Ask Corinne Handy what to bring to her family's 5-year-old Treebones Resort south of Big Sur and she will tell you to bring your spirit of adventure.

The people who come to Treebones - and return - are adventurous," says Corinne Handy, who, along with her husband, John, and their four children (and a staff of nine) manage the peaceful coastal resort. It was that spirit that brought the Handys to the Big Sur coast for their honeymoon 25 years ago.

"We fell in love with the area and spent many weekends and summer weeks camping here," says Handy, a speech pathologist by training. A few years after their marriage, "We discovered this wonderful piece of land for sale and were able to purchase it for a reasonable cost back then..." The couple raised their family in Southern California where toy designer John Handy worked as a senior vice president of all design for Mattel Toys.

"We dreamed about [Treebones Resort] for a decade, but it was 12 years ago that we actually pulled the trigger to start making our dreams happen for real," says John Handy.

Despite a process that they describe as "arduous" and "very time- and energy-consuming," the Handys worked with Monterey County and the California Coastal Commission for five years to meet zoning requirements and start building their dream resort.

"It took 2 1/2 years to build Treebones," explains Corinne Handy. "We discovered yurts in the state parks in Oregon, and felt they [offered] a unique lodging experience where guests can still feel close to nature, but with a bit more comfort"

"We wanted to create a resort that had a feeling that was as natural as the setting," she continues. To that end, 16 yurts - large, circular tents made of fabric with a wooden frame and conical tops - and six ocean-view campsites surround a cozy lodge where guests gather around the fireplace.

"The yurts look kind of indigenous set in among the trees," adds Corinne Handy. "They're simple, but provide a nice sense of shelter and comfort, with plush queen-size beds, comforters and polished pine floors. Guests feel pampered.

"It is a tent," she adds. "If guests are bothered by the sound of wind or seals barking, they bring earplugs."

The yurts are spacious, from 350 to 850 square feet, and beautifully appointed. French doors open onto large redwood decks and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding Los Padres National Forest.

"It feels very remote," says Corinne Handy. "It's a simple, restful experience."

Guest comments describe the feeling of serenity and peacefulness. Located 65 miles south of Monterey, 20 minutes south of Lucia near Sand Dollar Beach, Treebones offers guests the opportunity to "unplug and unwind.",

Visitors read, relax by the pool and enjoy the many hiking trails. "Any of our staff has ready information about hiking trails and is happy to share their experiences and favorite hiking spots," says Corinne Handy. Treebones also offers hiking and sea kayaking "Eco Adventures" with local guides.

At the end of a lovely day, guests enjoy Treebones' "Big Sur Coastal Cuisine," home-grown fruit and fresh-from-the-garden vegetables.

"We have four or five entrees each night," says Corinne Handy. "Tagines are one of our most popular dishes - a Middle Eastern stew for two. We cook it outside on our grill - lamb or chicken with a curry seasoning. It's served in a little conical dish and kind of looks like a yurt."

Sushi and tappas are recent menu additions. The restaurant, which is open to the public, serves lunch and dinner daily.

Call for reservations. Wine and gift items are available in the Treebones gift shop. For reservations or to learn more about Treebones Resort, call toll-free, 877-424-4787, or visit the website, www.treebonesresort.com.

From April to October, a two-night minimum stay is required.


Learn more about the Monterey Bay area at MontereyBayAdventures.com.