Bye Bye Carmel, Hello Big Sur

Trip Start May 14, 2009
Trip End May 29, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

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Ever stay at a place where you are so at home that it is almost painful to leave?

That's what it was for us this morning as we packed up at the
Vagabond's House Inn and prepared to move on in our journey.  We'd come
to consider it home after 5 nights.  The waterfall outside our window
(just a little garden waterfall, mind) was wonderful and so peaceful,
and the lights so welcoming, the whole place so welcoming that it felt
like we were coming home when we came back to the room.  And now, it
was time to say goodbye.

But we couldn't say goodbye to Carmel just yet.  After packing up and
checking out, we headed to Carmel Beach for our second attempt.  It was
still foggy, but this time it was high banks of fog and the water and
shore were clear.  Our tour of Carmel Beach turned into a drive along
the aptly named "scenic drive" as we sought out a closer view of Frank
Lloyd Wright's "boat" house in Carmel.  We found it easily enough, but
in addition we found lovely views of the beach, and more cute fairy
tale (and horrendously overpriced) houses.

By the time we ran out of beach and got back into town, it was time for
lunch.  So we stopped by the Tuck Box one last time both for their
Shepherd's Pie (not bad, but not the best) and for my mom to pick up an
ornament that was only available at the store behind the Tuck Box.  The
fun with that was having to parallel park... I was trying to park with
mom's direction (thankfully, she does know how.... I know how, but
haven't done it in YEARS) and around a local.  And while mom was
directing me, he had the biggest grin on his face.  You could tell he
was very amused, but not in a mean way.  He thought mom teaching the
daughter how to park was cute.  But, we got it in on the second try. :D

One thing we noticed about people in Carmel... they are, on the whole,
-very- patient.  Definitely very good natured.  That is such a nice

Anyway, after lunch and a stop at the store, we returned to another
store we really liked called Nature's Bounty.  It's a gem and mineral
store, with some figurines that are neither gem nor mineral but very
cute and we collect some of the critters in the series.  We had looked
there the other day, but we were doing a lot of walking so we didn't
want to carry anything.  This time, we wanted a cute otter.  The owner
is an old man from Argentina who was the sweetest guy and who clearly
loves gems and minerals, and was so excited to have someone to talk to
who also loves them.

After that stop, we were on our way to Big Sur. And it was still overcast. Sigh.

It stayed that way until we got partway down the Big Sur drive, but
after a few turn-outs, the fog began to lift and we were able to see
very lovely views.  My favorites, though, were seeing the California
Condors (as in the birds, not a sporting group) and a large portion of
the reason for going down the 1 regardless of weather... Julia Pfeiffer
Burns State Park, with a view of one of the most beautiful places on
earth -- a lovely cove with a waterfall down to a beach that is
accessible only from the sea, and even then it's iffy.  Technically,
the beach is closed.  And it is -gorgeous-.  We got there about 4:30,
when the sun was getting just low enough to give good light on
everything but not quite into the golden glow yet.

After that, we headed back up to the Napenthe restaurant for dinner. 
We'd been told (via forums) that this was the best place along the Big
Sur highway to get something to eat.  It's also one of the pricier
places.  We ended up with their hamburgers, which were very, very good
but still overpriced.  The view was lovely, though it would have been
better if we'd had a view around the tree that was just outside our
window.  Oh well, we were still able to watch the golden rays on the
mountains as the sun was getting low in the sky.

I did have one problem with the restaurant, though, and that's that for
some reason I felt off balance the entire time we were in there.  It
was as though I felt like I was holding on to the side of the mountain,
rather than in a building that was doing so.  That made it rather hard
to relax, unfortunately.

We got on the road in time to watch a building sunset, and reached
"hurricane point" (very aptly named, as the wind is constantly blowing
up there and MAN does it blow hard...) just in time to pull over and
get pictures of the sun dipping into the sea.  We even got that
atmospheric phenomenon in which the sun seems to get a cloud then a
disk hovering above it.  Very, very cool.

After the sun was down, we had nothing to do but finish driving up to
Moss Landing (well, and get gas in Carmel) to our next B&B, the
Captain's Inn.

So far, not off to the best of starts.  The bed's frankly a little
dangerous and mom's already tripped over the stepstool once. >.< 
I'm just hoping she doesn't do it again.  And she can't get into the
bed without it because the thing is 4 feet off the ground. 0.o;

But, the crashing surf is slowly soothing my bad mood, so hopefully
with the morning sun we'll be happier.  We're here for the wildlife
viewing anyway.  Tomorrow we take the wildlife safari, then probably
will do some beach combing and otherwise take it easy.
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