Visiting Big Sur on our California road trip - une femme d'un certain âge

Out and about in Big Sur

Susan B. enjoying a beer at Nepenthe. Wearing a Madewell bandana, Jenni Kayne cotton fisherman sweater, AG boyfriend jeans.

It’s been decades since I’ve been to Big Sur, and it was so good to get back! In my teens, I visited periodically with a friend whose parents had a cabin near here.

Our first stop was lunch at Nepenthe. (We lucked out and arrived just ahead of the crowds.)

Driftwood bird sculpture at Nepenthe in Big Sur, California.

This Phoenix statue which greets visitors at the front of the restaurant was sculpted out of a single piece of wood by artist Edmund Kara.

The fog was in and out during our entire stay. After lunch we checked into our lodgings nearby, and took a stroll in the area to explore.

Two young deer in Ventana, Big Sur.

Some of the locals.

View of the coastline (with fog over the ocean) from Ventana, Big Sur.

Sunset from our (outdoor) dinner table. The “sea” below is actually the top of a fog bank.

A redwood circle in Ventana, Big Sur.

I’ve always been in love with redwood trees. Their fragrance perfumes the air here and makes me feel at home.

Flowers backlit near sunset.
Big Sur coastline looking south from Ventana.

Every now and then the fog would clear out enough to get a beautiful view of the coastline.

Fog and rock formations at Pfeiffer Beach.

It was mostly foggy the morning we visited Pfeiffer beach. The rock formations and surging waves make for a very dramatic landscape.

Crashing waves at Pfeiffer Beach near Big Sur, California.
Susan B. at Pfeiffer Beach wearing an orange windbreaker and blue jeans.

This little windbreaker has been an MVP so far!

Purple sand at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur is a result of manganese garnet deposits washing down onto the beach.

Pfeiffer beach is known for the purple sands. The color is a result of manganese garnet deposits that get worn down by the waves.

Twisted sycamore trees near Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California.

I thought these sycamores on the road to the beach were just so lovely!

We’re into the last couple days of our trip, and my sister has joined up with us. So I’ll wrap this up, but hope you enjoy the photos! (Plus, my internet connection is comme ci comme ça.)

I’ll be back next week, bon weekend!

Stay in touch.

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  1. pat valentic
    August 13, 2021 / 5:35 am

    California is really a beautiful state. I have not been to Big Sur in a long time. Your photos are wonderful reminders of what I have been missing..

  2. Sue
    August 13, 2021 / 6:29 am

    What a wonderful post with such beautiful photos of the California coast. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Diane B
    August 13, 2021 / 6:32 am

    Thank you for taking the time to post these stunning photos. Those rock ones are so gorgeous, I would enlarge and hang on the wall. Enjoy the time with your sister while there. That shot on the concrete bench is really adorable.

  4. Maria
    August 13, 2021 / 6:39 am

    I am planning a trip to the area in October! Is there lodging you would recommend? We are looking forward to seeing this lovely part of the state!

  5. Sandra Hicke
    August 13, 2021 / 6:41 am

    You look so happy,, you glow! Loved seeing your pictures. Enjoy being with your sister.

  6. Linda
    August 13, 2021 / 6:50 am

    Your posts have made me want to see this part of California, as I have only ever been to San Diego. The vegetation is so lush and so different from what we have in the Southeast! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Kathy
    August 13, 2021 / 6:58 am

    Your travel posts are my favorites….the scenery and your travel wardrobe!

  8. Her
    August 13, 2021 / 7:02 am

    Beautiful, beautiful photos!

  9. Brian
    August 13, 2021 / 7:29 am

    I use to go there in the 1970’s seemed much more isolated than it is now !

  10. Nancy
    August 13, 2021 / 7:40 am

    The link to the sneakers you are wearing in the first picture please ? The one where you are sitting on the concrete bench.

    • Susan Blakey
      August 13, 2021 / 7:42 am

      Hi Nancy, those are a few years old and no longer available. Here’s a similar style:

  11. Maggie Hinson
    August 13, 2021 / 7:57 am

    Gorgeous pictures!

  12. Eve
    August 13, 2021 / 8:26 am

    You look great in that jacket. The photos are stunning! I was on my way to SF once with flowers in my hair but never guite got to CA. Too bad. Its a beautiful state.

  13. yvrjanice
    August 13, 2021 / 8:27 am

    Susan, the clarity on your photos is amazing. What kind of phone were you using?

    • Susan Blakey
      August 13, 2021 / 8:29 am

      Thanks, I’m using an iPhone 12 Pro.

  14. Lucretia Roletta
    August 13, 2021 / 8:58 am

    Beautiful pictures = wanderlust!

  15. Jayne
    August 13, 2021 / 9:00 am

    Thank you for the reminder that California is a beautiful state. I have never been on Pfeifer beach just ridden by on my Harley. Thank you for the awesome pictures.

  16. Nile
    August 13, 2021 / 9:07 am

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos! Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  17. Mary
    August 13, 2021 / 9:43 am

    One of my favorite places in the world. Thanks for the photos.

    Safe travels.

  18. August 13, 2021 / 10:14 am

    Loved the beautiful photos. I always love to go to Nepenthe.

  19. Kathy
    August 13, 2021 / 10:15 am

    Absolutely stunning photos, Susan. I used to live in California, and I do miss the beautiful coastal areas. I like your casual chic traveling outfits as well.

  20. Lana
    August 13, 2021 / 10:57 am

    How gorgeous! Thanks for sharing the beauty of Cali. The land border is still closed to Canadians entering the USA so travelling vicariously through you!

  21. helen
    August 13, 2021 / 12:01 pm

    Beautiful place and great photos. You have a great eye! Would you mind sharing the names of places you stayed in? Thank you.

  22. Denise Withrow
    August 13, 2021 / 12:15 pm

    Susan-Thanks for the beautiful photos! It has been a long time since I have been to that part of California! I had forgotten how beautiful it is!

  23. Ann
    August 13, 2021 / 3:48 pm

    Oh my goodness! These pictures are wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing them.

  24. BethS
    August 13, 2021 / 4:39 pm

    We did a similar trip three years ago & didn’t have enough time to explore Big Sur. Thank you so much for the photos of what we missed—darn it, we’ll just have to go back. 🙂

  25. Nancy
    August 13, 2021 / 5:13 pm

    Big Sur…so beautiful. You make me want to go back…and take the kids to see this beautiful spot! Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos.
    Have a happy remaining time there!

  26. Katelyn K
    August 13, 2021 / 9:17 pm

    Susan, I so miss California and the mini trips to Big Sur and Carmel. I was born and raised in San Francisco and sneaked away as much as possible to the coast. In college, it was a day trip which often turned into an evening when I turned 21. Fond memories of fun times. Hope you are enjoying. PS: The orange anaronak jacket is adorable and you look great in it. Thank you for all your recommendations and ideas which I silently take in and often purchase. My best wishes for a wonderful road trip and safe journeys. PPS: Paul Green shoes are the bomb! PPPS: I live in Southeast Coastal Florida now which although drastically different from N and S Cali, is paradise.

  27. August 14, 2021 / 5:10 am

    I last visited Big Sur in the early 90s. I did a sort of Thelma and Louise (except we did not drive over the cliff) We drove from Los Angeles to San Francisco in an open top sports car and had many adventures along the way. Would like to go back there again.

  28. Elizabeth
    August 14, 2021 / 7:54 am

    Beautiful photos! Looks like you’re having a great time.. Big Sur is magical. I have wonderful memories of visits there, although I haven’t been in years.

  29. SuD
    August 15, 2021 / 5:07 am

    Beautiful! Hopefully I’ll get there someday.

  30. Debbie
    August 25, 2021 / 1:45 pm

    Susan, can you tell me about the off-white sweater you are wearing in the first photo? I love it, and it would be so versatile.

    • Susan Blakey
      August 25, 2021 / 2:22 pm

      Hi Debbie, thanks, it’s this one: It really is a goes-with-everything sweater!

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