Monday, July 18, 2011

Nepenthe and Big Sur

Big Sur is one of my favorite areas on this earth. I pick up a palpable energy of being one with nature when I'm in this area. I imagine this energy is what draws all sorts of interesting people to the region.

My mom and I recently returned from a two week trip to California. We started in Carmel and drove down to Paso Robles for a weekend. We spent two nights in Cambria and finished with a week in Healdsburg.

A little history about Big Sur:

* Native Americans inhabited this area for thousands of years.
* The Spanish were the first Europeans to settle the area. (alas the historic missions)
* Big Sur, and the rest of California, became part of Mexico when it gained independence from Spain in 1821.
* In 1848, Mexico ceded Caifornia to the United States. Passage of the federal Homestead Act brought many pioneers into Big Sur territory with the promise of free 160 acre parcels of land.
* Since the area was mixed with English and Spanish settlers, they named their home "Big Sur." (the big south)
* Big Sur remained an inaccessible wilderness until highway 1 was constructed and completed in 1937.
* The wild and untamed area attracted artists and writers, including Henry Miller, Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac, and Edward Weston.
* Big Sur is also a home to those who enjoy learning and contemplation. It is the home to the Esalen Institute.

We spent an entire day in Big Sur. Most of the afternoon was spent at my favorite restaurant, Nepenthe. The views from the outside deck are amazing. We met some very interesting people from Florida, Massachusetts, and France. The conversations were great.

When we first arrived the fog was settled in over the ocean. When we left the fog had disappeared and the sun was shining.

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