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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

Bastide de Capelongue - Why We Can't Resist Returning

On our recent trip to France we went back to Bastide de Capelongue which is one of my favorite places on earth. I reviewed it a few years ago and while I raved, I realized I didn't post nearly enough photos. I thought this time I would give you a much better sense of why we keep coming back.
This is a hotel built around Edouard Loubert's two star Michelin restaurant. Everything here is part of his vision of the perfect Provencal retreat - from the linen sheets to the view over the hilltop town of Bonnieux, which you can see just beyond the swimming pool in the photo above.
This is one of my favorite places on earth. We have visited lots of the towns nearby and so now we just relax, eat and go on walks through the countryside when we're here. Finally I'm beginning to understand why people return to the same places over and over. This time we enjoyed the food (as always) and walked to the nearby village of Lacoste, I'll be blogging about our meals and the walk separately.

The public spaces, photographed above and below, give you a sense of the relaxed yet sophisticated style.

There's a tranquil quiet here I love. This time we had a ground floor room with a small terrace looking out over the lawn. The bathroom had been updated which was overdue, though you may be out of luck if you're looking for a separate shower. I love the bath products too which have the most wonderful lavender scent.
In May the weather can be changable and it was showery, although one morning it was warm enough to have breakfast on the terrace below.

 As you can see the gardens are gorgeous. I'd love to return when the lavender is in bloom, maybe next time - fingers crossed!
Details: As always I booked my stay through Luxury Link. They've been offering a demi-pension deal for Bastide de Capelongue for years although recently they seem to have changed the deal to include two rather than three dinners over a  three night stay.