I never tire of the adventure of a last minute trip up the coast to Central or Northern California…or down to San Diego for that matter! Last weekend took me to Aptos, CA….but let me back up.
I had taken Friday off for a planned girl’s weekend, but due to some sad circumstances it was cancelled the week beforehand. I guess I can work on Friday now, I thought to myself. That was my contemplation, until I serendipitously got a request for a last minute home exchange in the seaside town of Aptos, about a 7 hour drive North for me. I checked out the house, with views of the ocean from almost every room in the house, as well as a roof-top deck, and replied with a resounding “YES!”
I left after work on Thursday, taking the ucky/boring 5 freeway, instead of the picturesque 101, in order to make it up before the sunset. I made it with 20 minutes to spare! I was pretty tired, but also needed time to wind down after having some coffee to keep me awake for that boring drive. I stayed up later than usual (“usual” is around 9:30/10ish due to the 5am rowing alarm) but I slept like a baby. That’s actually a really stupid saying “slept like a baby”…babies really don’t sleep very well! Anyway, the cool ocean breeze wafting through the windows, accompanied by my zen-inducing ear plugs, allowed me to sleep until almost 8:00! WOW, haven’t done that in awhile! As my mom would have said, “Well, you must have needed it!”
I took a walk down to the beach to see the cement ship I’d read about at the end of the pier, enjoying the refreshing breeze and the smell of the ocean, and contemplating my plan for the day.
I googled “lighthouse Santa Cruz”, just to see if there were any, found out there were two, and decided to check out the Walton lighthouse because it was closer. I’d only been to Santa Cruz once, many years ago with the was-band, and thought I’d take the coastal route through a few little towns along the way. I quickly found out that I was not alone and that it was graduation weekend at UC Santa Cruz. I wasn’t in any hurry as I inched my way up the 7 miles to Santa Cruz catching glimpses of the umbrella dotted beaches along the way, eventually stopping at the lighthouse. Parking is a bit of a challenge, but I was lucky enough to find one right around the corner…gotta love parking karma!
There’s a cute little restaurant at the beginning of the jetty, on the dock, leading out to the lighthouse called Aldo’s. So, after strolling out to the lighthouse and taking some commemorative pics, I had to try it out! I got a perfect little table on the patio with an incredible view of the harbor, lighthouse and ocean. The menu was extensive and I should have ordered chowder, but I’m a sucker for french fries, so just had a basic burger and fries, which were good…the view was awesome!
So relaxing watching the boats heading in and out of the adjacent marina….and then this boat went by….
Check out the name! I realized I was meant to be at that restaurant, in this harbor, at that exact spot at that exact moment….more good karma!
I made a brief stop on my way back to Aptos in the cute little town of Capitola. A lot of typical kitschy shops that you’d expect, a welcoming beach and a promenade full of restaurants on the sand with a view of the water and these brightly colored cottages….
I spent the rest of the late afternoon on Seacliff State Beach reading and enjoying the chatter of the beach-goers. Side-note…on the way back to my car I overheard a group of teenagers discussing the houses adjoining the beach area, when one commented, “They’re just normal rich people.” It made me chuckle! I headed back to the house and decided to make simple pasta with pesto that I had brought with me and enjoy the view from the roof top. I just didn’t feel like taking off my jammies and heading out when I could enjoy that roof-top view…it was calling me! I turned on the Warriors game, pressed pause, and soaked up the last light of the day until it got too chilly…even for me…..then pushed play..woohoo, go Warriors!
What a great first day!
….Day 2…to be continued
You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!