Mini getaways seem to be becoming one of our specialties. I was craving some beach time and ocean air, and Cody is always up for a little adventure – so a few weekends ago we took off to Santa Cruz for a one night, two-day stay.
We drove towards the ocean on Saturday morning (later than planned, of course, because I left packing until the last minute as usual, and am a pain to get out of bed most mornings). We arrived at the Boardwalk in about an hour and headed straight in. We walked the length of the boardwalk just to scope out what rides, food, and games we were interested in, then settled on clam chowder bread bowls, popcorn chicken, and fries for lunch. We bought our tickets (which are now re-loadable cards that you buy “points” on for rides and games…and oh yeah, those are used for the majority of the arcade games now too – almost no tokens needed…man do I feel old). We started off with Tsunami, to ease us in before hopping on the Giant Dipper. We had plans to ride a third, but after the Giant Dipper we were both in pain, and both over the rides. We knew from previous experience that the Giant Dipper was an older, rougher ride, but neither of us remember it being that rough. I’m not sure if it was because my head was down, I was too tense, or if it was just the ride, but the first drop made my neck snap and the rest is a blur of pain and Cody ended up with a headache. We both got off and took Advil, and I had to take a minute to gather myself and have Cody rub my neck in hopes that it would relieve some of the pain. (Update: My neck was in a lot of pain later that night and the next day, but it has been a few days and I am almost back to 100%) We headed to the arcade for some games and Cody thoroughly enjoyed that. Before leaving for the afternoon, we strolled down to the beach to dip our toes in the water, because when you’re at the beach, have to at least get your feet wet!
By 3:30pm we were ready to head to the hotel and check in for some relaxation before heading to the wharf for dinner. We had reservations at the Ocean Pacific Lodge, with a room that included a jacuzzi tub! (I was really looking forward to a butterball bath later on). We checked in, then headed to the pool. We swam around and talked for about an hour, then headed back up for some wine and relaxation before getting ready for dinner.
I had my heart set on trying a wine bar at sunset on the wharf and then taking Cody to this great Mexican restaurant right next door. We got to the wharf just in time to see a beautiful sunset, take some pictures and walk around a little bit. We then climbed the stairs to Vino Prima Wine Bar, got ourselves a salami plate, and a glass of wine each. The wine was great, the food was perfect for an appetizer, and the view was beautiful. It was perfect. We then headed to Olita’s for some tacos and margaritas! We were seated facing the Boardwalk with a perfect view of the rides all lit up. And of course, the food was delicious – I had the chicken tacos and Cody finally got himself some fish tacos. When we were finished, we decided to drive back to the Boardwalk for dessert – I got myself two chocolate covered strawberries and Cody chose his beloved chocolate dipped vanilla ice cream cone. We walked around a little but were both exhausted, so we headed back the hotel…and both promptly fell asleep second we laid down. (Pretty riveting stuff, huh?) We were both just completely exhausted from being out in the sun all day, and we woke up the next morning very glad to hear that neither one of us had ruined the night by knocking out before the other one.
We started the morning off with the hotel’s complimentary continental breakfast (which included making our own waffles!), coffee, and mimosas (which we supplied the champagne for). We packed up, checked out, and made our way back to the Boardwalk for some more fun. We had originally wanted to split an omelet at a highly recommended breakfast spot in town, but by the time we got there it was a 45 minute wait just to be seated and I did not want to waste our day. So naturally, no omelet available, I headed straight for a pretzel and cheese dipping sauce when we got to the Boardwalk. I had had my eye on that since the day before and man, oh man was it delicious.
There was a very short line for the pirate themed mini golf inside the arcade, so we decided to play a round. Cody won, as usual, so I had to buy him an ice cream cone because we had bet on desserts. I finally got myself some caramel apple chips (an apple pre-sliced with caramel sauce and whipped cream – yum) and we headed to the store to pick up some food for a picnic lunch. Every time we go into a grocery store with a meal planned, we always buy way to much food. We got deli chicken, some salami, cheese, hummus, two kinds of chips, lunchables (just because they looked good), pita bread, and potato salad…like I said, way too much. I wanted to have a picnic on the beach, so Cody drove us to Sea Cliff Beach, where he used to go for his dad’s company picnics as a kid. There is this big ship, the S.S. Palo Alto, that grounded itself at this beach and it has some pretty interesting history behind it. We sat in the shade of the dock, and ate lunch, then decided to take a stroll on the beach. Little did we know that we would be getting show from all sorts of sea life! We walked down the dock first, to be surprised by a bunch of people fishing with buckets and buckets of fish that they caught! Then we walked in the waves on the shore and were lucky enough to see seals swimming close to shore, a whale come up for air several times, and a bunch of dolphins jumping way out of the water! Cody had never seen a whale or dolphins in the ocean before, so he was super excited. It was really amazing and such a fun way to end our trip.
While the weekends and a once night stay are always too short for my liking, I cherish every new memory that we are able to make together. It was definitely a trip for the books and we can’t wait for our next mini adventure!