Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, Spring 2018

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Choose any season and Mother Nature is sure to please. Known to fog-bound Peninsula residents as a place that has reliably-warm temperatures— averaging around 80 degrees in the summer months versus Monterey's mid- 60s—that can thaw chill-weary bones, Carmel Valley is known to many as "A Place in the Sun." That climate nur tured and enabled the Valley's first human occupants to live off the land quite comfortably. The native population of Esselen and Rumsen tribe members led an abundant life on the valley floor, hunting deer and birds, tapping the Pacific for fish, abalone and other shellfish and gathering acorns that were turned into meal in mor tars carved into local boulders. Many of these can be seen throughout the region to this day, at Garland Regional Park and Point Lobos State Reserve. The Spaniards who founded the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo in 1771, next to present day Rio Road, also recognized the agricultural potential of the region, setting up gardens to feed the population, tending herds of livestock and even experimenting with wine grapes. By most accounts, those missionar- ies were none too kind to the native population, leading an early French visitor, Jean-Francois Galaup de la Perouse, to compare their living conditions to a slave camp. Early in the 19th centur y, Carmel Valley was part of Alta California, having been ceded to Mexico by the Spanish following the Mexican War of Independence. The spoils of this epic land grab included all of California, Utah and Nevada plus parts of Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. In an effort to populate that vast region, the Mexican government awarded land grants to citizens, known as ranchos. There were five in the area we now call Carmel Valley: Rancho los Beginning roughly at the Quail Lodge and Golf Club, Mid-Valley includes the Valley Hills Center, home to the popular Baja Cantina and several unique retail shops. A favorite hangout spot for residents and visitors alike, Baja Cantina serves up delicious Mexican cuisine and the best margaritas anywhere. Thursday is Hot Chili Night, with an impromptu car show, barbecue and live local bands. Photo: Kelli Uldall 156 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 8

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