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Big Sur Coastline

Big Sur is about forty kilometres south of Carmel on Highway One in California. The early Spanish explorers named this area El Pais Grande del Sur (The Great Land To The South).

Big Sur Coastline

The Big Sur coast is probably the most spectacular stretch of coastal scenery after the spectacular Napali Coast of the island of Kaua'i.

Big Sur Coastline

Somewhat arguably, Big Sur can be thought of as the stretch of land from Andrew Molera State Park down to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Hiking In Big Sur

Big Sur has a wild side in the form of fantastic hikes in the Santa Lucia Mountains. In September of 2000, we hiked from the Ventana Inn up the Coast Ridge Road—ten kilometres straight up-hill to a height of more than 800 metres. We waded through a meadow of Pennyroyal*—whose aromatic oils exuded the aromas of Sage and Mint—and emerged onto the Castro Slope, with an astounding view of the Pacific Ocean on one side, and looking up at the Santa Lucia Mountains to the East. We met only three people the entire day—one of them a Forest Ranger. Our reward for finishing the hike was an hour of Aromatherapy Massage at the Ventana Inn Spa.

Pampering Yourself In Big Sur

There is a somewhat hedonistic side to Big Sur, as well. You can stay at the Ventana Inn with its Cielo restaurant, perched four hundred metres above the Pacific Ocean. And then there is the Post Ranch with its Sierra Mar restaurant, also perched above the ocean. Both places have been rated as Unbelievably Expensive. But then, you have to treat yourself every now and again, and either of these places is the venue to do just that.


Pennyroyal is related to Mint, but is poisonous, so do not eat it.

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Page Updated 2011 December 10