by gwen harlow

Date Day: Natural Bridges, March 25

Posted by on Apr 20, 2010 in photo, travel | 0 comments

Finally getting around to the travelogue for our drive down to Santa Cruz a few weeks ago. I figured I’d better get to it because we went again on Saturday and I don’t want to be two road trips behind.

We started off with a stop at Wescafe here in Alameda. They make a mean americano and serve some extraordinary almond croissants.

Food stop #1, Alameda

We used to always take 880 down through San Jose and over the mountains to Santa Cruz, but got in the habit of the slightly longer but less traffic-y and more scenic route across the San Mateo Bridge [which, I have just read, is the 25th longest bridge in the world!]

The Mighty San Mateo Bridge

over the hills to Half Moon Bay then down Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean [world’s largest!]. The view is pretty spectacular and there are gorgeous beaches all along if you want to take a break.

Lone surfer

I prefer to have the windows down because of the delicious ocean smell.

Rearview Mirror

We often stop in Pescadero, which is a one-light town halfway between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz.

Daisies in Pescadero

We picked up a to-go cream of artichoke soup from Duarte’s and a hot load of artichoke garlic bread from Arcangeli’s and had a little picnic right there.

Food stop #2: Pescadero

Another 40 minutes or so and you arrive at the western end of Santa Cruz — Monterey Bay is a big C shape, with Santa Cruz at the very top — which is where one of my favorite beaches is.

Lying in the sand at Natural Bridges

Natural Bridges has one of the two monarch butterfly sanctuaries on Monterey Bay [the other’s in Pacific Grove] and if you’re up early enough in the winter months, you can see the huge bunches of them hanging from the eucalyptus.

Monarch trail at Natural Bridges

We were there too late in the year and never get up that early anyway, so we walked down to the beach…

No Lifeguard

…where we spent some enjoyable hours lolling about doing nothing in particular.

Young lovers on the first of spring

Then it was time to dust the sand off and head home.

Chad, all sandy

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