4) Hansel and Gretel. Hansel, the original Doll House was built in 1924 by Hugh Comstock for his wife Mayotta’s Otsy-Totsy dolls.

 These are the views you will see from Torres Street
 Hansel above, Gretel below.

I have written extensively on each of the Comstock houses in the Historical Hill District.  Clicking on their names will lead you to more pictures and information, or here for a printable map.

On the northeast corner of 6th and Torres is (5) Hugh W. Comstock Residence, formerly known as “Obers,” the residence that Hugh Comstock built for himself and his wife Mayotta in 1925.

Next door on the northwest corner of 6th and Santa Fe is (6) The Studio, built by Comstock in 1927 originally as his office. 
Turn left at Santa Fe.  The fourth house from the corner on the west side of the street is (7) Our House
Mr. Comstock built this for his client, Elizabeth Armstrong in 1928.  This house is a bit difficult to see from Santa Fe, but you will know you have the correct house when you spot the narrow arched three-light casement window with a wood shutter of the same shape with heart shape cut out. 
Continue up to the end of the block to find (8) A Storybook Cottage. The original 384 square foot cottage was built in 1926 by Mr. Comstock’s father-in-law, Thomas M. Browne.  
Turn around and walk back to 6th Avenue and turn left up the hill.  The next five cottages were built by Hugh Comstock for his client real estate developer, W. O. Swain. 

The first cottage is (9) Honeymoon, reminiscent of a small Anne Hathaway Cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon. 
Next door on the southwest corner of 6th and Santa Rita is (10) Birthday House, here Mr. Comstock used the New England “saltbox style” when designing this cottage for Mr. Swain.  Below is the elevation seen from 6th. 
Turn right at the corner of 6th and Santa Rita to see this elevation of Birthday House. 
Next door heading in the direction of Ocean Avenue is (11) Fables.  Mr. Swain asked that this cottage be built in a French country farmhouse style with a polygonal hipped roof.  Sure, Mr. Comstock said and produced this masterpiece. 
Next door find (12) Doll’s House, also built for Mr. Swain. 
Turn right at Ocean and hug the “sidewalk,” the first house you will pass is (13) Ocean House, an English Cotswold style, and the smallest of the cottages built for Mr. Swain.  
Continue down Ocean, cross Santa Fe to the northeast corner of Ocean and Torres.  This is the last of the eleven homes built by Comstock in this district, (14) The Woods,  built for Mary Young Hunter in 1927.  
From here you should be able to see your bus waiting for you two blocks away at the Carmel Plaza. At least I hope they are still waiting.  Continue down Ocean to Devendorf Park and cross over to Carmel Plaza. If someone in your party needs to use the restroom before getting back on the bus, there is a public restroom on the third level of Carmel Plaza, just to the left when you exit the elevator. 
Thank you for visiting!

L.A. Momboisse

Comstock, Comstock Historical Hill District, Hansel, Historical Hill District,, Hugh Comstock, Hugh W. Comstock

Fairy Tale Cottages of Hugh Comstock – Hansel and Gretel

Whimsical Experiment

“Perhaps the whole thing had been something of a whimsical experiment, but the popular reaction was one of tremendous enthusiasm.  Many came to marvel and be charmed by the Doll House.  In a community that at the time was predominately made up of rough summer cabins, this imaginative and unusual effort on part of the Comstock’s set off a spark of civic pride.  Carmelites liked the way the Doll House fit into the native surroundings.  It sprouted out of its curved chalk rock foundations amongst the pines, as much as a part of the woods as the mushrooms and toadstools.”  (Carmel In Story and Picture, Carmel Architecture, by William Albee, 1958)

Historic Name: The Doll House
Common Name: Hansel
Architectural Style: Tudor (Storybook substyle)

 Torres Street 4 NE of 6th
Block 60 Lot 10 and 12
In August 1924, just four months after their wedding, the Comstock’s purchased a building permit to build Mayotta’s Doll House on Block 60 between 5th and 6th on the northside of Torres.  They spent $100 in materials and built “The Doll House,” later renamed Hansel, almost entirely themselves.  

With no real building or design experience between them, they managed to fashion a perfect storybook setting for Mayotta’s dolls.  They purposely designed their dwelling with no plumb-lines, and hand whittled trim boards with pocket knives to frame the doors and windows.  

A mixture of pine needles and plaster were applied by Hugh and Mayotta using a trowel, as an artist would a brush, to burlap they had nailed over the redwood walls. The result was an uneven heavily textured surface. 

They had a stonemason build the Carmel stone chimney so it would appear “stacked” and random.

In this 244 square foot cottage, Mayotta displayed her dolls as if they were living in their own fairytale style house in the woods.
Historic Name: The Doll House
Common Name: Gretel

Architectural Style: Tudor (Storybook substyle)
 Torres Street 4 NE of 6th
Block 60 Lot 10 and 12
The third house designed by Comstock was Gretel which is set back from Torres Street and barely visible through the heavy growth of the garden.  

Designed as a one story building in the same style as Hansel, Gretel was built as Mayotta’s office in 1925 with $400 worth of building materials. 
There are two gates in the fence in front of this lot.  Gretel is down the gravel path behind the gate on the right.
Hugh Comstock added a bedroom to Mayotta’s office in 1928, which extended out of the original structure in an ell to the north east.  
 New Owners
Besides Hugh and Mayotta, Hansel and Gretel have had a few different owners.  Repairs have been made when necessary and a few additions have been added. 
Mrs. Gardner owned the property in 1946.  The name and fairy tale charm of the two cottages  was influential in her decision to open a candy shop on Ocean Avenue named after her property, Hansel and Gretals Candies and Gifts.
Though Mrs. Gardner continued to own the cottages, she sold her candy shop in 1947 to Hyla Tillman who moved the shop to 6th Avenue and Lincoln.  Mrs. Tillman sold the shop to Peter and Mary Robotti in 1965.  The Robotti’s owned the Hansel and Gretel Candies and Gifts until it closed and was replaced with an art gallery in 1998.

In 1949 Hansel and Gretel were owned by Mrs. G. K. Wood and Mr. H. B. Kennicott.  They hired Mr. Comstock to make a very small addition to the bathroom of Hansel and add a second bedroom to Gretel.
Joan Harding owned the property from 1962-1992 then Mr. and Mrs. Voris fell in love with the property and purchased Hansel and Gretel from Joan.   
When the Vorises bought the property the landscape was considered “woodland natural.”  Bobbie Voris wrote, “We rented Gretel to a recently-divorced  New Zealander whose “therapy” was gardening.”  It is this woman who is responsible for the attractive abundance of flowers and shrubbery that grows on the property today.  
The Vorises  added a much needed cement foundation to Hansel and in 1999 replaced the original roof because daylight was visible through the aging shingles.
The rest of the renovations Mr. and Mrs. Voris did themselves, emulating Hugh and Mayotta.  To save space the bathtub in Hansel was replaced with a shower and a tiny space in the closet was used to increase the bedroom to a “grand” 8 by 9 foot space just large enough for a trundle bed. 
To make room for guests the unfinished crawl space and attic was opened up to create a loft with a ladder for access.  Now Hansel house sleeps four people. 
The Vorises have also added numerous bird houses to the property adding to the charm of the quaint garden setting. 
 From the front patio off of Hansel which features
a potbelly stove and wood furniture
Point Lobos can be seen in the distance. 
I have embeded a pdf map of the Historical Hill District which includes “addresses” and photographs of all 11 Comstock cottages not just the ones discussed in this blog.  You may print this off and use as your own personal walking tour here  PDF Map .  It is much more detailed than the illustration below. 
Back to Fairy Tale Cottages of Hugh Comstock
Photo Credits
Pictures of Hansel and Gretel by L. A. Momboisse taken during the Carmel House and Garden Tour 2012
Plot Plan Additions by H. W. Comstock May 5, 1949 – Carmel City Hall Records
Hansel and Gretel Candies and Gift Shop Sign – Carmel History Library