A couple of weeks ago, my adventurous sister and her best friend invited me along for a trip to Big Sur just two weekends before Highway 1 officially reopened. Having never visited Big Sur before, I figured that a weekend getaway before midterms sounded great.
And getaway truly is the word to describe it, especially with the highway closure. Your phone barely works, you could walk down the middle of the road without much worry and you wake up to the sound of rivers flowing and birds chirping rather than the sound of jackhammers outside your building. Eager to get out on both mornings, we scarfed down our breakfast burritos and coffee and got going. Once you get to Big Sur Station, there’s a short and steep trail that will take you towards a general store and deli. Since the road is closed off, feel free to walk down the road as far as you please. The waterfalls are a nine mile walk away, but if that sounds good to you then more power to you. Side note: don’t count on getting the electric bikes they rent out unless you book them way in advance. On your way home, make sure you stop by Point Lobos trails, which is just an easy hike to some of the most stunning views along the Californian coast.
In terms of dining, the Big Sur River Inn restaurant was excellent on both nights of our stay. The burger and apple pie on the first night were delicious, but still not as appetizing as the cream and vegetable pasta with homemade s’mores afterwards that we ate the next night. While Nepenthe Restaurant is typically very crowded, it’s worth the wait time for the scenery alone (try your best to score an outdoor table). We recommend the grilled chicken sandwich, as well as the large chocolate cake slice and expectation-shattering strawberry lemonade. If the wait time is truly that long, be sure to check out the vintage store a flight of stairs below, as well as the sculpture garden across the street.
But if there’s one place that we absolutely insist that you must check out while in Big Sur, it’s the Henry Miller Memorial Library. It’s a cozy, little bookstore filled and decorated with great literature, artworks, postcards, vintage records and posters for concerts held out in their lawn (the likes of Philip Glass and Father John Misty have performed there). Once you browse the shop, go outside and take a nap on their lawn — bonus points if you take off your shoes for the desired “foot-in-grass” feel. There’s also free coffee and a ping-pong table. Be sure to leave a donation, as the library is a nonprofit organization.
Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge reopens on October 13th, so hurry if you wish to experience Big Sur in it’s peaceful glory!
Contact Doug Smith at [email protected].