{ DIGITAL DIARY }: Big Sur, California • Summer 2019

my life will never be the same
essellesse goes to big sur, california • lazy luxury

As we hit the road South, the first location on our list was Big Sur. Roughly a 3-4 hour drive from San Francisco, Big Sur has been on my wishlist for a while.

We decided to spend a day there before we checked into our hotel in San Luis Obispo!

We took the entire drive with pure leisure. No specific location, just drive & stop by what looks interesting really.

This is basically how we do a lot of our travels. I think because work, for both me & him, is so regimented and scheduled, it’s so lovely to have zero plans or schedules on vacation.

Big Sur is really known for it’s beauty: from the lush forests, to striking cliffs, to the dramatic ocean views, & the cooling fog, it’s just next level.

We decided to take the leisurely drive on the 1 to take in all the views. If you’re roadtripping California & time is not an issue, I always encourage taking the Highway-1 way.

Basically, highway 1 is literally right alongside the ocean. You have to drive slower on it since it’s hairpin turns and you’re driving along the ocean cliffs, but man, it’s stunning. You also take Highway 1 north to get up to Jenner in the Sonoma Coast too. It’s probably my favourite highway in the entire US.

First things first, we approached the Bixby bridge & had a mini photoshoot. Very much some Big Little Lies vibes, right? I took the advice from Julia of Gal Meets Glam on where to take a photo

turn left, just before the bridge if you are headed south.  If you are headed north, turn right, immediately after the bridge. This will take you to a road that goes up into the mountains. Follow the road just a little ways and look for parking. You should be perfectly angled so that you can shoot out towards the ocean and the bridge.” { via }

It was really foggy at Bixby Bridge – in fact, as soon as we passed it, it got sunny and clear. I’m not sure if it’s always like that but heads up if you’re going to get some pics there, it may have a foggier / moodier vibe!

One of my dream vacations is staying for a few days at Post Ranch Inn – I’ve never been but we passed right by it and it looked as magical as it was in my mind!

It was about 4:00p at this point so we decided to spend the rest of the evening at Nepenthe for a sunset glass of wine {for me} & iced teas {for Erik}.

HIGHLY, highly recommend Nepenthe. What an absolutely gorgeous restaurant.

Atop an ocean side cliff, the views are second to none. Outside, there is a giant natural wood slab that faces the ocean – perfect to enjoy a cool beverage but what will truly get you drunk are the ocean views.

Seriously, I can sit and watch the ocean & sky transform for hours. It’s my favourite thing in the world to do with Erik.

Nepenthe is famous for their burger so we will absolutely get that next time. If you go, stay a while. We got there right at white gold hour {what I call that white gold light riiiight before golden hour} & stayed until the sun set and the sky was a beautiful ombré coral, lavender, & dark purple

Before we knew it, it was about 8:30p so we hit the road… & wow. This is where things got magical.

To get to San Luis Obispo {about 2-3 hours from Big Sur}, you continue taking Highway 1. There was absolutely no light pollution from the highway – it literally was cliffside along the ocean!

Anyways, this was one of the most powerful moments of my life

As the sky transitioned from indigo to black, the stars were crystal clear. Erik & I pulled over to a safe shoulder with a grassy noll and plenty of area to stand. It was pitch black and you could see the cosmos so clearly, as well as the moon & some of the brighter starts reflecting from the ocean. – it truly was breathtaking. We both got out of the car & watched the stars together for about 20 minutes as the waves crashed right below us.

It was such a powerful moment & one of those that I’ll remember everything about for the rest of my life: from the black sky, to the stars, to holding Erik, to how everything smelled, to how everything sounded – truly a once in a lifetime moment.

In fact, I just ordered this perfume called Moonbeam with the hopes it smells like that moment. I plan on mixing it with one of my beachy perfumes or Isle from Skylar. Fingers crossed.

We are obsessed with the ocean & outer space. We always say that Erik is more ocean & I am more outerspace, and at that moment, they were both so powerful and beautiful together. It all just felt very symbolic of us.

our cosmic highway one playlist

{ very fitting, but we had Group Therapy 344 with Above & Beyond and Cosmic Gate on for the lunar drive – check out the #ABGT344 tracklist – I can’t get enough of the Tinlicker remix of Breezeblocks }

Moondrunk, we finally made it to San Luis Obispo {& hotwired a hotel for the night}! I’ll give SLO it’s own recap soon.

Though we only spent a few hours, our time in Big Sur was truly magical. I absolutely cannot wait to go back and spend some good time there this winter or next year.

Have you ever been to Big Sur? Any recommendations for next time?

x Shannon

+ listen to Above & Beyond Group Therapy 344 on Spotify here

+ more california posts

Leave a Comment


  1. 2.6.20
    Missy May said:

    I haven’t been here before but, surely sounds like a place worth visiting. The views are breathtaking! Great road trip images. 🙂


    • 2.6.20

      You have to get there!! It is so beautiful & unlike anywhere I’ve seen. Thanks so much for the love 🙂 <3

  2. 2.6.20

    What a beautiful place! Wonderful photos!

  3. 2.6.20
    An said:

    I’ve never been but these photos are gorgeous! I want to plan a trip now! xx An