California Coast, Part 2: Big Sur, More California Beaches, Point Arena Lighthouse, and Some Amazing Beer at North Coast Brewing Company

My next couple days traveling up the coast before hitting the Redwoods were definitely more sunny, lightening the sapphire blue water in the coves as I neared Big Sur. The stretch of California referred to as Big Sue definitely did not disappoint in terms of beauty, but I found the crowds (my description I’m sure is relative) to be not what I was looking for. Traveling alone has always deepened my capacity for reflection, and I found myself with a much greater desire to stop, sit, and ponder than to make a dozen stops a day along the Pacific Coast Highway. Still, the views and beauty were incredible awe-inspiring, giving me much-needed time near the ocean.

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I skirted the San Francisco Bay area and picked up Highway 1 somewhere west of Santa Rosa. Here there was less development and fewer dramatic cliffs than Big Sur, but more open fields and meadows. And still plenty of gorgeous turquoise and sapphire water. I made a fantastic stop at the Point Arena Lighthouse – easily one of the most gorgeous pieces of coastline I have ever seen – and viewed the surrounding peninsula (and seals!) from the top of the tower and from the coastal walking paths; later that afternoon I also made a quick stop at the diminutive Point Cabrillo Lighthouse north of there. My double lighthouse day ended with a relaxing flight and a pint at North Coast Brewing Company in Fort Bragg where I fell in love with the hoppy(ish) amber Red Seal Ale. Seriously, this beer is incredible. Relaxing in the corner of the taphouse, more reading ensued. My following morning I continued the drive to the Redwoods, leaving behind the clear waters, sun, and hills for towering trees and herds of elk.

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