Saturday, June 11, 2011

So Long Santa Cruz

Last weekend the young'un graduated with an AA from Cabrillo College (with high honors, ahem).  As I have said elsewhere here, she is moving on to UC Berkeley to continue her studies toward a BA, most likely in legal studies.  We went to Santa Cruz last weekend to enjoy the celebration of this accomplishment and to say goodbye to the lovely and quirky northern California beach city.

We returned to our favorite B&B in Capitola, the Inn at Depot Hill, which I also wrote about previously.  This time we were finally able to get into our first choice room, Costa del Sol, which is located in the back of the main inn building.  The room has a king size bed, which B&Bers know is not easy to come by.  And the room has a lovely balcony with a fountain underneath so you get the sound of running water when you sit at the table on the balcony.  Unfortunately for us, it rained a lot of the time we were there so we did not get to use the balcony to its full extent.
Costa del Sol room - Inn at Depot Hill © Paul Hoffman 2011
Balcony in the background ©Paul Hoffman 2011
Bathroom in background ©Paul Hoffman 2011
We made our way downtown several times as usual and ran the gauntlet of the street performers and homeless people while visiting favorite restaurants and the Bookshop Santa Cruz, a wonderful independent bookstore.  Our young'un luckily never lived in the downtown area, thanks to momma bear's insistence.  However, the area is lively even though a little seedy.

On Sunday we got a small break in the rain so we ventured out to a state park on the ocean called Natural Bridges.  Unfortunately, due to budget cuts for the state parks in California, the facilities at the park were very run down but nature was still splendid.  Natural Bridge is an arch in the ocean that takes one's breath away. (There is only one bridge so I am not sure why the name of the park has "bridges" as plural). Definitely a place to stop if you are driving up Highway 1 to San Francisco above Santa Cruz.
Natural Bridge     ©Paul Hoffman 2011
Near Natural Bridge- in flight      ©Paul Hoffman 2011

We also made it to the Santa Cruz Harbor for the first time.  There is a wonderful restaurant, Crow's Nest, with views of the ocean and the lighthouse.  The food was excellent too.  The Harbor was the scene of impact of the Japanese tsunami in March 2011,  Some boats were damaged but generally it was a fairly mild swell of water.
Santa Cruz Harbor and Lighthouse
Santa Cruz Harbor (scene of March 2011 tsunami damage)

It is hard to believe that two years ago I went to Santa Cruz several times during the summer of 2009 to find housing for the young'un and her beau, a task that was not easy but ultimately was accomplished.  Now the graduates are off looking for housing in Berkeley. I will miss Santa Cruz but look forward to the new adventures in visiting Cal (da Bears!) and its environs.

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