If you live in California and buy a new car, the only real way to celebrate and to break it in is to take to the winding roads of Highway 1 on the central coast.
As you snake above the sea cliffs, you might find yourself imagining you are racing through Monte Carlo; even better is when you remember where you are and what lies ahead.
As you twist along the rocky coast, North of San Simeon and South of Carmel you will find yourself in Big Sur, one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Last week C and I did just that, to break in the Tesla and visit one of my favorite escapes. We set out to test the range and availability of charging stations, and fortunately found ourselves in good supply of electricity when needed.
As much as I hate to use the tired cliche, Big Sur truly is like no place on the planet. It is where the Redwood Forrest meats the Pacific Ocean, where the mountains really have crumbled to the sea. It is where the Beat Poets shared rowdy nights of drinking and found inspiration in the roaring of the sea, where Hunter S. Thompson and Henry Miller found much needed solitude. It is where you go to breathe, to really breathe, and the air has a delicious woodsy, salty, fogginess that simultaneously envelopes and invigorates you.
One of the southern most parks, Julia Pfeiffer Burns park, holds what is probably the most iconic view of Big Sur:
Once you reach the shore, you can hike for several miles through the bluffs and enjoy spectacular views. If you make a little detour off to the Spring Trail that will take you along a spring at the bottom of a canyon. If you discover a massive piling of driftwood that looks like this, climb over it. Trust me.
Once you get past it, you will find yourself alone on a secluded beach, where the crimson rocks from the mountains above have eroded onto the sand to create patches of purple sand, the likes of which can only be found in Big Sur.
Just across the highway from Nepenthe is the Henry Miller Memorial Library, a beautiful garden/bookstore/homage to the bohemian lifestyle Big Sur has become known for. It is the perfect place to read, contemplate, and/or enjoy a cup of tea, where books hang from the ceiling and a fat, indifferent cat named Theo “does as he pleases.”