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The view from Ventana

Bixby Bridge
Monterey County, California

It’s one of Big Sur’s most famous landmarks: You’ve seen it on the Ventana website, on countless postcards, and maybe even in the opening credits of HBO’s hit series, “Big Little Lies.”

It’s the Bixby Bridge, and it’s one of the most photographed bridges in California—which means it just might be one of the most photographed bridges in the world.

And it’s got an interesting history, too.

According to the Monterey County Historical Society, the bridge was built in 1931-1932 for about $200,000, or just over $3.3 million in today’s dollars. It was needed because Big Sur residents often found themselves isolated during winter, when the Old Coast Road was frequently blocked or impassable. Over 700 feet long and 260 feet high, it’s named for Charles Henry Bixby, one of Big Sur’s early settlers (and a cousin of U.S. President James K. Polk).

Today, while it’s as beautiful as ever, it’s also more crowded than ever—so please be mindful of the impact of your actions should you choose to visit.

Spa Alila—Cranial-Sacral Treatment
What to expect from a cranial-sacral experience

You already know that Spa Alila is a place to rejuvenate your body with the healing powers of earth and sea—but it’s a place where the mind and soul can find replenishment as well. And our cranial-sacral treatment addresses all three.

In this gentle stress-relief therapy, which normalizes the flow of fluid in the central nervous system, your skilled practitioner will create gentle pressure and movement—along the spinal column from your scalp to your sacrum (connected to your pelvis).

The result is physically soothing, as it relieves compression, but cranial-sacral treatment also can help you release emotional tension and stress. Many people find that their head and neck move more freely afterward, and some even say it alleviates migraines and headaches, sleep difficulties, and other conditions.

Whether you are seeking relief from a specific issue, or you just want to experience a different level of deep relaxation (it’s not uncommon for one to fall asleep during treatment), consider the cranial-sacral offering at Spa Alila. Your body, mind, and soul all will thank you!

Fun Facts About Falconry
Book an encounter to learn first-hand

Falcons and other birds of prey have long captured the imagination of humans—especially in Big Sur, which has been designated an “Important Bird Area” by the National Audubon Society.

And Ventana’s Falconry Experience, let by Master Falconer Antonio Balestreri, allows you to get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures.

There’s truly no substitute for seeing a falcon for yourself, but you can still learn plenty about them without even going outside. Just be warned: After reading these four fun facts about falcons from the Smithsonian and other experts, you might find yourself a bit obsessed! (We sure did.)

  • Falcons can fly as fast as an Indianapolis 500 race car. The top diving speed of the peregrine falcon has been clocked at over 240 miles per hour—actually, that’s even faster than Indy 500 cars!
  • They can see you before you see them. Way before. The eyesight of falcons is estimated to be between four and eight times stronger than ours. So when you’re out bird-watching, just know that they might be watching you first.
  • Falconry has its origins in hunting. For thousands of years, falcons have been trained by humans to hunt small animals and even other birds. But don’t worry—when one swoops toward you with our Master Falconer supervising, they aren’t hunting. They’re just looking to land on your outstretched glove.
  • Falcons have one mate—forever. But they don’t hang out together all that much, because falcons generally only pair up to mate. Otherwise, they’re out on their own.

Want to learn more? Check out the Audubon website at Or, better yet, book your Ventana Falconry Experience today at!

Starting a Garden?
Try These Tips from Ventana’s Gardener

There’s something incredibly satisfying about growing food for yourself. Not only are you taking part in a time-honored tradition, you’re also giving yourself control over things like pesticide usage, genetic modifications, and other concerns we have with today’s ingredients.

If you’ve never tried gardening before, there’s no time like the present—and it’s probably easier than you think. Here are a few tips from one of our resident Ventana gardners to help you get started.

  • Go organic. It’s easy for the home gardener to go organic—you just need to not use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. That doesn’t mean you can’t use fertilizers or pesticides at all, of course; just find ones that are derived from natural sources such as plants, animals, and minerals.
  • Check your soil. An ideal garden has well-draining soil, with half composed of pore space and the other half solid particles. That means it crumbles easily, so water, air, and roots can all penetrate. Don’t worry if the soil in your yard isn’t quite there—you can work compost into it to reach the right ratio. (It’s also a good idea to have your soil tested for pH and nutrient levels.)
  • Choose the right plants. How do you know what to grow? This USDA map is a good place to start—it shows the “hardiness zones” across the country. Once you know your zone, you can easily research which plants will grow best in it.
  • Watch when—and where—you water. It’s better to water your garden in the morning, when cooler air means it won’t evaporate as quickly. Watering in the evening can leave water on plants overnight, which can actually lead to disease. And be sure to try to hit the soil/roots, not the leafy parts!

When you do it right, you’ll find gardening to be fun and rewarding—much more so than wandering the produce aisle at the supermarket. Good luck!

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