Exploring beer country: Brews in urban taprooms
Exploring Santa Cruz: Part 1

Carmel: Biking, food and lodging

Looking for a great getaway? Midweek or on a weekend, Carmel-by-the-Sea offers a wide range of places to explore. This is why I enjoy visiting, again and again.

It’s about the riding

Roadies have it easy. You can start a wide variety of rides from wherever you’re staying. Heading out Carmel Valley Road to Robinson Canyon or the Cachagua loop (both about 30 miles)? You can shorten these rides to about 20 miles, by parking at Garland Ranch Regional Park on Carmel Valley Rd.

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Cycling Point Lobos

Ride your bike to Carmel Coffee Roasting Co. at the Crossroads Shopping Center at Rio Rd. and Highway 1. There you’ll find locally roasted coffee and light breakfast fare. Pedal out Carmel Valley Rd. or for a coastal ride, you can take off south on Highway 1 and explore Point Lobos State Natural Reserve or Big Sur. Bo Crane wrote about his adventures on Highway 1 in the March 2016 issue of Cycle California! Magazine.

It’s about the eating

By the time you finish your ride, you’ll be ready for a cold drink and lunch. Back at Highway 1, just north of Rio Rd. is The Barnyard Shopping Village. Located upstairs is your lunch stop, Flanagan’s Irish Pub. You and your riding peeps can hang out by the outdoor fire pit to share stories from your ride and relax. If you’re a bunch of sports fans, go inside to watch one of the games on T.V. or shoot pool. The menu covers everything from burgers and salads to bangers and mash or Shepard’s pie. Local beer and a full bar await. Park your bike at the downstairs bike rack or bring it up the stairs and park on the upper patio.

If you want something fancier, think shower and change before eating and stop in at the Rio Grill. This is a very nice bistro located in the Crossroads Shopping Center where you started your day. I love this place for lunch or dinner. Here you’ll find a large selection that includes unique items like a salmon BLT, half rack of ribs, or a pork chop with Point Reyes bleu cheese butter, polenta, and braised mushrooms. There are also gluten free and vegetarian items. Choose from the extensive wine list that features many local vineyards or have a drink from the bar.

It’s about the lodging

Next to the Barnyard and across from the Rio Grill is the Carmel Mission Inn. This hotel is for those who want a full-service experience, with a hot tub and swimming pool. You’ll find the Fuse Lounge for drinks and music, a restaurant, meeting facilities and more. They are bike and dog-friendly, with a large parking lot and adjacent dog walking areas. To get into Carmel-by-the-Sea or the beach from the hotel you’ll have 2-mile bike ride or drive.

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Hofsas House offers great views from the hillside.

If you enjoy exploring a wide range of restaurants, art galleries, wine tasting rooms and shopping, go with Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea. This is a unique, family-owned hotel offering spacious rooms with great views (it is built into the hillside). There are a pool, saunas, and locally roasted coffee in the rooms. This is a place where you can relax and enjoy. Hofsas House is a short walk from city parks, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, wine tasting rooms and the beach. As the sun sets, you can watch the fog curl over the trees from your open Dutch door and wide windows. Our first visit here was as guests of the proprietor, Carrie Theis. We are already booked for our next visit. Hofsas House welcomes bikes and dogs.


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