48 Hours In Big Sur
Living in Los Angeles has many pros. One of them is the ease to jump in your car and set sail to some not so far away, magical destinations. One of my favorites is Big Sur, CA. Located just over 300 miles north of Los Angeles, this dreamy strip of land is where the ocean meets the forest and showcases a coastline that is flooded with Redwood trees, delicious food, quiet retreats and a surplus of blissful hiking trails. Oh, and no traffic, sirens blasting or helicopters buzzing above. Take me back. My husband and I left Los Angeles at 7a on a Thursday morning for our "Baby Moon" (man, I never thought I would say those two words together). We took the PCH north up the coast and made two stops (one in Santa Barbara and one in San Louis Obispo) before reaching down in Big Sur. Below you can find our itinerary...and I must say, it was pretty perfect.
Day 1 First Stop, Santa Barbara, CA for a refuel of the car and the belly. Located in the oldest part of town, Handlebar Coffee Roasters is a bustling, adorable neighborhood coffee bar that was opened by two professional cyclists. The couple has since left cycling and mastered the art of roasting the perfect bean and baking the perfect croissant in a beautiful, bright space with seating indoors and out. Success.
Second stop, lunch in San Louis Obispo, CA. Serving up fresh, seasonal breakfast, lunches and dinners is Big Sky Cafe. With a beautiful, healthy menu that caters to vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free folk and beyond, it was a sure bet. Plus, they have a Vegetarian Beet Ruben and I had to try it! Delish!
Around 2:30p we reached our final destination, Big Sur. After a few stops to admire the mesmerizing views of the Pacific Ocean, we headed for one of the most special places in all of the land...Esalen. This unique space is devoted to activities such as personal growth, meditation, massage, yoga, psychology, ecology, spirituality, and organic food. Esalen can be visited by appointment only. There are a few ways to do so 1.) Book a weekend or week long retreat/workshop. 2.) Public night bathing in their hot springs during the hours of 1am - 3am, reservation only. 3.) What we did, which was book a massage. There are about 6 slots per day available to the public, so call ahead to reserve. Visitors are allowed to use the cliffside hot springs an hour before and after their massage. Honestly, this clothing optional experience is something like no other. After soaking in baths with the sounds of waves crashing below you and views of the wide open sea, you will leave feeling calm, rejuvenated and centered. Every time we come here, my husband and I agree that this is hands down the best massage, and their prenatal massage is equally as wonderful. Truly a full mind, body experience. After lounging for 3.5 hours, we really worked up our appetites and dragged ourselves over to Big Sur Bakery, one of our favorite places to nosh on wood-fired pizza, perfectly cooked vegetables and some seriously mouth watering desserts. They serve delightful breakfasts, lunches and dinners, so there is no excuse to not hit up this gem while in Big Sur. Always a winner.
After dinner we checked into our home away from home, Glen Oaks. This "adobe motor lodge" sits nestled along the curvy PCH and yet still manages to make you feel like you are worlds away from civilization. Each room has heated floors, a fireplace, books, games, a walk in shower and a super cozy bed to retreat to after a long day exploring nature. For an even more epic experience, book one of their dreamy cabins that sit down along the Big Sur River. Each cabin has their own kitchen, outdoor fire pit and pair of clawfoot soaking tubs. Swoon and goodnight.Day 2 After a peaceful sleep we hit up the restaurant at Glen Oaks, The Big Sur Roadhouse for our complimentary coffee, tea and house-made donuts. This was immediately followed by a long, peaceful walk along the wind-y Big Sur River.
We left Ventana feeling refreshed and cruised a few minutes south to Nepenthe for evening cocktails (mocktails for me) and to catch the sunset. This restaurant is the ideal location for sitting above the clouds and starring out onto the sea while eating a yummy lunch or dinner and soaking in what it means to be in Big Sur. So grateful. A day is not complete without an epic dinner, so next on our list was the very charming and rustic Deetjens. Nestled between Highway 1 and the Redwoods, this hotel and restaurant is on the National Register of Historic Places and reminds me of something out of a fairytale. If you are in Big Sur this dimly lit eatery is a tres romantic and a must for so many reasons, the food and friendly waitstaff being just two of them.
Day 3 Donuts. Again. Followed by a drive 10 minutes north for a peaceful hike through a river (literally) and out to the Pacific Ocean at Andrew Molera State Park. Pack a lunch, a towel and your swimsuit because once you make your way out to the beach you won't want to come back. This easy hike is a really great activity for expectant Mom's or those with little ones and also a perfect place to camp. Before bidding farewell to Big Sur, we stopped by Deetjens for oooooone more meal, which was the perfect brunch. It managed to be a whole different, magical experience in the daytime. Bright space, classical music, a pot of tea, a good book and...huevos rancheros. I mean, cmon. It's vacation and I'm pregnant. After brunch we ventured on our last hike of the day, sigh. Driving south on the PCH we parked at an inlet just before the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and disappeared into the mountainside trail that winded down to the rocky oceanside coast. Breathe. Soak it all in.Sun kissed and relaxed, we drove south back to Los Angeles with full hearts and bellies...until we reached The Funk Zone (yes, that is what this area is called) in Santa Barbara. The Funk Zone is a really hip area where you can find some wonderful eats and entertainment. We were tired and only had a brief amount of time, so we hit up The Lucky Penny for salads and sandwiches...and cruised into the night back to Los Angeles.
Big Sur, thank you for being so f'ing incredible. We will be back, and when we are...we will have a child, and so much to share with him/her about the beauty of Big Sur. All in all, if you are in need of an escape, go to Big Sur...immediately.