Saturday, October 07, 2006

Vacation Day 5 - Big Sur to Monterey Jazz Festival

Big Sur, California, is among my favorite places. My affection began in the 1960s, when I first saw Big Sur's beauty in the Vincente Minnelli film "The Sandpiper," starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Soon after seeing the film, I made my way up the coast from Los Angeles. Not a great film, but it got me there, and I've returned many times over the past 40 years.

There are an amazing number of beautiful spots in the Big Sur area, not the least of which is the deck of the Sierra Mar Restaurant, at the Post Ranch Inn. The restaurant is 1200 feet above the blue Pacific and has a "see forever" view.

Sierra Mar Restaurant

My favorite table on the deck

Liis and I had a great lunch, as always, at Sierra Mar and I said hello to a number of people that I've gotten to know over the years, including my usual bartender, Vanessa.

After lunch, we went into Monterey and nearly visited the renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium, but decided that walking around was the thing to do on a sunny, warm late summer afternoon.

Later, we drove to Pacific Grove and walked and sat at Asilomar State Beach.

By then, it was approaching 5:00 p.m., and time to make our way to the fairgrounds for tonight's Monterey Jazz Festival performances. Once on the fairgrounds, we walked around, checked out some of the acts at the outdoor venues and made some selections from the food and beverage court, before settling into our two main performances for this evening.

Robert Glasper Trio

Richard Bona

I first heard of the 27-year old piano phenom Robert Glasper about a year ago, but this was the first time I had a chance to see him live and he's sensational.

I've seen the amazing Richard Bona a few times in the past. Within his genre, his bass playing is at the top of his peer group AND he's described as "having the voice of an angel." If you've never seen him, go.

The good news is that unlike last year we decided to stay in Big Sur, instead of Carmel. The bad news is that we had to drive from Monterey to Big Sur, late at night, through the high and winding cliffs of Highway 1. But there was no fog and with my high beams on we made it comfortably and safely. I've made this drive many times in the dark, but never saw anywhere near as many deer as tonight.

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