Sunday, August 20, 2006

Days of Wine and Brownies

After visiting with my folks, I spent four nights, five days in Carmel. My original plan was to go to Santa Cruz (which always seems to be a healing place for me), but my inner voice told me it wasn't the right place to stay this time. And, after doing a search for hotel rooms and coming up blank, the city of Carmel came to mind.

I hadn't been to Carmel in years. But, I remember the beach as being quite pleasing and an easy walk from many of the downtown hotels. So, I decided that Carmel was the place to go.

My first choice was to stay at the Cypress Inn, Doris Day's tony hotel. However, the cheaper rooms were unavailable and the last two rooms went for $245 and $295 a night...way too steep for me. So, I decided that I'd just have afternoon tea there and find someplace else.

The someplace else was Best Western Carmel Bay View Inn. I got a special rate, and best of all, it was located about five blocks away from the beach. Plus, there was free parking, which is not so easy to find in Carmel. I was sold.

Sunday afternoon, I headed down to Carmel. I ran into a bit of traffic due to a car accident, but still managed to make pretty good time. I checked in, parked, and made my way to my room. It was PERFECT. I had no one above me (always a plus), and the room had a gas fireplace for the cool Carmel nights. After settling in, I looked for a place to eat.

Strangely, after walking around downtown Carmel for almost an hour, I found a place almost directly across from the hotel room. The reason I hadn't seen it earlier was because the tree-lined center street divider hid the sign, so when I left the hotel, I didn't see it. And since I walked down to the crosswalk, I totally missed it.

The place was great. I was able to snag a table outside (something hunky never likes to do), have a glass of wine and just enjoy the tree-filled courtyard. When I got back to the room, Lifetime kept me company until I fell asleep.

The next day, I got up early and explored the town. I walked all over, even checking out the residential neighborhoods to look at the cute beach town houses. I didn't have lunch, because I had reservations for afternoon tea at the Cypress Inn.

Tea at the Cypress Inn was both delightful and disappointing. Delightful, because I was able to sit in the beautiful courtyard during a pleasantly sunny afternoon. Disappointing, because there was no tea menu to choose from; therefore, there was no control over my menu choices. Two of the tea sandwiches were tomato and cream cheese; I can't have tomato, and it took me forever to get the waitress' attention so I could get two replacement egg salad sandwiches. I was also looking forward to splurging on tea dessert, however that was three hard cookies (the kind that comes in tins), so I left them and opted to get dessert somewhere else later. The scone, however, was probably the most delicious scone I've ever had. And the tea (Vanilla Bean) was wonderful as well.

After tea, I walked around town looking for a bakery for my much-anticipated dessert. Since Atkins, I have completely lost my sweet tooth, yet I was hoping to find a piece of cheesecake or something similar to enjoy.

I passed a bakery that had beautiful frosted brownies in the window. The brownies were topped with mocha-chips. They called out to me. So, I went inside the bakery, and snagged the very last brownie and brought it "home."

Once back at the room, I poured myself a glass of wine to have with the brownie. I wasn't quite sure if I'd enjoy it...while it was beautiful and big, my lack of a sweet tooth worried me.

I needn't have worried; the brownie was delicious.

After that, I ended up buying one of those brownies every day I was in town. Atkins shmatkins...I was on vacation and brownies (with the requisite glass of red wine) was going to be my splurge. Plus, I reasoned with myself, as much walking as I did every day, I am sure I walked those babies off my hips.

I visited the beach every day, wearing a bathing suit I had initially bought for my first trip with Acme Consulting Company. Chris had told me to make sure to bring a suit with me as we would have some time to hang out at the pool. So, I bought a flattering one-piece suit, but ended up never getting brave enough to wear it around my co-workers. (Flattering as it is, it still doesn't hide my cellulite, which loves to come out and play at the most inopportune times.)

Being in Carmel was so restorative that I found I couldn't leave on the day I was supposed to. So, I called Todd and asked if he minded if I stayed an extra day. He said while he missed me, he saw no problem with me staying longer. The hotel room was not booked, so I was able to retain it for an extra night at the same discounted rate.

On the way down and back, I listened to the audiobook Miss Julia's School of Beauty, which I also found relaxing. Jumping around radio stations, constantly barraged by commercials is not at all relaxing. But an enjoyable, fluffy audiobook just added to my relaxation.

And now I'm back...and still dreaming about Acme. Will the torture ever end?

1 comment:

Jedi said...

Ah Santa Cruz. I remember that. Fantastic beach and didn't it have the funfair on it, with the cable car ride going along it?