People might call me crazy, but all I could think about driving through each curve and seeing human life /hotels so sparse after another was how much it reminded me of the drive in the Amalfi Coast from Positano to Praiano. You feel like a racecar driver catching the sunset and headed to your destination which isn’t TOO far but takes longer than you think because of the roads. We stayed at Treebones Resort, the fun little Yurt and camping site about an hour past Post Ranch Inn and all the other popular spots (about 3.5 from SF). There. Is. No. Cell. Service.– and it’s wonderful!! Give yourself a break fools!
Big Sur has always been a dream trip of mine after seeing photos from a friend’s trip of the coast a few years ago. It’s a stretch of California by Carmel and along the Pacific Ocean full of gorgeous hikes, parks, windy roads, and a few inn’s and nice hotels.
My good friend Bailey drove us from San Francisco to Treebones, and we made it just in time to try their 12 inch wood-fired pizza on the deck overlooking the ocean and purple/pink sky. We chatted with an adorable couple from LA about…sushi and Erewhon, of course. These gorgeous 40-year-olds made me super excited for my future one day. I don’t know if it was that I was so relaxed in these mountains with crisp air or if the ‘za was really unique, but I promise, it was some of the best pizza I’ve ever had! The crust was just the right amount of crunch (not dry or too rough), and there were equal parts sauce to cheese which is my kinda guy! I could tell the dough had been fermented for a day or so as it was so digestible and fresh. In fact, I double checked with the chef as he was slinging pizzas into the outdoor oven. He said he had his own starter that was a young 6 months old. Get the Calabrese with Napoli Sauce, Calabrese Salami, Prosciutto, Olives, Mozzarella, Garlic Oil, Fresno Chiles, Fontina, Parmesan. Even the Tofu Lettuce Wraps on the regular menu ruled here! FYI they have a sushi omakase but it’s closed Monday + Tuesday so we didn’t get to go! Pizza is also not every night.
We parked in a little parking lot near Ragged Point Inn that has a plaza with bathrooms, a coffee shop, and a great look out view onto the rocks and water. The hike was straight up hill with an elevation gain of 1,800 feet. It’s a dirt path with beautiful pink and white pampas grass that reminded me of dried flowers. It took about an hour to hike up and similar down since it’s so steep down. While it was pretty foggy that day, hiking feeds the adventure side of me and gets my energy and calmness flowing. We could barely see the water, but it was just enough to feel refreshed. However, we did stumble into a little “chaos” if you will half way down. We saw a young stallion of a man dressed in camo with a gun looped over his shoulder and blood on his pants. Bailey and I stopped in our tracks literally (hello, he had a gun!), and then he proceeded to say “I shot a deer!” Yes, we then saw the clocked out deer in the wheelbarrow and swiftly kept power walking which naturally turned into a brisk jog. Why was he able to shoot deer on an open hike? We’ll never know. He was so cute though…
That night we drove about 45 min back to the main Big Sur area with the hotels and dined at the old Big Sur Inn restaurant called Deetjan’s (closed Weds + Thurs) which has been placed on the National Register Of Historic Places by the US Department of the Interior. This place was started by a husband and wife in the early 1900’s and you could tell. The old photos, small dark wooden restaurant with perfect dining coves felt so familiar and cherished. We had an adorable table in the window that faced the garden full of flowers and main road. The table was slanted so that we could both see out the window and even straight onto an old painting. I’ve never seen a table setting angled this way and I loved it. The small menu was just enough, and this is how I felt about the whole place in general. There are about 3 appetizers 3 entrees, and 3 specials. We shared a classic Caesar Salad, the Herb-Roasted Organic Half Chicken, and the Short Rib with Chimichurri. Both entrees topped mashed potatoes, broccolini, peas, and carrots. It felt kind of like Thanksgiving especially in this cozy cottage and warm “home.”
The best part, however, was as Bailey and I were diving into our chocolate molten cake with vanilla ice cream, we heard these adorable women senior to us snickering over the menu. They were ooing and ahhing about how they could order the entire thing and giggling like good ‘ole besties. I couldn’t help but lean over and whisper, “you sound just like us, we said the same thing when we sat down!” The two silver vixens (female version of silver fox—yes, I googled this) looked us up and down and starting howling laughing! They immediately dove into questioning how we knew each other, and we shortly learned we were both bi-coastal friends. Nancy, the woman closest to me, screamed “we are your age just in our bodies!” She kept nudging my shoulder lovingly as we continued to converse and when I told her I was from Austin, she asked if I knew about “that pool.” “OMG, Nancy, you have met the right person! I basically am that pool— I go to Barton Springs about every other day.” Again, the howling erupted and she even apologized to the party next to us over our excitement and chatter. She kept calling Bailey and I sisters and honestly, this was the most special part of our trip. I love connecting with older people, and I love how we giggled and saw what we had to look forward to which is exactly what we were already doing. It’s just a true testament to how special friendship really is.
The next day we sprung up to do the Pfeiffer Falls Trail (free parking on the street). It’s an easy, casual walk past a waterfall that goes up to a nice viewing point over the road where you can see hundreds of trees. It was a great way to move our legs and stretch after the strenuous hike the day before and on our way back out to San Francisco.
Our most important stop that morning, however, was a visit to Big Sur Bakery which is only open Wednesday- Sunday. The lovely setting kind of reminded me of Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket with the gorgeous gardens and outdoor seating. We snagged a Chocolate Banana Strudel, Chive Scone, and Plum Cake. They have an overload of pastries to choose from such as Maple Bacon Bow, Banana Walnut Tea Cake, Pecan Sticky Bun, Almond Croissant and also sell granola and other pantry items.
We grabbed a quick breakfast at Nepenthe which is known for their beautiful deck overlooking South Coast views and Santa Lucia Mountain Range. (Ok, so it’s Nepenthe for lunch and dinner and Café Kevah for breakfast). Same space, same views. They also have a cool shop with bath salts, posters, tinctures, books, etc. called The Phoenix that opens at 10:30 p.m.
Overall, Big Sur surpassed my expectations and more. I felt so present, centered, relaxed, and truly in my body. Nothing makes me feel happier than hiking through the mountains out of breath, getting to bed early on vacation, and exploring a place my eyes have never set sight on all while making new friends and strengthening my current friendships. Next time, I hope to go when I can get into Esalen Hot Springs and The Post Ranch Inn for dinner!