In 2022 when we went to the Carmel Bach Festival, we came home with COVID (even though we had to prove our vaccination status and wear masks to every indoor concert). I may write that trip up one of these days, it was mostly quite nice. This year’s trip was different – in the best way, because we did not come home with COVID (even though masks were no longer required)! My photos from this trip are in my gallery Carmel July 2023.
We drove down on Saturday July 15, and it took us over 3 hours, largely because of a massive accident on the Nimitz Freeway, although traffic on 156, coming over from 101, was also backed up. We drove through temperatures ranging from the low 60s to 103 – thank God for an air conditioned car! The low 60s, we were happy to see, were in Monterey County. Carmel was sunny when we arrived, but the fog bank floating off the coast was so low coming into Monterey that we couldn’t see the ocean from the freeway until we got to (I think) Sand City, where it cleared.
We didn’t stay at the Cypress Inn, as we have for some years; the Friday of the week we wanted, they were booked solid. We chose the Carriage House Inn and were generally more pleased with it than in our previous stay, at which the breakfasts (delivered to the room) were unsatisfactory and the wifi was very iffy. Our biggest problem was the first night. Our room had a king sized bed, and they furnished it with king-sized pillows which were stuffed so full that neither of us could sleep on them. The next morning we spoke firmly to the manager, who gave us a pair of normal sized pillows; after that the bed was fine. I didn’t take a photo of the room, as I sometimes do, because the entire west wall was windows. I am glad I took a headlamp; the Carriage House doesn’t have reading lights in the rooms.
The Cypress Inn is 3-4 largely flat blocks from the Sunset Center (where the performances are). The Carriage House Inn is built on a steep slope – the entrance is on Junipero between 7th and 8th, but the exit from our room came out (down a steep stair) on Mission near 8th. It’s only a block and a half from the Sunset Center. With the hotel on a hill, I did a lot more climbing than I’m used to in Carmel, and my asthma noticed it – I rarely have breathing trouble except when I’m climbing. Oh, well.
We had dinner Saturday night at La Balena, an old favorite restaurant. We always go there, and they recognize us. The Carriage House Inn was close enough to La Balena that we could walk there, which was nice. After dinner I walked over to Bruno’s Market and bought a box of decaffeinated English Breakfast tea, since the Carriage House provides a lovely thermos full of really hot water for us tea drinkers. (But they didn’t have any decaf black tea.) I still have half a box of teabags which I may take on my next trip somewhere.
We didn’t go to any concerts on Saturday. Sunday the 16th our usual concert schedule began, an afternoon choral concert with the Magnificat of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, and for comparison, the Credo from his father’s Mass in B Minor. The singers were excellent, with a new bass-baritone soloist who has a very strong voice. After that we had dinner at Basil Seasonal Dining, before walking over to All Saints church for an evening concert of instrumental fugues by Bach (the father), Haydn, and a modern composer, Caroline Shaw.
More about the week and the concerts in the next post.