Monday, August 27, 2012

Californication Part 2: The A Muse Bouche Guide to PCH Road Trippin’

From LA we headed to Big Sur. I’d never been to Big Sur before and Justin had only been once briefly. At first I loved the ride along PCH (apparently true Californians drop the “the” – Thank you Jacki). We could literally smell the salt water as we drove beside the ocean. We stopped in Malibu for breakfast and Santa Barbara for lunch. I absolutely love the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara. I haven’t stayed there yet but just from popping by I know it has the best ambiance. I was there last with my best friend Rachel – we went at night for a drink at the hotel’s Ty Lounge and the setting was absolutely lovely. During the day the place is even lovelier. The resort’s restaurants overlook the ocean. Justin and I opted to picnic across the street from the hotel, at the beach. It was the perfect pit stop.

Then we hit the road again. And it wasn’t so lovely. Don’t get me wrong – it was beautiful. But it was SCARY. Yes, I’m a wuss. I’m afraid of heights. And I’m certainly afraid of curvy roads without guardrails snaking along the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Justin – my perfect complement – was the epitome of calm. He loves driving, and he’s not a wuss. He convinced me to muster up the courage to – A: Look at the gorgeous views, and B: Take pictures. I tried to capture the precariousness of the road, but the photos don’t do the dicey situation justice. Nor are the pics of the views truly representative. But they’re pretty special. See below.

We had a reservation at Post Ranch Inn. Post Ranch Inn seemed over-the-top when we initially researched it. But Justin insisted on staying there and I consented. (It turns out his original proposal plan was en route to Big Sur, hence the exceptional hotel pick.) Post Ranch was the perfect combination of rustic setting and luxurious accommodations. Upon arrival we were greeted with glasses of red wine before being driven to our cabin in Lexus hybrids. Our cabin was decked out with a fireplace and back patio with Adirondack chairs overlooking a dense Redwood forest. The kitchenette was stocked with more wine and an assortment of beverages, homemade chocolate chip cookies, cheese & crackers and more – all at no extra charge. It really was a full-service place; when we went hiking the next day we borrowed backpacks and water bottles, and the staff made sure we had plenty of sunscreen. But back to day one: We arrived just before dinner and right on time to see a spectacular sunset. We dined at the resort’s restaurant Sierra Mar. The restaurant has floor to ceiling windows and is literally suspended from the cliffs, hanging above the water. The views are ridiculous. I agree with the hostess who said there’s no bad table in the room. And the food isn’t bad either. We had a tasting menu including scallops prepared in four different sauces. After eating we went outside to stargaze. I’ve never seen a sky so dense with stars. And the hotel even has an on-site stargazing expert; equipped with the largest telescope I’ve ever seen. Not only did the expert point out star constellations, he showed us Mars and Saturn. Mars looked like a ball of fire and we could actually see the rings of Saturn. It was wild.

Post Ranch Sunset
The next day we went for a hike on the Post Ranch Inn property (the resort grounds encompass over 100 acres) and unwound in an infinity-edge Jacuzzi overlooking the Pacific before braving the road again and going to Napa.


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