Ryan and I, we're obsessed with Big Sur. Andrew Molera State Park has the greatest hike ever. It goes forever, through a park area, around this little river, and then it goes right out to the ocean, where you can stay and hang if you want. But it also goes up on this bluff and goes all the way through the hills … forever. Like hours and hours, if you want. And the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park hikes are incredible, too. It was named after one of the original settlers there. There are really tall, beautiful redwood trees, tons of campsites, waterfalls, and little rivers, and they have whale-watching. There are quite a few campgrounds in Big Sur - Big Sur Campground and Cabins, Fernwood. They're all awesome. You can't go wrong.
It sounds like an inspiring place. Have you done a lot of writing there?
I write there all the time. I'm going to be writing a book over the next couple of years, and I have a fantasy of going up to Big Sur for a month and just writing. Big Sur is very enticing for a lot of writers. Anaïs Nin, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac - a lot of people went there to write, and some of them even settled there.
Another thing that I adore is the Henry Miller Memorial Library. I remember Ryan and I, when we were first dating, went to that library. Just outside of it, there were all of these dogs running around, and there was a ping-pong table. There's a kind of outdoor gallery, where they have art shows, music, and poetry readings on a semiregular basis. It's just north of Deetjens, and if you drive too quickly, you pass right by it.
Deetjens is the sweetest, most romantic restaurant. It's at the Big Sur Inn. The food is incredible; they have great wines. The people there are so sweet. They've been there for a long time, and you get a real sense of the Big Sur hospitality and warmth. It's an equally great place for huge breakfasts. If you want a really big breakfast spread in the morning, they have the greatest eggs Benedict, pancakes … wonderful.
You've been getting into wines lately, right?
Yes, my tour manager, Andy [Proudfoot], and I are into wines. Carmel Valley has many wineries. [Ryan and I are] redoing our house right now, and we have a bit of storage space for wine in the kitchen, and we're going to get a chilling-fridge thing to stick in the garage. I've been collecting [wines while I've been] on tour. Andy is my wine mentor, because I am admittedly just a beginner.
Robert Talbott Vineyards in Carmel Valley is really good. They make a great top-class Chardonnay because the vineyard is by the coast and it's cool. Cool grapes work best for Chardonnay.