At the Hofsas House Hotel we experienced and captured the charm and essence of Carmel By The Sea. This remarkable community has managed to retain the tranquility of the past with all the attractions of the 21th century.
For seventy years The Hofsas House has been offering these attractions with its Bavarian inspired decor, ambiance and classic European hospitality.
On arriving at Hofsas House we were charmed and awed with our room which was actually a suite with large bedroom, private balcony for enjoying a sweeping view to a glistening sea, a complete bath and a kitchen with refrigerator, micro wave, sink, and inviting table and chairs for sipping wine while nibbling on crackers and cheese. Hey, we thought, it can't get any better than this.
But we were wrong. Located in the center of town Hofsas House invites one to a pleasant stroll while leaving your car idle and, for a change costing nothing, since this town does not have parking meters and free two hour parking can be found everywhere.
However we did need the car for the surrounding countryside has much to explore. We had long wanted to visit Point Lobos State Reserve with its stunningly beautiful wild coastline, its majestic forest and miles of well maintained hiking trails. At one place we found John, a docent who has been offering his wit and local knowledge to people like us for ten years. We did con John into giving us a Cypress Grove Trail brochure which also relates how the Allan Memorial Grove came about to preserve the unique Monterey Cypress trees. The Cypress Grove Trail is a loop trail that winds through coastal scrub and woods to cliffs and ocean views.
Actually Point Lobos has an interesting past being in the early days a whaling station, an abalone cannery, a granite quarry and shipping point for coal. Later A.. Allan started acquiring land recognizing the vallue of the cypress grove. In 1933 Allan's heirs donated fifteen acres in Allan's memory and later sold much of the present Preserve to the California State Park system.
Our stay at Carmel By The Sea was blessed with a remarkable of number of cloudless, windless sunshine filled days which were perfect for the many scenes that demanded a photograph.
We also had to visit and photograph Mission San Carlos Bopromeo del Rio Carmelo. Here the graceful Basilica Church, the center of the Carmel Mission, is registered as a National historic Landmark.
One morning while enjoying our Continental Breakfast at Hofsas House we had the opportunity to meet Carrie Theis, grand daughter of Donna Hofsas who founded the hotel seventy years ago. We complimented her on our wonderful suite and learned that all 38 rooms are one of a kind with amenities like fireplaces, private balconies, wet bars, and Dutch doors allowing guests to enjoy the ocean air.
There is free WiFi but hard to believe anyone would want to spoil the relaxed atmosphere of Carmel by using it. We certainly did not and never turned on the TV either.
All the communities of the Monterey Peninsula are close together mileage wise and Monterey and its famed Old Fishermen's Wharf were only minutes away on Highway One from our base at Hofsas House.
There is much to see at the Plaza and at the Wharf itself. We had made a previous visit to the adjacent History Museum and Custom House but this visit was to have dinner at the Abalonetti Bar & Grill that has achieved fame over sixty years for its many recipes of Calamari.
We immediately liked what we saw at this restaurant. It offers both indoor and patio dining and includes an attractive bar at one side and on the other 'Monterey's Original Antipasto Bar". This collection of goodies invited closer inspection. The variety of antipasto included grilled eggplant, marinarted artichoke hearts, feta cheese. assorted olives, in all ten items.
We opened with the fried Monterey Calamari, the benchmark for sixty years, then looking over the long selection of entrees chose the Shrimp Scampi. This came with tomatoes, artichoke hearts and a most flavorful bed of rice.
But first from the bar a pina colada, always a favorite close to the water. Also an opportunity to chat with Manager Aracely Perez who told us something of the history of Abalonetti which first opened in 1951 and how ,from the beginning, the restaurant became known for its many calamari choices.
Besides seafood think pasta at this restaurant. The Antipasto Bar demanded a photo shoot with Ernest and lovely hostess Daniella. Our waiter, Joe Sanchez, has been with Abalonetti over twenty years and so could provide us with much history of the restaurant and Fishermen's Wharf.
Carmel By The Sea is just that with a long stretch of beautiful white sand beach, the white color due to the underlying rock that the sea slowly grinds to sand. The beach is very popular and in easy walking distance from almost anyplace in the business end of town. Also there is a scenic road along the coastline from Ocean avenue to Carmel River State Beach.
In town there are nineteen wine tasting rooms and bars, all showing the wines of the Monterey appellation which has become recognized as one of California's best for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. And in May the annual Winemakers Celebration takes place.
While strolling through downtown we discovered the Fifth Avenue Deli and once inside, with a view of the tempting delights, decided to buy lots of goodies to take home and enjoy in our very own kitchen.
And waiting for us there was a bottle of 2013 Ventana Pinot Noir, from an estate grown vineyard located in Monterey's Arroyo Seco. So we moved from kitchen to balcony to watch the sunset and golden glow that followed and then back to the kitchen for our dessert Tiramisu.
The continental breakfast served at the Hofsas House was a very special treat for us, not only for the delicious fruits and pastries available from a neighborhood bakery, but also as a chance to meet and talk with some of the other guests. These guests proved to be from many places including Brazil and China. A group of Chinese girls, currently going to nearby colleges, proved most interesting in what their courses of studies were and their future plans.
Hofsas House also has facililties for large groups and perfect for weddings and family reunions. It is also pet friendly. It is located on San Carlos Street, north of Fourth Avenue in Carmel by the Sea.
Note: Early on it was decided the this city would not have house numbered addresses and so there is no mail delivery except at the post offices. However all the streets are well marked and there are excellent maps for finding locations. For more information on Hofsas House Hotel call 831 624-2745, on the web at www.hofsashouose.com. and on Facebook.
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