30 August 2008

Last weekend we took our first family trip to Santa Cruz. We actually took Friday off of work and had three almost-full days there. I am a Westside girl, so we found a great little place to stay not far from the Lighthouse. I spent most of my summers and spring-breaks in Santa Cruz as a child. We had a vacation house just steps away from the best beach in the whole wide world (maybe a slight exaggeration), it is known as Natural Bridges to most people.

As a child we really lived in Santa Cruz, so I didn't really get to know the town the way a tourist or a loca
l would. We would spend most of our days lugging our buckets, shovels, boogie boards and other beach accoutrement to the beach, along with a some sort of white bread sandwich and chips that always ended up with sand in them - ick! Occasionally we would roller skate to the 7-11 to buy mounds of sugary candy and a slurpy to wash it down with.

As we prepared for our trip, I started making a list of all the things I wanted to do with baby-bear that I did as a child, and these made the cut for our first trip:

*Natural Bridges (of course)

There is so much to love about Natural Bridges besides the beach. During the fall or winter you must take the easy-breezy Monarch Butterfly walk. When you are not with a baby in a stroller or that needs carrying, you must walk along the tad pools, and if you are so inclined you could crawl around in the bushes and pretend it is a fort. My dad still has a few photos that show the first bridge connected.

*Ferrell's Donuts

Elliot had his first donut! And as you can imagine, he loved it! Though I am pretty sure this was not my first donut ever, it is in fact the donuts I have the earliest memory of eating. They don't stick in my mind simply because they are the best donuts ever, but because my Dad would always go out before any of us were awake to get the Sunday paper and Ferrell's donuts. As we made our way to the kitchen for breakfast that pink box with a powdered jelly donut (or two) would be waiting for me and my Dad to share as we read the paper (I read the comics mostly), always put a smile on my face (one that resembles E's above).

*Clam Chowder at Stagnaro's

If you like clam chowder, it's some of the best. I had a brief period from about 12 until my mid-twenties where I wouldn't eat the stuff because I had discovered it had clams in it, go figure!

Sadly there were some places that no longer exist like Lip Smackin' BBQ or The Junker (known to others as Paul's Diner).

I also wanted this trip to be the first of many we have as a family and for us to start new traditions, so we added some new things:

*Tacos Moreno

They call it a corn-quesadilla, but it is really a taco...with Al Pastor, pinto beans, cabbage, salsa, queso - yum! This was baby-bears first meal in Santa Cruz, he had the flour quesadilla which is just like a quesadilla we are used to seeing, it was his first of many fried things he ate during the trip.

*Marianne's Ice Cream

We we certain we needed desert after our dinner at Stagnero's as they are only known for the clam chowder. We wanted ice-cream, did a little web search and came across an ice cream spot that I then recalled a friend mentioning. I don't recall every visiting this fine establishment, though it has been there right on Ocean St for over 50 years. Maybe it is because we always had cartons of ice-cream in the freezer, so who needed to go out! It was truly delicious, though when we got home we learned it is up for sale! Hopefully someone worthy snatches it up and maintains the quality.

*Engfer Pizza

This was Dale's pick because as a good wife I had to let him pick something! It was a yummy new pizza place on the East Side (which I mildly objected to patronizing) but it was well worth it. Great selection of beers on tap, wood-fired pizza and ping-pong. We ordered a pizza with jalapeƱos because I like
almost everything spicy (except ice-cream), but it was a little too spicy for even me. Elliot had his second fried item, his very own giant slice of cheese pizza.

*Westside Farmer's Market

Whenever we stay somewhere with a kitchen I like to hit up local farmer's markets to feel local and have at least one fresh, local-fare meal at "home". Elliot tried his first tamale, love it! OK, just the masa, not the spicy chicken filling.

We are already planning our next trip, but from the looks of real estate we won't be buying our vacation home anytime soon.


hannah m said...

I love that you're reliving happy SC (Westside) memories with E, and creating new ones, too! I have lots of happy memories of SC from childhood and visiting a friend there in college...but now I have some clam chowder to track down!

Oh, and you know I had to head to Santa Cruz this week for Marianne's when you told me it was for sale! I may just have to make a regular pilgrimage there til we know its fate!

So glad you all had fun - can't wait to hear more about it!

Ducky said...

This was a lot of fun to read and see. I love that you weave Elliot's experiences and future fond memories in with your own, creating new ones along the way. Very, very cool. I can't wait to meet that adorable baby boy! Oh, and see you guys, too. I still love you guys. It's just that he's so cute . . .

Jennie said...

I am almost in tears that you have great documentation of this special trip with baby bear. My great Santa Cruz memories are with you as a pimple faced kid (me, not you of course)and then of course as a high school student (also with you). So wonderful that you had this great weekend all together! One day you will look back at this and have these great photos along with your writing. You make me want to go to Santa Cruz right now!

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