On the Monterey Peninsula, just a two-hour drive from San Francisco, this seaside enclave is as charming as its name. Quaint,
moss-covered cottages; a budding art scene; and streets lined with boutiques and restaurants make this town a relaxing escape
anytime of year.
What to do: Enjoy Carmel’s scenic beauty by capturing the landscape on canvas. Big Sur-bred landscape painter Cyndra Bradford, of Galerie Plein Aire on Dolores Street, offers lessons where she’ll teach you to mix oils and suss out some surprising, vibrant colors in the scenery; 831/625-5686. Afterward, hit the vast array of shops hocking everything from reclaimed metal mirrors and succulent shaped candles in pots to local art and jewelry.
Where to stay: Pamper yourself at the Tradewinds Carmel, a 28-room Asia-inspired hotel that offers kimono robes for use during your stay, organic Aveda products, and gourmet chocolate-covered strawberries at check-in; 831/624-2776 or tradewindscarmel.com.