Coast-to-Coast travel blog

Jean Leading Us Up Big Sur

The Road Ahead

Big Sur in the Mist


Resident Gull

Daisy at Photo Stop

One-lane Road Up to Camaldoli Monastery

View on the Road Up

Monastery Grounds

Oleander in Bloom

Surrounding Hillsides

Courtyard at Chapel

Inside the Chapel

Beautiful Natural Lighting


Monks' Robes


The Road Down

Nepenthe: Terrace Dining

Nepenthe View

Courtyard: The Phoenix Bird Taking Off

Rita's and Orson's Original Cottage

Nepenthe Grounds

Nepenthe Phone Booth

Headed Back to Cambria



Afternoon Surfing

End of Big Sur Day

Today we drove the length of Big Sur, starting in Cambria and ending at Nepenthe, a little south of Monterey. It was misting a little when we left, but, as the day unfolded, the weather got better and better. It's a beautiful drive in any weather, but by noon the sun was out. Besides the 100+ pull-offs for "photo-ops", we made two major stops along the way. The first was at the Camaldoli Monastery, located high above coastal Highway #1. This is a beautiful, quiet, and peaceful place. A place for spiritualism and reflection. The setting is perfect for promoting these ends. The chapel is the essence of simplicity, with an altar lit with wonderful natural light. Our second major stop was for lunch at Nepenthe, a restaurant with wonderful outdoor terraces high above the Pacific. The core building comprising Nepenthe was originally a cottage purchased by Orson Wells and Rita Hayworth in the 1940ies. Early in their marriage, they were traveling back to L.A. along the Big Sur, saw the basic Nepenthe cottage, and bought it on sight. Apparently, they spent only a couple of nights there, never to return. In the 1950ies, the building was expanded and transformed into the restaurant that exists today. The grounds and views are to die for...the food is a little on the so-so side.

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