I dreaded this trip, not because of the drive, no, it was a mere two hours from where I lived but because the weather had suddenly changed in the Bay Area and I woke up to a grey and rainy morning. I wanted nothing more than to be a sloth and stay at home but with a massage already booked and paid for and a friend accompanying on this trip, the show must go on! So, I hailed my Lyft to the rental car dealership and made my way to the beautiful coastal town of Carmel. The morning started with a 3.5 hour spa at Refuge, a co-ed spa offering 6 hot and warm pools plus cool pools, a spacious sauna, eucalyptus steam room and here is the beauty, silence! No electronics, no talking just a place to de-stress. After my massage (and plenty minutes spent in the sauna releasing all the stress that has built up) we made our way into town.With only two hours left before I needed to hit the road, the time spent in town needed to be thoughtful and precise. Up first, a quick and easy lunch from 5th Ave Deli followed by a short walk down to the Carmel River State Beach and those that have been avid readers know I absolutely love the beach! While I didn’t plan it as so, I would highly recommend packing a nice lunch and eating at the beach…the ocean sounds, wrapped in a blanket with a nice charcuterie platter and a bottle of wine…perfection! Heading back into town, I couldn’t help but drool over all the beautiful homes and B&B’s that lined Ocean Ave. reminiscent of charming Dutch homes! It would’ve been very easy for me to get caught up walking up and down the streets to admire each and every single home but I needed to indulge myself with sweets and carbs at Carmel Bakery (where I should’ve bought more than one cannoli) We did some light gift shopping at Pilgrims Way which offers a beautiful secret garden housing candles and cute succulents. I wish I could’ve added a few more things on my list during my visit to Carmel such as a visit to Point Lobos and getting wasted on oysters at A W Shucks Cocktail & Oyster Bar but with Carmel only being a short drive away, it will have to commence on a later date!