Every August for 10 days, the car obsessed travel to Monterey for “The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering.” With the Santa Lucia mountain range as the backdrop and vintage sports cars reason to celebrate, the event is considered the crown jewel of auto shows. What’s more, it’s an excuse to celebrate Cali cool. After getting your fill in Monterey for this year’s event (starting Aug. 24th), here’s your cheat sheet to the utlimate long weekend in Carmel.
3 p.m. Check into the La Playa Carmel. A mansion constructed in 1905 and owned by the Ghiradelli family for more than a century, this grande dame of Carmel is steps from Carmel Beach. Kickstart your weekend with a stroll through its meticulously landscaped gardens.
5:30 p.m. Sunset drinks at Starlight Rooftop Lounge at Vesuvio. Arguably the best perch in Carmel to watch the sun dip into the Pacific, the Starlight is town’s only rooftop lounge. Order a handcrafted sundowner from Doc Pèpe’s Lab Barrel-Aged Cocktail menu.
8 p.m. Tonight it’s dinner at Cultura Comida y Bebida, a Carmel-by-the-Sea hot spot. Start with the halibut ceviche followed by the wild mushroom enchiladas served with green mole and flaxseed tortillas.
9 a.m. Kickstart your day with a gentle flow class at the Yoga Center of Carmel. Established in 1989, this wellness hub was around long before “yogi” became a household term.
11 a.m. No sojourn to the coast of Cali is complete without snaking along Highway 1. After viewing cars at Quail, take a convertible to Point Lobos, a natural reserve with plenty of hiking trails. The Whalers Cabin Museum celebrates the area’s unique maritime history, while divers can SCUBA at the popular Bluefish Cove.
Noon. After working up an appetite hiking or swimming at Point Lobos, it’s off to Valley Hills Deli for barbeque and brew. This charming roadside eatery smokes meat daily. The tri tip sandwich is a local fave, best enjoyed with a Napa Pinot Noir or local hops.
7 p.m. Splurge at Aubergine, the restaurant at L’Auberge Carmel. Executive Chef Justin Cogley’s coveted tasting menu is always seasonally inspired (you may even spy Chef Cogley searching for kelp along the shoreline), and the restaurant constantly wrangles James Beard Foundation Award nominations.
10:30 a.m. Carmel loves its Sunday brunch scene, and most any local will recommend La Bicyclette for wood-fired eggs (yum) and some of the best coffee and pastries in town.
1:30 p.m. Sunday Funday is best topped with a day at Carmel Valley Ranch. Book the 110-minute Herbal Vitality Body Treatment, which features hot stones, local oils, and an herbal salt scrub of rosemary, sweet marjoram, and mint.
4 p.m. The coast is calling (again!). It’s back to the open road. Your weekend escape, inspired by the cars on display at Quail, is best bookended with one last hoorah on the highway. Think: your favorite SiriusXM radio station and the ocean as your “where to next?” travel muse.
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