Aptos between xmas and new years

Oct 1st, 2009, 01:37 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 402
Hi santamonica, as for walks to a bakery, depending where you are, there is a nice bakery on Soquel Dr. called Heathers. It's in Aptos Center at the State Park Dr. exit. Also Surf City Coffee at Soquel Dr. and Rio del Mar Blvd. has some good morning stuff.
I suggest you stock your rental at Delux Foods in Deer Park Center on Rio del Mar Blvd. It's a little more expensive then Safeway, but our Safeway is just awful. You don't want to waste time in there.
You asked about movie theaters. There is a theater in Aptos at Rancho del Mar shopping center. They show good movies and have great popcorn, but they are in need of a remodel. Downtown Santa Cruz has the Del Mar Theater which is just beautiful and they show many of the same movies that they show in Aptos.
My favorite restaurant is Manuel's in Seacliff on Center Street. They've been in the same location for over 40 years and have a loyal following. 4 generations of my family have been eating there so trust me it's good! Plan on making reservations even on a week night.
For a quick lunch you might try Pixie Plaza in Rio del Mar. They are located across from the beach tucked behind a traffic circle that seems to confuse people for some reason. Pixie's has freshly made sandwiches, salads, breakfast burritos etc.
If you're looking for pizza try Pizza 1 next door to Manuel's on Center St. They have traditional as well as gourmet pizza.
As far as Downtown Santa Cruz ( Pacific Ave.) goes, be a little careful sending your teens there. I hate to say it, but as of late it's getting bad there. The era of it being a 60s flashback is gone and now a lot of the transients are younger runaways with hard drug habits. Just last night there was a stabbing at 7:30 pm in a parking garage. I don't like letting my daughter go downtown too often and if I do only during the day or very early in the evening. It's too bad because there are many great restaurants and shops on Pacific Ave. The city council just outlawed smoking on Pacific Ave. so hopefully it will get better soon.
If you do go to Pacific Ave. some good restaurants are: El Palomar for Mexican, Aqua Bleu for sushi and California cuisine, Hula's for "Hawaiian" and Pizza My Heart for pizza.
For cocktails & appetizers The Red upstairs at the old Santa Cruz Hotel has great drinks with a really nice atmosphere. The whole place is red with velvet couches gathered around low tables and fireplaces. They have a wonderful happy hour from 4 to 7.
Whew...ask away if you need anymore ideas.
glimmer2 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 04:04 PM
  #22  
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. We'll be careful. And I'll check weather and travel time to Pacific Grove and other places down the coast before I try to talk folks into a big trip. Is Henry Cowell nicer than Nicene Marks? Are both about same distance from Rio del Mar? Thanks so much for bakery, movie, grocery, and restaurant advice.
santamonica is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 05:38 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 402
Henry Cowell and Nisene are both nice. Henry Cowell has bigger redwoods because most of Nisene's are second growth, meaning most of the old growth was logged. Nisene is more rustic and wild, Henry Cowell has a visitors center and nice smooth trails. Nisene is more for hiking or mountain biking.
Nisene is in Aptos so it is much closer to where you are staying. The entrance to Nisene is pretty much across the street and from Cafe Sparrow. Henry Cowell is about 20 minutes or so away depending on traffic. Henry Cowell is huge and there are several entrances. The best entrance, the one near the interpretive trail and visitors center, is off of Highway 9.
glimmer2 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 05:42 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 402
Here's great website for info on our State Parks: www.santacruzstateparks.org
glimmer2 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 06:28 PM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,091
I wanted to point out that the Beach Boardwalk was closed when we were there in September. I don't know the hours but perhaps they only run a Memorial Day to Labor Day season?

It was a shame because I was looking forward to going on the rollercoasters as well.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 06:39 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 402
The Boardwalk will be open between Christmas and New Years, 12 to 5. During the rainy season they are only open select weekends, but the arcade is usually open everyday.
glimmer2 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2009, 02:50 PM
  #27  
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Well, we're on the way home now, on Virgin America, with free wi-fi. I don't think three nights in Aptos is quite enough for a trip report. But I wanted to thank all of you who gave me good advice.

We didn't get to do as much as we could have. Two families, four teens. Tough group to move. Plus my sister in law on crutches. VRBO house on Sprekles off the beach.

We walked out on the pier to see the cement ship which looked like what it is. One morning we went to Gayles Bakery in Capitola, which is quite a place. Christopher Buns and Schnekens. We went to the boardwalk in Santa Cruz and walked through the haunted house and watched volleyball and ate at a taquequeria (sp) which was fun.

And we went kayaking on the slough (which is pronounced slew) at Moss Landing which was really fun. Sea otters and sea lions and very strong currents. Sorta like skiing, it might be more fun once it's over. Strong currents. Sea otters look a lot like dogs from the shoulders up, for all you loony dog people.

We tried to go to Sparrow Cafe but too late for lunch. Did get to Pizza One. Good. And we saw Up in the Air in Aptos. And Avatar in Pacifica. Which really is just like Titanic, in a way.

And we hiked in the Presidio and the headlands just south of Pacifica. Unbelievable Pacific views. It's a big ocean, you know. With waves that roll in for quite a distance and build and slowly crest, curl and collapse. Like lifetimes in minature. [That phrase is from the sunday's NYT "the lives they lived" about a famous athlete. But I stole it.]

Anyway, thanks gor all the suggestions. It was a fun trip!
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