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Once Upon A Time In Carmel

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

Carmel-By-The-Sea is a small seaside resort south of Monterey, CA. Renowned for its scenic sandy beaches, historic Spanish mission and enchanting village ambiance, this charming town attracts many daytrippers from the Bay Area. Most tourists stick to the coffee shops and window shopping along Ocean Avenue, and are unaware of the storybook cottages that are sprinkled around town. There are 21 such fairytale cottages tucked away in the streets of Carmel-By-The-Sea.

These adorable little cottages were built in the 1920s by Hugh Comstock, for his wife, Mayotta, who made and sold rag dolls that she named “Otsy -Totsys”. When her dolls outgrew their home , she asked Hugh to build her a Doll House to use for her sales and as a showroom. And so he built. And built. And built. Until there were 21 of them scattered all over Carmel.

After much “sleuthing” I found where/how to locate these whimsical little cottages and with our modern day princess in tow, we spent an “enchanting” afternoon identifying them. And as we drove/walked around Comstock Historic District, we saw many more cottages just as charming as Comstock’s.

You can get a map for the location of the Comstock cottages at the Visitors Center on Ocean Avenue. You can find more information about Hugh Comstock and his fairytale cottages here :

This was the fifth cottage built by Comstock. Most of the house built in the Comstock Historic District dont have any house numbers. Instead, they are identified by their name, giving each house a character. This one is called "Our House", built in 1928 for $1900.

Comstock fairytale cottages look so dreamy and well maintained, even after a century. They still look like how they did in the 1920s.

Some of the cottages have been turned into candy shops and boutiques. This one looked liked one of those Micky / Minnie cottages you'd find on Main Street USA in Disneyland.

Loved this window with the heart shaped cutout in the wooden shutter

Many of these historic treasures are secluded behind grape stake gates and high shrubs.

This one is called "The Studio". This particular cottage started off as the doll display studio for Mayotta Comstock and her doll-making business

These cottages are the epitome of charm and character. This old world lighted lantern added to the beauty of this place.

Comstock’s architectural signature can be seen in the steeply pitched roof and Carmel stone fireplace.

This "Storybook Cottage" looks like a cute gingerbread house. Notice the Carmel stone fireplace - a signature of Comstock's architecture.

This cottage which looked deserted and slowly going to disrepair, felt like a wicked witch would pop out of that door anytime.

The hand-carved trim made each of these magical cottages look so inviting.

Pretty, well maintained gardens added to the whimsy of this place.


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