Last weekend, after attending a family wedding in Menlo Park, CA, we decided to switch things up a bit, and take the scenic route home. This drive is not for those in a hurry (or the faint of heart). We had quite a few things on the agenda, and all day to accomplish them. First up, Big Sur.
The fog was thick and dramatic, rolling in from the sea and across the mountainous terrain. As we rounded each corner, there was a new awe inspiring photo opp. We had been in the car for about two hours, so lunch was calling our names. Ventana Inn & Spa has been on my must visit list for years, so I was excited to make it our first (luxury) ‘pit stop.’ The Cuban Sandwich (spiced roasted pork loin, pickled red onions and fennel, Swiss and Dijon) served with sweet potato fries tasted as good as it looked. And, the scenery wasn’t too shabby either! For those of you with an extra $650 in your pocket, reserve a room for the night. I hear their spa is incredible.
With full bellies and a rejuvenated spirit, we hopped back in the car and made our way to Julia Pfeiffer State Park, where we hiked a short trail to McWay Falls, an 80 foot high waterfall that ends directly onto the beach. Spectacular!
It’s a good thing we got our bodies moving, because though the drive from Big Sur to Hearst Castle was gorgeous, it was also veerrryyyy sllllooowww (about four hours to be exact). This is due to the many slow moving RVs and the fact that we didn’t want to fall off the side of the mountain, taking the curves at my husband’s usual 80mph (we stuck to the 45 mph speed limit!).
Now I knew that arriving at Hearst Castle with no tickets was a risk. But, we were in great moods, the weather was perfect and everything had gone according to plan. No such luck. When we reached the Visitor’s Center, we were told tickets were completely sold out. So, we settled for a t-shirt (just kidding). We weren’t too bummed out. With another four hours to go, the thought of taking a two hour tour at this stage was a little less than ideal. So, on we went.
When we planned this trip, we were clear on one thing. Wine tasting was a must! We knew that by the time we reached Paso Robles, there was a good chance that the wineries would be closed. So, we stopped over in Cambria, a tiny little village nestled right along Highway 1. The main street is dotted with antique stores, boutiques and (lucky for us) wine tasting rooms. Since this trip was a scenic drive, we chose to share one tasting at Black Hand Cellars. Known for its reds, we weren’t so enthralled as to join their club, but it was the perfect little break for our last stop before home.
Ok, I’m lying. We stopped at Jerry’s Famous Deli in Studio City, five miles from home and got take out. After ten hours in the car, we needed some comforting like only a Jewish (or Southern!) mother can provide.