This Labor Day weekend the Duke and I decided to unplug by going to Central California. We drove up the Pacific Coast Highway through San Luis Obispo, Cambria, and San Simeon with our final destination being Big Sur. Many people will tell you how nice the Pacific coast is over there, but if you haven’t gone yourself, you can’t really grasp what they mean. First of all, Big Sur is not only a beach region that stretches for 90 miles along the coastline, but an actual mountain that extends inland. At its highest, it reaches 5,000 feet falling abruptly into the water and creating a dramatic scenery. From San Simeon, the height of the coast starts increasing and you can see the amazing juxtaposition of green rolling hills and cliffs against the bluest of water — it’s amazing how much it resembles Scotland or Ireland.
Along the way, there are rocky, white and purple sand beaches, chunks of land and giant rocks emerging right on the shore, caves and waterfalls, and exotic looking landscapes filled with flowers and vegetation.
The biggest surprise of all is seeing the mountain side of Big Sur which is just a mere couple of miles inland. At some point, the PCH deviates into a forest of tall sequoia and redwood trees in the heart of Big Sur where there are a few picturesque restaurants, cafes, galleries, and lodging alternatives (my favorites are the Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn and the fun camping ground by the Big Sur river, the Fernwood Resort). It’s so fascinating to have both of the best possible worlds in nature; being able to breathe the salty pure ocean air infused with the crispy mountain one. It’s no wonder that author and artist Henry Miller chose this place to live and work between 1944 and 1962. To honor his memory and extraordinary work, there is a memorial library that serves as a bookstore and arts center right in the forest. When you walk in there you can breathe a little piece of American literature, too.