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Jul 30th
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Staycation

Blogs - Staycation

Magic in Moss Landing

Magic in Moss Landing

A surprisingly perfect staycation spot

Viewers of Anthony Bourdain’s new show “The Layover,” which features the famed, foul-mouthed chef making the most of cities in just 24 hours, know it can be tough to get the true feel of a place in such a short time. But it’s not impossible … And it certainly helps when the locale in question is, say, the tiny fishing hamlet of Moss Landing instead of Rome or New York City.

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Blogs - Staycation

Harbin Hot Springs

Harbin Hot Springs

Soak your way to serenity at this natural retreat center
There’s a getaway, and then there’s a getaway. The kind where you find yourself totally unplugged, cell phoneless, surrounded by beauteous nature, and getting a little closer to a place of pure calm. This is the type of getaway you can expect with a visit to Harbin Hot Springs.

Located way up in the middle of nowhere (also known as Lake County, Calif.), Harbin was, once upon a time, a gathering place for Native Americans, and then became Lake County’s first resort when it opened as a developed destination in the 1860s. Harbin as it is today—a nonprofit retreat center run by the Heart Consciousness Church—was founded in 1975.

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Blogs - Staycation

A Rejuvenating and Breathtaking Experience

A Rejuvenating and Breathtaking ExperienceMost of us are consumed by our busy lives. Think about it. We’re either working extended hours stoking the fires of our careers, raising a family, maintaining a relationship or lost in a whirl of social media madness. (Yes, I think we’ve all caught on by now that our “relationship” to social media is just downright tiring. Who can keep up?)

Which is why I relished the refreshing surprises that awaited me during a recent stay at Monterey’s Portola Hotel & Spa. I had lived in Monterey for a time years ago and I was always curious about what it would be like to stay at this portal. Now that I live in Santa Cruz, I decided it could be an ideal destination for a Staycation.

And it was.

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Blogs - Staycation

Charming Channel Road Inn

Charming Channel Road Inn

It’s called “A Santa Monica Retreat By The Sea,” and for good reason. The Channel Road Inn, right off Highway 1, in the Rustic Canyon area of Santa Monica is a gem of a bed and breakfast. If you’re going to the Los Angeles area, and you’re looking for high-end service and accommodations, without a severe price tag, then the Channel Road Inn is exactly where you want to stay. It’s quite possible that this charming inn is located in the best possible place in all of the Los Angeles area. At one side of the inn sits an ocean view, with a two-minute walk to the beach and the well-known bike path. To the other side is a drive through Rustic Canyon, a beautiful area laced with luxurious but original homes, windy roads, sweeping vistas, and the Will Rogers State Park practically in the backyard. And in addition, commerce at Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, and the famous 4th Avenue stairs are just around the bend. This is a centrally located inn whose location is exceptional.

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Blogs - Staycation

Sand Rock Farm

Sand Rock FarmHistory and charm await at Aptos’ bed and breakfast gem
Just off Highway 1 on Freedom Boulevard, the Historic Sand Rock Farm bed and breakfast is the ideal staycation getaway: close to home but, nestled on 10 gorgeous tree-filled acres, remote enough to feel like an escape. For visitors to the area, the South County inn has a convenient location between Monterey and Santa Cruz.

More than 100 years old (the original cottage was built in 1887), the house retains an old-fashioned farmhouse feel, with cozy common areas and roomy, charming suites. Proprietor Kris Sheehan was sure to embrace the house’s original features when she bought and renovated it in the late ’90s. Managing to capture its antique allure while polishing it with top accommodations, Sheehan opened Sand Rock Farm for business in 2001.

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Blogs - Staycation

North Coast Country Inn

North Coast Country Inn

Try a secret getaway in Gualala
What’s one sure way to enjoy a breather from town and all the usual suspects? Head to a place you’ve never heard of before. Better yet, head to a place you can’t even pronounce upon first (or second) try. When you want to trade in Santa Cruz’s bustling beaches for an untouched oceanfront view, and you want an alternative to the usual Big Sur minimalist camping trip, it pays to venture into the unknown.

The “lost jewel in the crown” of Mendocino County, Gualala (say it aloud as “wa-LA-la”) churned out one surprise retreat when I recently made my way to the North Coast Country Inn located in the more remote part of the Pacific Coast Highway. How remote? Gualala hosts a population less than 2,000, lies just below Point Arena on the map, and is about four hours from Santa Cruz. Most people are used to taking Highway 128 to drive around it, missing this pristine spot off the beaten track.

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Blogs - Staycation

Get Immobile at RiverPointe

Get Immobile at RiverPointe

How one Napa stay is giving mobile homes a good name
A visit to a region of world-class wine and indulgence doesn’t have to mean stuffy hotels with cramped elevators and fancy rooms packed as tightly as a patron’s overly chic set of Versace luggage. Enter the RiverPointe Napa Valley. Transforming small mobile homes into quaint cottage-style getaways with private wooden decks nestled along the Napa River, RiverPointe has taken a unique approach to pampered living. And it works.

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Blogs - Staycation

A Weekend in Wine Country

A Weekend in Wine Country

A luxurious and tasty stay in Paso Robles
I’ve been on a red wine kick lately (and if you aren’t, also, I recommend picking up the habit). I’m also always on the lookout for easy weekend getaways—and considering my recent wine fetish, where better to visit than Paso Robles, Calif., where the wine flows like water? Centrally located between the Bay Area and Los Angeles, the sleepy Old Western style town has a booming wine industry that’s giving Napa a run for its money. So, armed with an extraordinarily low wine I.Q. but some eager taste buds, I headed to Paso (as the locals call it) for a wine country staycation.

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Picture of Health

Santa Cruz just received a high ranking among California counties. But it may be hiding some of the biggest health dangers facing our area

 

Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Time Capsule

Actors age in real time in audacious, mesmerizing ‘Boyhood’
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Foodie File: Maharaja

Chef Didar Singh on Royal Taj’s reincarnation as Maharaja

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Muns Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir

This vivacious cherry-pink Rosé is a simply beautiful summer wine.