May 7th, 2024

Beachgoers enjoying the sun on Carmel’s white sand beach.

In our blog series, “Our Artists’ Guide,” we embark on a journey led by our Gallery MAR artists and team members, delving into some of the most creatively vibrant cities across the nation. Throughout this series, we’ve traversed the Southwest art hub of Santa Fe, NM, the lofty charms of Denver, CO, the artistic allure of Asheville, NC, and the sun-soaked magic of Santa Barbara, CA.

Now, join us as we venture virtually to the stunning coastal oasis of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California — home to our Gallery MAR Carmel gallery as well as the brand new secondary Carmel location, Gallery MAR Carmel North.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, nestled along California’s rugged coastline, captivates with its storybook charm and natural splendor. Quaint cottages, cobblestone streets, and secret courtyards beckon exploration. Art galleries, boutique shops, and fine dining establishments enrich the experience. With its fairytale allure, Carmel is a haven for seekers of beauty and tranquility… not to mention, the perfect place to find more Gallery MAR artwork!

Join us on a virtual tour with Gallery MAR Carmel co-owners, Maren Mullin and Thomas Cushman, and our Senior Fine Art Consultant, Kimberly Wolf, as they guide us through all of the sights, tastes, and places that make Carmel-by-the-Sea so enchanting.


The Best Carmel-by-the-Sea Eats: 

Fresh oysters by the seaside

Maren Mullin: There are a multitude of restaurants in our area – really, you can’t go wrong. But I have a few “must do” dining destinations with each visit. I love fine dining and Aubergine is my favorite for a “wow” experience, but when I want a delicious and quick dinner after closing the gallery, Aw Shucks on Ocean Avenue is where I head. It is a casual place for locals that has the best fried oysters in town and paired with a Hendricks gin and tonic, it’s just about perfect.

Thomas Cushman: If you’re looking for a really good fine dining restaurant, one I really love is Chez Noir. It’s new. I’ve been there three times now and, every time, the food is just remarkable. It’s one of two restaurants here that have Michelin stars: Aubergine and Chez Noir. That’s your high end dining, and they’re all lovely. 

Kimberly Wolf: We have over 60 restaurants in downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea so there are many wonderful choices, but La Bicyclette with their wood-fired oven has been a favorite for as long as I can recall. Everything is excellent. The pizza is fabulous and they prepare most everything else in their wood fired oven as well. It is located halfway between my apartment and Gallery MAR Carmel — lucky me! 


The Best Carmel-by-the-Sea Park:

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve near Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Thomas Cushman: My favorite park would probably be Point Lobos. It’s a State Natural Reserve, and it’s immediately next to Carmel. There’s incredible hiking and incredible vistas.

Kimberly Wolf: Picadilly Park is a small park next to our Gallery MAR Carmel location. We look out at it from our desk in our lower gallery. Plus, Galante Tasting Room is our neighbor with tasteful fire pits and outdoor seating along a pathway between the park and the gallery.


The Best Carmel-by-the-Sea Coffee: 

Grab some fresh coffee and pastries before heading to visit Gallery MAR

Maren Mullin: While outside of the Carmel area, the Big Sur Bakery and Cafe is on my list. Their baked goods are exemplary, and the coffees are always delish. It’s quite a drive to get down there and back to town before I open the gallery, but it’s worth it as it is also one of the most beautiful drives in the US along the coastline and through the hills of Big Sur. 

Thomas Cushman: A great place to grab a cup of coffee and a sandwich or a salad is Carmel Belle. It’s this cafe that has indoor and outdoor seating, food to go, and wonderful staff. It’s really where the locals go for their coffee, their croissant, and their salmon salad. 

Kimberly Wolf: There are several good coffee shops in downtown Carmel, but I think some of the best coffee is at Carmel Belle and Stationaery. The food is mostly organic and a favorite for breakfast and lunch. It’s really great for takeaway to the beach.


The Best Place to Be Inspired in Carmel-by-the-Sea: 

Views of the drive to Big Sur and Carmel Beach, taken by Gallery MAR Carmel co-owner Thomas Cushman

Maren Mullin: A walk along Scenic Road always brings inspiration. The trees, the flora, and the patient surfers amongst the waves: it’s incredible.

Thomas Cushman: The walk along Scenic Road along the beach. Oh my goodness, you can go about a mile and a half and it’s all just gorgeous.

Kimberly Wolf: Carmel Beach and Scenic Road to Carmel River State Beach and back to town is my daily morning walk. It’s about a four mile walk, and I find inspiration every single time.  


The Best Carmel-by-the-Sea Art Site: 

Gallery MAR Carmel co-owner Thomas Cushman in Gallery MAR Carmel North

Maren Mullin: Gallery MAR Carmel

Thomas Cushman: Gallery MAR Carmel

Kimberly Wolf: Gallery MAR Carmel of course!


What do you love the most about living and working in Carmel-by-the-Sea?

Bixby Creek Bridge on Highway 1 at the US West Coast traveling south to Los Angeles, Big Sur Area, California

Maren Mullin: The community has embraced us (even naming us Best Gallery in town in our second year!), and it is such a special place. I always say that Carmel has it all… shopping, dining, fine art, wine tasting… and a gorgeous beach.

Thomas Cushman: I love the combination of the small-town feel with a cosmopolitan sensibility. Just six months after I moved here, I would walk down the street and talk to people I passed because I had already gotten to know them. Everybody gets introduced and welcomed very quickly. But then you walk down the streets and you hear so many different languages, too. People are in from Paris and in from Dubai and on their way to Beijing, so it’s a really international destination as well. 

Kimberly Wolf: I am fortunate to live and work in downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea. We are a quaint and charming village that is a world class destination, and at the same time, we are a small town with residents who support one another while welcoming visitors from all around the world. I love hearing the many different languages being spoken as I wander the streets so there is always a sense of the “big wide world” while we enjoy our small town vibe. The quality of life here is beyond fabulous with a moderate climate that allows being outdoors every day of the year, so a healthy lifestyle is a given. There are endless possibilities for hiking in the area and Big Sur is just south of Carmel on Highway 1.