Who here loves artichokes? Well I’ve got to say I don’t mind them, so long as they are prepared really well.
It’s a favorite in Mediterranean cuisine. If you’ve never tried one, then it’s something you should have at least once, best served as an appetizer, maybe at a finer local restaurant.
California’s agricultural business is worth billions and some produce is specifically associated as being Californian, like pistachios and almonds, or even prunes and avocados – and just for fun, let’s throw zinfandel in there too.
Though not as wildly popular, California is considered a world center for artichokes too.
Why does this matter? Well the namesake of the State Park just ahead is considered the person who first brought artichokes to California. He was the grandson of an early settler to these parts, at a time when the Spanish and Mexicans controlled these lands.
If you’re thinking, should I really care about artichokes, well let me tell you someone who thought it was important enough – in 1948 Marilyn Monroe was bestowed the title of the first Artichoke Queen.
So, we are approaching the Andrew Molera State Park, nestled in a forested canyon. Although this park is not one of our top must-do destinations on our drive, there is still plenty here to keep us occupied if we are exploring deeply.
Over 20 miles of trails run along the bluffs, beaches, the Big Sur River and up into the hills, as well as to the 40 foot Highbridge Falls.
You can also find the oldest structure in Big Sur, the Cooper Cabin, and it’s accessible via a short trail.
It was built out of redwood around 1861. Another building worth investigating is the Ranch House Museum, which offers a glimpse into the lives of Big Sur pioneers. The museum is only open on weekends.
Those interested in the plight of the California condor should definitely check out the Big Sur Discovery Center, again weekends only and from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Here you can learn all about the endangered condor and the bald eagle and the efforts of the Ventana Wildlife Society to reintroduce both birds into their natural environment.
Parking for Andrew Molera State Park is up ahead.