"We never wanted a place where a maitre'd in a starched shirt would look down his nose at you, like he was better than you. We wanted a place you could relax."
In 1947, Lolly and Bill Fassett moved with their five children into the Log House in Big Sur. Once a get away for the Trail Club of Jolon, the cabin is perched on a hillside overlooking the south coast of Monterey County.
Big Sur, with yellow genesta popping in August heat; purple lupine tangling with sage on mountains shrouded in fog, was a wild sanctuary. Bill and Lolly imagined an open-air pavilion with good food and wine and dancing under the stars. It would be a place where people from up and down the coast would come and forget their cares.
Working with Rowan Maiden, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, they sketched out their vision. Legendary Big Sur builders, Frank and Walter Trotter built the structure using native materials; redwood, hewn from the canyons and adobe bricks, which Lolly made with her own hands.
And people came, not just from the ridge-tops and canyons, but from all over the world: vagabonds, poets, artist, lovers. Later, the Phoenix Shop would grow out of the traveling merchants who spread their colorful wares on Lolly's living room floor. When there were fewer people on the coast, when nights were longer and days lonelier, Nepenthe was a place to gather. Famous even before it opened for it's unique architecture and incandescent views, Nepenthe is known today for its family hospitality, legendary guests, and irresistible "Ambrosiaburger."
In Greek, Nepenthe means "isle of no care," a place to find surcease from sorrow. So it continues to be for travelers today. A place to stop, to dream, to lift a cup to kindness...