Tuesday, July 28, 2009

::santa cruz::

David and I spent last weekend in Santa Cruz; the trip was his birthday celebration. David has traveled all over the world and seen every kind of music, but he hadn't seen his favorite female singer, Gillian Welch. So when he turned 50 back in May, I told him that we were going to go see her, somewhere, this summer. When she announced her tour dates, we jumped on tickets to see her in Santa Cruz as neither of us had been there and it seemed like a cool little town to stay for the weekend.

I have never seen so many cruisers in my life. I was in heaven. But none even came close to being as cool/cute as mine.

We stayed at a brand new place called the Pacific Blue Inn; it was fabulous. It is a "green" hotel, meaning they built it using recycled/re purposed building supplies, low-VOC paint, bamboo flooring and they use non-toxic cleaning products. It is a beautiful little inn (just 6 rooms) and the decor is simple and lovely. They served fantastic breakfast and brought us a bottle of wine to enjoy at our little patio table and the manager was helpful and charming. It is also within walking distance of the beach and all the cafes and shops downtown. If you're going to Santa Cruz, this is the place to stay.

The concert was fantastic; just Gillian and her partner David Rawlings with their guitars. They played almost all our favorite songs plus at least 4 new ones. The venue has been around forever and hasn't seen a fresh coat of paint nor a mop since at least the 70s, but we had a great spot from which to see them and met a great couple from NY who had lived in SC for 20 years.

We totally enjoyed the downtown area, which reminded me of Eugene: skateboarders, lots of dreadlocks, street musicians, aging hippies riding bikes and people of every color. It has a great feel to it and we spent hours wandering in and out of the cool little shops. There were actual RECORD STORES on every block; we had just been talking about how record stores are pretty much a thing of the past. As you wander along, you smell pot, patchouli, and food of every ethnicity. I miss college towns.

The next day we spent some time at the beach in Santa Cruz. There is a boardwalk there that is supposed to be the "Cony Island of the West"; I found it dirty, extremely cheesy and depressing as hell. I was itching to get away from the hoards of tourists, so we took a drive up the coast to a beautiful little beach near Davenport. It was nice to get out of town and cruise up Highway 1.

We also went up to the University of California Santa Cruz and we've decided where Anna is going to college. It doesn't matter what she wants to study or where she wants to go. This is the place. It sits high on a hill overlooking the Pacific and is unlike any campus either of us had ever seen; it feels like a big hill-top ranch that is owned by an eccentric artist or Jerry Garcia. There are big open fields overlooking the ocean, groves of redwoods and buildings with views like this:

This mural is on the side of one of the buildings. Why there is a mural of naked mermaid woman with a baby in her womb, I don't know. Perhaps if I were as stoned as the artist probably was, I wouldn't need to ask why.

I had to take photos of all the amazing succulents; they grow everywhere there and are bigger than my head.

We decided that when we win the lottery, we will buy a little beach cottage in Santa Cruz. We will ride our cruisers to the beach where we will lay in the sun listening to the waves and sea-lions and then have dinner at a little open-air cafe that serves Mexican beer and Thai food.

Santa Cruz, we'll be back.


Dee said...

Oh, Kate that is fabulous ! I'm so glad you went there and enjoyed it so much. The collge sounds so great . Anna will love it and you'll have excuses to go visit.
I have fond memories of SC----I was 19 at the time and fell in love with it.
Your pictures are so beautiful----the succulents, and pots would make super jigsaw puzzles.
Thanks for sharing.

Fancy Schmancy said...

Wow, looks like you had a fantastic time! Love your pictures, as usual. That is definitely a college I will try to push on my son, he would love it and I would love to visit him!

Dee said...

I LOVE that picture of you and David !

Jodi said...

Wow! I'm so glad you guys had such a great time - well deserved!

JACKI said...

Wow! Sounds so so cool! And I have to say... you look exactly like gramma in that last picture... ya know, maybe just a little younger (no offense gramma!). :o)

wild child said...

WOW - what a great vacation! Loved every bit of your post and all the pics too! I really enjoyed hearing about everything you did and saw. We love the central coast but rarely get up as far as Santa Cruz. I've heard what a fabulous town it is, and a neighbor girl attends the university (tradition: the first rainy day of every school year all the students go naked - no, seriously! LOL!). The hotel sounded awesome too - I love tips like that. So glad you had such a terrific time :)

Meg :)

Whosyergurl said...

XO, Cheryl

Anonymous said...

Absolutely gorgeous! Love it!!

tallulah said...

You need to go on more trips. That way I can live vicariously through you.

I loved the way you described Santa Cruz. I haven't been there but fell in love with the town after seeing "The Lost Boys" (my all-time favorite vampire flick).

Beautiful pictures. I may have to travel there with Bubby if we ever get a vacation again.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I know this is a very old blog post...but the mural of the woman with a child in her womb...
The woman (who is not a mermaid as she lacks a flipper) signifies life. The baby in her womb and the greenery growing on her legs (not pictured) signifies that woman is the giver of life. You'll notice that above the woman there are symbols from several different religions and, although you don't have it pictured, at the bottom there are a four couples. Each couple is interracial and there are two same-sex couples. There is also a lone Native American in traditional dress and some more religious symbols. Basically, this mural is a celebration of women as the givers of life and cultural/spiritual coexistence. No need to be stoned to understand it. The artist was actually very clever to capture all of those things in one mural without it looking like a clusterfu**
My boyfriend went to UCSC and when I came to visit that mural was one of the first things he showed me because he knew that this bleeding-heart liberal would absolutely love it.