Holiday in Big Sur

I have long had a relationship with Big Sur. When I was 22 years old, and had a week-long break from filming “Sunday In New York,” I learned to drive so that I could go to Big Sur to find Henry Miller. I had just read a pamphlet he wrote called, “To Paint is to Love Again” (Miller once gave me a painting he did and signed it, “To Miss Jane herself.”) and felt I had to meet him and talk to him. I didn’t find him that first trip. He’d gone to L.A. Later, I saw him on several occasions. He wrote a poem for me, about me, comparing me to a fish (he meant it as a compliment) but I lost it.

I drove all day until I got to Big Sur and was exhausted. When I saw a sign saying Big Sur Hot Springs Lodge, I pulled down the steep driveway and spent 6 days there. This was my first encounter with hippies. I was tempted to stay forever, so awed was I by the natural beauty, the inaccessibility of the place, the unusualness of the people. I became close with the man who ran the place, Dick Price. The Hot Springs Lodge became the Esalen Institute and Dick ran that as well until his death in the 80s. I frequently returned to Big Sur to stay with Dick till I moved to France and married my first husband.

My second husband, Tom Hayden, and I went there from time to time. We would visit Dick, take him to dinner at the newly built Ventana “hotel.”

My 3rd husband, Ted Turner, has a lovely cabin there where we spent many a happy weekend. And now, I went back with Richard and new friends of mine, the Somers , and stayed at Post Ranch which is relatively new and stupendous. So many memories and emotions kept flooding back over the 5 days. Happiness and also sadness. I think the latter was due to the unavoidable sense of time passing, things from the past that will be no more. But happiness prevailed.

I took my first Tai Chi class and enjoyed it enough to want to do it more and regularly. Enjoy the photos.

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3 Comments
  1. I was in Big Sur for the first time in July. Stunning coast, although the drive is a little scary. Nice pictures!

  2. Ah, Big Sur and Henry Miller – my favorite place and painter/author! Delightful!

  3. My husband Richard and I are planning a trip to Carmel for 3 days and then on to Big Sur to stay at Post Ranch. I love your photos and can’t wait for our vacation. We grew up and raised our children in Texas; and recently moved to PA after retiring….we are loving living on the East Coast. Thanks for sharing! Love, Joyce Harris…

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