4-Hour Rule: Big Sur Island

Consider this last-call for a once-in-a-lifetime experience

By Diane Rommel

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28 August 2017

Can you imagine cycling down Route 1 without a fraction of the regular traffic?

Or reaching your hotel by helicopter? 

Welcome to Big Sur Island. 

Cut off by last year's landslides, our neighbors in Big Sur had a choice: close up shop — or turn agita into a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, in our own backyard. 

"It’s akin to the 1940s or ’50s — what Big Sur was like for my grandparents," the owner of Nepenthe Restaurant (and president of the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce) said. 

As of July, non-residents were able to access Big Sur via a steep canyon trail in Pfeiffer Burns State Park. It involves a couple shuttles, and the hike. But there's another way, if you opt for something slightly more luxurious. 

You'll be traveling, of course, by helicopter. Book in for three nights at our property of choice (below) and you'll receive a "once-in-a-lifetime" helicopter ride for two from Monterey. Strap in for a 20-minute flight along the Pacific Coast. Again, you're welcome to hike in — but why hike in when there's a free(ish) chopper on call? 

THE STAY
The Post Ranch Inn is one of the best hotels on the entirety of the Pacific Coast, and quite possibly the most relaxing. Rooms do not offer a TV set or an alarm clock. Now, more than ever, this is your chance to forge a one-on-one relationship with the surrounding environment. It won't be this quiet again. 

THE MEAL
You gotta go to Nepenthe, Big Sur's nearly 70-year-old restaurant landmark, now open for dinner service. If you like burgers, you need the Ambrosia burger; if you drink fancy cocktails, you need to try the Moscow Mule, with Stolichnaya Vodka with Fever Tree Ginger Beer and fresh lime juice. 

THE ADVENTURE
Who knows when we'll have another chance to cycle along Highway 1 with just a fraction of its usual traffic? Big Sur Adventures will supply an electric bike and a tour guide to explore this strangely deserted coast — newly encroached-upon by wildlife and nature itself. 

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