Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, Spring 2018

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162 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 take groups to several different tasting spots. The affable Cousin Johnny Aliotti leads many of those tours, lending a Monterey Peninsula native's stories to the day's fun. In its early days, Carmel-by-the-Sea was a genuine art colony, populated by off-the-grid creative types looking for a rustic—and afford- able—setting in which to pursue their muses. As both those qualities diminished, many relocated to the Carmel Valley. Shelley and John Aliotti have created a space and an organization, the Carmel Valley Art Association, to celebrate and promote the work of these artisans. More than 40 are represented in the gallery's brightly-lit space. In addition to their work on behalf of artists, the Aliottis are quite possibly Carmel Valley's premier cheerleaders as well. "As a gallery, we're trying to raise the level of all the businesses in the valley so that everyone benefits," John says. "We're not just wineries out here. We have artists and restaurants and amaz- ing hotels." Yes, Carmel Valley is indeed an amazing place to visit. But it's also an amazing place to live— and has been for many years. "My roots run deep here," says US Congressman Jimmy Panetta, whose district includes Carmel Valley. "My grandfather moved here from Monterey in 1946. It is my home; always has been and always will be. It shaped my brothers and me, defined us and gave us a sense of belonging to the area." Though his public service work in Congress keeps him away from his beloved home fre- quently (just as it did for his father, former Congressman, White House Chief of Staff, CIA Director and Secretar y of Defense Leon Panetta), it's always in his heart. "I couldn't think a better place to raise our two daughters," says Panetta. "Nothing makes me prouder than knowing my kids are going to the same schools and playing on the same sports fields as I did." These days, cowboy hats, gun racks and pickup trucks are giving way to designer clothing, corkscrews and BMWs, but Carmel Valley still retains a friendly, rural vibe. As Jimmy Panetta said, it's a safe, ideal place to raise children. It also offers a multitude of recreational activities for grownups, from hiking or riding horses through the miles of trails at Garland Regional Park golfing at Quail or Carmel Valley Ranch, and yes, surfing at the mouth of the Carmel River. It's a land of contrasts, where one can have a beer and a burger for lunch at a bar such as the Running Iron and dine on haute cuisine that same evening just down the road. And it's still the warmest spot on the Monterey Peninsula. It is indeed "A Place in the Sun." (Above) A 1950s pilot's gathering at the former Carmel Valley Airport. (below) The Bucket was a legendary dining and drinking establishment until 1969. Photos: CV Historical Society

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