Carmel's Mission Ranch has a bucolic setting and a famous name attached: Clint Eastwood.
HOLLYWOOD IN THE FIELD: Anyone who has worked in or around show business understands the thinking that Hollywood isn't just Hollywood. That may sound like a strange riddle, but it simply means that films go on location and stars sometimes live outside of Los Angeles. And when stars do live outside of Los Angeles, they very often head north, to the coast, to spread out on a little land or raise horses or help with animal sanctuaries. That's been the tradition, at least, for the last several decades, meaning that the Central Coast and Monterey Bay area are both steeped in Tinseltown lore. (Don't you love when you get a chance to use "steeped"? We do.) If you're longing a bit of that Hollywood Northwest flavor, and you've got a few days to road trip, why not check out...
THE MONTECITO INN: Charlie Chaplin is the name most associated with this 1928 beauty; after all, he opened it. Many luminaries of the day, and the years after, came to stay, including Carole Lombard. The boutique property is in Santa Barbara.
FOUR SEASONS THE BILTMORE SANTA BARBARA: Rock Hudson married here, and stars from the Golden Age regularly returned. (Hi, Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo.) Of all of California's old-school, swankified resorts, this one feels very much like walking into 1935. Call it a time machine, with cocktails.
MISSION RANCH RESORT: Mr. Clint Eastwood -- we're fairly sure that name needs no introduction -- saved this Carmel beauty, and restored it, too. It's got the best of both Carmel pleasures, too -- under ten blocks to the beach and under ten blocks to the village. You kind of want both while you're there, right?
CYPRESS INN: It's charming, it's historic, it has a famous co-owner -- Ms. Doris Day -- and it is located in oh-so-quaint Carmel. (Seriously, can't the word "quaint" and "Carmel" just be interchangeable?) But possibly it's biggest claim to fame is it is very, very dog friendly. Hurrah to that. Or, rather, arf arf?