The past few weeks have been insane – Anthony got his PhD, which, whatever, isn’t a huge deal…

We had a big party, and everyone he’s ever met came into town to celebrate – then there was the stress of him starting to look for jobs, while finishing his dissertation and filing… Then there was an ER visit thrown in for fun – he’s okay, but with his medical history, everyone is extra cautious, so we end up there a lot. I feel like we should probably get frequent shopper punch cards – the 10th visit is free!

Needless to say, when our 3 year anniversary came around, we were dying for a vacation. But we were broke. So we decided to go stay at my parents’ house in Felton, CA – 15 minutes away from Santa Cruz.

My little hometown is tucked in the gorgeous redwoods in the mountains outside of the popular surf town. Felton is very small, with a couple of shops lining the main two-lane highway. I used to run through the trails in the redwood forest behind my high school for PE, and things like going to the movies or the mall was really only attainable once you got your driver’s license. Even then, we mostly had beach bonfires or parties outside in our backyards – why stay inside when you live somewhere that beautiful?


Image via

Of course I didn’t truly appreciate my parents’ little house with an enormous yard and a grove of redwoods on the property when I was a teenager. But now, when I can make a getaway to this quiet, green, and gorgeous place where I’m fed for free, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. My parents have a detached studio with a queen sized bed and its own bathroom – we felt like we scored the best AirBnB in the world, but it was free!

I should have taken pictures of our little bungalow, but I did remember to take pictures of my mom’s NEW PUPPY!

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Kill me.

We spent the first afternoon playing with the puppy (obviously) and chatting with my parents. Then we went on a classic Felton date. We walked into the little town strip, checked out the ukulele store (which used to be a rock store – not kidding) and then went to the health food store across the street for flavored honey sticks (as amazing as they sound). Then we concluded our little funky Felton date with a stroll through the thrift store and walked home for dinner. On the way back I realized how cool this mural I passed every day for years was and had to share:




After dinner we went to my new favorite place – The Cremer House.


Image via The Cremer House

Who knew my little funky town had a cool place with lots (and lots) of good beer??


The next day we drove through the redwoods to Santa Cruz to check out the Boardwalk, since Anthony has never been.


I love the Boardwalk because you can just buy a couple of tickets to ride one or two rides, and you can still walk around the whole place. My dad grew up right next to Disneyland, and my nana said it used to be like that back when he was little. I hope the Boardwalk stays this way!

We rode the Giant Dipper (which Anthony was pretty impressed with – or just terrified because it was basically built with some 2x4s decades ago) and this favorite ride of mine:


Totally don’t remember what it’s called. Sky Tram or something weird like that? Anyway, it’s awesome. Because I just have to sit there and not drop my phone and enjoy the beautifulness.





After grabbing a beer downtown, we took a drive up to UCSC for the amazing views.

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We took the beautiful long way home through the redwoods, then had a bonfire with friends in the backyard. Magical, ya’ll.

I promise to take more pictures of the redwoods next time. But we could NOT stop taking pictures on our way back when we took Highway 1 from the mountains of Santa Cruz back home to Santa Barbara.


Even though it takes quite a bit longer to get home, it was so. worth. it. Do it if you ever have the chance! Driving through Big Sur was my ultimate favorite – it’s my happy place.




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We may have pulled over 8 thousand times. It was amazing. Can’t wait until we can find a weekend to go camping there!

And then… this happened.





We worked really hard on those “confused” faces so I hope you enjoyed them.

So ya, we’re driving along and I’m like “ARE THOSE ZEBRAS – pull over”. There were no “Zebra Xing” signs, or a sign that explains why they’re there next to the fence, nothing. After some googling it turns out they are from Hearst Castle, which I haven’t been to yet – but basically some rich dude forever ago decided to have zebras at his place, because, why not, and now they’re still here just chillin on the central coast.

So that was the exciting end to our trip. I miss northern California a ton, and I want to get back up to my home town again soon – hopefully in a few weeks.


What is your favorite cheap vacation spot? Any friends that have comfy couches in cool places?




2 Comments on Santa Cruz

  1. Lisa Favre
    April 22, 2016 at 3:32 am (2 years ago)

    Congratulations on him getting his PhD! Also, btw, that puppy in your post’s pictures is just… wow. So adorable!

    • Stephanie
      April 25, 2016 at 9:46 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks Lisa! I know, I am already planning my PTO around visiting this dog… hahaha.


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