Carmel Heritage Society
First Murphy House was built in 1902 by Michael J. Murphy. Today First Murphy House is home to the Carmel Heritage Society.
The $30 ticket included a Carmel Heritage Society commemorative wine glass which I frequently used throughout the afternoon, as local wineries and restaurants provided lite bites and wine tasting at each of the inns on the tour.
The Inns of Distinction Tour is one of my favorite Carmel events. Not only do I get to see inside the rooms of these charming inns during one of the more festive times of the year, I also enjoy the treats and tastings offered at each venue. And I always come home with gift cards to restaurants and wine bars that far exceed the purchase price of my ticket!!
The word on this has apparently gotten out, because this year Carmel Heritage Society had their largest number of tickets sold to date for this event!
Here are the video highlights of the tour.
Now come along while I review the history of the inns and some of the highlights of this year’s tour.
The La Playa Carmel
Jorgensen became the first person to receive a scholarship to the California School of Fine Arts. After graduation he became an instructor, and it would be in one of his sketch classes that he would met his future wife, Angela Ghirardelli (as in chocolate).
Christian and Angela married in 1883. They had two children and spent many years traveling and painting. Christian was fascinated by the California Missions and captured all 21 of them on canvas.
The Jorgenson’s came to Carmel-by-the-Sea in 1905 and built their home/studio on the southwest corner of Camino Real and Eighth Avenue which was completed in 1907.
The photo above shows the home/studio c. 1905 – 1907 during construction.
By 1916 the Jorgenson’s sold their property to Signor who desired to make her boarding house into a fashionable hotel. But she needed help. So she sent for her two nephews, Harrison and Fredrick Godwin.
The Godwin brothers arrived, quickly learned the hotel business, added twenty rooms to the property and opened the La Playa Hotel in 1920.
Three years later Agnes Signor died, and the Godwin brothers became the new owners. In December of 1924 a devastating fire destroyed most of the La Playa Hotel.
Undeterred, the Godwin brothers spent $34,500 to restore the La Playa Hotel, adding an additional thirty guest rooms. They reopened in 1925 with rooms rates starting at $2.50.
In 1930 Fred Godwin bought out his brother Harrison’s share in the La Playa Hotel and would become the sole owner until 1963. Fred Godwin would also become mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea from 1946 to 1950.
Since 1963 the ownership of the La Playa Hotel has changed hands a few times. The last in 2011 when it was purchased by Classic Hotels and Resorts, renovated at the cost of $3.5 million, and reopened in August 2012 as the La Playa Carmel.
Pass through the lobby and
sitting room with cozy fire burning,
pair with a tasting of the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc from Windy Oaks Winery or their 2012 Estate Pinot. Windy Oaks just opened a tasting room in the Su Vecino Courtyard off Lincoln between Fifth and Sixth. If anyone is counting, this would be the 19th wine bar in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
A short pause to enjoy the view of the garden below and it is time to get my peak inside an Ocean View King.
Spacious, simple and uncluttered with a delightful garden view and peak of the ocean through the plantation shutters.
A short walk three blocks north to Lincoln Street to our next stop, the Cypress Inn.
Black and white photo of Christian Jorgensen – California State Parks Museum Collection.
Jorgensen Watercolor Carmel Mission – Paintings in permanent collection at Sonoma Mission. Photograph from A Virtual Tour of the California Missions, Jorgensen Watercolors Collection.
Black and white Photo of Jorgenson home/studio c. 1905 – courtesy of Harrison Memorial Local Library History Department.
All other photographs by L. A. Momboisse – www.carmelbytheseaca.blogspot.com
McGlynn, Betty Hoag. Straightening Out La Playa’s History. The Sun, November 25, 1992, p.2.