Carmel is a beachy home away from home to me. It’s the West Coast version of the Hamptons, on Long Island, where I spent my summers growing up. I’ve gone to Carmel at different stages in my life—in high school with my parents, and again when I was in my twenties, backpacking with a friend. I’m very outdoorsy, and coming from New York City, where I live, being at the beach is paradise.
I love to drive along the stretch between Big Sur and Carmel, passing all the surfers, bikers, and hikers: the people who live in this area seem free. They’re in touch with nature, and they’re athletic—I love that California energy. It’s very youthful-feeling. And the weather is always perfect: that no-humidity, good-hair weather.
My brain switches into a different mode when I’m out there. It has a strong psychological effect, being near the Pacific. The wide-open vistas over the ocean, the groups of sea otters, the shade of the cypress trees in the redwood forests—it all makes me want to breathe. To take time to think. It inspires me, and it makes me feel that the sky’s the limit.
When its expansion is completed in October, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Lauren’s 15,000-square-foot emporium in New York City (1011 Third Ave.; 646/735-0078), will be the largest candy store in the world.
Reported by Dani Shapiro
“There’s an old-time candy shop, Cottage of Sweets, where I find inspiration and West Coast brands to bring back to my store.” Ocean Ave. between Monte Verde and Lincoln Sts.; 831/624-5170.
“Clint Eastwood’s Restaurant at Mission Ranch is a great spot. I also like an Italian spot called Casanova (Fifth Ave. between Mission and San Carlos Sts.; 831/625-0501; dinner for two $75). There’s a tree growing inside it.”
Pebble Beach. “I don’t golf, but I jog near the course. It’s one of the most beautiful in the world.” pebblebeach.com.