Virtuoso Traveler - June/July 2018 - 48
"The coast along
Highway 1 is lined with
beautiful hidden beaches. Just
ask locals or hotel staff to direct
you. You'll likely have a piece of
the Pacific all to yourself."
- Ken Neibaur,
Virtuoso travel advisor,
Menlo Park, California
Big Sur Bakery (47540 Highway 1),
around since 1936, is everybody's favorite morning fueling station for fresh
pastries and doughnuts, and, later on,
for grilled sandwiches, meats, and fish.
Farther south is Hawthorne Gallery
48 V I R T U O S O T R A V E L E R
Clockwise from top: A meteor shower above Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Post Ranch
Inn's yoga yurt, and chickpea panisse from The Sur House.
(48485 Highway 1), in a glass-and-steel
structure under sheltering pines, with
works large and small by contemporary
For lunch, The Sur House (48123
Highway 1) at Ventana Big Sur resort
has an expanded ocean-view patio
perched above the craggy coastline and
a menu drawing from local farms and
waters. If you're lingering (or letting
someone else drive), avail yourself of its
10,000-bottle cellar of small-production
Central Coast wines to complement
house specialties such as the cioppino of
clams, mussels, black cod, and crab.
Saying goodbye to Big Sur is never easy,
but the road out keeps the magic going.
Even with thousands of residents and
tourists, Carmel-by-the-Sea puts the
"civil" in civilization. Strolling for antiques
and knickknacks along charming Ocean
Avenue is one of California's ultimate
pleasures. For a cozy last bite of Big Sur,
try La Bicyclette (29 Dolores Street), a perfect corner bistro serving coastal classics
in cast-iron cookware, pizzas and breads
fired in a wood oven, and strong, freshly
brewed coffee for the journey home.
(METEOR SHOWER) JEREMY LONG/TANDEMSTOCK.COM
exceptionally healthy and relaxed, it
should be noted). But there's plenty to
do outside the suites. Strolls through
the Sculpture Garden, morning yoga
classes, and soaks in the heated infinity
pools are big here, as are visits to the
spa, where scenic treatment rooms
include two couples' suites in minimalist
glass structures overlooking the verdant
Ventana Double Cone peaks.
Leaving the property is OK, too, if you
absolutely must. Have your travel advisor arrange a wildlife tour of Andrew
Molera State Park (near mile marker
51.2 on Highway 1) to spot rare California condors with a conservation expert,
or go out to Garrapata State Park
Beach (Highway 1, 18 miles north of Big
Sur), farm-fresh picnic box in hand, to
watch California gray whales pass close
during their annual winter migration.
Sea kayaking and beach biking to view
otters and sea lions are other options.
Stargazing is never a mistake on clear
nights. Sheltered from the Bay Area's
urban lights, Big Sur's skies are dark
enough - particularly around Pfeiffer Big
Sur State Park (near mile marker 47.2 on
Highway 1) - to track satellites and shooting stars for an evening rich in wishes. Or
just hole up at Post Ranch, where they
bring out the telescope (and complimentary wine) for a true cosmic experience.