4.15.2013

Road Trip: Big Sur, California




One of the things I love most about living in Oakland, CA is simultaneously having access to the vibrant arts community of the Bay Area while also having access to wilderness areas, coastal towns, and otherwise epic California destinations within just a few hours drive. Last week we took a mini vacation to Big Sur-- about 2.5 hours down the coast just south of Monterey and Carmel. We spent two nights in a charming cabin tucked into the redwoods and spent our days surrendering to the little one's schedule by traversing the river, combing the beach, and indulging in the many wonderful eateries and roadside restaurants along Route 1.




Big Sur is something of a mystery if you've never been--while the town of Big Sur seems quaint and cozy the Big Sur region actually refers to the 90 mile stretch south of Carmel and north of Hearst Castle. This is the third time I've visited and I still feel like I'm just scratching the surface of what the area has to offer. It's nothing shy of heart-aching natural beauty in seemingly all directions. The combination of the Santa Lucia Mountains on one side of the highway and the rocky Pacific Coast on the other makes even the drive majestic. (It's actually been designated an American National Scenic Byway and a California Scenic Highway, should you care to know about such designations. I mean, it's pretty, friends.)




Each time I've visited it's only been for a day or two so I've yet to explore the epic hikes up the mountainsides (though I hear there are natural hot springs to reward you for a steep climb). Years ago, I did have the chance to indulge in one of the public hot spring nights at Eslan--well worth the weary hours of a midnight soak. This time, we spent a few hours on the beach, a few hours exploring the river and parks, and a few more hours visiting the local restaurants.




Did I mention the food? The Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant and Deetjen's Big Sur Inn each deserve a few hours of food exploration on their own (and their hours are flexible enough to accommodate various schedules, even toddler schedules). Cabins abound from the rustic to the luxurious and everything between. In addition to the restaurants and gift shops there are several nostalgic roadside pull-offs worth exploring--like storybook collections of cabins dotting the highway where even the gas stations are somehow charming. How is that even possible? It's a gas station, after all.




Our trip was simply too short. But it was well worth the logistical jostling of our freelance schedules and my only regret was that we didn't stay for three or four nights instead of two. Ho hum. If you're able to make the trip--whether you're near or far--I'd add Big Sur to your traveling wish list. Do it! Or if you're already a believer like me, then I suggest you promptly pack up your car and go there soon. (Maybe I'm just talking about me here.) Leisurely stroll the beaches and fine eateries and gaze up into the mountainside with all the wanderlust a California coastline has to offer. It makes the heart twitch in the best possible ways. Even if you just have a day or two to getaway, I promise it will be worth it.

xoxo,
k

8 comments:

  1. I love the cabin in the woods idea. Dreamy, yes! You can have the ocean, I'll stay tucked under the canopy of trees, and the wonderful shoppes and eateries! This sounds like a wonderful place!
    Happy Anniversary, friend!

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    1. yes, yes, yes! and thank you for the anniversary cheer. 14.5 years since the first love letters, 4 years wed. xoxo.

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  2. i love this! i will be asking more questions once we get closer to our california road trip we are planning for later in the year... i've been a few times, too, but i still feel like it's uncharted territory. xoxo

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    1. friend: i am happy to download all my big sur favorites. so exciting you'll be taking a family road trip soon. xo

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  3. Can we go back? Now? Please? xo

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    1. hi, dear you. what a sweet surprise to find you here. yes, let's go back very, very, very soon. xo.

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  4. Sounds like a quaint and charming place!

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    1. oh, it's gorgeous! i'd recommend it. and hello, and thanks for visiting here. nice to meet you!

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Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.