Living in Northern California is a true blessing. It was on that same splendid trip visiting the iconic Hearst Castle, that I continue my journey around the Central Coast. To my delight, for that whole trip, I was extra blessed with the ideal companion.
There is something about the California Coast that just rivets me. Its miles and miles of sun-kissed rugged coastline are coated in breathtaking beauty. There are hidden coves, remote bluffs and bays, tucked away beaches, protected parks, wildlife sanctuaries, towering sand dunes and tide pools aplenty, and of course grand panoramic vistas as far as the eye can see.
Stay high above the ridges, or come down close to water's edge, or step on a bluff-top boardwalk, and you will quickly feel the cool breath of the Pacific Ocean caressing you and the coast's verdant craggy hillsides; all the while the deep blue sea beyond mirrors back at you.
I love how the painterly elements of Mother Nature come together in this next photo: the moody sky, the choppy seas, and the rough edged rocks. Stepping onto a bluff, we witnessed bold white and blue ocean waves crashing, molding the coastline, and assuredly eroding it without a care in the world.
The Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Pacific Grove opened its doors for us to catch the last glimpse of the butterflies before they migrate back thousands of miles to Mexico. Actually it's the fifth generation of them that reaches Mexico! After the obligatory gallery stroll though cute-as-a-button Carmel-by-the-Sea, we continued with another quintessential touristy moment; lazily winding through the world famous 17-mile-drive in Pebble Beach, with its frail but regally located Lone Cypress tree. Later that day, the legendary Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur beckoned us for a refreshing apéritif on its terrace.
I loved how we took a random turn-off off Highway 1 to discover a small windswept cove with purple and golden sands wiping our ankles. Perhaps a morning venture would have given us a moment to sit and make drawings in the sand, but not on that blistery afternoon!
We wrapped it all up with lounging elephant seals basking in the late afternoon light on the San Simeon Bay sands, before the perfect finale a little further south in that very laid-back beach town of Cambria with its mile-long Moonstone Beach Boardwalk meandering along the coastline for the perfect ocean-front stroll. Not to mention a stop at Cambria Glassworks in town, to see Ted Emrick's fantastic art (see my blog on his work).
Another beautiful sunset was in store. Heading home we headed inland to sample local wines and native olive oils from the sloping hillsides of Paso Robles~ another picturesque area to come back to and explore at length.
On this getaway, the beautiful expanse of the Pacific Ocean was at our fingertips at every turn. We were in awe. We lingered. We admired. We breathed in the air. We dreamed. We savored. We smiled.
As always, I realized one thing, the same exquisite thing ~
… how good this is good for the soul