Big Sur is reopening for business, sort of. The luxe Post Ranch Inn and landmark Nepenthe Restaurant plan to reopen to travelers Thursday, even though they are stranded on a roughly 23-mile-long island of Highway 1. Both have been cut off by road closures to the north and south since February’s winter storms.
So how can travelers get there?
The Post Ranch Inn, known for its rustic setting with ocean and mountain views, plans to fly guests in by helicopter from Monterey.
Travelers who pony up $500 for two on top of their room cost (which starts at $1,225 a night at this time of year) are treated to a 20-minute ride that takes in aerial views of the coast before landing on the hotel’s grounds.
The $500 cost (or $250 each) covers round-trip helicopter service as well as breakfast, lunch and a four-course dinner for two people. A two-night minimum stay is required.
The hotel and other businesses are in the part of Big Sur that’s south of the failed Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge and north of an area called Paul’s Slide, which is closed to all traffic until Caltrans can repair damage caused by winter storms.
A replacement bridge is in the works and may be in place as early as September. The Escape Through the Skies package, as the hotel calls it, will be offered in April, May and possibly longer. Info: Post Ranch Inn, (831) 667-2200
For those set on driving Highway 1, you can get your coastal fix with a shorter road trip that travels south from Monterey.
It’s about 32 miles from Monterey to the bridge closure, meaning you’ll see the iconic Bixby Bridge and be able to stay at the Big Sur Inn & Restaurant or Big Sur Lodge, or rent a cabin at Ripplewood or Fernwood resorts.
Garrapata State Park to the west of Highway 1 is open too, and has erupted in blooms of calla lilies. Other state parks in the area are closed because of last summer’s Soberanes fire and subsequent winter storm damage.