The food, leisure science, sustainable lifestyle, organic gardening + travel blog of SF Station's Food Editor emerita, Tracie Broom, now on the board of Slow Food Columbia and Partner at Flock and Rally: Events + Communications for a Brave New South.
Always wanted to check out Clint Eastwood's Mission Ranch Inn. When he bought this old dairy farm on the edge of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Eastwood hired carpenters to shore up all of the old buildings in the original architectural style.
It's lovely in the early morning. A quiet deck for morning coffee...
...And sheep to watch as they munch and munch and munch.
Big trees to ogle up close...
And lots of sky all around the restaurant, where the piano bar heats up at night and the Sunday brunch buffet is incredibly tasty.
The rooms are a little folksy -- no iPod docks or premium brand toiletries...
...But the ceilings are high, the gas fireplaces flick on with a switch, and the balconies have wooden rocking chairs.
Nice view from the room, too.
The main beach is a nice jog away, and full of dogs of all shapes and sizes -- key for a champion dog petter like me. No dog photos...I was too busy petting them to even think about photographing them.
Even closer is Carmel River State Beach. Pretty.
Seeing as Carmel Valley is just a short drive away, why not have lunch at lovely, luxe little Bernardus Lodge?
The bonus: the croquet lawn and bocce court.
On the way back, why not stop for a patio cocktail and some serious dog petting at Terry's Bar in downtown Carmel's Cypress Inn?
After all, it's owned by Doris Day...and due to its dog-friendly policies, it's a champion dog-petter's heaven.
(Again, no dog photos. Too busy petting the pups!)
Naptime back at the Ranch...
The piano bar may look dead now, but wait til Saturday night; the dark, warm bar and restaurant fills up to the brim with wedding party overflow, locals, and septuagenarian piano bar groupies who travel from as far as Santa Clara to gather up and belt out hits like Dusty Springfield's "Downtown" -- much to the delight of the room.
Lucky that the old guard is sweet and forgiving of young folks who blank on the lyrics; they don't have karaoke screens at a piano bar.