Dine next to the croquet lawn at Carmel Valley's Bernardus Lodge.
DINING AND A SHOW: Our state offers many opportunities for one to eat while watching something. An outdoor concert with picnic, a jousting medieval show with turkey leg, the holiday pageant at the Ahwahnee in Yosemite plus a sumptuous feast. But rarer is the opportunity to luncheon alongside a croquet court. Even typing those words -- "luncheon" and "croquet court" -- feels positively sybaritic. But Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley offers just that opportunity at Wickets Restaurant, plus the chance to swing a mallet during your stay.
OTHER BERNARDUS TOUCHES: The swank lodge just gave its main restaurant a full renovation and reimagining. Marinus has a "new dessert program" -- again, typing those words summons the sybaritic -- and a new chef in Cal Stamenov (Chef Stamenov will oversee the lodge's extensive organic garden). No word if lavender will make an appearance in some of the desserts, but the property is famous for its swaying lavender expanses. We need a few of those in our own lives, swaying lavender expanses. If only there was a swaying lavender expanses store in our area.
STILL DOG FRIENDLY: The property is pretty posh, it is true, but it is a relaxed posh, meaning Bernardus Lodge welcomes the waggers. Well, well-behaved pups, but all our pooches are pretty angelic, yes? We're already picturing the snapshots in the lavender. For more updates on one of Carmel's swankest settings, the updated Marinus, and all that lavender -- oh yes, and croquet and croquet-close dining -- check out the Bernardus site.