Sunday, June 7, 2009

Carmel Valley and Chickens

Carmel, CA

OK, when most of us think of Carmel we think of Clint Eastwood, golf, quaint shops, incredible beach and a storied history and tradition. How many of us, know or realize there is much more to this area than the aforementioned? This place has it all. As Robert Louis Stevenson said - "It is the greatest meeting of land and sea and chickens and sustainable living in the world" OK, RLS did not say this, but if he was living today, he might have.

Having grown up on the Monterey Peninsula, I have had the chance to explore, learn and grow to love it. There is not place I have ever been which brings such an incredible peace. I am feeling very vulnerable right now and need to cry for a moment... OK I am over it. Really this is a wonderful place and should be visited by all. Just make sure I am not there and not all at once.

So, off the beaten path you head south on Hwy 1 to Carmel Valley Road making a left you are now heading southeast. Essentially this road, Carmel Valley Road, is a treasure trove of fun. Not to turn this into a travel site, I wanted to focus the imagery on sustainability and travel, inspiration and, of course, chickens - really this is what it is all about. As you head out you have "The Barnyard" a group of shops set right at the mouth of the Valley... in a, well, barn-ish setting. The irony is thick here, as The Barnyard (pictured to the left) telegraphs the Valley's true character.

As you meander through the pines, oaks and homes, you will also begin noticing fields, horse-ranches and wineries. Dotted in between, there are nurseries, golf courses and FEED STORES!!!! Yeah.... The coolest one I've come across is Hacienda Hay and Feed at 7180 Carmel Valley Road.

This place, situated due east of Quail Lodge and the Wagon Wheel restaurant (Good Breakfast Spot). This is essentially a working feed store, providing all the essentials to many working ranches and horse stables, but is a wonderful garden center and, yes, even petting zoo. Although one time we were there and there was a peacock roaming around and it freaked us out as it followed us, step for step, mocking us... we'd stop, he'd stop, we walked, he walked, we ran, he ran - utterly unnerving. This is a place to stop, eat at the local restaurants, visit the stores and take in some memories. Oh yeah and some killer chickens. More to come on Carmel Valley.

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