Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 16th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Best Health & Fitness 2009

best_heallth_pacedgeBest Outdoor Sports School
Pacific Edge


Aerobics instructor
Lee Pate

Clearly the hottest rage right now in Santa Cruz and beyond, Zumba has taken Santa Cruz by its feet and made the town start dancing. And at the helm of this effervescent and motivating exercise routine is local Zumba instructor Lee Pate, who teaches at Dance Synergy in Aptos on Fridays and at Spa Fitness in Capitola on Mondays and Saturdays. Pate, who’s been teaching fitness for 15 years, obviously has got a thing for fancy footwork. Here are your ABC’s about Zumba: According to Pate’s website, “Zumba combines Latin and international rhythms with cardio respiratory endurance exercise to create an ‘aerobics’ class … a high-energy workout … while doing salsa, merengue, cumbia, calypso, flamenco, samba and reggaeton dances.” Intriguing, huh? “I have the best job in the world,” Pate notes.  (Watch exclusive video of Pate, her class and a GT staffer on our new online video channel, GTv, at Zumba Santa Cruz, 6:45 p.m. Mondays and 4:30 p.m. Saturdays at Spa Fitness, Capitola; 5:30 p.m. Fridays at Dance Synergy, Aptos.
Runners up
Joy Smith
Paige Nutt

Five Branches
California Acupuncture,Oriental Medicine school, San Jose and Santa Cruz
I used to fake an ear ache from time to time to get out of going to school. My Polish mother, bless her heart, would heat some oil, rub it on a cotton ball and stick it in my ear and voila! … I’d have another day free from my strict fourth grade teacher. (Looking back, the teacher really wasn’t that strict at all—I was just craving some attention.) That’s what people get at Five Branches. I see it as the mother of all healing portals around these parts—it’s always there whenever you need it. While cotton balls must be in stock, what intrigues me is how beautifully this place has a grasp on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): acupuncture, Chinese medical herbs, energetics, dietetics and Tuina massage. A good place to learn, and/or be totally rejuvenated—from the inside. 200 7th Ave. Suite 115, Santa Cruz, 476-8211
Runners up
Grass Roots
Lee Holden
Martha Benedict

Bike trail
Wilder Ranch

We can’t seem to wander far from this one. But there’s a reason Wilder Ranch continues to win us over. With its mix of fire roads and single tracks, it boasts more than 40 miles of trails that reward the uphill effort with stunning vistas and views.  This is one of the best, unspoiled mountain biking paradises around. But you already know that. (Newbies and advanced cyclists welcome!) 1401 Coast Road, Santa Cruz, 423-9703
Runners up
Nisene Marks
West Cliff Drive

Day spa
Well Within

Where else can you get your own private spa, a massage, and relax in charming Japanese garden surroundings complete with waterfall and koi pond all without ever stepping foot outside of Santa Cruz? Well, there are a few places, but none, apparently, so apt at capturing your attention the way Well Within has this year—and, let’s point out, so many years before. Keep divin’ in. 417 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 458-9355
Runners up

Fitness center 
Toadal Fitness

Most still refer to it as Frog Fitness but this bountiful, friendly fitness club is perfect for burning calories and staying in shape. Free towel service is a plus; smiles from staff members even better. Great locations throughout the county, with a new center opening in Capitola, make access easy. Not bad for an institution that has evolved quite nicely since it opened its doors in 1996. Santa Cruz: 113 Lincoln St.,Santa Cruz, 423-3764; Live Oak: 1200 17th Ave., Suite 108, Santa Cruz, 464-3764;
Runners up
Spa Fitness
24 Hour
Pacific Edge

Fitness trainer
Steve Hodgert (Weight Room)

Runners up
Rebecca Rovay-Hazelton (Toadal)
Paige Nutt (Studio 831)

Golf Course
De Laveaga

Runners up
Boulder Creek

Hiking Trail
Nisene Marks

Runners up
Big Basin
Henry Cowell
Wilder Ranch

Jogging/Running Trail
West Cliff Drive

Runners up
Nisene Marks
Twin Lakes
UCSC campus

Martial Arts Instructor
Augie Gonzalez (Spa Fitness Watsonville)

Runner up
Dio Santiago

Outdoor Sports School
Pacific Edge

Oh the irony. This year’s Best Outdoor Sports goes to a business with a tin roof over its head. But what a hot tin roof it is. Of course, the climbers crimping on plastic holds indoors are, after all, having a whole lot of fun gaining the necessary strength to be outdoors on the full-blown stone. That’s the whole point, because no self-respecting climber wants to be humbled by being out of climbing shape. The real stone provides plenty of opportunity for humbleness. So to the gym they go, and in the process Pacific Edge is a community unto itself. Climbers not only gain core, pull-down fitness, but can practice the fine balancing act of yoga and mat pilates, partake in climbing seminars (everything from teaching the ropes to aid climbing) and meet potential partners and not exactly in the climbing-dude-in-ripped-Carhart-pants-meets-climbing-girl-in-hot-Patagonia-tank-top way, although that’s been known to happen. The gym caters to every ability level, from the newbie learning to tie a figure-eight knot, to climbers that defile and chew up the rules of gravity for lunch. And there’s a lot of space to hone your climbing chops. Pacific Edge features 50-foot high walls and more than 14,000 feet of terrain accentuated by thoughtful route-setters. Never to put too fine a point on it (oh, what the hell) but it could be said that Pacific Edge is really the outdoors within. 104 Bronson St. #12, Santa Cruz. 454-9254
Runners up
Adventure Out
Santa Cruz Surf School
Aqua Safari

Skateboard Park
Ken Wormhoudt Skatepark / Santa Cruz

Runners up
Scotts Valley

Swimming Pool
Simpkins Family Swim Center

Runners up
Harvey West
Spa Fitness
24 Hour Fitness

Surf School
Richard Schmid
Runners up
Santa Cruz Surf School
Club Ed
Adventure Out

Surfing Spot
Pleasure Point

Runners up
Steamer Lane

Women's Gym
Spa Fitness

Runners up
Toadal Fitness

Yoga Instructor
Delana Thompson (Pacific Cultural Center)

Runners up
Don Bard (UCSC)
Victor Dubin
Mark Stephens

Yoga Studio
Yoga Center

Runners up
Village Yoga
Om Room
Pacific Cultural Center
Vets Hall


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.


Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.


Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.


Animal Magnetism

Bear, mouse dare to be friends in charming ‘Ernest and Celestine’ It’s not exactly Romeo and Juliet. It’s not even a romance, although it is a love story about two individuals separated by prejudice who find the courage to form an unshakable bond despite the rules and traditions that keep them apart.
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

Latest Comments


Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.


How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management


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


Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.