-California's State Scenic Highway 1 Links the Dots to Deals and Thrills This Winter-
MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif., Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- February 3rd, Big Sur's Bixby Creek Bridge will star on the U.S. Postal Service's new Express Mail stamp – an honor for the 78-year old landmark that transformed tourism by paving the way to this remote wilderness best known for harboring authors and artists. This architectural marvel, one of the top ten highest single-span bridges in the world (714 ft. long, 320 ft. span), now serves more than two million vehicles annually.
Completed in 1932, Bixby Creek Bridge introduced automobile travel to Big Sur and kicked off a tourism boom for travelers plying the 90-mile stretch of jaw-dropping seascapes and craggy coastline. Today, the region boasts nine State Parks, 15 inns and a world-class display of ancient redwoods, waterfalls and pristine beaches.
Marking the stamp's debut, area hotels have teamed up to offer a "Bixby Bridge Package" this winter. Big Sur River Inn steps up with accommodations, breakfast and dinner for two starting at $160/dbl. Treebones Resort, sporting 16 upscale yurt accommodations, is offering a two-night mid-week stay with breakfast at 20 percent off, starting at $124.00/dbl. per night. The award-winning Post Ranch Inn, boasting eco-luxury digs overlooking the sea, features two nights' accommodations, two one-hour spa treatments, dinner at Sierra Mar and daily breakfast starting at $2120.00/dbl. Ventana Inn & Spa puts guests front and center with a $250.00/dbl. rate including a complimentary upgrade and $50 resort credit for the luxury spa or restaurant. For the real deal, try a quaint cottage at Big Sur Lodge, tucked deep in Julia Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, including breakfast and guided hike with bag lunch for two at $180.00/dbl. Packages exclude taxes and are based on availability, restrictions and black out periods apply. www.SeeMonterey.com.
TOP ICONIC STOPS
For nature and auto enthusiasts, the trek through Big Sur is a rite of passage. Strike out southbound from Carmel and let the seduction begin.
Noted as "the crown jewel of the State park system," this is the stop for hikers, birders and divers. Home to 250+ animal and bird species, the 544-acre park packs plenty of punch. Try the ocean-front Perimeter trail or just park and hit the key points including Cypress Grove, home to one of two naturally growing strands of Monterey Cypress in the world, Bird Island, Whaler's Cove and China Cove – with its dramatic sparkling jade-green waters framed by hanging Cliffside gardens.
One of the most photographed features on the West Coast, this architectural marvel linked the world to Big Sur in 1932 at a cost of $10 million. The 714-ft. long bridge is one of the top ten highest single-span bridges in the world has debuted in Play Mist for Me, as well as a number of television programs and car advertisements. It also is center stage for the annual Big Sur Marathon every April.
Go off-road for a seasonal moonlight hike/tour at this State Historic Landmark set on a volcanic rock 361 feet above the Pacific. Located in Point Sur State Historic Park, the lighthouse has been in operation since 1889 and is the West Coast's only complete turn-of-the-century light station open to the public. The lighthouse and nine other buildings, including a complete blacksmith and carpentry ship, are viewable by guided tour.
Hard to find and even harder to forget, this pristine beach is a rare opportunity to get up close with Big Sur's shoreline with dramatic offshore rocks and an unusual purple sand, from manganese garnet particles, which have washed down from the hillside. This is nature at its naked best, especially at sunset. A sharp right turn on the only paved road past the Big Sur Post Office (Sycamore Canyon Road) heading south on Highway 1 delivers a two-mile windy road, from their a walking path opens up to this hidden gem.
Set 808 ft. above the crashing surf, this classic redwood and glass outpost was once home to author Henry Miller, doubled as a dance floor in the film Sandpiper and was a gift from Orson Welles to actress Rita Hayworth in 1944. Today, travelers find Nepenthe's lure irresistible, with views to infinity as the sun slips into the sea. An open-pit fireplace, meandering decks and dishes like local Castroville artichokes and the signature Ambrosia hamburger paired with a substantial wine by the glass program ensure an ethereal stay.
The funky library, tucked deep in a redwood grove along Highway 1, offers a variety of books by Miller and his contemporaries, a sculpture garden, alfresco stage for performances and plenty of Big Sur character. Henry Miller spent eighteen years (1944-1962) living in Big Sur while turning out some of his finest work, including The Rosy Crucifixion, a three-volume epic about his life with his second wife, June; and Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, the story of his life in the region.
Located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, this slender yet dramatic 80-ft. fall is a brief one-mile round trip jaunt via the Scenic Overlook/Waterfall trail. The falls flow year-round and are one of only two in the region that are close enough to the ocean to be referred as "tidefalls" with its delicate sand landing. Along McWay Creek, the path leads through a tunnel under Highway 1 and emerges with a spectacular grand panorama of the Big Sur coast.
SOURCE Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau