Nepenthe Big Sur: Community-Sweet Pursuits

The iconic restaurant is weathering the road closures with table tennis, knit groups, and more.

PRIOR TO THE WINTER STORMS... of early 2017, Nepenthe Big Sur was already a classic, community-cool hangout, a restaurant, a shop, and a destination where locals and visitors alike gathered to soak in the views, a few rays, and some conversation with a few affable strangers (and, just maybe, future friends). In short? The general, can't-be-duplicated atmosphere of the cliffside landmark has remained genuine, and genial, since 1949. And we're not tossing "landmark" around lightly there, for regulars know that Nepenthe has deep roots in a region famous for being woven through with various mythic, interpersonal root systems, the kind of authentic ties that Big Sur has long thrived upon.

THESE ROOTS, both at Nepenthe and beyond, have become stronger following the winter storms of 2017, those thrashing howlers that did some considerable damage to various parts of Highway 1. While urgent roadwork is underway, the restaurant remains an island of sorts from the mainland, but it continues to stay open, catering almost solely to locals, though also welcoming anyone outside of Big Sur who can shuttle/hike in or catch a helicopter via a package at the nearby Post Ranch Inn. As for what's going down at Nepenthe lately? The theme seems to be spirited togetherness. There are...

KNITTING GROUPS... meeting at the view-mazing eatery, while table tennis tempts those seated on the patio. A recent taco night saw a Frida Kahlo puzzle coming together at the restaurant, and flowers donated by locals brighten the tables. The effervescence Nepenthe is known for is well on display, even through these challenging days, thanks to a host of quirky pursuits and hang-out-happily happenings. Soon, in a few months, cars will be able to return, too, to the area, and the fans who've been following the table tennis tourneys and knitting meet-ups on social media can again eat at, and lend some love to, a Big Sur classic. And if you dig the funky The Phoenix Shop, the jewelry, books, and more store at Nepenthe? You can always order online while you await your return.

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