One of the most magical drives in the world is right here in California—State Route 1—a winding, dramatic road that pushes north from Los Angeles and follows the coastline all the way through San Francisco. Whenever I’m feeling the itch to leave the city, I jump in my car and follow the California 1 until I hit the familiar, pine-scented stretch of woodland known as Big Sur. This dreamy place takes its name from the Spanish el país grande del sur—the big country of the south. This was eventually shortened to Big Sur, a beautiful name for a beautiful place that's always felt like home to me.
Christy in The Dahlia Dress, Ally in The Lou Dress
I decided to shoot our Summer Collection here with two of my best friends, Becky and Ally. Becky is my co-designer at Christy Dawn and helped me breathe life into every piece in this collection, and Ally has been the face of Christy Dawn since it was just my husband and me selling dresses out of our garage. It was so inspiring being with two of the women I love most in the world, in this place just blooming with inspiration and magic. The perfect location to bring our Summer Collection to life!
There are a few must-visit places when I go to Big Sur, and top on that list is the Big Sur Bakery. This tranquil little place is tucked into the forest and serves the most delicious food (the Pacific Halibut was so tasty!). From here, I always go right to the Henry Miller Memorial Library, where we picked our way through the stacks of books and found a few to take home and read by the fire that night.
We picked up the book "Good Things We Learn From Plants" and just happened to open to a page that said, "She smells like river and sage." River and Sage are the names of my two sons—I couldn't believe how serendipitous it was to find a reminder of them here! I had to take this special book home with me to share with them one day.
Christy in The Dawn Jumper, Ally in the Lincoln Dress
After that it was time to check into our home for the next two nights—the most amazing house on a cliff overlooking the water. Becky baked a loaf of incredible grain-free banana bread and the whole house filled with the warm, comfy smell of it. (Recipe below!) We shot so much of our collection in the backyard and around the property of this dream home, only stopping to snack on the bread and dissolve into endless fits of laughter. So many inside jokes were made, so many memories I’ll cherish forever!
The next morning, we set out on a hike at McWay Falls. This idyllic trail starts out at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and it’s only a quick half-mile to the viewpoint. The lookout point is arguably one of the best known views in Big Sur. With the salt air blowing through our hair and the ocean spray dampening our skin, we were reminded of all the beauty in this world. There truly is magic to be found everywhere.
"With the salt air blowing through our hair and the ocean spray dampening our skin, we were reminded of all the beauty in this world. There truly is magic to be found everywhere."
No time in Big Sur ever feels like quite enough, but I left with my heart and my soul feeling full and happy with everything I’d experienced in this beautiful place. My dearest memories of this trip will be all the amazing meals we ate—other favorites included Deetjans and Nepenthe!—the salt air, the sand between our toes and most importantly, how much we laughed. There’s nothing better than a road trip with friends, and a road trip to Big Sur? Basically the best thing ever.
Grain Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
3 ripe Bananas
1-2 cups Cassava Flour
1 tbs Coconut Oil
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tbs honey or maple syrup (optional)
1/4 cup Lily’s Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Chips
1 - Mash/purée bananas.
2 - Combine all other ingredients in one bowl.
3 - Grease bread pan with coconut oil.
4 - Bake at 350 for 30 min.
Great with Miyoko’s cultured vegan butter!