Marina State Dunes
From there we started our actual Vacation. We were staying in a little town called Marina at a resort on the Marina Sand Dunes.
This first picture here is the path leading down to the dunes just after first light. I wish I could have taken some more photos later in the day but this is about the most light I saw while actually in Marina.
Our first morning there, we saw about a dozen surfers, some small surfing waves and I even saw a few dolphins cresting just a little bit further out than the surfers. Such a beautiful place, I could have spent my whole weekend right there on the beach.
|@Marina State Dunes Drop Box|
After our first morning visit to the beach we were headed off to be tourists. It's Friday after Thanksgiving - Monterey here we come.
Spent the whole day in Monterey. After parking the very first stop is the fudge shop attached to the Parking Garage - I believe it was the Candy Baron. I bought a little square of Sweet Potato Fudge - oh really good. We asked a little about the recipe for sake of Scott's mom (food allergies) and she told us it's really their basic Vanilla fudge recipe with canned yam's later. So safe for mom which is great and I have a new idea for my holiday baking and sweets making (more on that later)
So - Monterey. If you've never been there before there are two major "touristy" sections. Cannery Row (where the Aquarium is) and Fishermans Wharf. Lots and lots of shops to sell you souveniers and a lot of walking. There is a nice little bike trail that connects the too You can walk this trail as well - probably about 20 minutes across the trail on foot, maybe a bit longer.
|Ray's are my favorite thing in the ocean - their large and so graceful. Graceful is something that I absolutely am not. This one is in the big tank at the Aquarium and if there wasn't so much more to do - I would have sat and watched it soar for hours.|
|Ray - Monterey Drop Box|
| ||Nettle - Monterey Bay Aquarium Drop Box|
|Kelp Fountain - Monterey Drop Box|
Santa Cruz - Saturday - November 29th
When our long day of walking ended it was back to Marina. The next morning (Saturday) was to be Santa Cruz. The surf on the dunes Saturday wasn't as nice as Friday - at least not so nice for surfing but we made the walk every day, just because we could. Also, for some reason we were getting better wi-fi signal on the beach then in our hotel room. Great place to sit and check emails or whatever we needed to look up for our activities during the next day. - Oh how I love my I-Phone.
I had never been to Santa Cruz before - so this was a first for me. the Boardwalk was open but not so much of the rides. From my point of view, the boardwalk was mostly arcade and food, not so many shops really. We played video games for a couple of hours, then headed out to their Fisherman's wharf. Before we headed over, Rusty (Scott's brother) did take this nice little photo for us.
|My honey & I - Santa Cruz Drop Box|
Here's a shot of the boardwalk from the wharf. Not a lot of things to show you at the wharf either. This is more of a true Fisherman's wharf, with places you can buy fresh caught fish and also places to eat. We had a late lunch/early dinner on the wharf before wandering back to the car to finish off this day.
|Santa Cruz Boardwalk Drop Box|
|Santa Cruz:Fisherman's Wharf Drop Box|
We had made plans to make a stop for Rusty on the way back to Marina - town called Moss Landing. There's an Army Surplus & Paintball supply shop there. After we'd done that, Scott's mom spied an old ship out on the water that she wanted to try to see. We did manage to find it. When we did there appeared to be 2 of them - reproductions of old Spanish vessels. They were loaded with people in regular clothes, and a few docents with period dress. My guess is they were a touristy thing for Thanksgiving?
|Moss Landing - Spanish reproductions Drop Box|
|Moss Landing - Sunset Drop Box|
Turlock - Hilmar Cheese Factory - Sunday, November 30th
On Sunday morning we were out of their early - too early to say "bright". Still dark even. We walked down to the beach still. Didn't go as far down as before because it was too dark to see. But from the top of the hill we could just see the white of the surf as it crashed down onto the beach. Got out of Marina around 5:30 am and started out toward Turlock. There was a swapmeet for the family to attend, and a great aunt for me to visit who I'd not seen in quite a while. Got to spend about 2 hours with her and upon leaving she found my buttons (more on that later too).
One last stop before coming home for an end to our vacation - the Hilmar Cheese Factory. They have a nice little lunch counter (really good cheesy potato chowder) - lots of cheese and other goodies to buy (including Orange or Cranberry Curd. Or how about Apricot/Bell Pepper Jelly - these 3 things came home with us).
for my photo op...These cute little cow tiles were in the bathroom.
|Hilmar Cheese Factory Drop Box|
|Hilmar Cheese Factory Drop Box|
Thanks to Scott's family for letting me tag along. I had such a great time.
If you'd like to see more photos of any of these places - you can view my Flickr set: Thanksgiving 2008