Cushy Camping

by on September 23, 2010

Big Sur

I love Cushy Camping. This might cause you to wonder, “What the heck is ‘cushy camping’?” Well, let me give you my definition. Cushy camping is where you can walk to an incredible restaurant to eat or maybe have drinks at the bar before you go back to Bar-B-Q or roast marshmallows. It’s where you have hot showers in the morning and a security guard patrolling the area so that some errant bear or mountain lion does not get the better of one of us happy campers. It’s playing cards on a deck overlooking the pacific ocean while sipping on a latte in the afternoon.

As you can see, I enjoy the high life, when it comes to my outdoor camping experiences. And, in Big Sur, all those things are possible!

Our favorite place to camp is the Ventana – Big Sur campground. To quote their brochure, “Ventana Campground…is set back in a 40 acre redwood canyon. We have 75 sites which were built following the existing contours of the canyon without disturbing it’s natural beauty.” We have stayed there at least 5 times and each time has been positively delightful.

We get there around 3 or 4 PM on Friday night. Locate our spot and get settled in. Then we drive to one of our favorite spots like Nepenthe or the River Inn and enjoy a latte or a glass of beer while dangling our feed in the Big Sur River or over looking the mighty Pacific Ocean. Then we head back to the campground to prepare the nights repast and after we’ve cleaned everything thing up you just might find us on the deck behind the Ventana Inn enjoying some other treat while we watch the sun go down and wait for the stars to come out one by one.

The next day you just might find us at Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn enjoying a lovely breakfast in the homey dining room before we head into the mountains or onto the beach for a lovely hike. Either way, we are always in for a treat. Whether we check out the falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park or the wildflowers as we meander to the beach at Andrew Molera State Park we will feel like we’ve been blessed with the smell of the ocean in out nostrils and the feel of the sun against out cheek. Then we might head back to the River Inn for a little jazz and an ice cream cone or maybe even a bite to eat from their outstanding kitchen.

Later in the afternoon you just might spot us on the patio above the cliffs at the Post Ranch Inn, where, if you are lucky, you just might spot a pod of whales as they travel north for the summer or south for the winter depending on the time of year. It is truly a memorable experience being waited on by the incredible staff of the Inn as you play cards or snooze on their lovely deck overlooking the water.

Then it’s back to the campground for an incredible feast among the redwoods. The air smells crisp and clean within this mighty cathedral. We enjoy every tasty morsel and then settle down for a wonderful round of stories under the boughs of the mighty trees. There is nothing quite like it. All of us sleep soundly that night basking in the rosy glow of too¬† much sun or wind on a Saturday afternoon.

The next day we get up, grab that first cup of coffee, take a much deserved shower and slather on the aloe vera before we break camp and head back to reality. Some of us might head in to Carmel for a wonderful breakfast or lunch, it’s only 30 minutes away or we might head back to the River Inn which features live music every Sunday on their beautiful deck. There is nothing¬† quite like reading a good book, on a lounge chair, in the river, while listening to Dixie Land Jazz or some other wonderful music as kids cavort all around you, laughing and splashing. Truly the best!

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