Escaping to Carmel-by-the-Sea

A birthday was just the excuse these two families needed to flee the smoke-ravaged Bay Area for the gray glory of summer on the Central California coast. These photos tell the story.


Photos by John Cooper and words by Maria De La O

This is how the morning light, caused by the smoke from northern wildfires, looked on the day we bolted from San Francisco to what we hoped were clearer skies.


Our destination was a beachside Airbnb in Carmel-by-the-Sea, a high-end resort town on Monterey Bay.


The Covid pandemic had an unexpected upside. The parents (Emily and John; Alice and Maria) could work from anywhere, and the girls (age 9 and 7) could do school on the road as well.


It was Emily’s birthday, so we knew we had to hit the beach, even if the Central Coast was socked in with summer fog. And the prospect of beach-going in the afternoon was an excellent incentive for the kids to finish up their homework quicker than ever.


The ocean was freezing, but we didn’t care.


The sand wasn’t so warm, either. Still, some of us couldn’t resist the opportunity to roll around in it. Bath time!


The next day, we took the girls on a forced march to town, home of ultra-expensive boho boutiques and seafood bistros, wherein the outdoor dining seemed just a bit too snug for our tastes during the summer of Covid.


The kids just wanted to get back to the beach.


The walk back gave a fine view of Carmel Point, a beautiful spot and home to a Frank Lloyd house.


So, we stuck to the simple joys of sand and sea for the rest of the weekend.


Sometimes the sun peaked out a bit in the afternoon.


Our Carmel weekend was the perfect birthday escape, summer fog and all.


Maria De La O

ROAM Executive Editor   

Magazine editor. Documentary filmmaker. Copy expert. Mother. Traveler. Maria brings it all to the pages of ROAM.  


March 2021

© ROAM Family Travel 2021 – All rights reserved

 John Cooper

ROAM Photographer   

A passport holder since the tender age of 4, John has lived in locales as varied as Libya, Scotland and NYC. He now makes his home in the City by the Bay in a grand, old purple house with his 9-year-old daughter and longtime partner, Emily.

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