Thursday, April 7, 2016

Big Sur


Sometimes the best weekend getaways are ones when you jump in the car, drive down the coast, explore nature and just RELAX.  That was exactly what we did last weekend. We have never been to Big Sur and were in search of a different vacation where we could go away for a weekend, read books, hike and just spend some relaxing time together. Big Sur was the PERFECT place to do just that. I'm excited to share with you the details of our trip below and hopefully it inspires you to take a relaxing weekend getaway sometime soon!

(AND per your requests we are excited to start something new on these travel posts called "His Take" which will be my hubby's opinion/tips/comments about the trip. It will be short and sweet and at the end of each travel post! Enjoy!)

Where We Stayed in Big Sur:

We stayed at the beautiful Glen Oaks Big Sur Inn which was in an ideal location with unique and different lodge-style type rooms. We had a friend who recently stayed here, so we took his recommendation and loved every minute of our stay. (Thanks JB!) We stayed in their "Adobe Fireside Lodge" room that came with a private patio and a two way gas fireplace that was one of the highlights of the room. The bathroom also had heated floors. HEATED FLOORS. How have I ever lived without heated floors?! Pure genius and just amazing.


There was a hiking trail right across the street from the lodge that took you down to a little river with these cute chairs where you can sit, chat and drink coffee. Talk about relaxing. 

What We Explored in Big Sur:


Bixby Bridge : Talk about a breathtaking view. Just GORGEOUS! When driving towards Big Sur on Highway 1, you cross over this bridge. It's amazing to think about this bridge being built and to have this beautiful piece of architecture in a landscape full of greenery is amazing. Before you cross over,  pull over to the left or right to get out and take pictures.....it's a MUST.


McWay Falls : The best way to describe this gorgeous view is : NEVERLAND. I honestly believe that when they filmed Peter Pan or Hook that they used McWay Falls as inspiration for the Neverland scenes. (I mean, I'm probably totally right) The beautiful waterfall, the bluest blue water, and the empty beach below is just the perfect setting for gorgeous pictures. There are a couple of hikes around McWay Falls and I highly recommend at least stopping to take some pictures. It's absolutely beautiful.


(Here are a couple of views and hikes from around our inn. You are never short of pretty views in Big Sur. I mean...look at those huge gorgeous tall trees!) 




Where We Ate in Big Sur:

Big Sur Bakery : Talk about perfect in every way. They serve breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and they have a full espresso bar with homemade pastries. It's a one stop shop. We had dinner here our first night, ordering the pizza special with sausage and the brussel sprouts to start. (Plus paired with some Pinot Noir...duh!)  Everything was SO good. On the day we left, we stopped here for coffee and pastries, which of course didn't disappoint. Such a cute spot with INCREDIBLE food.  Next time we come back, we are going to brunch here....the brunch menu looked ridiculous!


Nepenthe : Oh Nepenthe...what a dream. Seriously though, that's how I felt through the entire lunch. Nepenthe is a greek style restaurant on top of a cliff overlooking the water and Big Sur mountains. It's absolutely breathtaking/gorgeous/you never want to leave.....the list goes on. Not only is the view amazing, the food is SO good. We ordered the basket of fries (thanks again JB), the artichoke and shared the special burger. Everything was melt in your mouth good.  The wait can be long but while you are waiting you can grab a drink and walk around/take pictures. It's worth the wait.

 (Funny story- we walked up to put our name in, hearing that the wait was over an hour. Oh well, worth it right!? A guy approached us and said that he reserved a table for two but couldn't wait that long so he wanted to know if we wanted his spot/buzzer. We said yes and he proceeded with "don't forget your name is Alex when they call it". Five minutes later "Alex party of two" was called. We walked up to the hostess stand with huge smiles on our faces. "Alex?" Yes thats us! "Welcome to Nepenthe, here is your table". Talk about lucky. )

(Nepenthe's outdoor firepit/patio)


Cafe Kevah - This place is attached to the Nepenthe restaurant and serves a delicious breakfast and brunch. All the tables are outside and once again, the view does not disappoint. I had the most delicious yogurt and berry bowl to start the day with a perfect cappuccino. The tables fill up fast and it's first come first serve, so get there on the earlier side. They also serve wine and cheese platters for mid-day stops if you just wanted to head up, snack and enjoy the view with a glass of wine.


The Restaurant at Ventana : If you are looking for a fancier dinner with amazing views, this is your spot. Tucked away in the Big Sur mountains lies the Ventana Inn, which is a beautiful hotel with gorgeous views and an absolutely delicious restaurant. A little bit on the pricer side for dinner but everything we ate and drank was mouth watering. They have a very fun cocktail menu as well. We finished dinner and took the rest of our wine outside to watch the sunset. It was beautiful!

(The sunset at Ventana Inn)


Big Sur Taphouse : What a fun spot! If you like beer, this is the place for you. A cute little taphouse with about 8 beers on tap, this place is the perfect spot for a good outdoor vibe in the summer or for watching your favorite sports games inside. I'm a little picky when it comes to "sports bars" and I was very impressed with this place. The outdoor patio is the definition of RELAXING. 


Big Sur Roadhouse : This was the place RIGHT across the street from where we stayed. You literally walked right outside your room, crossed the street and you were there. They are currently changing chefs so they are not serving meals but they are serving small apps and drinks. They have an outdoor area (surrounded with succulents!) with a couple of fire pits. We stopped here for happy hour from 3-5 and for our morning coffee. A cute little spot that will definitely blossom into something very fun. 

(These were the HOMEMADE donuts from the Big Sur Roadhouse across the way from Glen Oaks. These donuts and coffee were included in our stay every morning. DELISH.)


Overall it was an unforgettable weekend full of gorgeous scenery and quality time together. Next time we go we will for sure make a stop at the iconic purple sand beach - Pfeiffer Beach. (It was closed because of a mudslide that was blocking the road.) We will also make reservations to eat at Deetjens for dinner as we heard it has unbelievable food and a cozy atmosphere. 
Now for his take...... Thanks for reading!

His Take : 

I'm a proud husband reading Ash's blog every week. Her passion and zest for life reads through each line. We are lucky to get to travel and enjoy all of the fun that we do. Work hard, play hard. Right? I'm not sure what I add to this space, but I've been asked for a quick take on our travels. As in "if your other half was going to read a few lines," here it is:

Big Sur is incredible. Great views, good food, nice people, a very do-able weekend getaway from the Bay Area. The food/drink anywhere you go is good (Nepenthe was my favorite, bring your guy to Big Sur Taphouse for an 'Instagram break'). As with anywhere in the world - you pay for the view. In my opinion - worth it.  Basket of french fries and an IPA on top of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean? It could be worse.

This is a trip where your wife brings her phone to take pictures and yours could stay in the room. Why? 1) You don't have service  2) You don't really want it. I've spent some time at the beach, this is one of the best views/relaxing spots I've ever been to.  

**Travel Tip (good just about anywhere): BYO Wine. Bring your wine to dinner. First, make reservations (it's the gentlemanly thing to do + use Open Table + accrue points).  Ask what the corkage fee is. I used to think it looked "cheap" to bring a bottle. Now, I'm not the guy drinking a $14 glass of J Lohr.  

Happy Travels - Bryan.



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