There are few places that match the rugged beauty of Big Sur.
It is a strip of land sandwiched between the Santa Lucia Mountains and a beautiful stretch of undeveloped Pacific coastline. It still looks much as it did centuries ago, and there is a certain timelessness to the surroundings that speaks to me. A weekend away in Big Sur never goes out of style. Here’s how to make the most of it.
Being in a place of such immense natural beauty, you want to stay somewhere where you can have a direct connection to it. The “Sycamore Cabin” at Glen Oaks Big Sur is just that place. It’s a beautiful cabin with an elegant, contemporary design with all of the modern conveniences of home, but is nestled within the famous redwood trees.
The cabin features a secluded patio, complete with Adirondack chairs and a fire pit. Imagine relaxing at the end of the day next to a fire, listening to the wind whistling through the Redwoods and the gurgling of the nearby Big Sur River. Now wake up because your boss is wondering why you aren’t working.
Start your morning the “life just doesn’t get any better than this” way with a drive along Big Sur’s famous Jade Cove Trail. The trail itself is only about a mile and half in length, but the scenery is so breathtaking you’ll want to go back and forth a couple of times. After the run, walk down to the rocky beach below and hunt for the naturally occurring jade that is the trail’s namesake.
Is there anything more rewarding after heavy exercise than to tuck into a couple hundred calories of breakfast goodness? My pick for the best breakfast goes to Café Kevah. The café is located down a slope and has gorgeous views of the Pacific Coastline. Try the Café Kevah Benedict (two poached eggs, with crab and avocado) or the potato flour “spudnut” doughnut with a cup of coffee. Order all three and you’ll have just the right amount of fuel to get your through to dinner!
Big Sur has long been a colony for artists. After breakfast and a quick shower, head out to one of the many art galleries that line the Pacific Coast Highway (Big Sur’s main drag). Visit the Henry Miller Library and check in on their inspiring exhibits. Miller called Big Sur home for many years, and the Institute formed in his memory acts as a memorial to the man and his works, while encouraging new artists.
When was the last time you ate at a restaurant that has been around for close to 75 years? Deetjen’s is another institution in Big Sur and it’s been serving locals and travelers alike since 1939. With that kind of pedigree, you might suspect that the fare would be traditional and stodgy, but one look at the menu shows that they have been staying current with the trending force of California cuisine. The spicy seafood paella is a must.
Long before settlers of European descent ever set eyes on Big Sur, the local Native Americans used the local hot springs for their medicinal qualities. The Esalen Institute offers several soaking pools all with gorgeous views of the tumultuous Pacific. The 1am soak under a blanket of stars is popular. Reservations are required, so call well in advance. Oh, and one other small teeny weeny detail that might be important to know… the hot springs are “swimsuit optional” That’s why I am suggesting a night soak after dinner and a few glasses of courage-building wine. Drunk responsibly, of course.
It’s the morning, so it’s time for another life affirming hike. The Julia Pfeiffer Burns Park and its famous Ewoldsen Trail is reason to begin journaling alone! A 4.5 mile loop winds through the local Redwood forest, along small creeks and features a stop at a 20’ waterfall. You’ll also see the remains of a home built by the people who donated the land to the state’s Park Service. Between the distance and the terrain, you’ll have easily walked off any over-indulgence from the night before and created an appetite for everyone’s favorite between meals, meal. Brunch!
Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant is only 3 miles from Glen Oaks, so getting there involves either a short car ride or a brisk walk (in case you needed more cardio after that hike!). The bakery is located in a charming farmhouse and the menu has several very tempting options on it to fuel up for the day. The 9-grain pancakes are must because, well-pancakes are always a must.
This spa has an eye-popping location perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The Post Ranch Inn is a beautiful destination and is world famous for its stunning views and gorgeously decorated rooms. All this equals pricey but you could take advantage of the extensive services the Spa offers. From its Jade Stone therapy to it’s Hungarian Herbal Body Wrap, it offers a full menu of treatments. But after breakfast at a farmhouse I’d suggest the Wildflower Facial to cap off a day and a trip that has you in touch with your more natural side.
Have you explored Big Sur? What was your favorite memory or experience?