Take a ride with EncinoMom on this virtual 4-day road trip up the California coast. From Encino, California to the Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz this quick video trip highlights some of the great stops along the way.
We left late in the day and stopped for dinner at the harbor before heading north along the coast to Cambria. We searched online for a place to stay for the night and called ahead to secure a room at the Pelican Cove Inn. How our stay could have been nicer than the hospitality we got over the phone is hard to imagine, but it was!
Our room was lovely and welcoming with a fireplace and sitting area. The grounds were perfect for our laid back mood, with care and attention in evidence everywhere. Exuberantly blooming plants and flowers created lots of visual pleasure and a feeling of privacy around the heated outdoor swimming pool and spa areas.
After a hot breakfast, (included in the price of the room) a swim and a stroll on the beach, we headed back down the coast a bit (Highway 1 is still recovering from recent storm damage) to connect with the 101 north to Santa Cruz. The drive was hilly and inviting with vineyards and wine tastings along the way. We made a note to revisit this area with time to explore! We stopped for lunch in Paso Robles, California and were overcome by the urge to buy cowboy boots, which we did. 🙂
Driving up the 101 through Steinbeck country, I was reminded of all the great things to see and do in this part of California. For every spot we check off our to-do list, two more get added! This is artichoke and garlic country, with lots of dusty history yielding to sandy, seaside hamlets along the way. East of Eden, Cannery Row and Of Mice And Men spring to mind as we drive through their backdrops.
We rolled into Santa Cruz just as the Boardwalk was closing up for the day. Snapped some great pics in the fleeting light of sunset and got the lay of the land. We had a classic seafood dinner on the pier, right out of another era – the kind your grandparents might have ordered back in the day.
We spent the night a mile or so away from the boardwalk at a Hampton Inn, where we were greeted by one of the nicest young men on the planet, Josh, a Santa Cruz native. We opted for the $10 movie fun pack, which included a DVD to watch in the room, a bag of pop corn and I forget, what-all-else, wrapped up in a great big blue bowl – for sharing the popcorn and taking home for a souvenir! What a bargain!
In the morning, after breakfast, we rode ourselves silly on the rides and attractions at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. 🙂 We decided on a late lunch away from the beach and found ourselves in one of the fanciest Chinese restaurants I’ve ever seen! The food was great and so plentiful, we had to pack some of it in doggie bags to have for dinner!
Our next stop; San Juan Bautista, California. We didn’t enter the mission itself on this trip, but toured the grounds and adjoining museum. There are separate entrance fees (less than $5per person) and free admission after 4 pm. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to peak back into California history like this. No crowds or lines, just amble through at your own pace, take pictures, take your time – I love it.
With our drive home scheduled for the next day, we made the short trek to Casa de Fruta, a fruit stand that has grown into a village, and took lodging at the Casa de Motel. This is not a luxury stop, but silly, kitchy fun, for sure! You can easily walk from the motel (or campground) to the cafe, fruit stand, sweet shop, wine shop, carousel and other Casa de attractions. The pool was closed during our visit, but there was an arts and crafts fair that provided a surprise shopping opportunity. I always say: “If you can’t swim. . . shop!” lol
We foraged for food at the various Casa de “fill in the blanks” and had a picnic in our room with all of the goodies we found. Warning: the Dulce de Leche fudge is so good, if you buy some for your house-sitter, it will be gone before you get home! Whooops. The ride home was a speed trip down highway 5 – less than 4 hours.
Ah home sweet home! Thanks for tagging along with us. I hope you got some good ideas for your own road trip. 🙂 We’d love to hear them! Drive safely and join us again next time, when EncinoMom hits the road!
video by: EncinoMom Productions
photos by: Lisa Keating
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