Earth Day

The 4th Annual Big Sur Earth Day Fair, sponsored by B-SAGE (Big Sur Advocates for a Green Environment) is Sunday, April 10th at the Henry Miller Library from 1-5:00.

Park and take the shuttle from the turnout at mile marker 44.3, just south of Post Ranch Inn on the ocean side of the highway, or take the bus (Line 22) to Nepenthe and walk the 1/4 mile to the Library

Children’s activities, handmade/ upcycled crafts, delicious food, bike smoothie, music, info on fracking & prizes will demonstrate our theme, “Celebrate Clean Air and Water.”


Nowhere is our real home … Community and Identity in the New West

From Henry Miller Memorial Library

A new speakers series exploring how developing areas in the West can maintain their wild character in our “virtual age.”


As you read this, it’s a sunny late-March weekday morning here on the coast, and approximately 85 cars are parked along Highway 1 near Big Sur Station.

It feels like July, but it’s late March.


If there was any doubt, it’s official now. The world is hip to Big Sur. The genie’s out of the bottle.

And this increased popularity, as we all know, brings with it a whole host of challenges affecting the land the visitors and the residents.

Workers’ housing. Short-term rentals. Traffic congestion. Public access curtailed. Clogged up vistor’s parking. Garbage in the wilderness. The commercialization of neighborhoods. Drones. (Yes, drones.)…

If you are concerned about these issues and what Big Sur will look in five, 10, 25 years, we encourage you to come to the Henry Miller Library on April 3rd at 4 pm.

We’ll be launching our new speaking series,
Nowhere Is Our Real Home:
Community and Identity in the New West.

Across the summer, some of the country’s most thoughtful conservationists, historians, and naturalists will talk about how developing areas can maintain their wild character in our “virtual age.”

Our inaugural speaker will be David Gessner, award-winning author of All the Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West and nine other books.
David will discuss his own “post-regionalist philosophy” about what home and its relationship to the wild might mean now, using Wallace Stegner, Edward Abbey, and Wendell Berry as touchstones.


Future speakers include Kenneth Brower (above; June 5th, Not Man Apart), Malcolm Margolin (July 31st, Life in a California Mission: Monterey in 1786), and Don Usner (Aug. 7th The Natural History of Big Sur).

More speakers will be added as the spring turns into summer. To learn more about this series, click here.

To RSVP for David’s talk on April 3rd please visit the library website. This talk is by donation.

Henry Miller Memorial Library | | 831-667-2574

Mickey Muennig Book Launch at HML

Dear Friends!!!

We are thrilled to announce the book launch of Mickey Muennig: Dreams and Realizations for a Living Architecture!!

​Saturday, July 5th, at the Henry Miller Library. 3 pm. This event is free.

​This gorgeous book features the work and essays of Mickey. As many of you know, Mickey is a world-renowned proponent of organic architecture. He designed the Post Ranch Inn, reconstructed the Esalen baths, and designed numerous homes and other spaces here in Big Sur. This is a historic day for us, so again, please join us!

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Wild & Scenic Film Festival – a benefit for the Ventana Wilderness Alliance
Henry Miller Memorial Library
Saturday, September 14
6:30 – 10:30 PM

In case you need another reason to join us at this year’s Wild and Scenic Film Festival, remember that not only will you get to see epic films that inspire the conservation of our last wild places;
your ticket automatically enters you in a raffle for great prizes from generous local and national sponsors, including:

– Big Sur River Inn dinner for two
– Big Sur Roadhouse dinner for two
– Julie Himes California Quail
– Juniper Ridge Big Sur gift basket
– Lucia Lodge dinner for two
– Marie Gabrielle numbered print of “Ventana”, artistically matted and framed by Frame Circus
– Monterey Pine Forest Watch The Monterey Pine Forest (book)
– Nepenthe Restaurant / Café Kevah $100 gift certificate
– Patagonia men’s micro-puff hoody
– Patagonia men’s merino wool speedway beanie
– Patagonia men’s organic cotton t-shirt
– Patagonia women’s micro-puff hoody
– Patagonia women’s merino wool speedway beanie
– Patagonia women’s organic cotton t-shirt
– Point Sur Lighthouse Tours four guest passes
– REI Half-Dome 2 three-season backpacking tent
– REI Traverse-30 day pack
– REI 20-oz flip-top vacuum coffee cup / bottle combo
– The Restaurant at Ventana Inn dinner for two
– Wilderness Press Hiking and Backpacking in Big Sur, 2nd edition

More raffle prizes to arrive, so stay tuned. In the meantime, please support our sponsors and get your tickets soon-last year sold out well in advance and tickets are going even faster this year.

This year’s films:
Protecting the Big Sur Backcountry
A Desert Life
Yosemite Nature Notes- Sky Islands
The Summit
Wild Things
Brower Youth Awards: Jacob Glass
The Water Tower
Eyes in the Forest: The Portraiture of Jim Lawrence
Song of the Spindle


Vegetation Fire near HML


Photo by Meredith Gafill from Nepenthe.

2:20 pm – fire contained. Woohoo! Thanks for that, Kimball.

I have very few details, but USFS fire department on scene and others on way. USFS reports power lines down. from scanner listener…just heard forest service dispatch units to a fire on hwy 1 at marker 44….B 12, Engs. 15, 16, 31,38, WT 4, crews 3 & 7, PT 7 & 12, C 527 an 528

Earth Day Fair

Save the Date!

Big Sur Earth Day Fair
Henry Miller Library
Sunday, April 21 from 1 – 5 pm.

sponsored by B-SAGE, CERT & Ventana Wildlife Society

Mark your calendar now! We are delighted to present our first Earth Day Fair next month with all kinds of interesting and fun events. The presentations and demonstrations include:

Migrating from Grid to Photo-voltaic (that means Solar) energy,
by Sage Building Solutions
Models of Home Composting made simple and (maybe even exciting)
by Treebones Resort
Gardening in the difficult, (make that darn near impossible) soil of Big Sur
with Scott Parker
Jazz/folk music by mystery guest.
Rise Up Singing with Lisa Goettel and friends

The Bag Monster is lurching all day (get your & your kid’s picture taken)
Interviews to become a “new” Bag Monster, if the present Bag Monster
Yummie goodies for sale by Marcia
Learn what “time banking” is and whether you would like to be part of it.
Hear about emergency preparedness.
Make seed strips for your garden.
Find out why metal water bottles and cloth bags are a better choice than plastic.
SNEAK preview of Big, Big Sur Fashion Show with Magnus Torren and friends and much more.

Check out all the booths from Big Sur groups like Health Center, Grange, Historical Society, Big Creek, Ventana Wildlife Society, Ventana Wilderness Alliance, B-SAGE, CERT, state and federal parks, schools and more and including activities for children, food and drink.

Do you really know what all these groups do? Come out, join the fun.
Let’s find out what we have in common and where we can help each other.

Upcoming Events

Lots going on in the month of May. The Henry Miller Library schedule for May is posted on the Announcements Page, including the Big BIG Sur Fashion Show this Thursday, the 13th.

Don’t forget the Annual BSVFB Muster coming up this Saturday, May 15th, at the State Park.

I’m sure I’ve missed something, and will add it here and/or on the announcement page when I find out what it is.

Later today, or tomorrow, I will post some photos of the Pitkins Curve/Rain Rocks project as could only be obtained by Cal-Trans … or Rock Knocker!

October Spotlight – Henry Miller Library

Once a month, I’d like to feature a business or organization with the history of the place and the people involved. I sent out a 1/2 dozen inquiries, and got 4 responses within 24 hours. I’ve asked for the stories and a couple of photos (old & new, preferrably) and Magnus Toren of the Henry Miller Library was the first to send me a completed history and the first photo shown below. So, featured this month is the Henry Miller Library!! I have been promised three more features from local businesses, and am working on contacting as many as I can to continue the Monthly Spotlight for quite some time.

The Henry Miller Library (also known as the “Henry Miller Memorial Library, Founded by Emil White”) was created by Emil White, a longtime friend of Miller. Located in Big Sur, 35 miles south of Carmel-by-the-Sea on Highway One, the Library occupies White’s former home. It is a public benefit, non-profit organization championing the literary, artistic and cultural contributions of the late writer, artist and Big Sur resident Henry Miller.

Emil White moved to Big Sur in 1944 to serve as caretaker and personal secretary to Henry Miller. The two had met in Chicago in 1942. In the 1960’s White bought the property, a lush meadow surrounded by towering redwoods, on which the Library now stands. The main building was built in 1966 on the site of the Graves Canyon landfill created during the construction of Highway One in the 1930’s. The caretaker’s cottage adjacent to the main house was added shortly thereafter. Other changes have been made piecemeal since 1981.

After Miller died in 1980, Emil decided to maintain his property as a memorial to his friend. In 1981, with the assistance of the Big Sur Land Trust (BSLT), he converted his home into the Library. Emil spent the rest of his life as director of the new institution, which since has evolved into a local center for the arts.
At his death in 1989, White bequeathed the “HENRY MILLER MEMORIAL LIBRARY, FOUNDED BY EMIL WHITE,” to the BSLT. “With this bequest,” White wrote in his Last Will and Testament, “I am encouraging support and maintenance of said Library, and to promote and enhance the scholarly research and worldwide enjoyment of Henry Miller’s literary and artistic works.”
In 1997 the Library staff, with the blessings of the BSLT, began the process of becoming an independent 501(c) 3 organization. That process is completed.
Henry Miller

Henry Miller (1891-1980) is, in the words of one of his biographers, “one of the most famous-and infamous-writers of the twentieth century.” During the eighteen years he spent living in Big Sur, he turned out some of his finest work, including The Rosy Crucifixion, a three-volume epic about his life with his second wife, June; and Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, the story of his life in Big Sur. Miller fell in love with the rugged, isolated region on his first visit in 1944, and decided to move there almost immediately. Upon his arrival in Big Sur, Miller wrote, “Here I will find peace. Here I shall find the strength to do the work I was made to do.” He also became part of a literary and artistic community that included Emil White, Jaime de Angulo, Lillian Boss Ross and her husband Harry Dick, Ephraim Doner, and others. 

When he first moved to Big Sur, Miller was struggling to make ends meet. Within four years of his arrival, royalties from overseas enabled him to live comfortably in Big Sur, even providing him with the resources to purchase a house on Partington Ridge. Here, with his third wife, Lepska, he raised his two children, Valentine and Tony. Living in Big Sur obviously had a profound effect on Miller, inspiring him to write: “Peace and solitude! I have had a taste of it, even here in America.” The Big Sur landscape gave him “such a feeling of contentment, such a feeling of gratitude was mine that instinctively my hand went up in benediction. Blessings! Blessings on you, one and all! I blessed the trees, the birds, the dogs, the cats, I blessed the flowers, the pomegranates, the thorny cactus, I blessed men and women everywhere, no matter on what side of the fence they happened to be.”

 Miller lived in Big Sur until 1962, when he moved to Pacific Palisades, where he resided until his death in 1980. 

Emil White Painting

Emil White, Library Founder Emil White was one of Henry Miller’s closest friends and confidants. Miller, in fact, dedicated Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch to White, describing him as “One of the few friends who has never failed me.” While he is known primarily for his association with Miller, White was one of Big Sur’s most colorful characters and a remarkable person in his own right. Born in Austria in 1901, White journeyed to Budapest during World War I, where he was arrested as a revolutionary. Just 15 at the time, he was condemned to death but amazingly escaped. Two years after his brush with a firing squad, White immigrated to the United States. There, in 1942, he met Miller in Chicago outside a bookstore where White worked. Though Miller’s work was virtually unknown in the U.S., White was already a great fan of the struggling writer. The two men became fast friends, and when Miller moved to Big Sur two years later, he asked White to join him as a caretaker and personal secretary, eventually paying him $5 a week to handle his correspondence. 
 In Big Sur, White started to paint. “Painting satisfied my need for creativity,” he said. “It gave me a feeling of great accomplishment.” White’s charming oils and watercolors, distinctively primitive in style, remain today among the most popular images of the Big Sur coast. To support himself in Big Sur, White published tour guides. These sold well and helped him achieve the financial security that ultimately enabled him to purchase the property that is now the Henry Miller Library. After establishing the Library, White spent his remaining years as director of the new institution, which evolved into a local center of the arts. While Miller chose to spend his final years in Los Angeles, White remained in Big Sur until his death in 1989. In an interview he gave shortly before his death, White was asked whether he had any regrets. He responded, “I only wished I had moved to Big Sur sooner.”

(Editor’s Note: Shortly after I moved to Big Sur in 1985, I had the pleasure of visiting the HML while Emil White was in residence. He was an incredible “ladies” man, and latched on to me, literally. It is an experience I shall never forget!)

History and first photo provided by Magnus Toren, curator of the HML. Second two photos creative commons and fair use. Thanks, so much Magnus for helping me kick off this new feature!!

For current events and information about the Henry Miller Library, visit their website at:

Henry Miller Library