Santa Cruz: No Vampires AND No People

Now you can see the rides on the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz

Every year, we visit the Bay Area in May to go to the Maker Faire. (I also wrote/photographed a slideshow about Maker Faire this year.) We eat lots of amazing vegan/vegetarian food in Berkeley and try to tack on something adventurous to the end of the trip (i.e., a new city). Last year, we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This year, we chose to go to Santa Cruz.

The Lost Boys in Santa Cruz
We looked everywhere...couldn't find them.

We had three main reasons for visiting Santa Cruz: The Mystery Spot, the Bigfoot Museum, and vampires. We were sadly disappointed in the latter two. The Bigfoot Museum is closed on Tuesdays, the main day we were there, and we didn’t spot any bloodsuckers.

The Mystery Spot, however, was great. It’s like that funny shack at Knott’s Berry Farm on steroids and surrounded by lovely redwoods. And they give you a sticker! Be warned: If you want the secret to stay a secret until you visit, skip my photos below.

I got my sticker at the Mystery Spot
Such brilliant viral marketing

After our venture to the Mystery Spot, we visited the Cooper Street Plaza Shopping Center, where Aaron and Chuck found a game store and a comic store, we all found a bookstore, and I found a bead store. I bought a bead crochet book and some beads.

Later, we walked from our hotel, the Coastview Inn (nothing fancy but in a great location and fairly cheap), along the Boardwalk, through this great pathway that follows a train bridge, to Engfer Pizza Works. Aaron was able to enjoy pizza with vegan cheese. I ordered the Ace’s Wild (red onions, feta, roasted red bells, cashews, pesto) because of a recently uncovered memory of my mom’s obsession with cashews on pizza. The obsession is worthy. It’s delicious. And we all enjoyed lots of beer.

We returned fairly early to check out the Boardwalk…which had closed. What? It was the weekend before Memorial Day but we were still shocked that it would close by 6, even on a weekday. We popped into the arcade, but it was a little pathetic. The place felt deserted. We finally walked down the pier, so as not to return to our room too early. The pier offered beautiful views and some seal friends.

The next day we found more vegetarian food at Dharma’s. It’s a bit hippied out and seemed expensive until we saw our food. The servings were enormous and everything was tasty as heck. I had the Mole Burrito (Beans, soy chicken, onions, potatoes and red bell peppers all in a traditional mole sauce with cheese, sour cream, tomato, avocado and chips) and I believe Aaron ordered the monstrous-sounding 3 Dog Morning Burrito (Scrambled tofu, potatoes, onions, tofu hot dog, jalapenos, red bell peppers and mushrooms).

After just about 24 hours in Santa Cruz, the highlights were the Mystery Spot, the food, and the winding and gorgeous drive into town. I don’t think I’ll feel the need to return any time soon (well, maybe to go to the Bigfoot Museum), but it was worth the detour.

San Francisco in April

From behind the fountain at the MLK Jr. Memorial

Last April, I visited San Francisco for three days for a conference on social media. While in the city, I was lucky enough to have time to catch up with a friend and visit a couple of museums. I also had an amazing view from my room in the Westin SF. All of these photos were taken with my phone, and if you click on one, you’ll enter a slideshow view.