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Destination I Do

Carmel Valley Country Retreat

Words by Carolyn Steere
Photos courtesy of Bernardus Lodge & Spa
This romantic retreat nestled in one of California’s premier wine regions marries the perfect destination wedding setting with culinary excellence, quaint luxury accommodations, near perfect weather and an endless array of activities for you and your guests.

Also known as “the sunny side” of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel Valley is only a short drive to spectacular Monterey Peninsula; home to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Pebble Beach Golf Links, a 17-mile drive along the rugged Pacific Coast and Big Sur, where the coastal wall drops 4,000 feet to the sea.

The nearby award winning Bernardus Lodge and Spa has a “boutique” feel from the moment you drive up the winding road lined with grapevines and arrive at the main lodge that features Monterey Territorial-style architecture. The guest rooms are warm and inviting with vaulted, beamed ceilings, limestone fireplaces and French doors that open to reveal spectacular mountain or garden views.  

One wedding per day, coupled with the personal attention of the talented staff, will put your mind at rest so you can take in the moment as you exchange vows in a landscaped garden surrounded by vineyards and roses. The Meritage Ballroom is only steps away, where up to 150 guests can dance the night away under the glow of wrought-iron chandeliers. Chef Cal Stamenov presides over the culinary experience inspired by the local, seasonal offerings of the Central Coast.

While there, be sure to dine at the Marinus and consider indulging in the Chef’s Tasting Menu which features regional, organic produce and the day's catch from local fishermen. The dessert menu, designed by Pastry Chef Ben Spurgin, beautifully combines savory and sweet with the entire meal blended together with the selections of Sommelier Paul Wetterau.

No visit to the area is complete without enjoying the local wines, and Carmel Valley is the perfect place. You can stroll from one tasting room to the next in this quaint town. Here you can delight your palate, learn from the local experts, and enjoy the quaint boutiques and antique shops.

A romantic wedding in wine country…be sure to put Bernardus Lodge and Spa on your short list of places to consider.

This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Spring/Summer 2015 issue. You can order a copy here.
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