California Dreaming: Big Sur

by Chris on February 9, 2012

California Dreaming continues with a look at the gorgeous Big Sur.

California Dreaming: The BIg Sur

My California Dreaming series continues with a look at Big Sur.

California Dreaming, the Big Sur

This stretch of coastal California has inspired writers, travelers and thinkers for more than a century. Authors such as Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac found inspiration in the forested coast, which was sparsely populated until the famed Route 1 became a state highway in 1939.

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, CA

Big Sur also played a big role in developing “New Age” California culture. The Esalen Institute, founded in 1962, hosted East-meets-West classes and seminars that attracted big name lecturers: Timothy Leary, Carlos Castaneda,  Deepak Chopra, Aldous Huxley, Joseph Campbell and B.F. Skinner. Residential workshops are still being held.

The Big Sur

If you’re more into the outdoors than workshops, then you’ll want to plan your Big Sur trip around some hiking. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has everything that you’d want for a day in the woods, with a gorgeous beach to boot.

Monterey County

(North of Carmel, Point Lobos State Park also has some amazing hiking and otter watching opportunities. While I was there, I saw people scuba diving in the chilly water).

The Big Sur

Many Route 1 tourists simply stop and snap photos of the iconic cliffs, and move on. But Big Sur has some amazing, splurge-worthy properties. If you’re breaking the bank for a special occasion, you’ll want to check out Ventana Inn & Spa. As you can see from the photo at the top of the post, sunsets here are amazing.

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur

Or Post Ranch Inn, where Julia Roberts and her husband Danny were eating breakfast on the morning I was there. I read later that they were there on a birthday trip, sans twins.

The Big Sur

As for me? Well, I can’t wait to get back to Glen Oaks. I loved almost everything about this property, tucked away in the woods on Route 1. The cabins in the Redwood Grove had just the right mix of luxe and rustic. I could have spent a week in my Wi-Fi enabled cabin, writing and taking nature breaks. And the rooms in the motor lodge were new, but had a mod sensibility that I could get behind. Best of all, the prices start at $175 a night.

While Big Sur can be a pricey destination, you don’t have to stay at the expensive five-star resorts. Stay at a less expensive hotel and save your money for a great meal out or a couples spa service.

The Big Sur

One amusing note: Several places we saw in Big Sur featured those double outdoor tubs. It’s so California to me (and, more disturbing, reminds me of those Cialis commercials. When the time comes, will you be ready?)

My trip to Monterey County was sponsored by Go Monterey , but my opinions are my own. 

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Kent @ No Vacation Required February 9, 2012 at 6:39 am

That cabin in the woods looks so peaceful. LOL at the double tub thing.

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Chris February 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Seriously, all the resorts in Big Sur have those tubs. I think it started with those hippies at Esalen. :)

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Abby February 9, 2012 at 10:04 am

I would love to stay there! I think I’d sleep well at night there — not an easy feat.

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Chris February 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm

The cabins are really the best deal on the coast (which is saying something, because the area is pricey). I really enjoyed the atmosphere there.

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Kirsten February 9, 2012 at 10:22 am

Big Sur is my FAVORITE place in California.

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Chris February 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm

There is something magical about it, isn’t there? I’m dying to go back down, and bring Don next time.

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Cathy Sweeney February 9, 2012 at 10:40 am

Big Sur is one of my favorite stretches of coastline in California. I love taking that drive. Enjoyed the pics and story.

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Chris February 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I agree. Every time I go, I remember how much I love it. Thanks for commenting!

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Cailin February 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm

I’ve always wanted to take a trip to Big Sur! Looks lovely :)

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Sophie February 10, 2012 at 2:27 am

Big Sur is such a lovely area. Might just be my favourite in the USA.

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Cam February 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Looks wonderful! We’ll have to make the road trip south someday soon ;-)

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