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Weekender: Eat, Sleep, and Play in Carmel

Jenna Scatena | October 26, 2012 | Story Travel Weekend Escapes California Destinations


12 p.m.: Lunch at LokaL
Take full advantage Carmel Valley’s newest restaurant in their alfresco beer garden and vibrant dishes (think pig check salad).

3 p.m.: Relax in Carmel Valley
Try a different type of spa experience at Refuge, the US’s first thermal therapy spa. The six chilly mineral pools, fire pits, and large Finnish sauna serve as your experimental spa playground: Dipping in the ice-cold pools stimulates your immune system, metabolism, and circulatory system while the warming up by the fire pits or in the sauna evokes a deep level of relaxation and releases endorphins. Plus, it’s only $39 for day pass.

5 p.m.: Check in to Carmel Valley Ranch
After opening a couple of years ago, Carmel Valley Ranch is now the centerpiece of Carmel Valley. The suites have cathedral ceilings, travertine fireplaces, and private decks primed for a lazy Saturday afternoon of gazing at the view. And their daily itinerary offers a range of summer camp-inspired activities.

10 p.m.: Cook up s’mores
End your evening making friends, swapping stories, and roasting marshmallows at one of their fire pits with a complimentary s’more station.


10 a.m.: Play with bees
Put on a hooded beekeeper suit and head to the hotel’s apiary with their resident beekeeper for a hands-on lesson in the life of bees—and taste honey straight from the hive. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the Help the Honeybees charity.

12 p.m. Hike in the hills
Explore the wilderness of the Santa Lucia Highlands via one of the trailheads at Carmel Valley Ranch. Afterward, take a dip in the hotel’s serene adult-only pool.

3 p.m.: Picnic on the beach
Stop by Salumeria Luca, beloved Cantinetta Luca’s new Italian deli, and order a salumi picnic platter to-go, which comes with eight varieties of salumi, three cheeses, mixed olives, and crostinis (hint: take it down the road to Carmel Beach). Watch the surf, then stroll down the Scenic Road Trail for views that extend all the way to Point Lobos.

Can’t make it this weekend? Here are some upcoming events to look forward to:

Carmel Art & Film Festival, October 10-14
In true Carmel style (a la poster child Clint Eastwood) the quaint town will open its doors with galleries infused with live music, a Saturday night movie on Carmel Beach, cocktail parties, beach bonfires, and a bounty of Monterey County's world-class wines. Score your tickets here.

Carmel Valley Ranch’s new Garden Walk Chef Series, October 20
Stroll through their two-acre organic garden with the head gardener and the executive chef Tim Wood. Then head to their adventure kitchen for a hands-on cooking class taught by Wood himself and a communal meal.

Fungi foraging, November - January (Wednesdays and Saturdays)
Trek through the Monterey County redwoods with seasoned mushroom foragers, picking chanterelles, porcinis, and candy caps along the way. Book through Bernardus Lodge and stay for the weekend. Make a reservation at their newly remodeled Marinus restuarant for a meal you won't soon forget.

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