California, here I come (and no whining)

Remember last week when I was moaning about not having a trip to Europe planned for this year? I know. Wah, wah. What a whiney baby.

Well, I’m just a little bit embarrassed by that now because I have to tell you that I am spending this coming weekend with my friend Sue at her home in Aptos, California. Yes. A long weekend in California. Not exactly the activity of some poor, deprived soul, right?

This makes me very happy and I know I’m very lucky. Sorry for the whining.

But I still really, really, really want to get to Europe this year, even though I had a very strange dream last night about going to Bologna with my friend Carol. We checked into a huge hotel that had once been a train station, or something equally grand and cavernous, and I was given a room opposite a very busy bar. The noise was terrible, with people laughing and talking and someone playing a piano. And to make things much worse, the room was actually just a cubicle so that tall people walking by could peer over the wall into my room. I woke up as I was about to stomp back to the lobby to demand something quieter where people couldn’t watch me sleep.

Maybe my subconscious doesn’t really want to go to Europe. Or maybe just not to Italy. Or maybe not to Bologna. Maybe it’s a reminder that there are wonderful things about going to Europe, but with my budget, the hotel rooms I can afford are not usually part of that pretty picture.

Anyway. Here’s how I happen to be spending a weekend in California.

I had to book a trip to Las Vegas for business and since I am not at all fond of “Sin City,” planned to jump on a plane first thing the next morning and hightail it back to Ohio. It always seems like a waste to fly so far for such a short period. Sometimes I visit my sister in nearby St. George, Utah, but after seeing Sue at a class reunion last month, I was delighted to learn she was free for the weekend and willing to spend some time with me exploring her corner of the central California coast.

Sue told me I should do some research, as I would for any trip, and let her know what I wanted to see while I’m visiting. As much as I love San Francisco, I’ve been there several times, so I decided to focus on learning more about the area where Sue lives, south of that gorgeous city.

Aptos, I learned, is not actually a town but a Census-Designated Place (CDP) perched above the pristine beaches that curve between Santa Cruz and Monterey. If you look it up on the internet, please let me know what you think a CDP is and why such a thing exists, okay?

Aptos does have a Chamber of Commerce (if no town) and lists several major tourist attractions including Seacliff State Beach and Nisene Marks State Park. I told Sue I was not willing to do anything that involved wearing a bathing suit or hiking boots, so I started to think I might be in trouble.

The only time I want to admire the Redwood forest is if I stick my head out the car window on my way to a winery.

The only time I want to admire the Redwood forest is if I stick my head out the car window on my way to a winery.

Now, I would have liked to see Aptos’ “World’s Smallest Parade,” but that was over the July 4th weekend. I will definitely ask Sue to tell me more about that. I wonder if it’s anything like the tiny Mardi Gras parade of the Krewe of ’tit Rex in New Orleans? That’s another parade I would like to see (get this month’s National Geographic Traveler to learn more about that one).

I just had to show you a 'tit Rex float. Who wants to go with me to New Orleans to see this parade? Sue?

I just had to show you a ‘tit Rex float. Who wants to go with me to New Orleans to see this parade? Sue?

But back to California, I am relieved to report that there are plenty of less athletic things to do in the area in September. Here are a few I’d like to check out:

I would like to visit the towns of Capitola and Soquel. Capitola claims to be the oldest seaside resort in the state, founded in 1869. I’m thinking if we go there early, we could have breakfast at Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria, which was voted the best bakery in Santa Cruz County. Sue already has lunch plans for us at a (literal) hole in the wall taco joint. I’m feeling very optimistic about the food there, already.

Colorful Capitola

Colorful Capitola

Soquel is a little bit inland from Capitola and features an Antiques Row and some wineries. It sounds historic and charming – a town after my own heart.

How cute is this Apple Crate Mural?

How cute is this Apple Crate Mural?

I also would like to check out nearby Watsonville. Maybe we could stop by the Annieglass Wine Bar and Studio for a little vino and to admire the handcrafted glassware that is made and sold there. I’m also curious about the town’s Apple Crate Murals. There are 15 of these murals in locations around the city, at least some of which feature food or beverages, just in case we are hungry or thirsty between the baked goods, wine and tacos.

And as a nod to the Great Outdoors, I was reading that the cliff outside Davenport is a great spot for whale watching. If it’s not the right season or if the whales aren’t cooperating, it’s comforting to know that Davenport has its fair share of art galleries and cafes. It’s always good to have a backup plan.

So there you have it. I know Sue also has some great ideas, possibly including a Sunday morning ukulele concert on the beach in Santa Cruz, a visit to the Saturday Farmer’s Market to buy fresh, locally produced olive oil, and a much-anticipated visit to the entertaining egg dispensing machine. I’m also pretty sure I won’t have to sleep in a cubicle at her house or listen to anyone playing a medley from “Phantom of the Opera” on the piano. Pretty sure.

Have a great week and be sure to join me here next Wednesday to hear all about my Adventures with Sue on the Central California Coast. Ciao!

 

 

 

About katemahar

Freelance writer and event planner by trade . . . mother/daughter/sister/friend . . . passionate traveler . . . compulsive reader
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One Response to California, here I come (and no whining)

  1. Ginny says:

    I LOVE how you take advantage to see fun sights EVERYWHERE you go!

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