Sunday, January 15, 2006
After the castle we drove a short way up the coast and stopped at Piedras Blancas, off 1 just north of Hearst Castle, to look at the elephant seals. There were probably 50-60 of them, including males, females, and newborns. I took a ton of pictures while we watched them lay around, covering themselves with sand to stay cool and generally just being really fat.
After checking out the seals for a while we drove the rest of the way up the coast to our hotel in Carmel, the Highlands Inn. That was supposed to be our splurge hotel for the trip, though after paying less than half as much for the Kon Tiki Inn in Pismo Beach we were honestly a little disappointed with the hotel in Carmel. Our twin benchmarks were the Park Hyatt in Chicago and the Kon Tiki, and while the rooms were not as nice as the Park Hyatt the view was not as good as the view from the Kon Tiki. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a great hotel, but I think I would have preferred to be closer to the water rather than across 1 and a few houses. In fact, I think their website is pretty misleading, as they really make it seem like the hotel is right there on the edge of a cliff overlooking the water.
Anyway, we met up with Ari and Charlotte, a sectionmate of mine and his new wife who were also in Carmel at the same time, and had drinks at the California Market restaurant at the hotel while watching the sunset. After that we went out to Passionfish restaurant in Carmel where we had a great meal. I had the crab and avocado salad and the beef short ribs, which were both fantastic. I highly recommend visiting Passionfish on your next trip to Carmel.