Exploring Flanders Mansion and Mission Trails Nature Preserve in Carmel!

Welcome back I say, more to myself that anyone that cares to listen.

I haven’t been gone, I’ve just taken a needed break. Well this is 2019 and this year I can blog, travel and find the job of my dreams, or the job that will get me to my next destination. 

I am tired of focusing on the past so I won’t go into the different careers I have tried in 2018, I will save that for a separate blog when I am feeling nostalgic. 

You’ve already heard of the places I want to visit in 2019, and I have been following several adventure groups for inspiration, one of my favorites is Adventurers in Heals.  There are women in every country hiking and exploring all over the globe, solo and with companions. 

This four-day weekend we decided to visit one of our favorite places Monterey, California as Jeremy purchased a Venjoy inflatable standup paddleboard that he wanted to test out. He purchased this inexpensive SOP online because it had great reviews. 

It was forecasted to be a wet weekend, so I didn’t have plans to go out onto the water with him, I decided I would wait for some dryer and warmer weather.

I am still in winter hermit mode, but as I watched him adorn his wet suit I couldn’t help but get excited about putting on my wetsuit and getting in on the fun.  

My shorty or short wet suit was purchased at Costco when we first married, and while spandex stretches A LOT I will admit that this darn wet suit was snug. Jeremy smartly suggested I put on my skin, a silky bodysuit designed to go under a wet suit. These skins normally help the wet suit glide over the body.  

This helped but I still looked like a harbor seal, who am I kidding, a harbor seal is tiny, I looked more like a sea lion and when I walked I felt like a penguinNote to self, shed a small child in 2019 or buy a new shorty before it gets warm

We inflated the SOP in the RV, the dogs were amused, luckily we had a small compressor.

We walked down to the pier and Jeremy attempted to paddle. The air in the SOP condensed because the water was cold and he needed to add more air. In hindsight, he needed to add more as the board was not firm and did not provide the support necessary to stand.

He attempted several times, and landed on the SOP each time he failed. While I never wished it, I filmed the whole thing waiting for comic gold of him going into the ocean water which never happened. 

After watching his unsuccessful tries, I decided to sit this one out and be the photographer in this adventure. Next time. 

We normally stay in Cannery Row when we visit Monterey but it can be noisy in an RV.

We recently became members of the Elks Lodge and decided to check out their RV accommodations.  They are located close to the Del Monte center behind a smalls shopping center.  

There are several restaurants within walking distance including a gluten-freeBakery, an upscale Bakery and coffee shop, and a Mexican restaurantThere is also a small grocer, launder, and a bottle shop with a fantastic wine selection.  

We went to the bakery this morning for breakfast, but they were closed on Sundays so we decided to try Serita’s the Mexican restaurant that was highly rated on yelp. Breakfast was delicious. I had the chorizo and egg breakfast, Jeremy had the chili verde and we both enjoyed them.

We decided to start a low carb diet, as suggested by my doctor.  It’s a relatively easy diet, limit your carbs to two items per day, stick to fish and lean meats and try to eat as many vegetables and fruits as possible.  Day Two and we haven’t killed each other.

Yesterday we decided to visit Carmel. Surprisingly, it was a beautiful day. While I say surprisingly this is one of the reasons we love the Monterey area, even in winter if the sun is out it is positively gorgeous

I usually refuse to go to Carmel, its just so expensive and difficult.  Parking can be difficult and every place is so expensive, but lately I have been feeling uninspired so I have been less particular on what I want to do or forcing my opinion.

Frankly, I hate to say it but I just haven’t cared much…about anything, except my family. I always care about my family.

Jeremy wanted to walk around Carmel and explore the neighborhood, the craftsmanship on the cottages and houses are so unique. Man of them look right out of a story book.  

The only request I had is that we did not drive into the small town to look for parking. It was difficult and almost impossible when we had a truck and camper, I knew that trying to park a motor home was not going to go well. 

We decided to park near the Mission of Carmel but as we got further away from Ocean Street, we wouldn’t be able to walk to the town. I suggested we pull onto a side street

We pulled onto Mesa Drive and not less than ¼ mile there was a water plant with plenty of parking out front for an RV.

When I say plenty of parking, I do not mean a parking lot, but there were two spaces of at least 40-50’ that were off the main road. Perfect for a small RV like ours. 

We put the dog leashes on our two lovable hounds and started heading in the general direction of the quaint little town.  

The dogs loved it, over the rooftops of these million dollar mansions the views of Point Lobos were majestic.

Jeremy was photographing fences for ideas as we are interested in replacing our front yard fence. 

When we arrived at the top of a drive there was a side road that looked like a private drive, it read Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden.

We decided to walk a little further to see if there was more. There was a gated garden that read no dogs. Hmm… that wasn’t for us, but the road rounded a corner and continued on.  There looked to be a house at the end of the drive.  

We’re we on private property, was this a city road, does the road continue on, the road did not have a name or a street sign. These questions were all running through my mind, as I got closer to the house it didn’t look like anyone was home, in fact, it looked and was abandoned.  

This wasn’t just any house; it was a mansion. I could see some pamphlets on the side of the house that made it seem like a tourist destination. 

We had stumbled upon the Historic Flanders Mansion that sits atop 33 acres of trails.

The Flanders mansion was purchased by the City of Carmel with the requirement that they keep it a nature preserve.  

They have tried unsuccessfully to sell the mansion, but luckily the people of Carmel have won that fight for now.

There are no signs and parking is limited but you can access the Mission Trail Nature Preserve from many different areas in Carmel.

The trails are dog friendly as is most of Carmel. There are trails, streams, trees, wetlands, small bridges, plants and golden retrievers galore. We saw 6 golden retrievers on our short afternoon exploring the trails, in addition to Elvis and Fonzie.  

It was a beautiful surprise and one I would definitely come back for again and again.  Not to mention after your hike you can walk to Carmel by the Sea and enjoy one of the many world class restaurants, but I will save that for another blog at another time. 

I do feel the need to add, what a wonderful surprise it was to find this hidden gem of Carmel. I was able to hike and explore and be surrounded by nature right in the middle of a city which was the goal. They wanted to created something similar to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.It is interesting that you won’t find the address on any maps; And there are no signs…it’s almost as if they don’t want you here!

You can read more about the history of the Flanders Mansion here http://www.flandersfoundation.org/index.htm







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