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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Santa Cruz - Quick Two Day Get Away

The best part about living in Shingle Springs is the proximity to major vacation spots.  I write a lot about recreating in El Dorado County because I live here and because it's challenging to link together more than a few hours of play time together at any one time.  But if you can plan ahead, like we did to take advantage of a Travel Zoo voucher, you can get in two full days of fun in Santa Cruz.

We left early on Friday morning and within 3 hours were at the beach.  We went straight to Wilder Ranch, which is just a few miles north of downtown.  Here we saddled up and went on a really fun mountain bike ride along the coast.  The trail follows the shoreline for about 5 miles north and has beautiful views of the private beaches below the headlands.

We traveled through fields of artichokes, not stealing a single one I might add and 

...and just basically enjoyed the relatively flat open road above the cliffs.

The ride was a perfect welcome on a warm spring day.

Around 5:00 we arrived at the Chaminade, a nice resort among a eucalyptus grove.  Dinner in their restaurant was reasonable and delicious, (although I was surprised to not see more seafood on the menu).  I had the mahi mahi fish tacos which was excellent!  After dinner, we hit Marianne's Ice Cream at 1020 Ocean St.  I had the best hot fudge sundae of my life with one scoop of peanut butter cup and another of kahlua ice cream.  I hardly ever splurge on calories like this, but hey - I earned it today.

On Saturday we had brunch at The Santa Cruz Diner on 909 Ocean Street.  I love these types of greasy all-day breakfast joints.  For $9.00 I ordered a custom 3 egg omlette with mushrooms, spinach and jack.  

Feeling a wee bit guilty over desert last night and a (probably) 1000 calorie breakfast, we went straight to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.  A quick stop in the ranger station sold us on a 3 hour wild flower hike outside to the tourist-packed Loop Trail.  It was enjoyable, challenging and had rewarding peeks at the ocean from high above in the mountains.

All in all, it was a fantastic 2 day get away.  Pretty inexpensive, great food, fun recreating and just plain nice to get out of Dodge.

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