Carmel-by-the-Sea is not only renowned for its beautiful scenery; it also has a rich history, much of which is still present today. If you have some time to spare, take a stroll through the town’s historic areas and take a trip back in time. Here are some must-see historic locations:
First Murphy House
This adorable house was built by Michael Murphy in 1902, when he was only 17 years old. At the time what he probably didn’t know is that he would go on to build more than 300 houses and commercial buildings throughout Carmel over his lifetime. Nowadays, the house is home to Carmel’s welcome center. There you can read about Carmel’s fascinating history and watch a video about the vibrant people who helped to shape Carmel. Surrounding the house are colorful gardens full of native plants.
Cottage of Sweets & Golden Bough Playhouse
The Cottage of Sweets began life as a loom shop in 1922. It was rolled down Ocean Avenue on pine logs a year later to be used as a ticket booth for Edward Kuster’s new playhouse. The theatre burned down in 1935 during the showing of a play called “By Candlelight.” and a new building was built on Monte Verde Avenue. Believe it or not, this theatre also burned down while showing the fateful play “By Candlelight” in 1949. Fortunately the third theatre remains today. The Cottage of Sweets is a delight whatever your age, and whether you like fudge, candy, or chocolate you’ll find something there to tickle your taste buds.
The Forest Theatre
The Forest Theater was founded in 1910 by actor and director Herbert Heron. It is credited as being the first outdoor amphitheater west of the Rockies. This location is also the home to Carmel’s only gravesite, which belongs to Pal, a stray dog that wandered the town from 1929 until 1943. His tombstone reads “Here lies Pal. The friend of all who knew and loved him.” The theatre hosts plays throughout the year, and past and future productions include: Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, and The Winter’s Tale.
Historic Carmel Mission
You can spend a fascinating afternoon at the Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo, also known as Carmel Mission. The Mission was built in 1771, and its atmosphere is rich with spiritual grace, elegant beauty and historical legacy. The focal point of the Mission is the Basilica Church, which houses a unique collection of Spanish Colonial Liturgical Art and Artifacts. The Mission also boasts five museums, each with its own charm and historical flavor.