Wrap it Up (I’ll Take it)

It has been a number of years since I stopped madly celebrating the flipping of the calendar, but I do appreciate the sense of renewal one gets on the first day of the new year.

I’m not one to make resolutions either as such, mainly because I know I will break them no matter how well-intentioned they might be; however, I am going to make more of an effort in updating my sites. I’ve been guilty of feeding the Facebook and Twitter monsters much more content, but I am more likely to look back here in the future to reminisce, yanno?

Anyway, that being said… I’ve got a little catching up to do first!

In lieu of spending cash on “things” to celebrate our upcoming 10th anniversary, we opted instead to take each other on week’s vacation to the Santa Cruz CA area while my school was on hiatus for the Christmas season. The last time we were in central California was back in the summer of 2008 (I had to check!), but we had the boys with us. We had quickly found out that unlike SoCal, the Santa Cruz and the Bay areas held little fascination for them. One benefit to having grown children are built-in cat/house sitters who will no longer get the free trips, ha!

We had fully expected the weather to be meh, as the forecast had called for a whole lot of rain that week, but as it turned out we were given quite a lot of sunshine. The locals complained bitterly of the cold everywhere we went (in the 50’s in December! Good Gawd!) I wanted them all to have the reality check to what chilly really is, but then I remember I lived in Vancouver and everyone east of the lower mainland would want to throat-punch me for thinking WE have it rough in the winter. Still, while we were away Vancouver was experiencing the rare snowfall and the chaos that seems to follow along with it. Not sorry we missed at least that snowfall!

We went back to stay at Seascape Resort in Aptos, the place we’d stayed on our previous two visits to the area. We chose to stay once again in a villa, but not to splurge on the deluxe view. I mean being December we weren’t expecting to be spending much time on our balcony anyway and if we wanted beach it was a short walk down the cliff stairs. Despite all that we could still see and hear the beach from our place just slightly set back from the edge of the cliff-side.  The resort seemed to be very quiet at least on the north bluff where we were located, that is other than the first night where our downstairs neighbours were a bride-to-be and her friends. That night we were treated to a lot of baaaaad dance music and partying but thanks to our villa being two floors with the bedroom upstairs our sleep wasn’t disturbed.

I have to say though that Seascape really has to do some upgrading to their villas. They were looking like sad/tired and very dated 4 years ago, and apparently nothing there has changed. It isn’t like they’re horrible or anything, but it isn’t befitting the rest of the resort. Truth be told, if we didn’t get such a good pre-Christmas deal and the fact we love the location, we wouldn’t have gone there. We’ve been good and properly spoiled by Cannon Beach and even the place we stayed in Tofino. We both agree that Cannon Beach has spoiled us for any beach town now and remains the measuring stick that nobody has yet to meet never mind better.

Still, California has a few things up on Oregon, the weather in December for one, but face it, I’m mainly talking about In-N-Out. Yep we ate there twice.

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Our first walk on the beach was a tad drippy, but that didn’t alter our enthusiasm any. I mean we walk regularly in the rain back home without the added woosh, woosh, woosh of the ocean, so this was bonus! It also gave us opportunity to play with our waterproof cameras, though Tom’s died on the trip! Stupid Fuji! Ah well, don’t fret for Tom, he ended up getting a clone of my Canon fatboy once we got home as a replacement.

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I had picked up a couple of water-proof “Quik-Pods” and they turned out to be a great investment, had some real fun with them.

Like I said, we had some fantastic weather too. We made sure that the two days that seemed to be the most likely for sun we saved for our visits to the Santa Cruz/Monterey seaside and of course to my beloved San Francisco.

We didn’t take our big cameras with us to save the hassle of lugging them around while we did out sightseeing. Though I missed them when many shots BEGGED for a decent SLR, the little point-and-shoots came through in a pinch and were one heck of a lot lighter.

Love the subtle rainbow that would appear in the surf spray here:

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I was also enamoured by the dock completely crowded with Sea Lions, particularly these two darlings who looked very cozy snuggled up together.

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A few other pics from the day:

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Look! A Pelican! It just calmly sat there like a foot away from me.

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Yeah I dunno what my hair was doing there!

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I didn’t actually get a lot in Monterey cos my battery died. Ah well!

We got to San Fran a little later than we’d hoped to so we didn’t get to all the places we’d had on our itinerary. Ah well, next time!

Still, we did manage to get to the Coit Tower and check out the view (at least from the base of it):

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Went once again to pier 39, which we have vowed to skip from now on. Waaaay too tourist-trappy for our tastes now.

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And we found a place to park in the Haight-Ashbury area for a bit of a walk-about. Yep it is certainly sketchy round there, but it was fun out and get a few pics.

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Thanks to the advise of a friend who lived in the area for a long time, we had one of our dinners at a restaurant in Santa Cruz called “Star Bene” which featured Italian and Argentinian cuisine. I can only vouch for the Italian, but it was darn good!

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We also noshed at the local pizza joint in Aptos Village called “Village Host Pizza” TWICE. Yep, that good and that reasonable in price! Wish we had a place like that back home.

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Even worth the wait on a busy night. We walked around the village area which was cutely all lit up for Christmas.

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Due to the full kitchen in the villas we tended to eat all our breakfast’s at home-base, but on our final day in Aptos we checked out a local spot called the Red Apple Cafe known for its all-day breakfasts. It was a good call, the place was great!

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And the coffee much needed!

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Yeah I know, highly unflattering but illustrative of how I felt. Ha!

Our last night was spent in a hotel near the San Jose airport to ease our transition from beach to home. We had planned an additional stop in Seattle for a couple of days but the weather was proving to be rainy AND there was a chance for more snow so we decided to bail on Seattle and keep the cash for another weekend trip. The Hilton Garden Inn in Milpitas is a nice place AND it boasts an In-N-Out in the shared parking-lot. Hello!

We also made a stop at the Winchester House in San Jose.

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No pictures of the inside this time. At some point between our last visit in 2007 and 2012 they banned indoor photos due to copyright issues (according to our guide when I asked) boo I say! Well they can’t take away my previous pictures. #Suckit!

Still, I probably paid more attention to the tour without having a camera out every few minutes.

The trip home was smooth (gotta love the flights in and out of San Jose and Bellingham airports!) and we had like a five-minute wait at the border (if that!) Bonus!

We made it back with a couple of days to decompress before the crazy of Christmas. Though I’d opted to forego a turkey nightmare with a much easier dinner, a good time was had by all even sans turkey coma. Next December we hope to be away for Christmas and leave the celebrating with our little family for after. We both want to spend it down in Cannon Beach, but we shall see how things go.

Here is my favourite shot from that night. Who likes serious poses? Not me!

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Finally, if you’ve made it this far,  I will leave you on this first post of 2013 with a little look back on our year in pictures. Just click on the video below. Happy New Year!

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