Last weekend we had another camping trip booked with our friends, this time in Carmel which is up the California Coast near San Francisco. It also happened to be my birthday on Saturday so it was a nice place to spend it!
It’s about a 5 hour drive to Carmel from where we live, so a little bit further than our usual weekend trips but we’re so used to driving out here now it doesn’t feel as long. In the UK I don’t think we have ever driven 5 hours just for the weekend, but we keep saying this will definitely change when we move home.
We set off really early on Friday and arrived at the campsite at around lunchtime. The campsite was lovely. It was situated on the hillside surrounded by a lot of trees. The shade would have been more appreciated had the weather been better. We left 35C degrees at home but it was actually quite chilly up north. I’m definitely acclimatised to the desert heat, I think it was bout 17C and I got out my winter coat!
After setting up camp we decided to spend the afternoon chilling out with a G&T – much deserved after the long drive. We got a fire going (I said it was chilly) and cooked some dinner on the BBQ, before getting a pretty early night.
I’m an early riser anyway, once I’m awake I can’t go back to sleep, but when camping I seem to wake up even earlier. That may have something to do with the dog climbing all over us on a blow up mattress… I was up at about 6am and luckily everyone else wasn’t far behind. My friend had made me a birthday cake and brought prosecco and orange juice so we could enjoy mimosas with breakfast which was a lovely surprise. I was also spoilt with some very lovely gifts!
After a chilled out morning we headed to Carmel by the Sea. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great, it was cloudy and a bit chilly, but we took the pooches on to the beach for a run to tire them out. The beach at Carmel is beautiful, the sand is so white and soft, it was shame the weather wasn’t good enough for us to sit and enjoy it. Carmel is known for being really dog friendly, we were able to let Charlie run off the lead on the beach, and it wasn’t difficult finding a restaurant for lunch that would allow the pups in.
We had a little wander around the town – the shops there are great. There is a mixture of quirky independent shops, and some higher end chain stores like Anthropologie and J. Crew. We found a lovely restaurant for a fancy lunch, which actually let the dogs sit with us inside instead of out on the patio, which is a first for us in the US. It was in a small boutique hotel that is actually owned by Doris Day!
After a lovely afternoon we headed back to the campsite and played a few games of cornhole, which involves throwing beanbags onto opposite wooded boards, with the aim to get the bag in the hole. It’s quite addictive and can get very competitive. We had another evening by the campfire with prosecco, antipasti and a cheeseboard – we’re very fancy campers!! It was nice to take the weekend slowly and relaxed, it was just what we all needed.
The next morning we packed up the tents and headed to Carmel Valley Village. After a little stop at a farmers market to pick up some of the biggest blackberries I have ever seen, we headed to the village to find a nice spot for lunch. We came across a lovely mediterranean style restaurant where we all opted for wood fired pizzas. A good choice – they were delicious. We had some really lovely food this weekend, not quite what you would expect from a weekend camping.
We had a little wander around the village and into some local art galleries, before getting back on the road for the long drive home. It was such a nice weekend – we had great food and great company! We have another camping trip booked in a few weeks time, so not long until we get the tent out again. And we have some of Kristian’s friends coming out the California this weekend, so we have booked a house for the week down at Huntington Beach, I can’t wait!