Visit Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur, California
This post has nothing to do with Carlsbad, where I live, nor the information I have about my community happenings, inventory, market conditions or other useful tidbits.
It IS about the beauty of the California coastline, which was truly revealed to me on my trip last weekend up the Central Coast from San Luis Obispo to Monterey (and ultimately to San Francisco).
A trip along Route 1 north from SLO to Monterey is an amazing visual experience. One cannot help but be in awe of the gorgeous landscape, the power of the ocean against the edge of the continent, the triumph of construction to create an incredible 2 lane road at the edge of the mountains overlooking the sea or extraordinary homes perched on cliffs, and the raw power of Mother Nature that never ceases to remind us who is in control (witness the landslides that periodically close parts of the road).
There are a few horror stories of cars being crushed by falling boulders and at least one person being swept over the cliffs by rocks. Sort of puts things in perspective with regard to humankind versus the environment.
This drive is not one for the faint hearted, or someone in a hurry, but IS one for someone who appreciates the natural beauty of land and sea...and who has a few hours to enjoy the time it takes for this drive. You won't find lots of shopping, restaurants, or other touristy stuff, so forget it. And because of the twisting, narrow roads (and some traffic) you won't be speeding along at the rate most Californians achieve on the freeways.
Oh, and buy your gas before you get started - I paid $4.59/gallon for premium at Ragged Point.
There is so much one could write about, but the area that impressed me most was Nepenthe, a famous restaurant at the south end of Big Sur (probably the most famous enclave along the Central Coast).
Since we decided to stop for a break, I took time to take a bunch of photos that capture, in my mind at least, the incredible beauty of the California coastline. [See Nepenthe in Wikipedia for interesting references on the origins and meanings of the word].
[photo of elephant seals on beach at right was taken at a state beach not far north of San Simeon, home of the Hearst Castle and just south of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse - they have established a significant colony there - hundreds on the beach]
Nepenthe Restaurant is on the upper level ('bout 800 feet above the ocean), with extraordinary views - the restaurant has been a part of the area for over 50 years.
There is also a gift shop called Phoenix (didn't take that in so can't comment), added in the mid 90s, and another patio area for cafe dining. Lunch and dinner is served, but who cares what you are eating with these views. The design and construction is typical of properties (residential and commercial) in this area...contemporary, rustic, lots of wood, and preservation of the natural landscape and trees wherever possible. One can imagine sitting there for hours, simply enjoying the natural beauty and the allure of this amazing area of California.
Obviously, because I am a REALTOR, I was especially curious about the real estate. You can't really see much since what homes there are have been built below the cliffs, hidden behind massive gates and trees. But you can envision living along the coast with endless ocean views, beautiful mountains, and regular visits of fog that obscures your views, but with the trade-off of being miles away from any amenities.
But if you can afford the price, who cares - homes for sale in Big Sur (that I found) start around $2 million (and that is for a smallish home on multiple acres with a couple of bedrooms).
Fortunately major efforts are made to not disrupt the landscape, and of course the difficulties and costs of building in such a challenging environment keep development at bay, and prices incredibly high. You pay a price for privacy, but I am so thankful they are doing what they do to preserve thisbeautiful coastline.
This area is absolutely worth a trip if you have not been there. There are some terrific places to stay along the coast (albeit rather pricey): Ranch Post Inn and Ventana in Big Sur are two that spring to mind (I've eaten lunch on the patio at Ventana - great food and great views). There is also a place that looks wonderful, with great views, at Ragged Point (Ragged Point Inn), south of Big Sur (but don't buy their gas!!). This is a great trip for a weekend visit to get away and relax. Don't forget your camera.
Enjoy the show!
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