The week before Memorial Day weekend, we took a vacation to Santa Cruz…our last hurrah before we are homebound for the summer preparing for the arrival of Baby #2. CC and my mother-in-law came with us, so it wasn’t exactly a babymoon, but we had a great time and got some much needed R & R. We rented a two-bedroom vacation house right by the beach and it was definitely better than staying in a hotel. We were able to make breakfast and lunch for ourselves everyday instead of having to eat out all the time and we were able to lounge in the living room when CC was taking his nap in our room.
We took a pretty slow pace for our vacation which included 3 hour naps in the afternoons for all of us. That’s just how we roll; we’re not the most exciting people in the world. That was the nice thing about going to the Santa Cruz area, there was enough to do, but not so much that we felt like we had to be on the go all the time. And everything was pretty much a short drive from where we were staying. There are a lot of great places for little kids. Sadly, we didn’t make it to the beach that often, but that’s because I keep forgetting that the water at NorCal beaches are still too cold to swim in this early in the summer.
Here are some of the highlights:
Roaring Camp Railroad – old style open air steam train. You can take a 1 hour round-trip ride into the redwood forest while the conductor narrates interesting facts about the train and the forest. CC loved it. For some reason we always seem to fit a train ride in no matter where we’re vacationing.
The Mystery Spot – basically a little hill where they built a slanted house which mysteriously defies the laws of gravity. A little hokey, but worth going to at least once for $5. Supposedly it’s the most visited place in Santa Cruz.
Seymour Marine Discovery Center – part of UC Santa Cruz. Not exactly an aquarium but just big enough to occupy a few hours in the morning. We took the family tour and CC got to touch a shark and other sea creatures and stand inside a blue whale skeleton. We packed some sandwiches and had our lunch behind the center on a bench overlooking the coast.
Santa Cruz boardwalk – awesome little amusement park on the boardwalk. Free admission, you pay for each individual ride. They actually had quite a few rides for little tots. It was the first time CC was able to go on a ride all by himself.
Capitola Beach – small, not too crowded beach walking distance from our vacation house. CC and I dipped our feet in the water but it was still way too cold. He was happier playing in the sand anyways. Larry attempted to fly a kite. We had dinner that night in Capitola at a Mexican place called El Toro Bravo. I immediately recognized it as the restaurant a friend of mine and her husband had taken me to over 10 years ago on my first visit to the Bay Area. I ordered the same thing I got then – their crab enchilada. Yum! It happened to be “Kids Eat Free” night too, so we got a free full sized chicken quesadilla for CC which we ate for lunch the next day.
Other than that, we didn’t do very much except sleep and read. I finished two novels by the time we left and Larry finished one. It was nice to spend quality time with Larry’s mom too and have an extra person around to entertain CC. After a week home, CC is still talking about it. I’m so glad we can give him these memories before his little brother comes to steal all the attention.