The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #233

Andrew Sullivan —  Dec 2 2014 @ 1:00pm


A reader snarks:

Saginaw, Michigan. Come on man, challenge us.

Another air-balls:

Ulcinj, Montenegro. Why not?  Could be any bit of rocky, pretty coastline, anywhere in the world. Don’t really have an F’ing clue.

Another sighs:

The picture is a needle in a haystack. The view seems to be an island. The colors seem to be a warm island close to the equator. The rocky coast suggest a volcanic beginning. The lighting seems to be late afternoon with a vantage point on the east coast of an island. The foliage seems more Mediterranean rather than Caribbean. All that leaves a lot of islands. I selected the Canary Islands based on the remote coast no boats. Gran Canaria. To pin down a city, my guess would be las Palmas or Santa Cruz. If I am within 1000 miles, I would consider it a win.

Another gets to the right coast:

Well, you picked a photo without my special helper trick: no satellite dishes in this photo! But the instant I saw this, I thought of southern CA, and my wife, who recognized Jefferson’s house, says San Diego, so we’re going with that.

Another is too far north:

Wow, I will tip my hat to the person who gets this without being a local or stayed here. My best guess is that this is the upper Mendocino County coast line, perhaps going further then that and might even be Oregon, but it’s all too familiar as I have traveled the coast often. There’s no frigging clue that would help me to pinpoint this location and I don’t have time to day to start searching the coast line using Google Earth to hunt for images for this building. I’m going for closeness points today: Elk, California. I imagine I’m within 30 miles.

In only 11 minutes after the contest was posted, our first entrant got the region just right: “Big Sur, CA”. Closer still:

I’ll be damned if that isn’t somewhere around the 17 Mile Drive in Carmel in coastal California.  The coastline and sunlight look like dead-ringers for it.  It looks like the window is facing south with some late afternoon sun.

This guy nails everything:


Long time Dish-head here.  I’ve entered the VFYW contest several times over the years, but never won (… never really even got close).  I’ve followed the contest closely since its inception. And I often have jealously read about those people who know a view instantly. Well – finally – that was me!!

The very moment I saw it I knew right away where it was. I live in Carmel-by-the-Sea and this is right next door – about 10 minutes away.  I knew immediately that it was shot somewhere in the Carmel Highlands, looking south into the glory that is Big Sur.  I assumed right away that it could only one of two places: either the Carmel Highlands Hyatt or the Tickle Pink Inn right next door. After looking around at a couple maps, I confirmed that it is definitely the Tickle Pink Inn:

tickle pink front

The view is looking south out over the stunning Yankee Point. It’s clearly overlooking the row of balcony’s on the top floor (down along the line of them, actually). The umbrella in the bottom of the pic below is on a “cliffside deck” they have that overlooks the Pacific, and further down on the terrace they have a hot tub. Needless to say, it’s an incredible property.

Figuring out exactly which window was somewhat tricky.  Actually: I take that back, it’s not tricky; I can point on the map which one it is, but I didn’t know the specific room number, etc.  (I live here – so I never stay in these incredible hotels we have!) But … I know VFYW and that I won’t win with just getting the Tickle Pink Inn right.  So I decided to take a trip. (Again, it’s about 10 minutes from my house.) After snooping around and bothering the Inn Keepers a bit, I figured it out. The room is at the very end of the building, on the top floor.  It is Room 28, also known as the “Crow’s Nest.”:


(I was informed that the December-March rates are: Sunday-Thursday is $327 + tax and Fridays and Saturdays are $469 + tax a night.) 

I can’t believe I finally got it right – and got it EXACTLY right – and got it almost instantly.  This is so exciting!

Nice job! Our window-guessing neuroscientist takes a less-local approach:

An easy one for this non-native Californian. The photo screams the CA coast: rough surf, cypress, headlands, breaking fog. There are surprisingly few stretches of the coast that accommodate lodging so close to the ocean yet aren’t in beachy SoCal. Thanks to dramatic coastal elevation but also thanks to successful conservation efforts from the Lost Coast in Humboldt/Mendocino counties to the protected Sonoma Marin county coast, and finally to protected Big Sur further south, most of the pacific coast between Oregon and Santa Barbara is more or less intact and free from development, and open to recreation. Without aggressive efforts to maintain these exceptional coastal areas in their relatively natural state, coastline like this photo would look like Atlantic City. Or southern CA.

In any event, the absence of palms and the coastal rockiness indicate this photo is from either the Sonoma coast or near Monterey Bay / Carmel. A quick scan on gmaps IDs Carmel as the source, specifically the Tickle Pink Inn:


Another gets misty:

I was fortunate enough to drive up the central California coast this past summer on a flawless, sunny day, and there are few places more beautiful when not covered by fog. Following the map up the coast and after a quick diversion at the Ragged Point Inn & Resort just south of Los Padres National Forest, I lit on the distinctive headland of Yankee Point, the subject of this week’s photo, located in Carmel Highlands, California. Ansel Adams moved here in 1962, drawn by its natural beauty and local real estate prices are some of the highest in the country, no doubt for the same reason.

Meanwhile, Chini is taken back in time:

The first view I found two years ago in Mendocino felt like a minor miracle. Now, finding a view like this, which is only a few hours away, feels almost routine. A few clicks here, a few clicks there and we’re done:

VFYW Carmel Overhead Marked - Copy

But one thing did stand out about this week’s location; it has to have the most unbearably cloying hotel name ever featured in the contest. This week’s view comes from room 28 of the, God-help-us-all, “Tickle Pink Inn” in Carmel, California. Yep, just writing it makes me wince.

Well this reader seemed to enjoy it:

view from-the-room 21

But another keeps his distance:

It’s a very discreet place, so I won’t begin to guess the room number.

A former winner explains the perfectly reasonable story behind the inn’s name:

The suggestively named hotel was once owned by California State Senator Edward Tickle and his wife Bess, who loved pink flowers.  Originally from England, Senator Tickle represented California’s 25th district from 1933 to 1943 and chaired the state Republican party from 1942 to 1944.

Another reader laments:

Wish I could offer up graphic tales of a Champagned honeymoon or a wet weekend of teenaged debauchery, but the best I can offer is the weekend afternoon I indulged in a little lifestyle envy and followed an Open House sign on Highway 1 to a glass-and-concrete apparition on Spindrift Road, future home of some one-percenter, vertiginously anchored over the foam, almost visible from here. I thought of calling the Inn’s front desk, but I figured they had taken the phone off the hook and were watching in awe as their online bookings rocketed up once a million Dishers started checking out the photos online.

Many among those million sent visual entries:


A reader starts to share the stories:

My parents used to go here once a year starting in the late ’60s; they went here the night of their wedding in June 1968. It has always held a place in my mind as a paragon of ’60s fashion (a’la James Bond or the Pink Panther), at least from their descriptions – they never brought me along. Nonetheless, I have two strong memories of it; my folks made a point of the fact that there were no TVs in the rooms (this, sadly, appears to no longer be true), and the motto, in mock Latin “Restabit; fortis arare placeto restat”, which was on the matchboxes my dad would bring home. From the website, it appears to have been significantly gentrified since those days. It was considerably more humble 40 years ago.

Several have stayed there themselves, of course:

Gotta say it looked familiar, but then a lot of the California coast looks a lot like that, and I’ve visited a lot of it over the years.  Still it sure looked Big Surish (not the hauntingly gorgeous parts of Big Sur, to be sure, but Big Surish nonetheless).  And why would I imagine there aren’t any number of comparably alluring places in the world sharing similar qualities of not-quite-the-most-gorgeous-parts-of-Big-Sur-but-still-gorgeous-in-their-own-right-ness?

I started a Google Image search for “Big Sur” but, just before hitting return, thought better and went for “Carmel Highlands” because it’s the sort of view I remember from my birthday stay there three summers ago at the Tickle Pink Inn (the northern gateway to Big Sur but not Big Sur itself, gorgeous view but not haunting, if you want haunting continue south another hour or so and stay at Post Ranch Inn or the Esalen Institute, both deep in the heart of Henry Miller country).

Don’t bother to imagine my surprise, therefore, when one of the first image results that appeared was essentially the same view as that of the view window, taken from an ocean view room at the Tickle Pink Inn:

Tickle Pink Inn VFYW

Needless to say I was tickled rosy.  It turns out that our view photo was taken in room 28, an ocean view room just above the front office, the other end of the building from where my wife and I had shared room 9, a cove view room, with damn-it just about as fine a view.

Another former guest:

I was raised in Salinas which is about 30 miles from there (and as many income groups lower) and my mom had a friend who worked at the place, so as a kid she would show us around the place because god knows we could never afford to stay there.  My husband and I finally stayed there years ago and I considered is a great accomplishment – the “little lettuce seed” had finally made it.  (Salinas is the lettuce capital of the world).  Thank you for making my day.

A few readers have even honeymooned at the hotel:

I am a Dishhead.  My husband, on the other hand, is only an occasional reader.  Still, he recognised this one rather than me.  It is a view from the Tickle Pink Inn in Carmel, California. We stayed there for our honeymoon.

Last but not least, a two-year veteran picks up the win this week with his 15th correct entry (including last month’s difficult Portugal view):

I first looked at this view as a small image on my phone and groaned in anticipation of a long sojourn around rocky coasts. But when I finally got to sit down with my coffee and laptop, itching for a challenge, I was at the hotel in about 5 minutes.


We are in the Room 28 (the “Crow’s Nest”) of the Tickle Pink Inn. Normally I’d have more to add, but this week I’m not feeling that verbose. Tryptophan?


This week’s photo came from the in-tray archives, circa 2012:

Carmel Highlands, 6:29 pm on Friday July 6th. View is from the “Crow’s Nest” room (#28) at the Tickle Pink Inn. Delightful place in every possible way (including the pretty absurd name).  My boyfriend and I came here for the first time last year and we’re hooked. There’s an awesome guest book in the room filled with entries from people on their honeymoons, anniversaries, and birthdays, many of whom have returned to the same hotel (and room) many times, or after 25 years of marriage. There’s also a seagull who sits on the railing outside and taps on the window looking for food.  It’s utterly charming.

She updates us with some fantastic news:

Wow! This is very exciting! My then-boyfriend in 2012 and I got married just a month ago! Somehow being selected for the VFYW contest at this time feels like a little wink from the universe. We’ve continued to go back to our beloved Tickle Pink Inn every year – so we’re on four years running now. That view never gets old and we hope to keep the tradition going for many (happily married!) years to come. Happy holidays to everyone at the Dish! And thank you!

PS: I finally subscribed to the Dish … I’ve been meaning to do so for a long time and the photo being featured got me to make it happen!

Congrats! We’ll be sending our newly wedded couple a brand new Dish mug as a belated wedding gift, which they will hopefully enjoy for many years to come. Bowie sure will:


For the rest of you, our 234th opportunity for contest-related romance arrives at noon on Saturday. In the meantime, our contest poet returns:

Searchin’ U.S.A.

If everybody had the notion,
Across the USA,
Then everybody’d be searchin’,
On ev’ry Saturday,

You’d see ’em stuck in their pee jays,
Fuzzy sandals too,
Bushy bushy bed hairdo,
Searchin’ U. S. A.

You’d catch ’em searchin’ Point Lobos,
On down to Yankee Point,
Big Sur, Cabrillo,
Kim Novak’s old joint,
All over the Highlands,
Off Carmel coast highway,

Everybody’s gone searchin’
Searchin’ U.S.A.

We’ll all be planning that route,
We gotta ID that view,
We’re wearin’ down our mousepads,
Shit, it’s way past noon!
We’re outta touch for the weekend,
We’re on search-fari to stay,
Tell the preacher we’re searchin’,
Searchin’ U. S. A.

If I had plenty of money,
I could chuck this iPad,
And drive a woody with my honey,
Down to that state most rad,

Off the Number 1 Highway,
They’re havin’ Fun, Fun, Fun,
At the Tickle Pink Inn, babe,
Room Twenty One!

Yeah, that’s the Tickle Pink Inn, babe,
Searchin’ U. S. A.!

Thank You! ….. Thank You!

(Archive: Text|Gallery)