- Tickle Pink Inn
- 155 Highland Drive - Carmel
- California 93923 - United States
Big Sur is a rugged and picturesque stretch of California's coastline located between Carmel and San Simeon. It's renowned for its stunning natural beauty, including towering cliffs, dense forests, and breathtaking ocean views. The history of Big Sur and Carmel is rich and diverse, influenced by Native American presence, Spanish colonization, and later, the arrival of artists, writers, and conservationists.
Native American Presence: The indigenous people of the Big Sur region were primarily the Esselen and Rumsen tribes. They had lived in the area for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. They were skilled hunter-gatherers who relied on the abundant resources of the land and sea.
Spanish Colonization: In the late 18th century, Spanish explorers and missionaries arrived in California. The Carmel Mission, officially known as Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo, was established in 1770 by Father Junípero Serra. It played a crucial role in the Spanish colonization of California and is one of the most historically significant sites in the region.
Mexican and American Era: After Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, the Carmel Mission continued to operate under Mexican rule. However, in 1833, the Mexican government secularized the missions, leading to the dispersion of mission lands. In the mid-19th century, after the Mexican-American War, California became part of the United States.
Homesteading and Early Settlement: In the latter half of the 19th century, Big Sur saw a slow influx of homesteaders and settlers. The terrain and isolation made farming and development difficult, so the area remained sparsely populated.
Artistic Influence: In the early 20th century, Big Sur started to attract artists and writers who were drawn to its rugged beauty. Among them was Robinson Jeffers, a renowned poet who settled in Carmel and wrote extensively about the landscape and environment.
Henry Miller and the Bohemian Culture: Author Henry Miller also spent time in Big Sur, and his writings contributed to the region's reputation as a haven for bohemian and countercultural movements. The free-spirited culture of the 1960s further cemented this reputation.
Conservation Efforts: Concerns about the environmental impact of development in Big Sur led to significant conservation efforts. In 1937, the artist Edward Weston and his son Brett, along with other like-minded individuals, formed the Friends of Photography, which played a crucial role in preserving the natural beauty of the area.
Highway 1: The construction of Highway 1 along the coastline in the mid-20th century provided better access to Big Sur, making it a popular tourist destination while also raising concerns about environmental preservation and the impact of increased traffic.
Today, Big Sur remains a unique and cherished part of California's coastline. Its history is intertwined with a diverse range of influences, from indigenous cultures to artistic communities and conservation efforts. The region's rugged beauty and cultural significance continue to attract visitors from around the world.
Top Tourist Attractions
Big Sur is known for its stunning natural beauty, offering visitors a range of breathtaking attractions. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in Big Sur:
- McWay Falls: One of the most iconic sights in Big Sur, McWay Falls is a picturesque waterfall that cascades directly onto a pristine beach. It's easily accessible from Highway 1 and offers a stunning view of the coastline.
- Bixby Creek Bridge: This iconic bridge is one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world. It offers a spectacular view of the rugged coastline and is a popular stop for photographers.
- Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park: This state park offers a range of hiking trails that lead to beautiful redwood groves and scenic overlooks. The Big Sur River also flows through the park, providing opportunities for swimming and picnicking.
- Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park: This park is famous for its coastal views, including the McWay Falls overlook. There are several trails that take you through redwood forests and along the cliffs, providing breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean.
- Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Located just north of Big Sur, Point Lobos is known for its diverse marine life, dramatic cliffs, and scenic trails. It's a popular spot for hiking, wildlife viewing, and scuba diving.
- Garrapata State Park: This park offers a range of hiking trails with panoramic ocean views, including the Soberanes Canyon Trail and the Rocky Ridge Trail. It's also known for its rugged coastline and picturesque beaches.
- Pfeiffer Beach: This secluded beach is known for its purple sand, created by manganese garnet deposits. It's a popular spot for photography, sunset watching, and beachcombing.
- Andrew Molera State Park: This park offers a variety of trails, including the Ridge, Bluffs, and Creamery Meadow Trails, which lead to scenic overlooks and a beautiful beach along the Big Sur River.
- Nepenthe: This iconic restaurant and gift shop offers panoramic views of the coastline from its terrace. It's a popular spot for dining, shopping, and enjoying the stunning surroundings.
- Henry Miller Memorial Library: This cultural center celebrates the life and work of the famous writer Henry Miller, who spent time in Big Sur. It hosts events, exhibitions, and offers a peaceful garden setting.
Remember that the natural beauty of Big Sur is also a delicate ecosystem, so it's important to follow Leave No Trace principles and respect any posted guidelines when visiting these attractions.
Big Sur, located along the central coast of California, experiences a Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and dry, warm summers. Here's a breakdown of the typical climate in Big Sur:
- Summer (June - August): Temperature: Highs range from 60°F to 75°F (16°C to 24°C), occasionally reaching into the 80s°F (27°C to 32°C). Nighttime lows range from 45°F to 55°F (7°C to 13°C). Precipitation: Virtually no rainfall during the summer months.
- Fall (September - November): Temperature: Highs range from 60°F to 75°F (16°C to 24°C). Nighttime lows range from 45°F to 55°F (7°C to 13°C). Precipitation: Starts to see an increase in rainfall, particularly in November.
- Winter (December - February): Temperature: Highs range from 55°F to 65°F (13°C to 18°C), while lows typically range from 40°F to 50°F (4°C to 10°C). Precipitation: Winter is the wettest season in Big Sur. Rainfall can be significant, especially in January and February.
- Spring (March - May): Temperature: Highs range from 60°F to 70°F (16°C to 21°C), with lows between 45°F to 55°F (7°C to 13°C). Precipitation: Rainfall gradually decreases, but there can still be occasional showers.
- It's important to note that microclimates can significantly influence local weather conditions in Big Sur. For instance, coastal areas are generally cooler due to the influence of the Pacific Ocean, while inland areas may experience more extreme temperatures.
- Fog is a common feature along the coast, particularly in the summer months, and can affect visibility and temperature. The Pacific Ocean's cooling influence also means that the water can be quite cold year-round.
Visitors should be prepared for a range of weather conditions, and it's advisable to check the forecast before visiting. Additionally, given the potential for precipitation in the winter months, it's essential to be cautious when driving along the winding roads of Highway 1 in Big Sur.
Big Sur is a rugged and picturesque stretch of coastline along California's Highway 1, located between Carmel and San Simeon. It's renowned for its dramatic and diverse geography, which includes a mix of towering cliffs, dense forests, pristine beaches, and rugged mountains. Here are some key features of Big Sur's geography:
- Santa Lucia Mountains: The Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean, creating a dramatic coastal range that defines the landscape of Big Sur. Some peaks, such as Cone Peak, reach heights of over 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) and provide stunning panoramic views.
- Steep Cliffs and Rocky Shores: The coastline of Big Sur is characterized by steep, rugged cliffs that drop dramatically into the Pacific Ocean. These cliffs are often made of granite and shale, creating a dramatic and visually striking coastline.
- Deep Valleys and Canyons: Big Sur is home to a number of deep valleys and canyons, many of which are carved out by creeks and rivers flowing from the mountains to the sea. These valleys are often covered in lush vegetation and are a stark contrast to the rocky coastline.
- Redwood and Coastal Forests: Inland from the coast, the landscape is dominated by redwood and other coniferous forests. These ancient trees create a dense, mystical woodland environment that is characteristic of the region.
- McWay Cove: One of the most famous spots in Big Sur, McWay Cove features a picturesque waterfall that cascades directly onto a small, sandy beach. It's a unique feature of the coastline and a popular attraction for visitors.
- Bixby Creek: The Bixby Creek runs through a deep canyon and under the famous Bixby Creek Bridge, which is one of the tallest single-span bridges in the world. The creek flows into the Pacific Ocean, creating a picturesque scene.
- Pfeiffer Beach: This popular beach is known for its distinctive purple sand, caused by manganese garnet deposits. It's a unique feature of the coastline and a favorite spot for photographers.
- Rugged Backcountry: In addition to the well-known coastal areas, Big Sur's interior is characterized by a rugged and largely undeveloped backcountry. This includes deep canyons, hidden waterfalls, and extensive hiking trails.
- Carmel River: The Carmel River flows through Carmel Valley and into the Pacific Ocean at Carmel Beach. It's an important waterway in the region and contributes to the lush vegetation found in parts of Big Sur.
- Point Sur: Located at the north end of Big Sur, Point Sur is a massive volcanic rock formation that juts out into the ocean. It's home to a historic lighthouse and offers stunning views of the coastline.
The diverse geography of Big Sur makes it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, photographers, and nature lovers. It's a place of immense natural beauty and a testament to the incredible landscapes found along the California coast.
Three different ways Carmel is a delight to the eyeCarmel-By-The-Sea was founded 100 years ago by a group of artists who came because of the light
In one delightful day, you can walk along Carmel beach and see the beautiful homes, walk up through the town and discover the fairytale architecture, and find your way through some of the 42 hidden pathways and courtyards, each enhanced with baby flower gardens, many of which lead you to yet another art gallery, one of almost 90 in this one-square-mile-sized California village.
Your eyes, at the end of the day, will be dazzled.
Carmel-By-The-Sea was founded 100 years ago by a group of artists who came because of the light. The artists never left, but others came and were joined by writers and architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Al Saroyan, poet Robinson Jeffers, writers Jack London and George Sterling, and photographers Ansel Adams and Ed Weston. All residents decided to keep its scale and flavor, thus the height restriction on buildings to two stories, no curbs, and no street numbers: Gallery Sur is at the corner of Dolores and Lincoln streets, and the drivers' license addresses of Carmelites (they're not nuns or friars, but residents) contain Post Office box numbers.
When you walk by the Tuck House teahouse or the Hansel house you'll think you could be in Olde England. These are Hugh Comstock "Dollhouse Tudor" homes, like the 400-square-foot one he made originally for his bride, copied after the cottages of the old world, with rolled eave roofs and deliberately asymmetrical angles. Pop into Steven Whyte's sculpture studio and gallery and you may find the sculptor standing dwarfed by one of his humongous bronze busts of Abraham Lincoln or Bacchus 10 times real-life size. Whyte's War Hymn Monument for Texas A&M College is, at 18,000 pounds, the largest single bronze sculpture at any stadium in the USA and at any educational establishment in the world. He just sent "Jumbo", a life-sized elephant in bronze, to Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, to represent that school's mascot. Whyte does so many sculptures of beautiful nude women that he jokes about those who want to model for him that "I have to beat them off with a stick".
At Gallerie Plein Aire you might meet artist Cyndra Bradford, who paints all along the Carmel coastline, outdoors, the scenes that first brought so many to this town. The Robin Winfield Gallery of contemporary art features life-sized sculptures of Shannon Lilly, former prima ballerina of the San Francisco Ballet, or David Ligare's work, such as his"Untitled (Thrown Drapery) painting which was featured prominently in the 1985 film "Compromising Positions" which may have influenced the later iconic image of the white plastic bag floating in a blue sky in the film "American Beauty". Ligare has had over 40 solo exhibitions in New York, London, Rome, Los Angeles, San Francisco and elsewhere. At Gallery Sur you'll see Winston Swift Boyer's Ocean Series of fine art photographs, or the stone sculptures of six artists from Zimbabwe, Africa. The variety of media in Carmel's galleries is astounding.
Cassandria Blackmore Gallery features the unusual reverse painting on glass where, after the artist has painted on the back of the glass, she smashes it so the broken glass is its own art. And the Eyvind Earle Gallery has serigraphs from the artist who painted backgrounds for Disney films and also wrote poetry: "Fog is a kind of rain before it falls. It floats and sails and climbs and drifts and crawls. It moves into the mountains and the hills and slowly disappears as daylight spills".
Kelly Steele leads a tour of the courtyards and pathways of Carmel if you'd rather have a guided tour of those, and wouldn't you know, he too, is an artist, now painting pictures of the stone homes and storybook cottages of Carmel onto his iPhone and making them into postcards. Guided tours of some of the art galleries gives you access to artists and art dealers whom you may not meet if you were strolling the galleries on your own. You can even take a "Creativity With Canvas" tour where you might meet at the beach and the art teacher will bring all materials for a private session creating your own Carmel-inspired art.
Any woman who takes one of these tours, or walks around town on her own, is of course going to wear comfortable, flat, walking shoes for comfort. But if you get an urge - perhaps for a dinner out -- to put on your heels any higher than two inches, take note that first you'll have to go to Carmel City Hall to get a permit to wear them. Just another quirk in this kinky town - they don't want to be sued for broken ankles on sidewalks that are bumpy and without curbs.