Oh, Big Sur. We love you. This is the third part of our California road trip guide (see part one here and part two here) and this was hands down the highlight of our trip. Everything from where we stayed, to the scenery, to the food... heaven (the company wasn't bad either ;)).
We got some really amazing recommendations from a few different friends and ended up staying at Glen Oaks Motor Lodge, which were these really cool and gorgeously landscaped cabins (smell of jasmine everywhere!) with really cool and modern interiors. We stayed in the King Adobe Motor Lodge which had its own private patio with double-sided fireplace that worked inside and outside, heated stone floors in the bathroom and a yoga deck and zen water tablet and three bottles of wine to purchase. I was sooo happy here!
We loved, loved the Big Sur Roadhouse across the street. They serve free coffee to guests at Glen Oaks every morning from 7-9 and you can take your coffee and walk down by the river where you can see their free standing cabins and the redwoods! Their food is also outstanding. I wish we could have had dinner here because we heard great things but they have a killer brunch on the weekends. Yum!
Basically all we did in Big Sur was eat and drive and look at the views as well as see a few of the gorgeous parks. We also visited a few "clothing optional" spas. More on that later!
Deetjens was as good as everyone said it was. Huge portions, the coffee is flowing, the fireplaces were lit when we were there and it was super cozy and charming. This is a Big Sur institution.
The Big Sur Bakery is supposed to really fantastic for dinner as well but we popped in for their famous pastries and a killer latte. The gardens outside of the Big Sur Bakery which are attached to another Inn were so gorgeous and whimsical.
Big Sur Roadhouse (see above - pictured above)
We had a really fancy lunch at Post Ranch Inn which is one of the higher end places to stay. You wind up to the top of the hill to an entrance and another set of 70+ stairs to get to the restaurant which is perched on the side of a cliff. Great real estate! The blue glasses restaurant was stunning with plenty of ocean views but we decided to take advantage of the stunning weather by sitting outside on the small patio. The fare here is of the "foodie" variety, think molecular gastronomy, edible flowers, smaller portions and a big price tag. It was honestly very good but not one of our favorite meals there.
We really fell in love with the Ventana Inn, we ate dinner there for our anniversary and loved it (we did the chef's tasting menu and while I couldn't breathe after it was heavenly) but the lunch was even better. I had the brisket sandwich and it was honestly one of the best meals I've ever had. Oh, to have it right now! The patio is breathtaking with equally gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean.
Fernwood Inn is where the locals hang out. This place looks frozen in time. I felt like we were stepping on to the set of dazed and confused. Think local surfers and bar food. They have everything from pizza to wraps and it's completely unfussy. A great inexpensive place to grab a beer and people watch.
Ventana Inn (see above)
Nepenthe for sunsets. This is another Big Sur institution and situated right on top of a cliff with a tiered outdoor seating space which packs out quickly. Make sure to come well in advance to see the sunsets, have drinks and grab dinner. Dinner can be expensive but we got apps and sandwiches and it wasn't crazy at all. One of my most favorite evenings for sure.
Esalen Public Night Hotsprings (their image above). Ok, so this was definitely something that I never thought I would actually experience but basically there is this world famous Esalen Institute in Big Sur that hosts retreats, workshops, etc. They have these incredible natural sulphur hot springs that hang over the ocean and from 1 am to 3 am they offer "a service to the public" where you can take a night bath in the springs. You have to call in the off season the day of to make a reservation and we weren't able to get in the first day but were the second and holy moly, incredible experience! I was pretty much one of the only non-naked attendees but nonetheless it was completely magical. Don't want to say too much in hopes you'll go and experience it for yourself.
McWay Falls is one of the most photographed spots at Big Sur. Stunning nature at its finest. You can't help but feel the mark of our Creator while you are here. The park was actually donated by a couple who built "the waterfall house" on the property, which you can still see the ruins of the stairs to the house to this day. The wife donated the land to California and named it after her dear friend. Just incredible.
Pfeiffer Beach was Sam's favorite. He's a coastal boy through and through. You wind down a road forever until you get to the gate and pay $10 for access. The locals parked up the hill and walked. There are these incredible rock formations and purple sand. Need we say more?
There are so many spa options but we went with a very extravagant couple's massage at Ventana Inn (make sure to nail down specifics before spending ALL the money! ha!) which was lovely and then afterwards spa guests have access to the bathhouse and pool where once again... clothing optional. See below. HAHA!!
The last installment will be San Simeon and San Francisco <3
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