Friday, May 3, 2013

A Day at the Beach ~ May 1, 2013

We realized Tuesday evening that Wednesday was a free day: no doctor appointments, no promises to keep. It's going to be hot in Sonoma County so  we're thinking a day trip to Santa Cruz fits the bill. It will be cool on the coast and Rod wants more road hours learning the secrets of Ruby the Explorer so there you go!

A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in ~ Robert Orben

We left home about 9:30am. As soon as we're off the Golden Gate Bridge we turn right and head south through the Presidio. We got into Santa Cruz about noon and decided to check out the Boardwalk. I'd never been there and it'd been decades since Rod's last trip. We parked nearby, had a great lunch El Hermoso Mar and then toddled across the street for a walkabout.

Boardwalk Architecture
 
We didn't know it until we got there, but May 1st is opening day for the summer season. Fortunately for us the park was only partially open due to ongoing repairs and construction. It was great to be able to look around without crowds.  
 
The Coaster to Nowhere ~ still working on this puppy
 
We next walked out to the end of the pier. Families with strollers, itinerant musicians and rafts of seals floating in the sun brought smiles and conversations with strangers.
 
 
There are a number of restaurants and retail shops on the pier, but this one caught our attention. All the five basic food groups, eh? We bought a half pound of dark chocolates: including molasses squares, mixed nuts, and salted caramels.

Oh Baby!
 
 The view at the end of the pier

We started back north about 3:30, but not wanting to get into San Francisco for the commute hour, we decide on a stop at Ana Nuevo State Park. We did a little exploring, but want to take some of the longer trails next time we're in the neighborhood. It's gorgeous and uncrowded midweek.

View from the Pond looking West
 
The Pond

The reserve is home to herons, mallards, kingbirds, pelicans, egrets, black phoebes and yellowthroats to name a few. Ana Nuevo's plants and wildlife depend on this valuable freshwater environment to thrive. In conjunction with adjacent and nearby public lands, the unit permits the protection of important regional ecological corridors.

Cultural resources include the remnants of a prehistoric Native American village site and a number of structures from the 19th century Cascade Ranch which included a creamery. The cow barn was built from remnants of an old pier salvaged after a storm, the timbers are pretty impressive.

The Creamery

Back on the road, the next up was Bob's Produce just south of Pacifica. We'd seen it on the way south. We brought home artichokes, tomatoes, pasilla peppers, melon, squash and a flat of the biggest strawberries I'd ever seen (the kind you see dipped in dark chocolate).

The drive home from San Francisco was smooth and sane. Got back in time to tune in the Giants game and watch them once again pull the fat out of the fire. A great day and an excellent adventure.