Lunatic fringe. The phrase rattles around your brain while in Big Sur. Maybe it’s just the geography, how the western border terribly, beautifully falls away into the big blue rolling ocean. The place lies just outside the borders of civilization, both physically and psychically, starting just where the roads really start to get rowdy and streetlights disappear. Crossing the border in, you can feel accepted social mores evaporate in the salt air. The residents smile at the visitors steadily streaming in driving their Teslas, Mercedes and minivans. But just under that grin you feel the outlier vibration, like they want to rush into the crazy churn of the huge, crashing Pacific but instead are forced to remain rooted. To cope, they carry on their morning commute along precipitous backcountry dirt roads, create co-operatives and collectives for living, working and socializing. Visitors are welcome, and treated well. As fantastic as your visit is, exploring the rock beds, climbing up the mountainsides, ahhing at the panoramas (just how does the view expand so wide?) you feel like the locals want to hold back some of the magic of this very special place and keep it all for their own. Spending just one enchanting weekend there, you can feel why.