Big Land in Big Sur
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Steve and Pat McWethy own a house in Pebble Beach and in Pescadero but have decided to sell the home on 5 acres that they have in Big Sur.
“It’s entirely habitable, but it’s a tear-down,” says Steve, who has not lived there. “The land, however, can’t be beat. It’s one of the few flat pieces looking directly over the ocean that’s available down the coast.”
Down the coast in this case means approximately four miles south of Rocky Point, which is a curve away from the heart of Hurricane Point. One of the oldest sayings in Big Sur is that no one should ever turn west off of Highway 1. (The west cliffs shoulder the road, and for much of the passage from Rocky Point to San Louis Obispo, they drop immediately to the rocks and surf far below.) The McWethy’s property is one worthy exception to the Highway 1 rule.
After turning west at the gate, a serpentine drive descends into the terrain, arriving first at a nice remodel on the left then down through another switch back to the McWethy house. A line of Cypress trees stands sentry at cliff’s edge.
“With the property so flat, there’s no risk of erosion from the sea, and parking is not on some crazy angle,” Steve says.
The front lawn is set up for horseshoes, and further down the hill are two other homes, providing neighbors as well as solitude. Neil Rose is the current live-in caretaker.
“You’re close to town, you never hear the highway up there, and the property can’t be seen.” Rose says. When the road is visible, it’s so distant it seems just a finger squiggle in sand.
“The house isn’t perfect, but it has stood strong a long time,” Steve says. “The last person lived here fourteen years and it was old then. It has done its job. But it’s ugly.”
The home is a single story with a complete garage (so rare for old Big Sur), and has two bedrooms, a small kitchen, a great room with brick fireplace and an attached sun room that was probably a terrace before walls and windows were added.
“And, there’ll never be a water issue,” Steve says. “It comes direct from an artesian well.”
Rose points to the source up the mountain saying, “Right out of pure limestone.”
The hallmark of the property is the views. To the south, a curve of beach goes all the way to the Little Sur River and El Sur Ranch. The Big Sur Light House shows through the sharply clear sunshine as the horizon beckons the land on three sides.
“Six hundred feet of private beach come with this,” Steve says.
“I haven’t kept that northward path clear enough to go down there lately,” Rose says, “but another one to the south is in great shape.”
The twenty five minute, super steep climb down loose shale and narrow sandstone canyons requires physical effort, balance, and rope rappelling, but is genuinely worth it. The beach is soft and white with a shallow reef that the waves dance over like flamenco skirts.
“This reef goes out about three miles, then drops into the canyon,” Rose says. “The continent ends right here.”
Price: $1,800,000. Highway 1, Big Sur. Contact Joy Jacobs of Prudential California Realty at 622-4900, ext. 4921.