Sitting here on this beautiful rainy day, while the kids are napping, I can't help but to think about hubby's and my trip to Big Sur, CA. For me, Big Sur is the stuff of dreams. The lush green landscape, the Redwoods on one side, and dizzying cliffs that seem to plunge into the tumultuous ocean below, the cool air on my skin and in my lungs... I can breath there. I feel alive there.
Never did I ever think, that the forest and the ocean on a cold rainy day, would be my haven. I believe most prefer a more tropical setting. Nonetheless, here I am, reminiscing about the sound of the shaking leaves of the Redwoods as the wind blew them this way and that, the sounds of giant leaves, and pine needles as we walked through the beautiful forrest, and the sounds of the river flowing through the woods behind our cabin.
Ah Big Sur, you bring peace and serenity to my heart and you give my tummy much pleasure!
One evening late last year, hubby and I were watching the news and heard about the CA-1 closure in Big Sur, CA. This closure, according to the news, left Big Sur stranded, with no way in, and no way out. We were both so concerned for this beautiful place that we have come to love. But, only a few days later, we received an email from Glen Oaks Big Sur, where we had stayed once before. They, in fact, were still open and operating, and there was a way in and out of Big Sur.
This sparked a series of emails between the general manager and myself, resulting in an invitation to visit Glen Oaks Big Sur, and to explore the area, as well as their amazing 18 acer property, in a way we had not done in the past.
Well, you don't have to tell us twice. It took a few months of careful organizing, planning and re-organizing, but we finally had all of our ducks in a row. Even the kids were on board with us leaving. It was meant to be!
So, after the New Year's celebration, hubby and I joyfully packed our bags, and left for Big Sur at 5am. Yes, folks, the two of us could not wait to get on the road to get our getaway started. We were in dire need.
The drive up north is one of my favorites. We always manage to make the drive just as much of an adventure as the destination itself. So we find off beat stops and enjoy every little bit to the fullest.
This time, we were redirected by our GPS because of the closures on CA-1. This rerouting cost about an hour of our time, but gifted us a lovely stop in a town we would have never found otherwise. We had no idea where we were at the time, but later found that we were in Los Alamos, CA. A small town in the Santa Ynez Valley, only about an hour north of Santa Barbara.
The next stop on our drive was, Downtown San Luis Obispo. At this point, it was about 9:30am and we were hungry. We love this area because of all of the little shops and restaurants, the art spaces and of course, the river that runs through it. So we knew we would find a lovely cafe for a little break and some breakfast.
Bubblegum Alley is a site to be seen (not smelled) and I love taking pictures there.
We stopped at this ordinary cafe, with ordinary food, and amazing coffee. But the most amazing thing about it was the patio outside. We decided to sit inside because it was too cold at that hour; However, I did get to walk around the patio a bit, while hubby did a little work.
We got back on the road around 11am and hit a few other stops along the way.
We had to drive through Carmel Valley, and Monterey (not complaining), to get to our final destination, Big Sur. The views on that drive are simply magnificent. The cliffs, the heights, the crashing waves of the ocean below. I get excited just thinking about it.
But the best part of any getaway, even when you enjoy the road, is the destination. And in this case, our destination was Gel Oaks Big Sur, a boutique motor lodge, and cabin retreat.
The office is located right off of CA-1, and blends seamlessly with the surrounding flora. Yet, it is incredibly modern, and rather inviting.
One of my favorite parts of the check-in experience here, is how detailed and warm the front desk staff are. You not only check in and get your key, but you are given maps of the area, you are walked through some of their most recommended restaurants, what's open, what's closed, as well as the best hikes; then, you are given some information about the Glen Oaks Big Sur property, their hiking trails, their Grandmother Tree, and of course, Big Sur Roadhouse, their very own restaurant, which serves freshly made donuts and coffee in the morning for their guests.
The office is also where the main parking lot is located, along with the actual motor lodge part of this property. We have stayed at the motor lodge once before, and loved it.
Each room comes with it's own tiny patio (some have large, private patios), it's extremely modern, with heated floors in the restrooms. It's cozy, modern and visually appealing.
There is a communal fire pit here, as well as a large, green, beautiful prairie for those of us who enjoy Yoga. Each room, cabin and cottage, comes supplied with yoga mats, a yoga deck, and tons of board games. No, there are no TV's, and I love that.
Glen Oaks Big Sur truly does everything to bring their guests to true and full rest and relaxation.
The motor lodge is the original part of this property, built in the 50's. As the property changed hands, it grew bigger with each new owner. It currently holds, the motor lodge, two cottages and several cabins, that span the 18 acre property.
Time and time again, I am impressed with their landscaping, as well as the sheer natural beauty of Big Sur, CA.
What I enjoy greatly about Glen Oaks Big Sur, is that it is set in the quiet serenity of the forest, with babbling brooks, frolicking deer, and all the natural wonders that Big Sur has to offer, yet holds all of the style and comfort of modern amenities.
The motor lodge was great, but this time, we took our stay at the Forest View Cabin.
This cabin is called Forest View because the patio and fire pit face the forest, but this was the view from our bedroom windows. This was our back yard...
The cabin itself was warm and inviting, with a King sized bed, a comfortable seating area, a tiny kitchenette, and a modern bathroom with a tub that fit my very tall husband and myself comfortably. And those heated floors... I love those heated floors.
We spent a lot of time in our cabin this time around. Frankly, we were both exhausted and have not had a break in months. So we did a lot of napping, we did miniature hikes to and from Big Sur Roadhouse, and we enjoyed the fire. Well, I enjoyed the fire, hubby enjoyed the comforts of modern life inside the cabin while I sat by the fire.
Our daily walks to and from the Roadhouse were fun and filled with so much beauty.
Speaking of Big Sur Roadhouse, the freshly made donuts and coffee are complimentary to guests of the hotel (I recommend the glazed donut), and the rest of the menu is very tasty. The fire is cozy, there are daily newspapers for the taking, great tunes on the radio and two gorgeous patios, one overlooking the babbling river out back.
While we lazed around and enjoyed each other's company most of our days, we did get out a few times to visit other local restaurants and explore the area just a bit.
Our first night there, we drove back up to Cannery Row in Monterey, to visit a seafood restaurant we had enjoyed on a previous trip to the area, The Fish Hopper (read all about that trip here). Once again, I must say, their appetizers are to die for, but the main courses just seem to fall short.
A word of advice, if you are not used to driving up and down a windy road, along a cliff, in the dark, when it rains, do not take the 30 minute drive to Monterey. The road back is nerve-wracking at best.
The duration of our getaway was spent enjoying Big Sur.
A restaurant with amazing views and a delicious menu, is Nepenthe. A gorgeous space, propped on top of a cliff, overlooking the Pacific.
We ordered a couple of appetizers, the Goat Cheese and Roasted Garlic, as well as Salmon with Capers. Both were delicious and hit the spot.
We also split their Famous Ambrosia Burger, which has been on the menu for something like 60 years. We contemplated getting something else, but decided that we had to try something that has been around that long. It - was - worth - it!
Highly recommend it.
After eating at Nepenthe Restaurant, we decided to explore the area a bit. We had also decided not to go out that evening for two reasons, one was that we simply wanted to enjoy each other's company and loved our cabin at Glen Oaks Big Sur, and two, because I started coming down with a cold before we left for our getaway, and my cold was starting to get worse.
So, hubby drove us around and stopped at every General Store in the area, at the bakery, and even at the gas station, collecting snacks and supplies for our night in. Of course, a little goofing off had to be done as well.
When we got back to our cozy cabin in the woods, we stopped at the wood shed to gather more wood for our fire. Although new wood was brought to our door daily, we burned right through it because I just loved having that fire going the entire time we were in.
The wood shed was just steps away from our cabin, and the precut logs were complimentary to guests of Glen Oaks Big Sur.
We spent a relaxing evening in our cabin, and were rested and ready to hit the road the next day. We couldn't wait to see our kiddos.
But before we left, we made one last stop at the office. We had to check out, and we had to meet the lovely Miss Melissa Morris, the Assistant General Manager of this incredible property. Melissa, who is a Big Sur native, spoke with us for almost an hour, answering all of my questions about the property and the area in general. She is the one who set us up in the lovely cabin and with the local sweet treats that we devoured during our stay.
According to Melissa, the busy season is May through October, but May is when the hills are filled with colorful, vibrant, wild flowers. So, note to self and all of you, May is THE time to visit!
The staff, the property, the rooms, the cabins and the cottages, the Roadhouse, the river and all of the beauty at Glen Oaks Big Sur, this is how my heart was won.
I guarantee that we will be visit this breathtaking place over and over again in the coming years.