VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 2 POSTED ON: 1/20/2011
Carmel, California (also known as Carmel-by-the-sea) is a world-renowned city for people with a passion for the arts. Nestled among the trees and white sands of California's coast, the village is rich in cultural, artistic and architectural appeal. The area was first settled by the Franciscan Fathers, who established Mission San Carlos de Borromeo in 1770. A century later, a developer from nearby Monterrey began selling lots and a township was established in the hills surrounding the mission. The original investors wanted to make the area a Catholic retreat, but in 1903, developer James Franklin Devendorf had other ideas. Devendorf envisioned the town as a "Bohemia-by-the-sea" and made it his life's work to establish a cultural haven for artists there. He co-founded the Carmel Development Company and began marketing the area to painters, poets, musicians and writers, which descended on the tiny village in droves. Cottages by famed architects began popping up along the town's cobbled streets and became highly desirable among locals. The original price of the cottages was $100, which came with a parcel of land. Today, one of the same cottages is valued at $8M. The original cottages do not have street numbers, but bear the name of racehorses instead. In keeping with this idea, no house in the village has a street number. Mail is addressed by geographical location and locals pick it up at the post office. Visitors continue to flock to Carmel today to experience its vast cultural offerings as well as its scenic beauty. Cottages and quaint little shops line the paved streets. Many are surprised by how few cars they see in the area. Most people choose to enjoy the town on foot. Visitors can take a self-guided walking tour that includes 100 art galleries, restaurants and specialty shops as well as 60 hidden courtyards. Carmel offers a wide range of shopping options, such as outdoor malls and family-owned businesses. Events are frequently hosted in one of the town's several cultural centers. The most popular of these venues is the Sunset Center. Aside from holding a number of concerts, theatrical performances and other events each month, the Sunset Center also offers art classes, dance classes and other artistic training programs. In keeping with Carmel's theme of Old World charm, lodging accommodations are quaint and cozy. You won't find large hotels or chain properties -- instead, guests will enjoy the home-like atmosphere of one of the town's many inns. Carmel enjoys a mild, Mediterranean climate year round, which allows visitors and residents alike to enjoy the town's two beach areas most any time of the year. Winter temperatures are, on average, 48-60 degrees, while average summer days range from 51- 70 degrees. Today, the one-square-mile town is home to just over four thousand residents. The city is careful to protect its ambiance, described as "a village in a forest overlooking a white sand beach." For instance, new buildings must be constructed around existing trees, and lots that have too few trees are required to plant more. Thanks to the excellent year-round climate, the rich artistic and cultural roots, and the small-town atmosphere, many people desire to make Carmel their permanent residence. There are many lovely homes available at considerably lower prices than have been seen in years. Whether you would like to just visit the town or make it your home, it has a treasure trove of art, culture and history to offer.
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