Sunday, November 2, 2014

Nepenthe - one of my favorite spots

Nepenthe is a restaurant just south of Big Sur. It's in a little forested area that also has a gift shop and a cafe. The views of the ocean and coast are beautiful, and the building is one of my very favorites. It's not large, but it's wonderfully situated on a high cliff above the ocean, and is constructed of wood and glass. I tried to get a photo of the interior but the contrast between the bright outdoors and the inside was too great - perhaps if I was better with my camera. There is an old-time hippy vibe here, and I love it. It feels right.

Nepenthe was a potion used in ancient Greece to cause forgetfulness of pain or sorrow.

From a Nepenthe info sheet -
"Nepenthe's terrace was once graced with a beautiful old oak tree. It used to be the first thing you saw coming up the ramp through the gardens. It framed the view of the south coast beyond, and made you feel as though the restaurant and its surroundings were one.
An overzealous gardner and too much watering conspired to send the oak tree to an untimely demise.
Sculptor Edmund Kara came to the rescue with his version of the Phoenix Bird, Nepenthe's standard. He found the tree at the bottom of the Mule Canyon creek, and sculpted the bird in one piece, adding legs of bronze.
Aloe Vera were planted around the base adding a touch of fire. On Chinese New Year in 1976, the bird came to land on the base of the old oak tree, where is has roosted ever since."

People gather on the outdoor patio for drinks and appetizers while waiting for tables. It's a warm and friendly place, and while I waited for a seat at the bar I saw many people meeting up with friends.

I met two women while eating lunch at the bar. They were from Newport Beach and were taking a "girl" trip to San Francisco. They were dressed in perfect outfits and heels - a sharp contrast to my camping clothes (jeans, sweatshirt and flipflops). They ordered margaritas and a basket of fries, and man did I want to steal some of those fries! They both downed second margaritas but wait - who's driving their car on this twisty narrow highway? Two margaritas and I would be on the floor. After a delicious beet salad and latte lunch, I drove north again and passed through Santa Cruz on my way to San Francisco and the Bay Bridge.

The Santa Cruz Beach

The Santa Cruz Pier, at the end of which is part of a sunken ship that is full of pelicans.

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