Posted on: May 3, 2014, by Jill Murwin
In a month I’ll be stepping onto a plane headed for Glasgow, tracing my roots back to the homeland where my world in the United States will dissolve, and in its place will stand the challenge of navigating new streets and new words. Last week I decided that before I left, I needed to make my peace with American soil. So, I headed up the California coastline, the youngest edge of the country at the step of the Pacific Ocean.
My first stop was a couple hours up Highway 1 from LA, in the shop-stacked streets of Santa Barbara. My final destination was Healdsburg, a cozy vineyard town in Sonoma County tucked between rolling hills and towering redwoods.
The trip was spontaneous, and it got my feet moving before heading to Europe.
Here are 3 highlights from the trip, and suggestions for those who want to make the drive in the future.
Mac’s Fish and Chips Shop- Santa Barbara, CA When I stepped into Mac’s I was greeted by the friendly owner Grant MacNaughton and walls ornamented with British memorabilia. Arsenal and Newcastle duked it out on the television screen, and the Beatles provided the soundtrack. For an American road trip, this was an ironic launch-point. The menu was deep, but I only had one choice… the Fish & Chips. Owner Grant was approachable and attentive, and the food was incredible: huge slab of battered Alaskan Cod, a bed of potato wedges, and a local Firestone microbrew with a front-row view of the tomato-red sunset…
Big Sur- Monterrey, CA This portion of the trip is for the speedsters. Highway 1 through Big Sur is a sensational stretch of highway. Drivers dip through the shadows of towering pines as they wind along the coastal cliffs. The waves roll in like ribbons before they collapse upon the rocks below the setting sun. This drive is breathtaking and wanting to keep the momentum of this beautiful jaunt, I continued north. The hour of coastal highway that lines Big Sur is arguably the most picturesque bend of Highway in the United States.
Sunset State Beach- Monterrey, CA Sunset Beach provides a chance to experience the Gold Coast’s most exotic wildlife. Just a couple miles down from the beach is an estuary and the Monterrey slough. Kayaks can be rented to meander through the slough where sea otters, seals, pelicans and cormorants bustle about.
Come along with me on my travels to Europe as I will be experiencing 14 countries in 14 weeks! Join me in prepping for this fantastic journey.