Busy poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who is still active at ninety-three years old, moved out to San Francisco and founded City Lights in 1953. More than just the independent bookstore of Beat pilgrimages, City Lights is a book publisher, and in 1956, Ferlinghetti was arrested on obscenity charges because he had published and sold Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. He was later found not guilty of a crime.
The year after Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti made the papers, Jack Kerouac finally found fame with On the Road. The fame was overwhelming, though. Talk-show hosts invited the naturally shy author on their show. Wanderlust kids, winos, and dogged readers showed up unannounced at his home. Fame took a toll on his mind, body, soul.
Ferlinghetti had a cabin, a refuge, out in the wilderness of Big Sur. He could escape the hustle and bustle of San Francisco for respite along the coast of central California. After the fame wore him down, Kerouac escaped there too, living for a brief time in Ferlinghetti’s cabin in the woods. The result of this experience is the 1962 novel Big Sur.
Juniper Ridge now has a room spray called Big Sur. According to their website, it smells of “wild ginger, burnt honey, salt, damp ground.” The ingredients are plucked from the deserts and mountains of the West, and 10% of the $20 spray bottle goes back to protecting western wilderness. They also have a Big Sur soap, essential oil, and sachet. For $50 you can give the gift of Big Sur, which includes the items already mentioned, plus wild huckleberry jam (perhaps reminiscent of Neal Cassady, whom some have said is Huckleberry Finn incarnate). The gift comes gift wrapped with real pine cones! And, like the others, 10% of the profit goes to protecting wilderness.