Recently my sweetheart and I took a road trip to a golden gem, the California Coast. We followed PCH 1 along the lush coast in a rented convertible, which felt so classic. Every minute of the trip was a delight to the eyes. We only had three days to spend and we wanted to see everything, so we had to choose which stops we made wisely in order to fit it all in. Here is how we spent our time. . .
We started out from Morro Bay, a nostalgic coastal town. We visited a few thrift shops together and found some vintage jacket pins. Then we were back on the road, because we had so much ahead of us!
Our first stop was breakfast at Madonna Inn. It was designed by a fancy, floral wallpaper, pink, lace, and fake flower obsessed grandmother who most likely was high when she decorated the whole place. Just kidding, but yes, that is what Madonna Inn looks like. It is so grossly overdone that it is its own sort of fantastic. Everything is done like that, right down to the pink light posts in the parking lot.
We pulled off to see the Elephant Seals who beach in Big Sur. They are so happy, content, and blubbery, soaking up the California sunshine and looking as if all they need is a cabana boy to bring them a drink on a tray to be set.
We drove on for hours along the luscious coast – one never grows tired eating up all that beauty with one’s eyes.
Our next stop was the grand Hearst Castle. Castle Indeed. it was built in the early 1900’s by, well, Hearst. It was built and decorated with very old pieces of history from around the world. Glorious gardens, ancient statues, a dreamy pool overlooking the Pacific and another indoor pool complete with 24 carat gold tiles (fit for gods), are sprawled out on the mountaintop. Definitely a good stop.
One of my favorite stops: the iconic Mcway falls… there are no words for its beauty, it is breathtaking.
Bixby bridge – it’s so classic that you can’t not stop. Everything was golden when we got back on the road after this stop. The swollen orange sun loomed over the pacific and then slid down behind it. The beauty of this will always be imprinted on my mind.
When finally we arrived at our destination of Monterey, it was dark , chilly, and we were starving. After dropping our bags in our room at the Monterey Hotel, and walked to the boardwalk. We ordered two bread bowls of steaming hot clam chowder, which we ravenously devoured as we watched the dark waves lap gently in the moonlight.
The next morning we woke up to the hustle and bustle of the street below. Our room was overlooking the main street, and we could see over the rooftops out to the entire inlet. When we walked through the hotel in the morning, I saw its beauty in the daylight. It was the first hotel in Monterey, built in 1904. I was so inspired by it’s interior, and I think I would even like to let it inspire me to style one of the rooms on our home when we remodel upstairs. The plaster walls were a perfect shade of lush dusty rose pink, with cream crown moulding and pillars. Every alcove was adorned with carved wood, velvet furniture, and green plants.
Both mornings of our stay we walked down to the busy street below, ordered fresh made crepes and coffee to go, and walked out to the pier to enjoy breakfast, the morning sounds, the sunshine in the chilly fresh coastal air, the sea lions playing, and the ships go out to sea, and each other’s company. Breakfasting like this would never grow old!
We spent our second day at Carmel bay – it is a jewel. We were really trying to focus on quality time vs documenting the trip, so I have not photos to show for it, but it truly took my breath away. We rented scuba gear for a dive, but the water was very murky that day and we weren’t able to see many sea creatures. We did get to see a cute little sea lion looking at us from across the sea kelp though.
On the way back we took the scenic 10 Mile Drive in Pebble Beach where the famous Lone Cyprus is.
From there we only had time to make a stop for scenery and coffee, and a stop for taco’s at Taco Temple, before the trip was over.
And that is how we spent three days on the California Coast. I certainly think one could spend much more than three days on the trip, but it can be done with making all the essential stops. PCH 1 was everything I imagined it to be, and I think it is one of my favorite trips we have taken to date!