Friday, August 12, 2011

Cool in Carmel

What a difference a week makes. Well, a little over a week actually. Last Wednesday I was sweating in Chicago and now I'm cool in Carmel. This trip is partly because I love this part of California and partly to do research for my new series. This is the one that features a dessert chef who inherits a yarn retreat business in the fictitious town of Cadbury by the Sea.

Even though it isn't a real town, I want the details to be correct. Like I thought the stuff I saw hanging off the trees was Spanish moss, but today I found out the gray threads that almost look like crochet is actually called lace lichen.

We had lunch at the restaurant I imagine my character baking the desserts for. I was glad to be able to glance at the kitchen and imagine her baking there late at night when the restaurant is closed.

I saw lots of places that would be good for a murder. We went to Point Lobos State Park. There were lots of rocky cliffs and something called the Devil's Caldron. All that swirling water looked pretty deadly to me.

A lot of the grounds up here are left au natural. That means no neat lawns, but rather whatever grows on its own, along with fallen trees left to return to the earth. There is also lots of moody fog creeping over the hillsides. The temperature stays about the same year round. Somewhere in the 60s during the day and somewhere in the 50s at night. The sun made a brief appearance at midday and then it was back to white sky and no shadows.

I'm not sure if I will use this in my books, but it seemed like almost nobody on the street and at scenic spots was speaking English. Apparently, this area is big with foreign tourists. And why not? It doesn't get much more beautiful or atmospheric than here, There are the cypress trees that only grow here and one other place I can't think of offhand that have gnarled trunks and a horizontal shape to their foliage thanks to the constant wind.

Carmel is filled with flowers and cute shops in adorable buildings. The beach is at the bottom of the main street and people and dogs gather to watch the sunset, Well, not today as it was too cloudy to see the sun go down. I've been there when they was a veil of fog sitting on the beach, so thick it seemed like people walking by were disappearing into another dimension..

Being up here is like a breath of cool damp fresh air, And now to go for a late night walk through the real conference center that is going to be the Vista del Mar hotel and conference center in my books. Who knows what creepy details I'll come across.

If you're seeing this, it finally posted. I spent an hour trying to post it last night. Was it blogger, the hotel hot spot, or my mini computer? Do you ever have frustration with your computer?


Linda O. Johnston said...

I often get frustrated with computers, Betty, especially when the connection is slow. Sometimes my problems are the result of my lack of technological insight, which is also frustrating.

Research for stories is one reason I enjoy travel--and it sounds as if your trip is really yielding a lot of local color you can use.

Planner said...

I'd be willing to bet that even Steve Jobs and Bill Gates get frustrated with computers at times!

Glad you're enjoying your trip. It sounds wonderful!

Betty Hechtman said...

Yes, Linda, it makes traveling so much more interesting when you are doing research.

Betty Hechtman said...

Planner, I'm about to do another late night walk to the beach. It's very foggy out which makes it eerie and quiet.

JanG said...

Carmel is indeed wonderful! The Sunday and Friday blogs are pulling me toward the grand Isle of Elsewhere. That would be a place where computers would never crash, cell phone service would magically show maximum bars and all novels appear, from conflict to resolution, within one week of their embryonic beginnings. Best I can offer is this: I found a tee shirt for 87 cents at Kohl's this morning. And that was good enough.

Betty Hechtman said...

JanG, a tee shirt for 87 cents. Wow! I went to Office depot and bought 5 composition notebooks they had on sale and some folders with pockets - also on special for back to school. My grand total was $1.45 cents including tax.