Santa Cruz: Where Buddha meets the Giant Dipper

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It transpires just about every spring. Colorful Tibetan prayer flags flutter deep while in the forest to herald an awakening from the dreary wintertime rains that have pelted the Central Coastline.

Once nature’s faucet shuts down in April, it’s game on in Santa Cruz, an outside enthusiast’s utopian fantasy.

The natural blessings of mountains and sea maintain a specific attract for hikers, kayakers, mountain bikers, skateboarders and surfers who assisted immortalize the town’s laid-back life style. But, it would be unfair to stamp this neck of your Monterey Bay as basically an additional Boulder, Colorado, or Jackson, Wyoming.

For all its rustic charm, Santa Cruz includes a break up persona. How else to elucidate the pandemonium of the Seashore Boardwalk’s Giant Dipper rubbing versus the solemnity of Land on the Medication Buddha, the non secular compound exactly where prayer flags are strung to trees together sodden footpaths.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk provides a carnival atmosphere on the seacoast. (Dan Coyro/Santa Cruz Sentinel)Corn puppies and carousels around the fringe of the ocean. Buddha and acres of statuesque redwoods up above. The oscillating symbols in some cases make the artsy beach city appear a tiny bit similar to a bewildered teenager.

Unsurprisingly, the bacon-thin strip of land among mountains and coastline has actually been not able to control encroaching Silicon Valley from busily reshaping the city. This decades-long uprooting was inescapable with ever-expanding San Jose only thirty miles “over the hill” and San Francisco just ninety minutes to your north.

Housing prices have soared with the invasion of tech-savvy hipsters who are as thinking about cafes and culture as chasing the waves. A flourishing organic food items scene, trendy breweries plus the scholarly air of a University of California campus lend Surf City an urbane sophistication.

The vibrancy from these adjustments much more than outweigh what has long been missing. It could get patience to ignore the maddening Highway 1 traffic jams, but it’s not tricky to rekindle the outdated Santa Cruz sensibility.

I really feel it just about every time I’m poking all around my previous haunt, even when just getting a sundown stroll alongside the cliffs at Satisfaction Place.

It has been forty five years given that I lived within a wood-frame h2o tower in Capitola-by-the-Sea. Our split-level adobe sat among the chicken roosts and backyard shacks exactly where craftsmen shaved foam planks into seafaring chariots that we paddled in the ocean.

My close friend Don Carroll managed the previous Haut Surf Store on 41st Avenue, a block in the popular wave known as the Hook. We surfed the split just about every single night just after closing time and i even now love looking at the waves there. But as an alternative of arriving with a surfboard tucked under an arm, I’d demonstrate up licking a to-die-for handmade cone from Penny Ice Creamery up the road.

Even with cold water, fog-shrouded summers plus the danger of great white sharks, Santa Cruz is still the most important surfing centre which was born in 1885 when a few Hawaiian princes first rode the combers at the San Lorenzo River mouth.

It is a spectacle when significant swells smack into the crumbly bluffs at Steamer Lane the place the historic lighthouse is perched and crowds gather along the fenced-off cliffs to watch h2o acrobats complete hypnotic movements on the waves.

However, Santa Cruz’s entice now not ends with the sea. Years ago, the sleepy town was shut down by dusk besides with the old-timey dive bars that we prevented. But now, after a entire day of outdoor adventuring, coastal denizens convene in one with the area’s 16 breweries serving hand-crafted beer. Locals spill in the covered courtyard on weekend evenings at Beer 30 Bottle Store and Pour House in downtown Soquel, speaking about the day’s thrill rides or neighborhood gossip.

They sound material. Advancement hasn’t stolen the outdated vibe. It hasn’t trespassed to the leafy green fields of Brussels sprouts just north of town or subverted the solitude at Forest of Nisene Marks in Aptos.

Remarkably, the spit and polish of development has cleaned up the grime without destroying Santa Cruz’s natural jewels.