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With a History Dating Back to Spanish Missionaries, a Stunning Setting, "Fairytale" Buildings and an Iconic Beach, Beautiful Carmel is Hard to Resist
Beautiful Carmel, also known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, sits on the gorgeous Monterey Peninsula between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The town's history dates back to Spanish missionaries, and it is hard to resist.
Much of the architecture is "fairytale cottage," with stone facades, thatched roofs and secret gardens, giving Carmel a storybook quality. In keeping with the town's mission of remaining "a village in a forest overlooking a white sand beach," there are no street lights, no parking meters on side streets and no street addresses. Most homes are large and architecturally stunning, and new buildings must be built around existing trees. The Pacific Repertory Theatre holds its productions in the Forest Theater and the Golden Bough Playhouse. The town's Sunset Cultural Center is home to Carmel's Bach Festival, the Monterey Symphony, and the Carmel Music Society.
Carmel's core has numerous upscale art galleries, seductive wine tasting rooms and enchanting public courtyards. The Carmel Mission Basilica has the state's first library and a museum. Events include a Shakespeare festival, a film festival, a winemakers' celebration, several car rallies and a freestyle surf competition. At the end of Ocean Avenue, iconic, white sand Carmel Beach dazzles.
The town is home to three golf courses and is only minutes away from Pebble Beach. Mission Trails Park blossoms out from the basilica. Considered California's crown jewel, the nearby Point Lobos State Park is popular with scuba divers and hikers. Carmel Bay allows some fishing and surfing.
Population: 3,900 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 70%
Cost of Living: 390% above the national average
Median Home Price: $2.8 million
Climate: Carmel has a cool Mediterranean climate. Summer temperatures are in the 70s and 80s. Winter temperatures are in the 40s and 50s. The area receives 20 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: Yes
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Very liberal
Is California Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? No
Cons: The earthquake risk is 1,850% higher than the national average. The area is no strangers to wildfires, with the 2016 Soberanes fire destroying dozens of outlying homes.
Notes: Carmel has grown 4% within the last decade. Dogs are allowed in stores, restaurants and nearly everywhere else. Clint Eastwood was once Carmel's mayor. Home prices have increased 21% since a year ago.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Thanks to the treaty that ended the Mexican-American War, the Golden State became a U.S. territory in 1847. Soon after, gold was found at Sutter's Mill. The land crowded with fortune seekers, and, shortly thereafter, California entered the Union as its 31st state in 1850.
California has 900 miles of coastline and claims the highest and lowest point in the continental U.S. Its terrain varies dramatically - from sandy beaches to rugged mountains, deserts to fertile farmland. Landmarks like Hollywood, Disneyland, and the Golden Gate Bridge play a large part in the nation's history and imagination.
Although Texas and New York have tried to close the gap, California's economy continues to be nation's largest. Agriculture, manufacturing, biotechnology, and tourism are some of its leading industries.
Cities of the Golden State have put some odd laws on the books. It's illegal to molest a monarch in Pacific Grove. Want to throw a frisbee on an L.A. County beach? Better ask a lifeguard first. What about bowling on the sidewalks of Chico? Strictly forbidden!
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