A variety of unforeseen circumstances have combined to provide for the unexpected availability of one of the most spectacular properties in all of Big Sur – America’s most majestic and magical community, designated by National Geographic Traveler as one of the “Places of a Lifetime” and also as one of the “World’s Great Places”. Historic Rancho Panacea, in the heart of Big Sur, is offered for sale for the first time in forty years, and priced for today’s luxury real estate market at millions of dollars less than its intrinsic value.
The grandeur of the glorious view of nearly fifty miles of the world-renowned Big Sur coastline is accented by the intimacy and power of many different white-water views from the tranquility of the three-acre lawn, including exhilarating direct views of the sand on legendary Pfeiffer Beach, which is just a short walk away. The beguiling beach, adjoined by the ever-changing Sycamore Creek Lagoon, was used as a location for the Academy Award-winning film, The Sandpiper, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and for the Marlon Brando film, One-Eyed Jacks. One of the most famous movie scenes of all time was also filmed at Pfeiffer Beach, between two of its incomparable sea stacks. In From Here to Eternity, Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, while lying on the sand, embraced and kissing, were engulfed by the surf of an unexpected wave, before retreating to the comfort of a beach blanket to continue their romantic dalliance, where she exclaimed, “I never knew it could be like this!” WebEcoist, in their Wonders series, called Pfeiffer Beach “one of the world’s ten most amazing beaches”. Low tide at this remarkable shrine of nature is especially awe-inspiring, revealing a whole new world of tidepools, replete with an abundance of fascinating creatures and other wondrous delights, such as sea urchins and hermit crabs. Another of the many alluring features of the beach is its stretches of predominantly purple sand. The hills above are rich in garnet crystals, which are washed down onto the beach, forming luminescent rainbow patterns of sand, resplendent with pink, red, magenta and purple. Liberally scattered along the beach are seashells ranging from scallops to oyster shells, as well as abalone shells discarded by the playful sea otters after they've consumed the delicious contents.
No other property, anywhere, has a combination of views more dramatic than at Rancho Panacea. The literally unparalleled 360-degree purview of this sublime fifteen-acre treasure on Clear Ridge is truly captivating – including panoramic vistas of the Santa Lucia Mountains, inspiring sunsets into the ocean and astonishing moonrises above nearby Mt. Manuel to the east. Another striking feature of the ethereal landscape is Pico Blanco, which the Esselen Indians considered to be a sacred mountain. One is able to enjoy the beauty of the occasionally snow-capped mountain range while being soothed by the balmy ocean breezes at Rancho Panacea – the best combination of all possible worlds, and a feast for the senses. Clear Ridge derives its name from usually being warmly bathed in the sun during the times when much of Big Sur is shrouded in fog. That priceless mystical view of the clouds, below, is otherworldly and part of a constantly evolving ballet of cloudscapes. Lillian Ross wrote that Big Sur is not just a special place, but also “a state of mind”. Life magazine presented it as “a romantic world apart” and The New York Times described the “days so perfect, with golden sunlight burnishing green mountains against the dark blue sea, they are metaphor brought to life”.
A wide variety of wonderful animals, including deer, rabbits and wild turkeys, freely roam the idyllic serenity of Rancho Panacea. Monarch butterflies sometimes cover an entire tree, and charismatic hummingbirds are among the many other nuances and subtleties that comprise the irresistible charm of this peaceful haven. Eagles, Peregrine Falcons and rare Condors soar serenely above and whale-watching from the lawn is utterly enthralling. The therapeutic entertainment also includes seals and charming dolphins; and Rancho Panacea is in the migration path of many engaging birds, including ducks, geese, swallows and pelicans. The expansive lawn, occasionally graced by White Egrets and sometimes used as a helipad, would easily accommodate a pitch-and-putt golf course. The meadow would provide for a major vegetable garden, as well as abundant space for horses. The compelling south-coast view of many successive headlands protruding into the ocean is the quintessential impression of Big Sur that’s so widely published. Poet Robinson Jeffers described it as “the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world.” These are among the countless seductive elements that combine to provide a cathartic and unrivaled daily drama of constantly changing ambience, with indescribable emotional impact. PBS featured Big Sur in its TV documentary series on the world’s “Living Edens”. The lush Redwood forest and coastal prairie habitat at Rancho Panacea, itself, is a veritable cornucopia of nature, which has been inventoried by a consulting biologist and includes some rare species. Among the splendor of 124 intriguing varieties of flowers, succulents and other flora in this ultimate environment are Laurel, Madrone, Pine, Maple and five other types of trees, Maidenhair and nine other delicate ferns, Fuchsia, Indian Paintbrush, Honeysuckle, Fairy Bells, Blue-Eyed Grass, Goldenrod, Miner's Lettuce, Rye, Coffee Berry, Chamise, Milkmaids, Pacific Pea, Iris, Buttercup, Sage, Blackberry, Buckwheat, Sorrel, Scarlet Pimpernel, Mint, Yarrow, Holly, Yerba Buena, Lupine, Star Lily, Geranium, Poppies, Strawberries, Orchids and Mistletoe.
Rancho Panacea, featured in The Wall Street Journal, duPont Registry and The Hollywood Reporter, is a portion of a Spanish Land Grant, and within the original 1869 Homestead claim of Big Sur pioneer and cattle rancher, Michael Pfeiffer. It adjoins the magnificent Los Padres National Forest, near the pristine Ventana Wilderness. The forested slopes on the east side of the property that descend to a marvelous canyon include an enormous oak tree, adjacent to the road, which was made famous by George Sudworth when he described it, individually, as a notable specimen in his landmark book, Forest Trees of the Pacific Slope (1908). Stately Redwoods and evocative Monterey Cypress trees also embellish the rolling hillsides of enchanting Rancho Panacea. Some of the slopes would be ideal for a vineyard or an orchard. The spring-fed source of seasonal Cypress Creek, which flows to the ocean, is the dedicated location for a meditation deck. At that point, there is no man-made object visible in any direction; and the view is thirty-one miles to the ocean horizon. The eloquent silence is interrupted only by songbirds, the occasional barking of sea lions and waves breaking onto the beach below.
The owner was granted a development permit providing for a large main residence with an attached garage for two cars and a motorhome, as well as a caretaker’s house with an adjoining two-car garage. The site for that house, on a different part of the property, provides two different ocean-views. One is to the west, across Clear Ridge Road and the other is the iconic south-coast view. The infrastructure for this dazzling property, broadly situated on both sides of a private gated road, is already in place, including underground utilities and phone lines, satellite TV and Internet, septic system and a 15,000-gallon storage tank with water from the community system.
There are no “comps” that bear any relevance to this exquisite, one-of-a-kind trophy property, which is so extraordinary in so many ways. Rancho Panacea is truly unique and fully lives up to its symbolic name. There’s nothing like it that’s available anywhere, at any price. This is an extremely rare, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, for the discerning person who understands the things in life that really matter, to own a world-class piece of Mother Earth, and finish developing this very private sanctuary to fulfill his own dreams.
Other rare opportunities are still available: