Saturday, September 12, 2009

Big Sur Style - Chapter One

Big Sur is calling us.

Down the long and winding road that leads from Carmel to Big Sur we go. This is the land of Kerouac and Miller, Adams and Weston and countless other writers, artists and free thinkers. Though separated geographically by only 26 miles, two places couldn’t be more different. Big Sur is raw and turbulent. It’s the wild-child, to the calm, behaved, and well-groomed Carmel.

Our first stop is the fabled Big Sur Inn, the thirties-era creation of the eccentric Helmut Deetjen and his wife Helen. This historic compound of cabins and a café/restaurant is nestled in Castro Canyon. The overall rustic style is reminiscent of Deetjen’s native Norway. Both the architecture and surrounding landscape feature imaginative and funky found elements.

Welcome to the heart of Big Sur Bohemia.

Bien Sûr! The charming gardener at Deetjen's is French.

This lounge chair carved from a tree trunk has a natural elegance.

“Kitty please come home!”

A psychedelic collage of jewel-like mosaic pieces on the wall of the old laundry shed.

The bleached vertebra of a whale found on a near-by beach is given new life as a garden ornament.

A literary corner in the cozy interior of the café decorated with memorabilia- vintage photographs, manuscripts and a sculpture bust, honors two contemporaries: the poet, Robinson Jeffers and Deetjen.

(To be continued...)

Sur la route,


  1. Oh, Marjorie, I love this post! I have never been to Big Sur. Heck, I've never been to California, but your post so makes me want to go there! I love your pictures and descriptions, especially that mosaic! Being a writer and living/teaching writing in Lowell as I do, Jack Kerouac is a big part of my life in many ways, and I've always wanted to see the places he went.

    Thanks for the inspiration. Can't wait to see more!

    xo Gigi

  2. Hi Marjorie
    I want to go there too! Actually I want to go to Carmel also. I think to drive along the whole west coast would be a wonderful dream for me. Another one day dream. Fabulous post. x Julie

  3. HI Marjorie
    Sorry to hear about your loss. It is tough when it is so new... Take Care

    PS... i seemed to have missed your previous post... Love it! Bread is the fundamentals of life and symbolizes nurturing to me. Which makes me so sad I am allergic to wheat!

  4. Marjorie ma chère! Merci pour être venue à la pièce de théâtre!!!Oh my dearest, you are totally invited to a private party given by Balzac himself at our villa in Eze....what a dreamer, n'est-ce pas? HEY! I went to Big Sur on my honeymoon, 27 years ago as well as Carmel,Monterey, San Simeon and Cambria. What a perfect place for a writer or artist to create. Thank you for coming and what out, I will be presenting more to come in the following year. Merci! Anita

  5. What a cozy little cafe. Beautiful and warm and inviting.

  6. What a lovely, lovely blog you have -- warm, charming, a great read and perfect pictures.

    We live -- with one other house -- on Chemin Perdu. And it really is.

  7. No, I had no idea you were a femme d'un certain age.

    Thank you for your visit.

    Did you say: Upstate New York? I was born in Niagara Falls, NY.

    Will be visiting a lot. Love your blog.

    Warm regards,

  8. Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places in the world! I loved popping down there when I lived in SF. That cafe is just adorable. Thanks for visiting me today!

  9. What an interesting place full of unusual things - I love the chair carved from a treetrunk.

  10. Nicely put..., Carmel and Big Sur side by side. I love that area and was quite taken by both. It's been more than ten years though...

  11. So beautiful! I'm so pleased you found my blog and commented! I'll definitely add you to my blog roll. Thanks so much again!

    xo Katherine aka. Urban Flea :)

  12. Hello Marjorie! Thanks for your nice comment and for the lovely trip!!! This place looks very interesting and charming! I can't wait to read more!
    A nice day for you!