Plans Change

I can’t believe I’ve been back from California for over a week. Note to self– schedule in a few recovery days at home following a vacation.  After a wonderful visit with our grandsons in Santa Monica, we got on a plane to SanFrancisco, planning to head to Napa for a few days of wine tasting. We had no idea that fires had engulfed the valley the night before. On the way to pick up our rental car, the shuttle driver mentioned the smoke drifting down from Napa. WHAT! That’s where we’re going! Gary and I sat in the parking lot, listening to the radio and scrolling on our phones for news. This was a serious fire. We were not going to Napa. We couldn’t even cancel our reservations. No cell service there. We later found out, our Inn Keeper had evacuated to a shelter. Wow. 

What to do? Just go home? Heck no! Never let it be said that we can’t scramble up a new plan on a moments notice. But… does it have to involve golf?   Sigh. 

We managed to get a room for the night at Quail Hollow Golf Resort outside of Carmel, and there just happens to be the lovely Folktale Vineyard right next door. 

We could only spend one night at Quail Hollow. It’s amazing how many folks fled the fires or were unable to get into Napa and have now traveled down south. I’ve never been to Carmel and I’m very happy to be right in the village where we can explore this quirky town on foot. Lots of the architecture looks built for gnomes!

It’s an easy stroll down to the ocean.

Can you imagine living with this view from your windows? We walked all around the ocean drive and marveled at the homes, built right up to the edge. They were not huge mansions with security gates.  The homes were all different and historical and had gorgeous, colorful gardens. I took about a thousand photos. 

We visited the church where Father Juniperro Serra administered to the missions he set up all along the coast of California.

Oh my gosh, I’d move to California for the farmers markets alone. And wine tasting was easily accomplished in tasting rooms all over Carmel. We bought a Wine Passport and could stroll to a tasting before dinner.

There is no shortage of wonderful restaurants in Carmel either. My favorite was Casanova. The food was delicious and history dates way back to the 1920’s when Charlie Chaplin ate here.

Of course The Golfer and I took the Seventeen Mile Drive along Pebble Beach. We stopped to buy a golf hat at Spyglass Golf Course… and just casually inquire if there were available tee times.  I think I was played…. a round of golf is $499, not including cart, caddie and tips. Heart palpitations! Nothing available for a week on any of the courses. Hey…. a hat is good!

I totally admit, I loved sitting outside at The Bench Restaurant in view of the 18th hole at Pebble Beach. Gary watched the golfers, I watched a whale breaching, flipping his tale and cavorting just beyond.  

Every night we listened to the news of the Napa fires escalating and saw on television the ravaged homes and whole neighborhoods. We heard the stories of lives lost, fighting and fleeing the fires, and heroism. My heart is breaking in sorrow for the people affected. Napa Valley and the surrounding area is a very special place and the community is strong. I hope I can some day travel back there and raise a glass of wine in toast to resilience and indomitable spirit and see the amazing recovery that I know will happen.  

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  1. I was wondering how you mentioned that leg of your journey.

  2. Carmel sounds idyllic. May have to check it out.

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