Discover California on the Pacific Coast Highway
September 3, 2012 | Permalink
National Geographic named a trip down California’s Pacific Coast Highway, Highway 1, one of its 500 most impressive trips in the world. True to its name, this pleasantly careening road is at land’s end for much of the trip. This drive will afford you the best views of the Pacific Ocean and its rocky coastline—all possible from a car. Additionally, there is ample opportunity to park and gawk. The Pacific Coast Highway has the honor of being known as an All-American Road. It is very much that—both because of its intense beauty and its cultural significance.
Big Sur is a big deal for writers and artists. Jack Kerouac named a novel Big Sur; Richard Brautigan named one A Confederate General from Big Sur; and Henry Miller, whose memorial library is located there, has a book called Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch—about the time he spent in the town.
Big Sur is beautiful in the day and in the night. The ocean vistas are unparalleled—a fact verified by the copious tourists parked and looking out at the seemingly endless Pacific. At night, the sky lights up with what appears to be the entirety of the universe. We may not know if there’s life in space yet, but we can say for sure that space sure looks alive when you’re looking into it at night in Big Sur.
The Henry Miller Memorial Library is a must-see stop in Big Sur. The library, a grudging memorial to a man who disapproved of memorials, hosts many culturally-important events. Since it’s not just a memorial but a living-arts and performance center, Miller may (or may not) approve. Upcoming events include a screening of the celebrated film Koyaanisqatsi, featuring a Q&A session with the filmmaker and the composer of the film’s score, and a performance by Rufus Wainwright.
Hearst Castle (sixty-five miles south of Big Sur), which was depicted fictionally in the film Citizen Kane, was the beyond-sprawling estate of the late newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. The mansion has 115 rooms, and there are even guest houses! As a mélange of Mediterranean Revival and classical architectural styles, the manse was a monument Hearst had built to himself.
I highly recommend the evening tour of Hearst Castle—offered in the spring and autumn. The idea of this tour is to make you feel like a guest at the estate would have felt during the 1930s—the period when Hearst was at the apex of his life as host to the world’s most famous and important people. On this tour, you will get to see many of the main house’s (that is Casa Grande’s) key rooms—such as Hearst’s own suite and his library. Additionally, during this tour, the staff is dressed in period costume—blending in perfectly with the look of the house to make the visitor truly feel that he has, much like Owen Wilson in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, travelled effortlessly and pleasurably back in time in order to enjoy the company of a sparkling set of people and a sparkling setting.
After doing a day of the best California cruising out there, you’ll likely be looking to cruise into a charming and comfortable hotel. At Extended Stay Hotels, you get the simple charm of an extremely comfortable room—complete with a kitchen and free in-room Wi-Fi. It’s the perfect compliment to a perfect day!
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o please. Big Sur is lovely but done to death. The best part of CA1 is north of san francisco---talk about spectacular. But maybe we should keep this a secret so the lack of traffic can stay as it is. Fort Ross State Park is a great destination--not because it's the best of all state parks but because of the neighborhood it's in. Go!!!
Posted by: gail | Sep 5, 2012 4:38:55 PM
please include close locations for your hotels as they relate to the travelogue you present. It would be a very convenient tie in to plan a road trip around the stop over places that would be where your hotels are related to the area you are featuring.
Also, I can never keeps which of your hotels offers what.
Most of the time when I have stayed at your hotels, I have been pleased. I would probably try to stay more but never quite sure what I am looking for with the similar brand names and uncertain what each offers. I know it sounds lazy, but sometimes it helps to have a visual tie in with the name and not have to work at recalling just which one offers what.
Thanks and I start looking for these emails as this is the first one I recall getting and probably prompted by my stay last month.
Posted by: mark mundorff | Sep 6, 2012 9:07:23 AM