May 21, 2008

Travels With Stella

One of our favorite trips with our dog Stella is to Carmel. We are particularly fond of the wine tasting in the Valley, and Stella does not seem to mind hanging out with us as long as she gets a cracker or two!

Years ago, our friend John Saunders, owner of Boete Winery, suggested we try the restaurant at Los Laureles Lodge for dinner. We did and we have been going back ever since. Rich in legend and history, the Los Laureles Lodge is Carmel Valley's original hotel and hunting lodge. Carmel Valley offers award winning wine tasting, horseback riding on the trails of the countryside, drives through open ranchland, and the Valley boasts a wide variety of boutique shops, galleries and studios. And…Los Laureles is pet friendly!

If you choose to stay at Los Laureles, we suggest the Honeymoon Cottage-Tucked away beyond the Courtyard sits what many years ago was Carmel Valley's polling booth, The Vanderbilt Cottage- This suite has a kitchenette, king bed, huge bathroom with Jacuzzi bathtub and back porch. Add on Surry Lane room next door and it becomes a two bedroom, two-bath suite, which is perfect for two couples. And for a big group, Hill House - a three bedroom, two bath house with living room, den, dining area, full kitchen and deck with sweeping views of Carmel Valley. Once noted for being the house that the Red Cross used to make American flags in during the wars, this house can accommodate up to nine people.

The Saloon is a great place to relax by the stone fireplace in the mahogany-paneled Saloon at the end of the day. You’ll most likely find yourself sitting next to valley ranchers, peninsula golfers, or local artists. The staff and owners are incredibly accommodating and the friendliest around! Say hello to Mario the bartender…he makes a mean martini!

As for the wine tasting, our favorites in the Valley are the Talbott Tasting Room located in the Carmel Valley Village 12 miles east of Carmel. Decorated in Early California style with antiques and artwork, the Tasting Room has a sunny garden patio that is perfect for picnic dining, or just relaxing with a nice wine and our dog. The Georis tasting Room located at 4 Pilot Road and Carmel Valley Road in the village. The setting is Rustic. An old adobe building with lush gardens and outdoor tables take full advantage of the warm Carmel Valley climate. On cooler days we love sitting by the large fireplace inside. Boete Winery (pronounced Bwah-tay) Nestled on the eastern edge of Carmel Valley sits the Saunders Vineyard, a boutique winery producing Estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes under the label "Boëté. The tasting Room is located 3.5 miles east of Highway 1 in Valley Hills Center. Parsonage Village Vineyard. The Tasting Room is located at 19 East Carmel Valley Rd.
Also, try Joullian Winery, Heller Estate, Bernardus, and Taste Morgan

Dog Friendly Dining in Carmel Valley:

Our Fav, The Corkscrew Café adjacent to Georis Winery promises great food and local wines. The Running Iron Restaurant. The atmosphere is warm, the décor definitely western, the waitresses smiling, and the bar extremely inviting. This is a locals hangout and makes the best Huevos Rancheros I’ve ever had! Also, Wills Fargo Restaurant, The Fish House, Bistro 211 Restaurant, Brunello, and Café Stravaganza.

Some Monterey Wineries to keep in mind are Ventana Vineyards, Silver Mountain Vineyards, and Taste of Monterey.


Various shopkeepers hide a cache of biscuits at the counter or place water dishes at the door, while the landmark Cottage of Sweets includes doggy treats in its mix of American and European candies. While some shops have miniature hitching posts outside, others don't mind if the dogs escort their owners in. The recently renovated Carmel Plaza shopping center boasts the "Fountain of Woof," a designated "dogs only" drinking fountain. Anchoring the Plaza, newcomer Wilkes Bashford opened in August, but not without designer dog collars to cater to the canine companions of its local clientele. Also located in the Plaza, Mackie's Parlour caters primarily to pets, as does nearby Diggity Dog boutique and bakery. Galante Vineyards and Winery is located in Carmel-by-the-Sea on Delores between Ocean & 7th and shouldn’t be missed!

Dog Friendly Dining in Carmel:

The Forge in the Forest’s Oak Tree Patio is designated for dog lovers. They even have a special menu for their K-9 friends. Also, Anton and Michel, Hogs Breath Inn, Porta Bella, Village Corner Mediterranean Bistro, and Casanova Restaurant - Our Favorite in Carmel! You should see their wine cellar
Pet Friendly Accommodations in Carmel:

Carmel Country Inn, Carmel Garden Court, Coachman's Inn, Cypress Inn, El Abopde Inn, Hofsas House, Lamp Lighter Inn, Lincoln Green Inn, The Lodge at Pebble Beach, Sunset House, Tradewinds Carmel, Vagabond's House Inn, Wayside Inn.

One last note…heaven forbid anything should happen to your dog while traveling to Carmel, but if you need Veterinary care here are a few places to jot down:

Carmel Valley Veterinary Hospital - 13738 Center Street (In the Village) Carmel Valley, Ca. 831-659-2286

The Animal Hospital at the Crossroads - Tel. 1.831.624.0131

If an emergency arises outside regular hospital hours - Monterey Penninsula Salinas Veterinary Emergency Clinic - 2 Harris Court, Ste. A1 Monterey, Ca. 831-373-7374

Pack your bags and your pooch's bag and go enjoy the beauty of Carmel!

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