Week 8: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

McWay Falls Trail

To celebrate our 5 year anniversary, Eric and I took off down Highway 1 toward Big Sur, where we spent a weekend exploring the landscape. I’ve been wanting to go to Big Sur for longer than I can remember and our trip did not disappoint. Every direction you turn is absolutely breathtaking; it’s a very special place.

Deetjen's Inn

We drove down Friday evening but didn’t make it to our inn before nightfall. In a way, it made setting out on Saturday morning (and seeing everything we had missed the night before) all the more special. We stayed at Deetjen’s Inn, a rambling collection of old wooden cottages tucked between Highway 1 and the woods that line it. The amenities were minimal, but the service, charm, and attached restaurant were all top notch.

Driving south to San Simeon

water and rocks

On Saturday morning we set out for San Simeon to tour the Hearst Castle. We made a few stops along the way to take in the view and we made it just in time to join our tour of the Upstairs Rooms. The tour was interesting enough but I wouldn’t go out of my way to return. It is one unfortunate home, though hard not to respect the achievements of its architect, Julia Morgan, the first woman to be licensed in California.

Main entrance to the castle

Roman pool

From the castle, we crossed Highway 1 into San Simeon. We had lunch at Sebastian’s and then walked along the beach. Eric would proudly note the whale remains we came across – 1 vertebrae and a bit of bone. We also spent some time watching the huge number of Elephant Seals that have taken up residence on the shore (spooning seals!). On the drive back, fog started to form far in the distance, blurring the line between ocean and sky.

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We ate dinner at Nepenthe, which we wouldn’t recommend, though they do have a very cozy fire pit.

Sunday morning started with a short trek up the hill behind our cabin, to take in the view out to the ocean. At once, you see a pasture filled with horses, a lagoon, the mighty Pacific, mountains, forests, and beach.

Then, we headed to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and walked the McWay Falls Trail and surrounding areas. It’s a an easy trail (it feels generous even calling it that), but the views of the cove below are stunning (see top photo). Finally, we slowly made our way home, stopping several more times along the way to take in the views, for snacks from Big Sur Bakery, and to visit the Henry Miller Memorial Library. It was a fantastic trip, and my sad iPhone photos don’t begin to do it justice, but alas.

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Eric and the Clouds

Big Sur landscape