I first stayed at the Pine Inn hotel 23 years ago, as a guest of my friend, Sylvia. Sylvia was getting married in Carmel and she booked most of her family and friends at this quaint hotel on Ocean Avenue. As college students, friends and I would drive down to spend the day in Carmel--but we never stayed the night. This wedding allowed me to finally experience an event-filled weekend in this charming town.
Pine Inn is one of the bigger inns of Carmel with 49 rooms. I remember the rooms being compact but comfortable, like European bed and breakfasts.
I was truly enamored of Carmel after experiencing the close-to-magical events of Sylvia's wedding. I decided right then that if and when the time came, I too would get married in Carmel. Yes, I said it aloud to the people at her wedding. When I came home from the wedding, I told my mom about how beautiful everything was and repeated to her the same thing. Over the years I thought it, and said it aloud (I had no candidate for groom, but I already had a venue! lol)
Almost ten years later, I did have the wedding of my dreams in Carmel. There really is something powerful about saying things out loud. I booked my family and girlfriends at the Pine Inn hotel, and B's family booked themselves somewhere in Monterey. Our other guests stayed at other equally enchanting inns around the town.
Fast forward to the present. From the Bay Area, we drove down to Carmel to show the girls the church where we got married. We naturally showed them the hotel I stayed at the night before D-day.We also showed them the patio restaurant where we held our rehearsal dinner, and the famous restaurant where we had our morning-after brunch with all our guests.
I thought they wouldn't like the hotel because of it's period design, but they actually liked it. Even C (yes, she is named after this town!), the daughter who always asks why our house doesn't look like the boxy modern ones down the street, actually appreciated the antiques and the old furniture.
I couldn't specifically tell why I was drawn to the Pine Inn back then, but now with my more discriminating eye, I could identify exactly what things I liked. I loved the details of the lobby: the gilt mirror, the candelabra sconces, the brass-tacked chairs. I also remembered the rooms had canopied beds and small-print wallpaper.
The girls liked this chair in particular, and fought over who would sit in it longer.
The lobby looked recently renovated because even if the furniture was old, it looked newly upholstered. Il Fornaio is still there but the French Country store Pierre Deux, which gave the entrance and the first floor so much character, is no longer there.
Twelve years ago, when these girls above were but eggs in my ovaries, my bridesmaids and I had our picture taken in this exact same spot.
I wonder if any of them will want a destination wedding too.
What am I talking about? No one is getting married in the next twenty years if I can help it!
Pine Inn Hotel
Ocean Ave, between Lincoln and Monte Verde
Carmel, CA 93921