IMG_3608A few weeks ago, my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary with a short one night getaway to Carmel-by-the-Sea. This cute little beach town is located in California just a couple of hours south of San Francisco near Monterey. Its unique charm and proximity to the SF Bay Area make it a favorite retreat when we want to disappear for a weekend.

In the past we’ve stayed in Airbnbs as there are many in the area, and they are often a little cheaper than staying in some of the hotels near downtown. Since we were celebrating this time, we decided to get a hotel. The one we chose was just off Ocean Ave, the main road running through downtown. Ocean Ave is lined with eclectic shops, delicious food, art galleries, and wine tasting rooms. The street leads down to the beach, which could be seen from the balcony of our hotel room.

The Hotel: Carmel Bay View Inn

Our king size room was absolutely perfect. It was spacious, clean, and comfortable. A gas fireplace in the corner provided a romantic touch. From the balcony there was a breathtaking view of the ocean and sunset. The hotel is situated on Junipero Street, just close enough to downtown to get around by walking, without putting you right in the middle of the often crowded Ocean Ave.

Dinner: PortaBella

This charming restaurant offers both an old-world ambiance and a delicious menu of French and Italian food. It is located on Ocean Ave, and has both patio and indoor seating options. The restaurant is small, so I recommend making a reservation if you are going on a weekend evening.

Dessert: Carmel Bakery

This small bakery on Ocean Ave is a must for any visit to Carmel. Opened in 1899, it is one of the oldest businesses in Carmel. The window displaying many of the treats offered is enough to make you drool. In the evening, we have usually been able to walk in and get a sweet right away. In the mornings, you will often find a line down the sidewalk as people wait to pick up pastries and croissants. It is well worth the line.

Breakfast: Little Swiss Cafe

The atmosphere of this restaurant is quaint, and the staff are very friendly. Other than their special cheese blintzes, the menu was basically your standard breakfast diner fare and it tasted great. This restaurant is located on a parallel street to Ocean Ave. It is very small, so expect a wait if you have a larger group or don’t arrive early. They only accept cash, so be sure to hit the ATM before you go. If you forget (like we did), there is an ATM a couple of blocks up the street.