Sunday, September 5, 2010

Capitola, CA

Capitola, California is a quaint beach village in Santa Cruz county, 80 miles south of San Francisco.

Yesterday John woke up with the brilliant idea to take a drive to Capitola for lunch and possibly stay the night. It was going to be busy but we thought we'd give it a try being Labor Day Weekend and all. We packed a quick bag covering all sorts of weather patterns. Living the cold summer months in foggy San Francisco, its hard to trust that its going to be sunny outside the city, let alone in Santa Cruz county. Bag in hand we started our drive to Capitola. According to GPS, the trip should take 1 hr and 14 minutes. We hit a bit of traffic as we merged onto the 17S from the 85. At first, I thought 'what the hell its noon, we shouldn't be hitting any traffic' but then I got a sinking feeling that this may have been a bad idea altogether. After about 15 minutes of stop and start traffic, it began to look promising.

The rest of the drive down was uneventful. We pulled into Capitola with just about everyone else off the highway. The traffic was dense in this normally sleepy place. Our one lap around the tiny one street village took about 20 minutes. Keeping our eyes out for rooms, we noticed all the No Vacancy signs but we're still hopeful that we'd find a room. Of course there was no close street parking so we started to head out of the downtown area toward the residential district. We parked past the railroad tracks where you didn't need a neighborhood parking permit.

I yelped some restaurants in the car ride down. We decided on the Paradise Beach Grill for lunch After waiting 20 minutes for an outside table overlooking the busy beach, we ordered 2 Longboard Ales, a lobster salad and cheddar melt for me and a bacon cheese burger for John. The food was delicious. The lobster salad wasn't as good as the lobster rolls of New England but it was a close second. Throughout lunch, I was pleasantly entertained by the large number of cougars (older women on the prowl) at the restaurant. I don't know if we stumbled upon the cougar den or if they were in heat this weekend and all descended on Capitola but something was in the air. There was age inappropriate clothing everywhere and too much leathery skin exposed for my liking.

The beach was crowded for Capitola. There were a few tourists learning how to surf to the left of the sandy beach area. One girl was out of her mind in a bikini and no wet suit. Although it looked nice and warm out, it's still the cold Pacific Ocean. After a short walk around town, we figured out there was a festival going on! The annual Capitol Begonia Festival was happening this Labor Day weekend The whole town seemed to be fired up about the festival. Old retired couples were driving around in their golf carts decorated with begonia flowers. The night promised a live band from 4-6pm and a movie in the beach park starting at 6pm. We were even more excited to find a room and enjoy the relaxed yet festive vibe of the place. Unfortunately, like Mary and Joseph, we just couldn't find a room. There was one room available halfway from Capitola to Santa Cruz but none in Capitola proper. With a mild sense of defeat we left but vowed to return soon to rent one of the beach front condos and show Capitola who's boss. Possibly even next weekend as its the Capitola Art and Wine festival (two of my favorite things).

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