Mike and I returned to a place we visited more than 20 years ago: Carmel, CA. A lot has changed in 20+ years: The last time we were in Carmel Mike had all of his hair, mine was bright red and we stayed at a bed & breakfast called The Green Lantern; this trip, Mike was missing most of his hair, I am mostly brunette and we stayed at the Hyatt Highlands Inn. Like I said, things changed.
The coast is beautiful; we pulled over as it struck our fancy and walked onto a beach! Or hiked a trail (no, not really; I hate to hike). The terrain is gorgeous. The people are friendly. The only “negative” is that the “marine layer” was so dense in and around The Highlands Inn that it made seeing the Pacific Ocean tough. It rolled in, and even though we knew the Pacific was just outside our windows, we couldn’t see it. At all. Sometimes for full days at a time. I kept waiting to hear a fog horn. The weather on the Monterey Peninsula is funny (as in weird, not haha); we drove to the next town — Monterey — and we shed our coats and shivers and ended up basking in bright sunshine. And listening to harbor seals yukking it up!
The Highland Inn is carved into a cliff. Really. The road up to the inn is narrow, twisty and torturous; I was gonna jump outta my skin if I ever encountered a car coming in the opposite direction on the road. I’m afraid of heights, you see. Although a recent experience here had me facing that fear head on! Thankfully, “all” we encountered was a broken down service truck blocking the exit to the main highway on our last day there; we had to pull (blindly) into the entrance lane to exit the resort. I thought we were going to bite the big one that morning in a head-on collision.
Once you arrive at the main building at The Highlands you see a grand set of wooden steps that go up. And up. And up. As you look around? You see more wooden steps UP! to the condo clusters. And wooden boardwalks that connect more staircases. Yes, a mountain goat would definitely be at home here!
Did I mention that the food and wine pairings are fabulous here? We ate in the Pacific’s Edge , which is located inside The Highlands; it’s one of the Top 100 U.S. restaurants according to Zagat’s. We enjoyed a (mildly socked in) view of the Pacific Ocean at a window-side table for two. And we met in-house wine specialist Germaine Caldwell; she suggested terrific wines by the glass to accompany our appetizer — roasted beet carpaccio — soup and dinners. Mike and I aren’t wine experts by any stretch; Germaine, relaxed and informative, explained possible pairings to us that were spot on to our taste buds. We enjoyed our wines and our meals.
Mike had the short rib dinner:
Have you been to the Monterey Peninsula? Where did you stay?