Carmel Quaint: Inns of Distinction Tour

Call upon the sweet city's stay-over spots at this annual December event.

GRAND HOTELS, the kind of multi-story, huge-of-hallway places that have stood in the middle of metropolitan downtowns for decades (and even centuries), are known for their lavish approaches to the seasonal baubles, bows, and bunting. The lobby will be decked from the balcony to the stairs to reception, while each hotel restaurant and bar sports its own tree. This can make big hotels a destination unto themselves come December, but let us also remember that smaller stay-over spots also hang the holly and the ivy and the popcorn and the cranberries. Find a cozy bed & breakfast, the kind with a gable or two, and you're bound to find lights on the porch and a candle in the window. You don't need to search far/wide for such a place around Carmel-by-the-Sea, though, and if you're there around the first Sunday in December? You have a chance to call upon several historic overnighteries in one festive and fell swoop. The name of the annual walk-around (and sip-around, but more on that in a moment) is the Inns of Distinction Tour, and it is scheduled to bring charm and cheer, both, on...

SUNDAY, DEC. 4: The $40 tour is an afternoon affair, from 2 to 5 p.m., and a quaint clutch of the quaint town's quaintest structures are on the map, from Cypress Inn to Carriage House to the Lamp Lighter. There shall be "tastings from local vineyards" and a gratis glass to keep, if you're hoping for a souvenir to remind you of this seasonal tradition. And while some inns may only have a few Christmassy details about, you're bound to feel the comity and beauty of the time of year. Need to know more? Would love to Carmel-it-up in December? Adore a cozy inn and all its appointments, whatever time of year it happens to be? Your tour info is here.

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