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A walk at Asilomar beach with brother Ben

A walk at Asilomar beach with brother Ben

i managed to get away by myself one evening after teaching and before 6pm dinner - there was a lovely boardwalk up in the dunes looking down onto the beach, and as i walked along in my thoughts with brother Ben, i could hear some bagpipes being played up over the pounding sound of the huge surf. it was a gentle, peaceful time that i will always remember. Ben was truly with me there.


the walk with Ben, continued

the walk with Ben, continued

what more can i say?


Asilomar trees

Asilomar trees

i love these tress - so much character in them from the wind and salt and weather. just off to the left is the ocean, after a path that leads through scruffy dunes.


Asilomar sunrise

Asilomar sunrise

our first morning at asilomar, lesley and i (being east coast gals) were wide awake at 5:30 - so we jumped up, donned our jeans, and dashed off to the beach with cameras in hand just in time to see the sun rising up over these lovely dr. suess-like trees.


View from our room balcony, Asilomar

View from our room balcony, Asilomar

the room that claudine, lesley and i shared (huge, comfortable) had a nice balcony looking out across a small grassy wooded area, and off to the surf beyond. one afternoon after lunch we came back to the room, walked out to the balcony and happened upon a family of the tame deer that inhabit the grounds of asilomar. they feel safe and protected there - safe from mountain lions, safe from - men?


View from beach walk, Asilomar

View from beach walk, Asilomar

this was at sunset, as you can see from the lovely orange/pink low light. again, the trees look african to me. the building there in the background is i believe the registration hall, one of the original ones designed by julia morgan in the 1930's. amazing.


Our first Asilomar host

Our first Asilomar host

when lesley, claudine and i finally pulled into asilomar and up to our building, we were amazed to spot this beautiful deer, right beside the car - and obviously a quite tame one. there were five or six who ambled about grazing on grass at any given time, nonchalant about the pedestrian humans passing by.


First morning, Asilomar

First morning, Asilomar

bright and early! a walker sprinted up and offered to take our photo. "do you live here?" i asked. good lord. i had met her only the day before, at the airport, with sherri haub - and her name was julie. just shows how upside down i've been. julie's hair was pulled back in a headband, i WILL say...later on, i discovered that julie was in my sticks and stones class - and the two of us made a clandestine trip the third and last morning far down the beach to a secret "mortar and pestle" spot she had discovered with lovely round stones. you are an ANGEL, julie, and i treasure you!!! xo


California girl

California girl

we stopped at a target to purchase teaching supplies (paper towels, buckets, etc) and the ever-lovely claudine found this marvelous jacket.


Beloved and treasured friend Lesley Riley

Beloved and treasured friend Lesley Riley

what a sweetheart! our first morning at asilomar, up bright and early (being east coast gals), we scurried down to the beach to catch the sunrise. she looks happy, yes? xo


Girl pals hitting the road

Girl pals hitting the road

what you can't see is how STUFFED that SUV is!!!! i'm sorry i didn't get a photo of claudine with her brand new, polka-dotted turquoise luggage she just designed herself. it stopped travellers in their tracks and was the FIRST to come off the luggage spout, while the rest of us waited for literally another 30 minutes!!!


Good sport Claudine!

Good sport Claudine!

skinny little twig that she is, claudine gamely opted to sit in the back seat (bless her) the entire trip down to asilomar - and i love this trip of her little face beaming from the back seat. ever the trooper, she kept all of us in stitches with her offbeat humor. xo


Breathless

Breathless

another beauty of a moment. reminds me so much of corsica, when the boys' father and i cycled around the entire windswept mountainous island in 1983...


Late afternoon trees, Asilomar

Late afternoon trees, Asilomar

lovely. roy told me they look african, and i agree(not that either of us has been to africa, but....)


Good Medicine

Good Medicine

my favorite photograph of this entire coastal drive, it captures the entire essence of being there - the misty light, the spray of the waves, the trees, the mountains, the rugged countryside dashing down to the sea. and we were THERE.


more good medicine

more good medicine

a favorite photo, with a favorite tree - weathered, gnarled, withstanding wind and storms, water, salt - still there, after all of that. the views are ALL like this.


Lunch at Nepenthe, Big Sur

Lunch at Nepenthe, Big Sur

isn't she lovely? happy? we were delirious with being there, having time with a dear friend in such a lovely, breathtaking place.


Lunch table view, Nepenthe, Big Sur

Lunch table view, Nepenthe, Big Sur

what a view!! this is the scene of the crime, where i innocently ordered the glass of wine suggested by the waitress - a "local pinot noir" (my favorite), and since it was "local", i wrongly assumed it would be around $7 a glass. wrong. try $13.00. but the french fries with ambrosia sauce were heavenly, as was the salad (spring greens, goat cheese, dried cranberries, grilled pear, among other things). after lunch we went down to the deck and watched for supposed whales, which we never saw - but could see mysterious sparkles in the water that looked like fairies swimming under the surface. heaven.


Nepenthe, Big Sur

Nepenthe, Big Sur

ohhhhhhhh.


Nepenthe back door store view, Big Sur

Nepenthe back door store view, Big Sur

the lower level of nepenthe - an entire restaurant/shop building built high atop big sur, owned by the fasset family since the 40's, i believe - there was an open door downstairs, with this incredible view, with the lovely sea breeze blowing through.


Some of Kaffe Fasset's work, Nepenthe, Big Sur

Some of Kaffe Fasset's work, Nepenthe, Big Sur

this was in a downstairs section of a shopping/restaurant building owned by the fasset family in the top of big sur - some of kaffe fasset's work here.


Original kaffe knitwork, Nepenthe, Big Sur

Original kaffe knitwork, Nepenthe, Big Sur

another original piece of Kaffe Fasset's, downstairs at Nepenthe. i love the colors....


Fogcatcher Inn, Moonstone Beach, Cambria

Fogcatcher Inn, Moonstone Beach, Cambria

what a lovely find this was - i had been receiving newsletters from a hotel registry to which the fogcatcher belongs, in the hopes of one day visiting (students from a little bizaar in southern california had sung cambria's praises to me two years ago, and i was struck by their descriptions of moonstone beach, with its smooth pebbles - my idea of rockgathering HEAVEN). when lesley and i made our plans for a small side trip after teaching (i've not had a vacation in something like ten years, seriously!!) i pounced on the opportunity for us to drive down highway one along the spectacular california coastline, and of course lesley was all for it. the inn sits just across the quiet, small two lane road from the beach, where a lovely boardwalk is threaded along the top of the duned bluff. we arrived, as you can see, just in time for sunset. our room was huge, with vaulted ceilings, and a fireplace - little gardens and flowers everywhere - benches, hedges - quiet nooks - and dinner was at the wonderful chenoa restaurant in cambria. an incredible visit.


Sunset Moonstone Beach

Sunset Moonstone Beach

i love the trees along this section of the california coast - so regal, so asian in a sense. this is looking down upon moonstone beach from fogcatcher inn.


Boardwalk Moonstone Beach

Boardwalk Moonstone Beach

very lovely way to protect the dunes and keep feet from getting sandy, above the beach. this was the only foggy morning of our entire trip - fog being quite typical for this time of year. we were lucky to have blue skies and warm weather.


Foggy morning Moonstone Beach

Foggy morning Moonstone Beach

ohhh, lovely. the only foggy morning we experienced during the whole five days we were on the coast. i went here to solely to gather rocks - lovely ones, all smooth from being tossed about by the surf. students in southern california two years ago had told me about cambria, about moonstone beach, and i vowed to one day visit. heaven!


Road of wonders

Road of wonders

more breathtaking beauty. i felt like i was in a fabricated backdrop of a movie.


San Simeon elephant seals

San Simeon elephant seals

lesley and i were driving down highway one, lost in our thoughts, enjoying each other's quiet company, and noticed a group of people off to the side staring at something. if we had not been given a heads up about the seals, we would have thought these were simply huge rocks strewn about the sandy beach - but noooo. lots and lots of elephant seals, up on shore, lolling about, making all sorts of noise (especially the babies nursing and calling to their mamas). the (quite ugly) males were rather aggressive towards one another - a fascinating stop for us.


Elephant seals

Elephant seals

poor male seals - so homely! the photo quality isn't good here, but i cropped it closely for detail so that you could see their character. i only wish you could HEAR them as well.


Mission afternoon light

Mission afternoon light

i love the rainbowed "flaw" in this image...mysterious and serene all at once. the mission was just off the interstate, and lesley was wonderful at whipping off the exit just-like-that.


Mission cactus

Mission cactus

again - what a californian shot. i love the texture, and the color.


Mission gate

Mission gate

i love the simplicity, and the weathered state, of this gate


Mission ruins

Mission ruins

so very californian...


First california coastprints

First california coastprints

i looked down to see a simple feather and realized the footprint was mine. no big lightbulb here, but wanted to get a shot of it - kind of like the man on the moon.


Rocks, water, wood

Rocks, water, wood

i love how the beach pebbles were tumbled by waves and wedged into the huge tree trunk driftwood here on the beach....


birds of a feather, cambria

birds of a feather, cambria

a display from a WONDERFUL shop in cambria called birds of a feather - full of cozy antique children's toys, dressertop beauties, jewelry, linens, vintage ribbon, wendy addison frivolities. i asked permission (always a verrry good idea) to snap a photo of this enormous bird's nest display, as the eggs were genuine ostrich. the owner was away preparing for an antique show, beginning the next day - alas, lesley and i would have to miss meeting her, and miss the show as well. next time! a student of mine had given me the heads up to visit, and i'm grateful she did......


front view of homecoming snow

front view of homecoming snow

looking down from our front deck - across the expanse of our lower yard, to firefly road across the bottom way, and on across to the stream, although that is difficult to spot in all of the white.


Homecoming snow dogwood

Homecoming snow dogwood

this is the view from my side porch, looking down my driveway to the bottom of firefly road, where it leads up into the mountain. the stream is across to the right. we received over a foot of snow the night i drove home from the airport in asheville - it began to fall as i was coming back, and continued on throughout the night, into sunday, on through the day, and is still snowing on and off hre on monday feb. 13. quite the change from sunny coastal california, although beautiful in its own right...


Painterly roadside trees

Painterly roadside trees

i call these trees "painterly" because they remind me so much of some paintings that lesley and i saw in cambria...which reminded me of landscapes we had passed on highway 1, along the coast. lesley yanked the car off the interstate to snap this shot with my camera - thanks, lesley!


Moonstone beach pebbles

Moonstone beach pebbles

this photo, taken in early morning window light, makes everything look rather gray - but does show the smoothness and oval and round shapes of the moonstone beach collection.


Moonstone beach treasures

Moonstone beach treasures

some of the treasures that i culled from two walks on moonstone beach. only two walks - i could have walked forever there! but time was limited, and we had one sunset and one foggy morning. these smooth pebbles, i've since found out, are jade, moonstone agate, and other semi-precious stones. i was amazed by the variety of color and texture to be found...sheer gatherer's heaven - also some wonderful twisty vine root things that look like nests, in a way.


Good medicine again

Good medicine again

people told me that this strip of coast would take my breath away, but i wasn't prepared for the awestruck swept away emotions we encountered around every single bend in the narrow two-laned road. it was tempting to pull over time and time again, but we knew we'd never reach moonstone beach by sunset if we didn't limit ourselves.............