The Faulks and I took a mini-vacation on March 20-22, and I have just now decided it’s time to share the pictures from our trip to Carmel.

We loaded Jim and Becky’s truck with all our luggage and a huge crate for the dogs, and by 9 AM we were off towards the bay.

But first, we had to stop by Pea Soup Andersen’s in Gustine.

We also drove around Pacific Grove and walked along the beach with the dogs.

We stayed in a cozy two-bedroom cottage at the Carmel River Inn. The walkway had a trellis with a sign that says “smell the roses”. We took the dogs out for a walk around the wooded backyard, but we found wood ticks on the dogs, which prompted a quick trip to Safeway for tick shampoo.

Silver lining: David got cool pictures of the flowers surrounding the property.

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We then had a delicious lunch at Dametra Cafe, a Mediterranean restaurant on Ocean and Lincoln. It was recommended to David by a coworker. Everyone had gyros but I had to have the bisque.

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The next day, we checked out the Carmel Mission Basilica. I was promptly surprised that my atheist butt didn’t burst into flames as soon as I stepped onto the premises. I’m still a little bit salty that I had to pay $20 for me and David to get in.

When your sideyard is a cemetery…. #atheistadventures

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We had a good time, though.

We also stopped by a quaint little shop called Knitting By the Sea, where David bought me a $23 hank of gorgeous yarn. (Separate post on this soon)

We also watched “Beauty and the Beast”, and by the time we got home, David and I were humming “Little Town”.

The following day, we went to Monterey Bay Aquarium and walked down Cannery Row.

I was a very happy Ping Pong.

Below are pictures from David’s Instagram.

And here are some that I took:

I also shot a few short videos of the exhibits:

At the end of our aquarium visit, we strolled into some shops along Cannery Row, where I bought myself a warm hot pink hoodie with a big white “MONTEREY” across the front. I also treated David to a tank top to commemorate our visit.

I was asked to pick lunch at either Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. or The Fish Hopper. The way they described Bubba Gump sounded like it was the Monterey Bay version of Joe’s Crab Shack, so I picked The Fish Hopper instead.

David and I shared a Volcano, which was really tasty.

The most exciting part of the day, however, was during the ride back to the cottage. David spotted a tick on my arm, so I had to sit pretty with the parasite latched on to me for 30 minutes.

Hot tip: the best and safest way to remove a tick is to grab it with a pair of sharp tweezers and pull up. Don’t burn it or pull on it, because it will get scared and will salivate. Its saliva has all the bacteria you don’t want in you.

Onyx and I took a shower together that night. I was tempted to use the tick shampoo on myself.

On our way back, Bella and Onyx rode in the cab with us since it was raining pretty hard.

I think Bella enjoyed that a little bit.

We also learned that Onyx stops whining and fidgeting after an hour on the road. I guess the doggy seatbelt we got her helped, too, because it kept her from scampering around the cab.

Overall, the trip was a success. We all had fun, the dogs got to chill and play with each other for three days, we got close enough to the sea, breathed in fresh ocean air, and spent much needed time away from work.

Carmel-by-the-Sea definitely had an idyllic, almost tropical vibe. Much like Kauai. I highly recommend taking a mini vacation there.