Our morning started at Lovey's tea shoppe on Highway 1 in Pacifica. It was really the only middle ground location and it proved to be a winner. Very cozy, many delicious food options and the perfect atmosphere to catch up with old friends before my mom and I started on our adventure.
As we drove started our journey, it was so fun to see all the pumpkin patches, artichoke farms and general local scenery. There were a few spots I would like to pop in next time, the first on the list being Sam's Chowder House, which had about 75 cars parked outside at 11 am.
Our journey continued on to 17 mile drive from Monterey to Carmel. Being from passionate golfing lineage, we had to stop in Pebble Beach. It was bustling with activity, just as I remembered. I played back in 2003 with my Dad and while I was having an epic round, I completely collapsed on 18 tee. Having been shielded by some of the most gorgeous terrain in America, I never suspected walking up the fairway I would be reintroduced to hundreds of golf loving spectators soaking in the scenery. They might be enjoying the view, but it is hard to think they aren't also noticing the 4 shots it is taking you to get out of an unsuspecting sand trap.
Carmel is the best place to spend a couple hours. We walked up and down the charming streets, popping in shops and worked on our... field research. Isn't that what trips like this are all about? A little break away to be re inspired. This is re inspiration in real time, right here. By the way, I grow succulents because generally I cannot kill them. They are all over California, looking beautiful. I'm going full throttle with the succulents next year.
The highway 1 drive through Big Sur is pretty unpopulated and undeveloped- as one would hope it to be. We were obsessed with the picturesque Carmel Highlands General Store right as our tour started... great place to pit stop and stock up on snacks for the ride! We also loved all the little vintage "motor lodges" which had both a vintage 60's vibe and current day cool- like Glen Oaks. I felt like we were back in the days when it was cool to hitch-hike, a VW bus would be THE travel vehicle of choice and family memories were made in motor homes. All those sightseers needed were some Pendleton blankets, a warm thermos, a camp fire and Jenga. It might be 2013, but we saw plenty of VW busses. Engulfed by the nostalgia of the simplicity of an open road and shaded by a canopy of trees, we felt light years away from wifi (er, well except for trusty Google maps) and it barely even phased us that we hardly had enough cell reception to tune into our latest Pandora station. I guess it's true, inspiration can be found in simplifying.
As the sun started setting, we pulled into the Post Ranch Inn. Nondescript from the road, we almost blew by it, until in a moment of unusual clarity and the trusty iphone informed us we were, in fact, at our destination. It was the perfect time of day. The sun was casting an orangey glow, the haze was rolling in over the ocean and it looked like we were floating above the clouds. This might be the closet thing to reality heaven.
The beautiful evening lead to an equally amazing morning, which made me realize that it's not just the time of day, but more the ability to experience these transitions so seamlessly when you shut out the chaotic noise of everyday life.
We were some of the first people at the Elephant Seal Beach. They are some crazy animals! They were stretched out as far as the eye could see.
Our day was spent touring Hearst Castle. We did all three tours- that's right- three tours. It a pretty amazing example of the over the top, exuberant wealth of the founders of American industry. Nothing was off limits. It is truly a museum. The entire interior is dark and almost reminiscent of 17th century European churches. There are a lot of gothic influences as much of the art was collected after WWI, when Europe was sending ships full of antiquities to American's to help pay their debts. What I enjoyed most was walking around the grounds. The views are stunning. The landscaping beautiful. The guest houses that surround the main house seemed livable on an almost more relatable scale, albeit still one of undeniable glitz and glamor.
Our last stop, Santa Barbara!