24th June 2018
It’s hard to drive around California on a road trip without feeling like you’re in some sort of Hollywood film. From singing Phantom Planet’s ‘California’ down the coastal Pacific Coast Highway to saying every palm tree being shadowed by the sunset looks like The Eagles ‘Hotel California’ album cover. There’s few places as represented in the media and in movies than California and Hollywood, so driving round and discovering new and exciting places was something we were so excited to do – so we thought we’d share the highlight reel of our adventures with you and, of course, how we used our William Morris tote bags during our holiday.
We flew into San Francisco and spent a few days in the area, walking the Golden Gate Bridge and exploring the Red Wood Trees just above the city. We were so lucky to have such beautiful weather – in the past when we’ve been we’ve experienced the ‘June Gloom’ so we were excited to miss that! Whilst on the ground it was very hot, walking over the Golden Gate you get caught in the wind from the bay and it becomes quite cold so we packed some jumpers in our bag (and some snacks too – what’s better than a snack break with a view!)
We spent some time driving down along the coast paddling in the ocean, taking Pacific Coast Highway down to the Big Sur – it’s an incredible 655.8 mile drive in total down the Californian coast which takes you through various counties and shows various parts of the rugged coast, beautiful beaches and even redwood forests. Whichever portion of the road you drive, whether you choose to do it all in an epic road trip or just parts, you’ll see some amazing sights so remember to plan in some time for stops along the way to get out the car and marvel at the view and take a walk down the beaches when you can. We usually go to Whole Foods Market and get one of their salads and take it for a picnic along the way in our Morris tote bags so that we can enjoy the view. We didn’t manage to visit this time due to work being done on the road and also time restrictions, but we’d fully recommend visiting Nepenthe restaurant which, sitting on top of the Santa Lucia mountains, has the most incredible panoramic views over the rugged coast – with the ocean going on for miles in every direction and the sun sparkling on the water, it’s easy to see why movie stars for years have been attracted to the spot. The restaurant was opened in 1949 on land purchased from Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth (who had the intention to have the property as a vacation home.) The restaurant was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright protege Rowan Maiden and it was his vision that the restaurant sat in the landscape without interrupting the beauty of the coast. Over the years, creatives of every type have flocked to the restaurant and Nepenthe became a central part of the community – the name Nepenthe is actually a reference to Homer’s Odyssey – taking the name of the drug which banished trouble and grief from the consumers mind. There’s been some impressive Hollywood names from the glamorous era including Joan Baez, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton who ate at the restaurant regularly whilst shooting the 1965 film ‘The Sandpiper’ in the Big Sur. As we sat looking out over the view, eating a generous portion of fish and chips, it wasn’t hard to see why it’s remained such a popular haunt for so many – from Hollywood stars to tourists alike.