Set on a rocky cliff above the dramatic coastline, Carmel is
known for its magnificent natural scenery and neat rows of quaint
shops lining its Ocean Avenue, as well as its rich artistic
history. A number of the city's mayors have been poets or actors -
none more famous than Clint Eastwood, who held the post from
1986-1988. Like much of California, Carmel was colonised by the
Spanish. It was named by the explorer Sebastian Vizcaíno, who named
the town and surrounding valley for Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
In the 1770s the Spanish set up a mission in the town, building
the first stone mission in California. Since that time Carmel has
become famous for some beautiful architecture, much of which is
found nowhere else in the state. Today, many of these buildings
house an attractive array of individual, independent shops along
with some appealing art galleries and tearooms. With the largely
untouched nearby coastline also proving a popular draw, the
charming town of Carmel is a highlight of our USA rail tours.