On The Coast

Whale City Bakery brunch

You know by now how much we love road trips. Mostly because of the adventure, the not-quite-sure-where-we’re-headed-ness of it all, the willingness to see a sign along the side of the highway and turn onto a dusty road to follow it just because we’re curious and we’ve got nowhere to be. But sometimes it’s good to at least start out with a goal in mind – a place to set our GPS to that we know we’ll end up loving – and that’s what we did on Saturday.

Ever since I wrote that we were coming out here for the summer, I’ve been getting emails from readers that have been some of the most thoughtful, wonderful emails I’ve ever received. You’ve sent me words of support and encouragement that have made me feel not-so-alone while living in a place where I don’t really know anyone at all, but even more than that: you’ve sent me lists.

I love lists.

And the lists that you’ve sent of things we simply have to do and see while we’re out West have been such a gift. They’ve helped me make this summer not just “nice”…but one of the best ever.

Thank you thank you thank you.

And a extra thank you today to Grace, who sent me a suggested itinerary for a morning in and around Santa Cruz that sounded so incredible that we followed it as much to the letter as we could (always making time for turning off onto dusty roads when we saw a particularly good-looking sign, of course).

We started out at Whale City Bakery, in Davenport, for pancakes and corned beef hash in a setting that felt more like a gas station/dive bar than a breakfast spot (and I mean that as a compliment). We chatted with bikers; I showed off the scar from my motorcycle accident; we ate Marianne’s ice cream before noon.

ice cream stop

Shirts-optional roadside ice cream stop

lauren merkin bag

Bucket bags by the beach

davenport beach

Building houses

beach baby

My little sand crocodile

On Me: Peyton handbag ℅ Lauren Merkin; Anthropologie Provo Oversized Scarf.

Next up: an almost-deserted beach a mile or so north (chosen for easy access from the highway; hiking down to beaches isn’t really high on my priority list at the moment), where we walked across the empty sand, checking out the pelicans and building houses out of sticks.

And then our son decided to strip off all of his clothing and crawl across the sand like a crocodile, and so he and Kendrick went running off while I collapsed back onto a blanket…and instantly – without meaning to at all – passed out. That moment, listening to seagulls and my husband and son laughing while falling asleep not because I especially wanted to but just because I felt so relaxed, goes down in my personal history as one of the happiest moments of my entire life.


Abalone are almost too cool-looking to eat (I couldn’t try them for obvious reasons, but am pretty excited to give it a shot one day)

penny ice creamery

Yum yum yum (The Penny Ice Creamery)

We spent the rest of the day winding our way down the coast towards Santa Cruz, stopping into an abalone farm to check out live rock crabs and abalone (which I’ve never seen before, and are super cool-looking, kind of like a cross between rainbow-shelled snails and centipedes) and a little house filled with Eastern-style pottery where the proprietor gave us roasted corn, wine and strawberries while we looked around.

And then, because you should never eat ice cream once a day when you can eat it twice, we headed to The Penny Ice Creamery, in Santa Cruz, for chocolate sorbet that tasted like Distilled Essence Of All Things Good.


Guess which seal is my favorite?

Last stop: a seafood restaurant off of the PCH for fish ‘n’ chips and seal-watching. This might have been our last weekend as a family of three, so I wanted to make it a memorable one…and I think we did quite the job. (That upside-down sunbathing seal in the middle capped it off for me. They are so ridiculous, and I love them.)

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