Sur-Cease and Nepenthe

As I previously mentioned, our drive along California Highway 1 was a little bit of a wash-out. The rain started early and streamed down unrelentingly for a good portion of our journey.

However, as we continued south toward Big Sur, the damask of drizzle finally shook free, and we saw the faintest line of orange break through the steely gray horizon, pushing its warm glow further and further outward each passing mile.

I pulled over a few times, trying to capture the sense of transcendent joy that overwhelmed us at the appearance of sunlight, even if only for the briefest of performances. Ironically, however, one of my favorite shots from these stops was one that shows no sign of sunshine at all:

There’s such a palpable undercurrent of desolation to this photo. Honestly, I keep expecting to catch a glimpse of plastic wrapping and Laura Palmer’s water-soaked curls just out of view behind one of those rocks.

Don’t cry, Andy. It’ll be all right.

Needless to say, this image greatly appeals to my darker sensibilities.

We continued a little further past this point, the sunshine strangely growing in intensity the further south we traveled, yet gloriously diffused by tendrils of mist that slipped along the mountainous crags with sultry ease.

Our final destination was Nepenthe, a restaurant that received convincing enough praise from the folks at Lonely Planet that I figured it would be a lovely end to a long drive. It was here that the sun made its final bid at breathtaking before dipping back to bed:

I do believe this might be what is known as “the money shot.” It’s certainly one of my favorite non-aquarium photos from the day.

As for Nepenthe, if you ever find yourself wandering the edges of California’s coast around Big Sur, you should definitely keep this place in mind. It’s a delightful stop, perched precariously above the water’s edge and providing views that were breathtaking even in the midst of misty gloom. Add to this a roaring fire at the heart of the dining area, cozy cushioned seating with pillows and candles galore, wonderfully bohemian wait staff, and simple yet simply delicious meals, it was indeed worth the drive.