This past weekend Ryan and I took an exciting weekend trip to Santa Cruz. I had never been to that area so it was very fun for me. Santa Cruz is a very interesting city. The streets are full of hip [expensive] boutiques, coffee shops, great restaurants, and crazy people. Okay, maybe crazy is a harsh term, but the culture of the city is different from most places that I’ve been. Though fun to visit, I quickly determined that I could never live there. I never realized how truly conservative I am. Though, a lot of the weekend activity could likely be attributed to the Prop 8 activity going on throughout the state.
We left late morning on Saturday, in part because of the need to sleep in a little bit, and in part because I forgot my wedding ring when we were just 30 minutes out of town and had to go back and get it. I just couldn’t be without it for the weekend and though I’m sure Ryan wanted to strangle me a little bit, he obliged in setting us back another hour by going back home. So, after that craziness, we hit the road again.
When we got into town, we stopped for a quick bite at Erik’s Delicafe and yum yum yumm it was good. After that, we headed downtown to walk around a bit. We stopped in a few stores and grabbed some coffee at my favorite spot, Peets Coffee. Gosh, I love their coffee. Almost as much as Ryan’s love affair with Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
We hung around for a little while downtown because Ryan wanted to show me “the secret spot”. We tried several times, but each time where met by a very loud and enthusiastic man reciting poetry in the exact spot we needed to be. Well, we guess that it was poetry, because all I could hear was him shouting over and over “SHE LOVES ME…” and then some weird random thing about him that “she” loved, such as “SHE LOVES ME when I drink my coffee.” That was an actual statement. I really hope she does love him. We gave up after a few hundred “SHE LOVES ME’s” and headed to the hotel to check in.
We had a little bit of downtime and then headed back downtown to meet up with Ryan’s friend of many many years, Bennett, and his lovely girlfriend Ariana. We dined at a place that the boys obsessively love (and I don’t use that term lightly) called Taqueria Vallarta who apparently is supposed to have the best burrito on the planet. I have to admit, I was skeptical. In fact, so skeptical that I ordered tacos. I mean, we live in California. There is a Mexican restaurant on every corner! How good could the burrito be?! Answer? Ahhhhhh… mazing! I kid you not, it really is the best burrito on the planet. So good, that I wanted to snatch it right out of Ryan’s hands when he gave me a bite. I don’t even know what it was about the thing, but it was dang delicious!
After that, we parted ways for a bit so Ryan and I could go down to the beach. We drove around for a little bit, admiring the houses on the coast. After a while, we stopped to watch the local surfers, then to snap a few shots at the lighthouse (I love lighthouses)…
Then, onto the true Santa Cruz experience… “At the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk, in the warm California suuunn!” I hate that commercial. Anyway, we walked on the boardwalk for a bit, hopped into the sand so I could get my famous “feet-in-places” picture and then took a quick ride on the Big Dipper. There are no photos of that, but I imagine my face looked very familiar to this crazy lady.
We couldn’t stay long because we had to head back into town to meet up with Bennett and Ariana and check out The Abbey which is a very cool coffee lounge where super talented artists play (thanks to Bennett’s awesome booking skills) and to sip on some award winning coffee. My mocha had a heart on it!!! You need to go there. Do it now.
After that we headed out for the event that I now consider one of the best in my whole stinkin’ life! A concert of my favorite artist, Brandi Carlile. It was aaaaaahhhhhhwwe… some! Brandi and her band are some of the most talented musicians in the universe and I can almost die a happy woman having seen her in concert (first time ever). Wow wow wow. I can’t even put it into words. Her new album comes out in the fall and I can hardly wait. I love her to bits and pieces. And because Ariana is almost a major fan of Brandi, she and Bennett came to the show too!
The next morning, after sleeping in (duh, that’s what we do), we headed out for breakfast at a place recommended by Bennett called Linda’s Seabreeze Café. It was one of the best breakfast’s ever. Ryan had blueberry pancakes and I had eggs benedict. I had been craving it ever since I got a screwed up version during our trip to Ventura. It was an amazing breakfast. Thanks to Bennett for that great recommendation! Wow, we really love food, huh?
Next, we headed up to Mount Hermon, which is a camp facility that Ryan worked at several summers in his younger years and holds a very special place in his heart. It is also where Ryan and Bennett met for the first time! I actually stood in the exact spot. 🙂
We headed back into town, as Ryan was determined to show me “the secret spot” and we succeeded! If you stand on the secret spot, facing the clock tower and speak, you can hear your own voice echo. Take just one step back or to the side, and there is no echo. It’s the craziest thing ever. So, with that success, we stopped for a bite of ice cream at Marianne’s (yum yummm) and then headed home… of course, making a stop for cherries, strawberries and garlic at a fruit stand and… stopping in quick at the Gilroy outlets.
It was such an amazingly fun weekend! As usual, we have such a great time together and just love these little mini-vacations we get to take on weekends. We’ve got several planned this summer and I’m eagerly awaiting the next.