From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

A California Road Trip with Jeff Klein

MOST READ TRAVEL
Benevolent Spirits

Wine and Spirits

Benevolent Spirits

A selection of alcohol-free mixers and aperitifs for a healthy, holistic cocktail...

Where to Eat, Stay, and Explore in Dublin

Guides

Where to Eat, Stay, and Explore in Dublin

A native Dubliner showcases all the best things that Ireland’s most famous city...

Home Grown

Decor

Home Grown

A countertop composter that transforms everyday scraps into usable soil.


Photo by Kodiak Greenwood

Every year following the Oscars, after Vanity Fair has thrown its party at Sunset Tower, I take a little vacation to unwind and decompress. This year, craving natural beauty, I flew to San Francisco and traveled along the northernmost coast. My other half was busy making a movie (this is a California story, after all), so I invited one of my oldest friends, Barry Tropp, for a boys’ getaway.

Sea Ranch: We began with grilled lamb at Chez Panisse Café in Berkeley [1517 Shattuck Ave.; 510-548-5049; chezpanisse.com]—I prefer the café to the restaurant—before driving north to the rustic Sea Ranch Lodge [rooms, from $250; 60 Sea Walk Dr.; 800-732-7262; searanchlodge.com]. It’s not the most luxurious place, but it has great character, and the views of the cliffs and the Pacific were staggering. Each morning I ran along the ocean while the seals lay in the sun on virgin beaches.

Carmel: On day three we set off for Carmel, stopping en route at Hog Island Oyster in Point Reyes for the freshest possible shuck-your-own oysters, barbecued and raw [20215 Hwy. 1; 415-663-9218; hogislandoysters.com]. Carmel Valley Ranch [rooms, from $300; 1 Old Ranch Rd.; 866-405-5037; carmelvalleyranch.com], where they serve s’mores every night around a bonfire, is also rife with beautiful runs and hikes. Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch Hotel is out there [rooms, from $135; 26270 Dolores St.; 831-624-6436; missionranchcarmel.com], so we stopped for drinks one evening—a classic beauty from the 1800s with a wild field (complete with grazing sheep) between us and the ocean.

Big Sur: The pièce de résistance was the Post Ranch Inn at Big Sur [pictured; rooms, from $595; 47900 Hwy. 1; 831-667-2200; postranchinn.com]: luxe, chic and earthy all at once. My room overlooked the Pacific and had a private porch and a hot tub cantilevered out over the sea. Dining by the fireplace is perfection, like being suspended in Philip Johnson’s Glass House but with a view of the ever-present ocean. After a final day spent at Esalen [55000 Hwy. 1; 888-837-2536; esalen.org] for a massage and a soak in the natural hot springs (we didn’t realize they were clothing-optional until too late), the hardest part was packing up and heading back to L.A.

Newsletter

Let’s Keep in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter

You’re no longer on our newsletter list, but you can resubscribe anytime.