Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is located 116 km south of San Francisco on the cold Pacific shores of Northern California. It serves as a living stereo type for how many east-coasters may envision California with its palm lined beach, amusement park boardwalk, ocean wharf and surfing culture. This town was even inspired a Beach Boys tune.

The beach is broad and expansive with a year round colorfully painted amusement park which is reminiscent of the amusement parks I remember as a kid. Complete with roller coasters, cotton candy, arcades and clowns. The Santa Cruz Wharf jets far out into the ocean and apart from some good seafood restaurants also serves as a rest stop for wary sea-lions. A mile from the pier the surfing culture is alive and well, as dozens of surfers of all ages paddle out and wait to ride out the perfect waves.

In the downtown core can be found more of the stereo types one would imagine of California as vegan cafes, organic grocery stores, street buskers, surfer shops and palm lined streets.

There are lots of local recreation options within the nearby state parks as Lighthouse Field State Beach, Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, Twin Lakes State Beach, Henry Cowell Redwoods and Seabright State Beach. Whether it be hiking, biking, boating, deep sea fishing or surfing; the area has many sports to offer.

Getting there: Domestic and International flights service San Francisco International daily. From there its a beautiful drive down California Route 1 which hugs the Pacific shores and features cool little beach towns, seafood cafes and endless beaches.

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

San Francisco

For those that have never had the chance to visit San Francisco you are really missing out. This city and its surrounding area is a real American west coast gem. Its often been said that San Francisco has the most beautiful climate in the world. Not too hot and not too cold, just right for jogging along the Embarcadero with its palm lined streets, antique cable cars and docks leading to Alcatraz. Though it is often quite foggy, I’ve found the temperature in mid summer very refreshing when compared with other destinations further inland.

The Fisherman’s Wharf area is a real pleasure for gourmet seafood lovers. You can’t ask for any fresher seafood as the fishing trawlers are right here unloading and stocking the many restaurants and cafes with the freshest of catches. You can smell the pleasant aroma of the clam chowder and Dungeness crab cooking in the crisp fresh sea air for blocks before you arrive.

This is a very beautiful city built on top of and over many steep rolling hills and features an eclectic mix of colorful architecture ranging from large Victorian manors to more modern style architecture. There is also over 200 well kept parks with flower displays and bronzed statues. The downtown core is clean and features great shopping, pubs, trendy bistros and high rise bank towers that rise in and around California street with its turn of the century street cars.

Several miles from the downtown core there is very good surfing along the Pacific beachfront and miles of rolling sand dunes. Its a very free thinking and spiritual society and historically has been since its settlement by the Spanish in the 18th century with many missions built in and around the vicinity. SF is culturally alive with many world class museums and exhibits. This isn't your typical North American big box store town, built on a grid pattern. There is a real c'est la vie mind set here. People seem contempt and happy to be here. They've arrived and this is their final destination, for SF is more than just a city or a place but its a mindset. Life is short. Live it up. SF can also boast in having the second highest quality of living anywhere in the US. and that I quite believe is true.

Getting There: San Francisco International airport is well serviced with direct flights from all over the US and abroad.

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For more photos see my website: www.thetimetraveler.net