Cali 58

When I lived in San Francisco I used to go camping in Big Sur every summer with a group of girlfriends. With its rugged coastline, signature pine trees and aqua blue ocean, it’s one of my all-time top places to unwind.

As Mountaineering Man is a huge fan of the outdoors, I knew he’d love Big Sur as much as I do. And since he was about to meet my parents, sister, brother-in-law and a half-dozen of my friends for the first time, I thought one more stop before the big LA debut couldn’t hurt. We rented a car in San Francisco and drove along Highway 1, the beautiful but notoriously dangerous windy road that goes along the coast of California.

Cali 53

I did the driving because it’s a lot cheaper for me to be the only driver of a rental car (they charge more for foreign drivers!), a decision I regretted as soon as we passed Monterey and started down the main highway. It was a four-hour, white-knuckled drive, but we finally made it to Treebones, an eco resort where guests stay in yurts instead of a standard hotel room. The yurts are fully furnished with a bed, couch, table and chairs, gas fireplace and sink with running water and feature the most breathtaking ocean view you’ve ever seen. The resort is completely off the grid, meaning they produce their own energy and waste nothing. The main lodge has 24-hour showers, a sushi bar and a restaurant that cooks up organic produce grown in the resort’s own garden. There’s also a heated pool and hot tub and a little gift shop that sells some of the California coast’s best wines.