Postcards from California Highway 1: Central Coast

I signed up for Chris Guillebeau’s book event in Santa Cruz, and convinced my friend Connie to go too. This quickly became a girls weekend starting at her home in Half Moon Bay. Getting anywhere in the Bay Area on the weekend is becoming more of a challenge. I avoided the Bay Bridge and SF City traffic by taking Highways 880 and 92. Although as soon as I got past Highway 280 it was bumper to bumper, because lots of people want to go to the coast for lunch, or to catch a last beach day before fall really sets in, or to buy a pumpkin.

Farmer John's pumpkin patch has a teepee, a tractor and an annual gathering of Burmese Mountain dogs.
Farmer John’s pumpkin patch has a teepee, a tractor and an annual gathering of Burmese Mountain dogs.

There are pumpkin patches all around the town of Half Moon Bay. The places on Highway 92 are competing with gimmicks like pony rides and bounce houses. Or going for the bargain, “All pumpkins $5”. I like the classic Farmer John’s pumpkin patch right on Highway 1.

We caught up as we drove down the beautiful coastline toward Santa Cruz. There is farmland signs pointing to beaches. Everything is gentle compared to the more rugged coastline below Monterey. The road is much straighter and makes for quicker progress than the windier route to Big Sur. We stopped in Davenport for a later lunch.

Whale of a Diner in Davenport
Whale of a Diner in Davenport

Our motel, the Continental Inn, was a fun redesign of a classic motor hotel. We LOVED the wood floors—brilliant in a coastal hotel where guests are likely to get sandy.

We did a quick walk around the harbor. I have not been to this part of Santa Cruz since Sarah Harriet completed Bike and Build (SC2SC11).

This morning we took our time and enjoyed the lack of agenda. I finished Colum McCann’s Transatlantic—a lyrical book that features Belfast. Then we drove to the main shopping street, Pacific Street. With a lot of time until Chris Guillebeau’s talk and book signing at 7:00 p.m., we fossicked around shopping and looking for a place to eat lunch. We ended up at the excellent Assembly for brunch. We ate amazing fried green tomatoes and enjoyed a very filling and delicious repast.

Assembly restaurant in Santa Cruz
Fueling station for fossicking around Santa Cruz, CA.
Lulu's coffee place
How could I not go to Lulu’s coffee shop in Santa Cruz. Lulu the adventure dog would approve: there is outdoor seating.

Now I am getting some work done while Connie finds a salon for a mani/pedi. I ended up at the Octagon in Santa Cruz called LULU’s!!! How could I not try the coffee? This is my first trip away without Lulu and I am like a new parent enjoying my freedom and fretting about her.

Meet Ivy
Mini Cooper S to be named Ivy.

Finally, Connie helped me decide to name my car Ivy. This was solidified when we went to Dig Gardens in Santa Cruz. What a shop! It is high praise from me to say it compares to the fabulous Flora Grubb in San Francisco. Garden inspiration. Ideas are flowing.

Dig Gardens
Dig Gardens in Santa Cruz