Travelling anywhere on the 4th of July holiday is not something we look forward to, but I must say our weekend in Santa Cruz was pretty great.
The 43 degree difference in the weather didn't hurt, either.
Changes out of our control regarding another Festa left us searching for one to attend that worked with the rest of our summer plans.
Santa Cruz seemed to be the best fit.
Other than Pismo's, this would be our first Festa that we would combine the Parade with a mini vacation.
LPP had to work, Chris had other plans, and SPF's attendants were unable to come so it appeared it would just be the three of us.
We used Uber for the first time to our dinner reservations the first night.
Zelda's was tremendous.
The view was not bad either.
SPF is a clam fan...chowder for an appetizer and the Steamed Clam Appetizer for her dinner.
An evening walk on the beach was perfect before heading back to our hotel and an early evening.
Our hotel was not in the midst of the hub bub of Santa Cruz and I enjoyed that.
It was within walking distance to the ocean, lighthouse and while a long jaunt, to the Boardwalk.
I had never been to Santa Cruz before and quickly learned that there are several inlets of water that require going around...see the trees behind the boats?
That's where we needed to be.
The whale statue felt odd to be lying there inland in front of the Museum of Natural History.
Although, I'm not sure where else it would have seemed normal.
See, again, we need to be over there.....
We finally found our way.
Each time I nearly gave up and worried about the distance BACK to the hotel, the answer presented itself.
Very cool bridge.
The neat thing about the boardwalk is that you can purchase tickets JUST for what you want to ride. Or not at all.
I found it interesting that crossing through the boardwalk is how beachgoers get to the sand.
Not sure why that stuck out to me.
SPF loves going around in circles, while the thought of it makes me ill.
We didn't stay long but the beach was already filling up with families geared up for the day and it did clear up that afternoon.
Chris had had a change of plans and decided to make the drive over to help us carry a flag on Sunday.
Poor LPP still had to work.
While we waited for him to arrive, we discovered a neat little Aquarium.
SPF was in her element and enjoyed every moment.
While the Seymour Marine Discovery Center is not nearly as large as the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium across the bay, it was nice.
It is part of UC Santa Cruz and offered a nice way to spend an hour or so.
We did not know that counting the rings of a fish's otolith tells its age.
She was an otter...she touched a swell shark, starfish and sea anemones and urchins and posed in the mouth of a whale skeleton.
The location is gorgeous and the kind of coastline I adore.
The houses in parts of Santa Cruz are wonderful.
Some quaint and others huge and detailed.
Dining along the shoreline was not only delicious at Crow's Nest, the scenery was lovely as well.
We also had a delicious dinner at Lillian's.
After a yummy breakfast at The Harbor Café on Monday morning, we took the scenic route home.
I like trees.
I like green.
I like the smell of green mountain trees.
I like discovering pretty places, like this old covered bridge.
And a park that had my hubby and his girl attempting selfies without injuries.
And a race to see who went higher.
It was a tie.
And it was priceless.