Some images from the coastal town of Santa Cruz, California where I visited last month for my friend's wedding. It's been a long while since I had spent any time on the central coast of California but I must say I had an impressive rediscovery on this little trip. Santa Cruz is located at the northern tip of Monterey Bay about 120km south of San Francisco. It has always been known as a certain kind of "hippie" alternative enclave, famous for it's surfing and skateboard counter culture just as much as being the ultra laid-back college town of the University of California Santa Cruz, which as it so happens is a top school renowned for natural sciences and environmental studies. Santa Cruz has grown up a lot as well it seems. Still in tune with a deep concern and an awareness for nature, the place has a progressive vibe too and an ability to calmly adapt to the next chapter without compromise. There is a new responsible entrepreneurial spirit that is flourishing here and all up and down the coast. This is what I love about California and a so called "alternative" lifestyle. From organic farming to health food stores and locally made goods, there's a real 'movement' towards sustainable living and it's all here, readily available for everyone to make it happen. Then there is the abundance of natural beauty and perfect weather to go with and to keep you inspired. The ocean and beaches, the redwood forests, the national parks and the vineyards- they are stunning and some of the best. Quality of life is celebrated here so live it up baby!
My top 10 for Santa Cruz and nearby:
- Big Basin Redwood Forest for camping and Henry Cowell Redwoods for hiking.
- Capitola Beach Co. for paddle boards and surf lessons.
- O'Neill for surf gear and beach attire.
- Santa Cruz Skateboards- cool stuff for the kids.
- Sweet Asylum in Capitola for cutest beach boutique.
- Monterey Bay Farmers Markets and Santa Cruz Farmers Markets for best produce.
- University of California, Santa Cruz for top college and beautiful campus.
- High Ground Organics for best community supported agriculture (CSA) program.
- A Forest Feast for best cookbook and Erin Gleeson for most inspiring hostess.
- Verve Coffee Roasters for best cuppa!