California: Big Sur No. 2

Last week, I shared our drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. This week, it is all about our destination.

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WHERE: Big Sur, California

WHEN: April 2014

STAYED: Ventana Inn

INSTAGRAM: #wellsincalifornia

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The Ventana Inn was truly incredible. Built right into the landscape, we had unbelievable hiking trails that started right outside our door…

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…and foggy walks through redwoods and flower fields just to get to breakfast.

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Deer and wild turkeys greeted us each day, and hammocks were nestled into every grassy corner.

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Our room had its own private hot tub and hammock, which we really, truly loved. Sunrise dip in the hot tub, followed by giant robes and reading on the hammock. We kept the wood burning fireplace going round the clock as well.

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If you visit Big Sur and do not stay at Ventana, I would definitely recommend at least trying the spa. We had a couple’s herbal massage with lavender, pine and lemongrass, and it was so, so good. With the spa, you can take full advantage of the pool and Japanese hot baths, both of which are clothing optional.

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Matty was all about embracing the Big Sur lifestyle, and whenever I looked at him, I burst out laughing until tears streamed down my face. The maturity level of a 12 year old. But eventually, I loosened up and drank the kool-aid. When in Rome, and all that.

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Outside of our beautiful inn, we explored as much of Big Sur as we possibly could. The only place we had intended to visit that we we weren’t able to was the Esalen Institute. They were not accepting advance reservations for the hot springs while we were there, so it didn’t work out. Something to look forward to on our next trip!

Here are a few must-do’s if you visit:

Hike the Ewoldsen Trail in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. You start out in an emerald green wonderland and then emerge amongst the clouds.

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After the Ewoldsen Trail, walk right over and visit McWay Falls, which feeds right into the ocean!

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Reward yourself with afternoon french fries and cocktails at Nepenthe

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…and then continue to return for a sunset drink each night.

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Stop at every turn to soak in all the beauty.

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Enjoy a romantic dinner at Deetjen’s

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…and then go back first thing in the morning for the best eggs benny of life.

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Walk on purple sand at Pfeiffer Beach, and marvel at the beautiful keyholes.

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Cozy up to the fireplace at Big Sur Bakery, and feast on wood fired pizzas, salads and affogato.

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Then return in the morning for fresh baked goods and a stroll through the begonia gardens.

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Grab a picnic from Big Sur Deli, and hike down to Partington Cove. Once you’ve reached the mine shaft, you are almost there. (And if you are lucky, dolphins may join you)!

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Get lost amongst the redwoods at Pfeiffer Big Sur Park, with a scenic stop at Pfeiffer Falls.

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Indulge in dinner at the Big Sur Roadhouse, and be sure to ask for True!

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Leave knowing you’ll soon return, because this place is everything.

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Lauren