About Us



The Story of Pilgrim’s Way Owners


Paul Fridlund and Cynthia Fernandes can see how clicking for purchases through a vast, worldwide, online platform offers some convenience, but it can also lack intimacy, warmth and a cohesive sense of community identity.

Running the last remaining bookshop in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the husband-and-wife team behind Pilgrim’s Way feels a certain weight of responsibility to help every single customer take a journey through the written world and the tranquil oasis they call The Secret Garden.

Fridlund became the fifth owner of the bookshop in the 1980s, following in the footsteps of his mother. He arrived from Wisconsin to help her set up a computerized inventory system right before her retirement.

Navigating through changing tastes, corporate dominance, rising rents and, of course, the rise of the internet, Fridlund kept the business local, heartfelt and transformative — always offering something for the adventurous at heart.

In the early 2000s, Fridlund joined his life with Fernandes’ and joined his bookshop with The Secret Garden next door. Running things as a hands-on team, the couple transitioned into a certified green business while connecting with its community and the beauty of the natural surroundings.

Pilgrim’s Way still stands behind its free gift-wrapping service, local delivery and a customized detective service for anyone searching for that perfect book or gift idea. And each day, two pilgrims stand ready to lead guests on their way.