Big Sur to Solvang

Hello everyone!

Hope you are all doing really well. I am doing great. I am looking forward to sharing this stretch of our drive down the coast of California with you today. We drove down Highway 1 through Big Sur to the town of Solvang, which the drive had the most beautiful sights I have ever seen in California. Just gorgeous.

Let’s go!

We woke up to cloudy skies. Actually, as I am typing this we woke up most days to cloudy skies. Which was weird but it is California. Anyways. We started our morning with a stop in to the Asilomar’s coffee shop and a stroll down to the beach. The espresso from their coffee shop may be one of the best coffees I have had the whole trip. Mmm’mm, too good! The walk to the beach wasn’t that bad either. Hehe

From Monterey we started our way south. First, we hit up the cit of Carmel. What a cute place! We stopped at the local beach and drove through town for some views. Not just beach views either. There was a big (insanely big) car show starting that weekend and the grand parade of all the vintage and new age cars was starting on this day. My husband thought it would be a great surprise for motor-head me. And it totally was!!

From the center of town, and for miles and miles, driving out of the area, we were guests to an array of cars heading towards that town. IT WAS SO AWESOME!! We were driving, but locals were lined up along neighborhoods and streets, camping out, to see the cars.

Leaving Carmel was a true spectacular with all of the cars. I wished my dad was there all along the way because he is a huge car fanatic. He loves his Formula 1 racing, used to go every year in Montreal, Canada, and he would race cars as a young man. Boy, this part of our day we saw so many classic cars, and tricked out cars, and so many of my dad’s favorites… Ferraris and Lamborghinis and Maseratis and vintage Alfa Romeos! It was an Italians’ car dream! Haha

Along Big Sur we stopped at the famed Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge. What. a. Sight!! The sweeping blue ocean views with the dark canyon of sheer cliffs joined by the bridge, it all seemed so surreal. We stayed in the pull over for quite a while. Enjoying the views and the classic cars speeding by.

From here we decided to go eat; we were starving. Still had to have breakfast! We stopped at the Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant, which was a great stop. The food was so good and the location was perfect for a rest. To my surprise, the clouds made way for some warm breezes and hot sunshine.!

Full and happy, we made our way down Los Padres National Forest to Pfeiffer beach. Well to the road to get to the beach. The beach is down a very thin, one lane, somewhat windy road. It takes a bit of time to drive it as you have to move side to side for passing traffic… but worth it!

FINALLY!! the beach!

Ohmygod, guys, this beach was dreamy. Dreamy as far as beaches go. The beach overall seems untouched. Not many people were there that afternoon, so it really lent to a private beach feel. In the middle of the surf, among the crashing water, there are a few huge rock formations that come together to form a path and one rock had a keyhole arch. The waves crashing through were spectacular.

Walking around the beach you couldn’t find much in the way of sea-life or shells, lots of seaweed though. But the coolest part was the was purple! Pictures couldn’t grab the vibrancy of the sand with the sunshine. Gah, what a place.

After Pfeiffer Beach, we realized we had a lot of time before the sun started to set so my husband wanted to check out a falls along the way, McWays Falls. Now, I didn’t do much research on this stop so I honestly had no expectations or clue on what we would see.

The hike over to the cliff to check out the falls is super short, actually it’s just a walk down a few steps and a long path. Super easy for most people.

I am so glad that I had no expectations because holy wow! These falls are situated off a cliff in the middle of a beach and empties into the ocean. Something I have never seen before. Gorgeous! Looked like it was on a private beach or even one untouched in a long time. I wanted to run down there to shower in the falls so badly!!

We drove our way further down Highway 1. Stopping along the way to stretch our legs and admire all of the spanning views. The cliffs and windy turns along the way are jaw droopingly beautiful. Each stop felt like a recharge for the soul with the ocean air. Ahh. I loved it.

Our last stop before making our way to Solvang was to Elephant Seal Beach. Well. We penciled in a stop at Hearst Castle on our itinerary, but they were still closed for Covid19 during this part of our trip. Next trip I guess.

So. Elephant Seals. They are loud. They are ugly. They are bullies. And they smell horrible. Haha. When we made it to this beach the weather changed to somewhat blustery and cold. Stark contrast from our last stop. So we jumped out of the car to see the seals for maybe ten minutes! We watched the seals flop around, bark and fart literally the loudest creatures. Between the wind and smell, I was all set so we bolted to the car. Literally raced back to the car.

Next stop, Solvang!

Solvang is a super cute Dutch styled village. They are best known for their historic Dutch architecture, bakeries and wineries, and restaurants.

Insert scratch the record sounds here for the …Backstory. Ok, so I am a super HUGE New Girl (TV) fan. New Girl taped an episode in Solvang a few years ago which was so funny that I was smitten. I always kept a pin on the town’s name for the future. So when we were planning this trip, and we were looking to make a rest stop, I subliminally suggested Solvang to my husband, so. Thus..stop in Solvang.

It took us about two hours to drive to Solvang from that last beach stop. We stayed at the Hadsten House, which was right on the main street, walkable to everything.

By the time we arrived and changed, we were excited to make our way around the downtown. We strolled down the main drag for a few minutes before the crew started lamenting about being hungry. We luckily were in front of the local beerhall, Solvang Beer Company. We had this spot on our list of places to eat, so why not now!?

Soooo, I am not a beer drinker like my husband, but the beerhall did offer a ton of German wines that I like and cocktails, too. So we were good. We grabbed schnitzel, fish n chips, wursts and sausages, pretzels and sandwiches. We got carried away with conversation and of course talking about the rest of our trip. So we ended up finishing our night here.

What a fun place to chill out for a while, and, the food was so good. That schnitzel was top notch!

I was truly glad I suggested Solvang. It was so quaint and lovely. 💗 And we had another night to enjoy it.

What a great day. I loved reliving that with you just now. 😊 Can’t wait to share the rest.

Thank you all for the support reading along. I truly appreciate you! Till next time. xoxo

3 thoughts on “Big Sur to Solvang

  1. Such a wonderful family trip, I’m jealous! Your comment on the elephant seals got a belly laugh, I had no idea that they stink, fart, and are generally unpleasant! 😂

    My family was heavily into antique cars a few years ago, attended the big car show along the coast down there. I would looove to visit Solvang! Great photos, Valeria, thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks John! I really appreciate the compliment. Hope you do make it to Solvang, it was such a great town!
      Those elephant seals were absolutely the weirdest animals I have ever seen. And to think just an hours drive beforehand, we saw those sophisticated cars. Such a dynamic state.

      1. Your welcome, Valeria. As a rule, I really don’t like California for various reasons but the state does have a few gems and good things in it’s favor.

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