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Sunday, April 22, 2012

weekend getaway + location reveal

On Friday morning, we got up bright and early to travel to our surprise destination. After dropping off the pup at a friend's house, it was time to hit up Starbucks. The barista asked A if he had any plans this weekend. He responded (with confidence) that "we are on our way to Half Moon Bay". Thanks to my stealth planning...he was still convinced we were travelling to an incorrect location.

Shortly after getting on the freeway, the radio DJ announced that the Yolo Causeway was shut down in both directions. The police interrupted a burglary and the gunman was on the loose. This was a big problem because that's the only route (to my knowledge) to get to our destination. So, I had to spill it and tell A where we were headed because I needed some navigational assistance. But I still threw him off a bit by telling him that we were going to Capitola when we were really staying in neighboring Santa Cruz.

After a short detour, we arrived in Capitola. It was sunny, beautiful and 80 degrees. Yes, folks. 80 degrees and no fog at the beach in Northern California. It is unseasonably warm weather right now. I told A that all of the hotels were booked and the only one I could get was a shabby little motel near the freeway. He wasn't ecstatic but didn't say anything negative and was a total trooper. We walked around the Capitola shops and had a great time. Then for lunch, we drove over to Aptos to enjoy some Mediterranean food on the patio at Zameen.


Next stop: Santa Cruz. We decided to drive over to Natural Bridges State Park to hike and play in the tide pools with the sea stars, crabs, and sea anemones. This spot is one of Santa Cruz's best kept secrets. The park is filled with Eucalyptus trees and in the winter it is a temporary home for up to 100,000 Monarch Butterflies.

On the drive over to Natural Bridges, we passed our favorite hotel, Dream Inn (the only beachfront hotel in Santa Cruz). A looked at it longingly and asked if I tried get a reservation there. I said "yes, but they were booked". He sighed. Just as we were about to drive past the entrance, I told him "pull in...our room should be ready." He smiled from ear to ear and told me that "I got him." He really thought we were staying in Capitola with a view of the freeway so this was quite an upgrade.


Dream Inn is a retro-chic, boutique style hotel with a view of the Monterey Bay. Our room was on the cloud level (9th floor) with our own private balcony. But my fave part...the delicious little lobster chocolates and amazing lavender mint bath products that are included with cloud level rooms. Love!


View from our balcony

After our hike, we spent some time at the pool and then went downtown for dinner. Conscience Creations Cafe is where we landed. It's a local, hole-in-the-wall that serves locally grown organic food. A and I were in heaven! If they opened one of these restaurants close to where we live, we'd pretty much have to sign over our paycheck every month. We would eat there every day. The food was beyond fresh and so delicious. 

To give you a feel for the environment, this is the kinda joint that serves water with no ice cubes. You sit on wooden benches with hippy-decor cushions. You can help yourself to a book about surfing or yoga from the communal bookshelf while waiting for your food. The menu is handwritten as the dishes are made with whatever is fresh that day. I ordered the veggie enchiladas and A had the shepard's pie. We can't sing this restaurant's praise enough!

handwritten menu

Afterwards, we wandered around the shops in downtown Santa Cruz until we passed the movie theater. 21 Jump Street was starting in 10 minutes so we bought our tickets. There are very few movies in which both A and I laugh out loud constantly. This was one of those movies. If you haven't seen it, I'd highly recommend checking it out. Seriously, it kept our attention the whole time and was genuinely hilarious.

The next morning, we woke to the sound of the waves crashing since the sliding glass door was open all night. We walked on the beach and then took a drive to find breakfast. And let me show you what we found, Windmill Cafe.

quaint, cute little cafe
Lattes with coconut milk. Strawberry banana whole grain muffins. Veggie egg white scrambles. Delish! With our bellies full, we enjoyed more pool and beach time before heading up highway 17 for another adventure. One of the locals told us that the best place to hike is Henry Cowell State Park in Felton. Last time we were in the area, we stumbled upon it but didn't go into the actual park. This time we did and I'm so glad. It was a magical place filled with giant, ancient redwoods.


Another cool landmark (also located in the Henry Cowell state park) is the Roaring Camp Railroad.



Our last stop after hiking was Los Gatos to visit A's best friend V. I called V earlier this week to make sure he was available for dinner and he was. We enjoyed another great meal with even better company before driving home. Although the trip was short, we made the most of every moment and packed in a lot of activities. Hopefully A enjoyed his surprise trip and that it inspired him to plan one for me someday. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

How was your weekend?

23 comments:

DandelionBreeze... aka NYMum said...

Looks stunning !! Sounds like a wonderful w/end :)) Hopefully you'll have one planned for you soon xoxo

sass @ (In)fertility Unexplained said...

What a beautiful vacation! I'm glad you were able to keep it a secret, and had a great time.

mommy someday said...

Gorgeous pictures! Sounds like a lovely weekend! :-)

Katie said...

what beautiful pictures!! I'm impressed with your planning and surprise for you and your husband! nice job!!

sunnyside up said...

I'm jealous! Super jealous!
Such beautiful pictures and what an amazing surprise!
Lucky hubby of yours!!

Should you ever need a ride along, you know to keep his eyes covered, or anything - I'm your gal!

StacyLee said...

What an amazing surprise trip!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

Meg {henninglove} said...

los gatos is one of the best cities!! my cousin lives there and i love visiting her. what a fun idea a trip to an undisclosed location, what a fun weekend!! and lattes with coconut milk definitely want to try that

Shannon Elise said...

What an awesome surprise! Looks like a fantastic "dream" getaway.

Sybil said...

Sounds like you had a great weekend! What fun to make it all a surprise!!

ADSchill said...

Oh my, that sounds so fun! It's great that you surprised him, I love surprises! I am glad you were able to get away for this little escape - we all need it every once in a while.

Lindsay said...

I am so jealous, what a wonderful surprise. Makes me want to go away too!!! Glad you were able to create such a nice distraction for you and your hubby :)

Samantha said...

Thats so fun!

Melissa_Before_40 said...

What a nice weekend for you and A! Sounds like everything went according to plan and your picures are amazing!

Wine and Summer said...

What a fantastic weekend! Your pictures are absolutely amazing!! Sounds like you had a blast.

sophistifunk said...

looks like sooo much fun! and your view from the balcony is amazing

Toni Rapp said...

Wow I loved your pictures. The windmill cafe looked so cool. I used to live in Simi Valley CA. I do miss the weekends going on fun trips to Big Bear and I really miss the beach! Looks like you had a wonderful trip.

B said...

what an awesome looking weekend! im so excited to learn of another Bay Area blogger!! do you live in SF or somewhere around?

Beckie's Infertile said...

Great pics! It looks like you had a blast.

In Canada today I could still see my breath.

Super Jealous!!

Ali @ Not All Dreams Are Free said...

What a fantastic idea, and an amazing little getaway you had! Amazing post and I tagged you for the lovely blog award! Here are the rules: 1. share who gave you this award to you with a link back to their blog. 2. write down 7 random facts about yourself. 3. give this award to 15 other bloggers.

Tiffany @ Blabbering Thoughts said...

Okay first off, I love Santa Cruz & secondly I am totally jealous you got to experience such great weather there. For me it rains & it's cold. It's awesome.

Heidi said...

so much fun! and such a great idea!!

Kristin said...

what a great trip!! love the writing on the menu!!

Elaine A. said...

Oh wow, I loved that you surprised him. Trips like this will ALWAYS stay in your memories. :)

And that restaurant sounds amazing.

p.s. I was born in San Jose (Los Gatos hospital!) I love California!!! :D

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