And it’s finally only in the woods you get that nostalgia for ‘cities’ at last, you dream of long gray journeys to cities where soft evenings’ll unfold like Paris ~ Jack Kerouac
Need to get away? We get it—the city is noisy, work is insane (what’s wrong with these people?), and if you spend another minute in traffic today you may just drive off the ramp and hope your car seat turns into a parachute. Instead of looking at pictures of cats having a bonfire on Instagram for the 48th time, it’s time to plan a weekend getaway that will hit Restart on your brain.
Relax, put the scissors down. We know just the place.
Big Sur, California
Just south of San Francisco and nestled along California’s central coast, is the perfect little dream spot. Redwoods shoot up like Roman spears. Mesmeric waters break against the crags and cliffs in thunderous agreement. The only sound you hear is an occasional bird swooping through the skies as if all the world were at play.
Then it hits you: that’s right, THIS is what life feels like when I’m not staring at my phone (cue the music).
Most destinations are overhyped, oversold, and overcrowded. Not Big Sur. It delivers on its promise. Why? Because it only promises one thing: simplicity.
Big Sur is your perfect recipe for disconnecting from the mundane; your crushing routine. Just be sure you pack light.
Things To Do
If you like hiking, then Big Sur has tons of parks and trails for you to explore. McWay Falls, for example, is one of only two waterfalls that cascade right into the Pacific Ocean. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park also offers several hiking trails, ranging from short treks to longer expeditions. Be sure to take plenty of water and snacks—you know, in case you have to bribe a mountain lion to not eat you (you can also offer your hiking partner as collateral, just in case).
If you’re a
hipster photographer, then you better hope your phone/camera has tons of memory because Big Sur will use up your phone’s data in a flash! There are tons of opportunities for capturing signature images that you’ll remember forever (or at least until you lose your phone). Your friends and family will finally be jealous excited you got to experience such a cool place.
If you’re a
wannabe good mountain climber like me, then you can really stretch those been-sitting-in-an-office-chair-all-year-long legs and get the blood flowing again. You know, in case you like your legs.
If you like to eat, Big Sur does not offer a ton of options, but there are some hidden gems like Nepenthe restaurant. Nepenthe was built around the house that Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth bought to celebrate their eternal love affair of six months (who does that? people high on
drugs love, that’s who). You can fill up on wine and then enjoy an evening stroll back to your cabin. Roll the film credits.
If you’re in search of spiritual or artistic wisdom,
this is a cheaper option than flying to India where you don’t know anyone Big Sur serves as the alma mater for artists and spiritual luminaries like Alan Watts, Joseph Campbell, Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, Hunter S. Thompson, Ansel Adams, and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. There are also a number of contemplation centers like the famed Esalen Institute, the Tassaraja Zen Mountain Center, and the New Camaldoli Hermitage Center. Esalen itself has contributed enormously (mostly during the 60’s) to the popularization of Eastern Philosophy, Gestalt Therapy, and the “Human Potential Movement.”
The best part is when you get back home you’ll be holier than your friends and family–not because you actually did something, but because you took a selfie where you had your eyes closed and were silently chanting OMMMMMM. Hey, that counts. It’s more than they’ve ever done!
If you like to sun bathe at the beach, you have options. The beaches are small, and while you can go for a swim, most people opt not to because of unpredictable currents (you don’t want to end up like Gilligan on some random island; unless Ginger is there, then it’s totally up to you).
Lastly, there’s a really cool lighthouse (Point Sur Lighthouse) that’s straight out of a Stephen King (sorry M. Night Shyamalan) film—especially in the cooler months when that morning fog rolls in macabre and blankets the entire panorama. The first time I visited the lighthouse with my wife we ended up not going on the tour. It was FREEZING and I only had a light jacket. My wife didn’t say anything but I’m a good translator of facial expressions and she was definitely thinking I was an idiot.
Note: take a heavy-duty jacket, don’t be like me. Once you commit to the lighthouse tour, you’re committing to nearly 3 hours of exploring outdoors at the mercy of strong winds, fog, and unstable currents crashing against the land by the lighthouse.
That, and so much more, awaits you in Big Sur. It really is a magical place. By the time you get back home you’ll realize your ordinary life of caffeine, hurriedness, deadlines, conference calls, and insomnia is only some Mad-hatter’s restless dream—and you’ll thank us for the recommendation and lobby for us to open a location in Big Sur. We’ll call it BigWally.
Smell you later.
Author: Alfredo Lopez