A time of day dreaming punctuated at irregular intervals of reaching for those dreams. Tends to keep me away from the keyboard.
The weather here in Northern California has alternated between the glorious “summer pattern” and hellish heat. Mix in a gloomy shroud of wildfire smoke and you’ve got some downright ugly stay-in-the-house days. That and better-than $4/gallon gasoline.
Sandwiched in between my solitary fly fishing quests and the mandatory job, sleep and nourishment the Wife and I headed to the coast for an abbreviated weekend after the Fourth of July. Surprisingly, thought one might blame arm-and-a-leg gas prices, we were able to secure a room in Capitola, one of those coastal California towns whose name is often preceded by “quaint.”
The location of our destination virtually ensured cooler weather and fog-cleansed skies. It was a leisurely and short-than-expected drive to the sea. Lunch at Café Limelight — where the dog was able to join us at the outdoor seating — was great, particularly Farouk’s homemade Hummus, served with fresh organic veggies, olives and warm pita bread. A walk on the Santa Cruz mall completed the pleasant afternoon. A quick check in at the hotel and a short walk into Capitola and it was time for mass at Holy Cross Catholic Church, which is part of Misión la Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz, the 12th mission built in California. It’s a pretty incredible “old world” church with striking stained glass windows.
Back in Capitola we sat down for dinner at Michaels on Main, enjoying the outdoor patio in back of the restaurant. Entertainment was a local high school’s 10th anniversary reunion. As one approaching a 30th anniversary since high school graduation, it was quite amusing interesting. I also enjoyed my mushroom encrusted halibut.
Sunday morning found us slowing making our way toward Aldo’s Harbor Restaurant, again putting us in Santa Cruz. Good solid food with the harbor entrance as a backdrop. A beautiful drive through the redwoods and along the UC Santa Cruz campus brought us to the Bonny Doon Vineyard winery tasting room. Bonny Doon was a pleasant surprise — it offers some of the more unique wines among those I’ve tasted, particularly the 2007 Vin Gris de Cigare (a rosé) and the 2007 Angel Paille (a dessert wine).
We lingered just long enough, then it was north on Highway 1. I don’t think I get out to this stretch of the coast often enough as I’m always struck with how close it actually is to home. After passing the one-of-a-kind Taco Bell on the Linda Mar Beach — yes, right on the beach with a walk-up window for surfers — we headed inland to Pescadero for a visit at Harley Farms Goat Dairy. I packed some of Harley’s excellent goat cheese in the trunk and pointed the car back to the coast, where the fog and overcast keep the temperatures cool and colors muted.
We procured lunch at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. restaurant in, yes, Half Moon Bay. Thankfully, time had not distorted my memory of their excellent fish and chips, which Karen and I shared with a flight of various beers. A good lunch stop not to be missed if you drive this stretch of the Golden State coastline.
A few more hours found us home, where the searing temperatures made me all the more happy to have hidden in California’s coastal hills for the last couple of days.