Growing up in Southern California had its perks. Or perk rather, it’s called sunshine, like all the time. So many people worldwide don’t have sunshine 9 months out of the year, yet they still survive. Most even thrive. They wake up to what we call “June gloom” for months on end, yet somehow manages to maintain a decent way of living. Maybe I’m a black sheep or the red headed stepchild of the family, but I love some cloudy weather. Perhaps I overdosed on Vitamin D as a kid. Either way, I do adore the sun, but I am definitely ok with some cold and gloomy weather. So here I am, eating a grilled cheese from In n Out off that long stretch of the 5 freeway, (you know that part where nothing happens for hours) awaiting my arrival to Northern California, but this time I’ll be stopping somewhere new.
Fun fact; I’ve never been to Santa Cruz before. I’ve heard all the legends of palm trees growing next to pine trees, great surf and a hippie movement that never ended. Yet, I somehow always managed to head straight for the notorious San Francisco. Well, now’s my time and I decided to head on solo.
Would you believe that I drove all the way to Santa Cruz for some nice cozy weather only to be greeted by hot and dry and wait?! Is the sun following me? Am I being paranoid? In the end, I decided there was definitely some sort of sun conspiracy going on but was willing to let it go. Hey, at least the locals were happy.
I stayed with my boyfriend’s sister Katie and her husband Corey - they’re the chillest married couple around and made me homemade pizza for dinner (that fact is important). Katie and Corey took me to a farmers market within 15 mins of my arrival, talk about hospitality. It was there that we drank “drinking chocolate” or what I call hot chocolate and snacked on fresh organic peaches and berries. I also soon realized there was no need for me to have shaved my legs for this trip. Like I said, the hippie movement up there, well it never really moved. Talk about some hairy goodness.
Time spent along the coastline was filled with limitless kelp, darling sea creatures and waves that made you want to jump, no matter how cold. It’s safe to say that surfing holds the heart of Santa Cruz and the kelp is it’s veins. These oceans might make you feel like your toes will freeze off, but this relationship is anything but cold hearted.
I soon recognized the glory and bliss of Santa Cruz. It has this perfect mix of western grace mingled with new age, but mostly old age, flower children. You can drive ten minutes inland and be completely surrounded by the most powerful Redwood giants, or stay close to shore and surf the most epic waves. There is this freedom of expression that fills the air, this city lovingly supports artists, surfers, skaters and yogis alike. And man do they love their organic products. I’m gonna go ahead and say that the crowds at Steamer Lane compete with the crowds at the local farmers markets, and at times will lose. Organic goods are hard to beat. Fresh veggies aside, I fell in love with Santa Cruz as I’m sure most do. Luminous oceans and dazzling forests are what make this place such a gem and why I will always adore it.