As you travel along highway one from the north past Carmel, you will follow the winding coast and come upon the amazing Bixby Bridge. As many times as we've taken that route over the years and encountered the bridge, it never ceases to leave us awestruck. We have come to think of it as the entree in to the most special place in our hearts. From here along the highway is the most majestic scenery imaginable and the land that is Big Sur.
We visit Big Sur quite frequently and have stayed in many different rental homes and hotels, but Deetjen's is the one with the deepest roots in Big Sur and an undeniably rich history that is palpable the second you set foot inside. The Bixby Bridge opened in 1932 and it was also just around this time that Helmuth Deetjen built a redwood barn near Castro Canyon Creek that is now the home of the famous Deetjen's restaurant. Over the years, "Grandpa" Deetjen built several redwood cabins along the path to the creek, inviting travelers, writers and artists off all kinds to come together to dine and play.
Deetjen's exemplifies what is the Big Sur style of building that we have come to adore. To add to the charm of the inn, Grandpa gave each room it's own personality and name (Van Gogh, Petit Cuisine, Chateau Fiasco and Antique Apartment amongst them). The cats even have a little room constructed for them. Each room is rustic and romantic, many with wood burning stoves, and all filled with their own antiques and treasures. As it should be, there are no tvs or wifi, nor is there any cell phone service in the inn's pocket of the sur.
We have been wanting to stay here for years, but the inn is booked so far in advance and we often like to jaunt on down on a whim. This time, we just got lucky and were able to get a room with one night's notice in the only room available. It just happened to be "Grandpa's Room". As you can guess it was the former home of Grandpa Deetjen. A super cool portrait of him hangs in the sleeping nook. I stared at the portrait all night with a burning desire to drink wine and smoke cigarettes with him and take in all the tales. Left behind is Grandpa's vinyl collection, separated in to two categories, "miscellaneous recordings" and "unpopular records". The Frenchman, Cool Hand and I all cozied up, played games and read together and felt the welcome of Grandpa.
Prior to the opening of the Bixby Bridge and Deetjen's, it was quite treacherous for travelers to visit and set up camp in Big Sur. We have the deepest gratitude for both of these historic landmarks that allowed folks like us to discover and immerse ourselves in all the natural beauty, warmth and comfort of Big Sur.
food & libations: Deetjen's restaurant is the best in town for breakfast and also serves a delicious dinner in the candlelight dining room (quirkiest, coziest dining room on earth), Big Sur Bakery, Big Sur Roadhouse, Nepenthe (sunset cocktail)
cool for kids: playing near the creek, hot chocolate at the restaurant, the names of the rooms/quirkiness, sleeping nooks, reading in the library