Virtuoso Traveler - June/July 2018 - 44
The high road: Highway 1 spans
Bixby Creek Bridge in Big Sur.
The Open Road
After months of highway closures, Big Sur is back and better than ever.
ITH THE POSSIBLE
exception of Route 66,
there's not a stretch
of road in America as
iconic or soul-stirring as Highway 1
along California's mythic Big Sur coast.
Here, where the Pacific crashes into
limestone coves and ancient redwoods
soar through the mists, it's less a drive
than a communion with nature, beauty,
and wonder itself.
"Big Sur is an essential part of a California coastal trip and an ideal weekend
retreat," says Virtuoso travel advisor
Ken Neibaur of Menlo Park, California.
"You can drive through the 90-mile area
44 V I R T U O S O T R A V E L E R
in just a few hours, but be sure to stay
a few nights to experience the rugged
mountain scenery, pristine beaches, and
truly special Virtuoso hotels."
After heavy rains last year, a series of
landslides shut down sections of the corkscrew route from San Simeon to Carmelby-the-Sea, leaving a prime 40-mile
segment mostly inaccessible for months.
The silver lining is that local resorts and
businesses used the time to refresh and
build out, and Big Sur today shines just
a little brighter. The highway, navigable
from the north since last fall, is expected to
reopen completely in late summer.
What hasn't changed is the area's
allure, which has always drawn travelers,
artists, architects, and pleasure seekers
of every sort. The majority of Big Sur's
coastline is protected from development
(it's the longest such contiguous preserve in the U.S.), which keeps the focus
on the sea and mountains - with an
occasional cameo by a cougar, California
condor, or spouting whale. Adventure
can take the form of beach-bicycling
at low tide or a sunset kayak, but the
real thrill is just soaking up that groovy,
With the peaceful Post Ranch Inn as
your base, here's how to make the most of
three days on the mother of all coast roads.
ASIM BHARWANI/GETTY IMAGES
By David Hochman