Tisza Major-Posner drove up to Los Gatos from Claremont last Sunday and we had a chance to show her around our fair town on Monday. Thought the Active Rain and Project Blogger community would enjoy seeing a few photos of our fun in Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz.... Enjoy!
Our home sits at the very base of some foothills (which enjoy a view) and to begin our introductory tour of Los Gatos, I drove Tisza (and my daughter) to the top. Normally you can see not only downtown San Jose, but all the way to San Francisco if the day's clear - but no such luck on Monday.
Even so, Tisza cooed appreciatively for the view of Silicon Valley and downtown San Jose. I griped about the smog (not pictured) and she joked, "I brought it with me from L.A."
Next we drove up Blossom Hill Road first to Blossom Manor (she's a Realtor and appreciates these things!) and then Vasona Park. This is where Los Gatos truly has its beginnings in terms of settlers, as it's where Hernandez and Peralta initially heard mountain lions screetching and decided it must be a viable place to live - there had to be water nearby. (Hence the name, Los Gatos - the cats.)
Being from southern California, Tisza wasn't used to seeing geese and got all excited about them. She took this pic of them and commented repeatedly (using a lot of words, can you picture that?) about the geese.
We took her through the park by car, which really doesn't do it justice (from a sailboat or paddleboat is much better, but we only had a few hours and much to see). I promised to send her a link to the photo show I did. Tisza, it is:
Vasona Lake County Park and Oak Meadow Park.
We did a driving tour up North Santa Cruz Avenue and into the Almond Grove District, pointing out unique architecture on Almendra Avenue, noting the location of the old graveyard on North Santa Cruz and former mortuaries turned restuarants or homes.
The ride included a stop at Old Town and Borders particularly (where my visitor and daughter cleaned up on the bargain table). We saw the Edelen District, the Civic Center, Los Gatos High, and Testarossa Winery before stopping to enjoy lunch at Andale's and dessert at Powell's Sweet Shop. And yes, of course I pointed out to her all of the haunted spots too!
My work forced a break in tourism at that point as I needed to do some running around with an offer etc. so we had a haitus of a few hours before making a trip over The Hill to Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz can be foggy and cool when the weather is overly hot in San Jose or Los Gatos, and so it was on Monday too.
First the three of us drove through Pacific Avenue (the downtown area) and noticed a lot of typically colorful folks there. Next stop was the lighthouse, which provides a great vantage point to see the whole Monterey Bay - that is, if it's clear and not foggy. Unfortunately, the fog was rolling in and it was pretty cool and windy (at least 20 degrees cooler than at our home). Tisza took a lot of pics and oohed and aaahhed at the fog (I was not as impressed with it as she was - I wanted her to see the views!) and loved seeing the sea lions especially.
After freezing awhile, we moved on to the next point of interest, The Wharf. The wharf holds a lot of fond memories for me as a place for family dinners, but also a neat place to get a really close view of the sea lions - who are simply amusing. We both took pics of the sea lions (mine didn't turn out great but Tisza got some good ones so I'm sure she'll post them soon), who performed beautifully for us by grooming, swimming, barking and diving onto the platform (one poor fellow had to make several attempts before being successful and a good landing).
The fog determined that inland northern California was far too hot, so it continued to overtake not only the bay, but the beach and the land as well. By now we had left the wharf and were seeking parking at The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, one of the last midways on a Pacific beach. It is just so fun there with all the typical carnival rides, food, and ambiance. But we were lucky: being there on a Monday (or Tuesday) night, prices are rolled back incredibly. It's called 1907 Night (the Boardwalk was founded in 1907) and everything - well, almost everything - is really, really cheap. The Giant Dipper, for instance, normally costs $4,50 for a ride, but on 1907 night the cost is just 75 cents. Can't beat it! Hot dogs and sodas are 75 cents too. (Every Mon/Tues after 5pm in summer. Such a deal!)
My daughter and I first took Tisza on the Giant Dipper (man that woman can SCREAM! but then she laughs hysterically at herself), followed by a cheapo-1907 style dinner, a sky ride (really cold as we seemed to have been elevated into the fog for that) and then the very High Camp Haunted House (could I possibly miss THAT?). The bumper cars had very long lines.
But there's always time to buy a little cotton candy and churros, which we did before realizing that the parking meter was about to flip over to the dreaded red zone....
Chilled thoroughly (we'd dressed for the heat of Los Gatos and had sweatshirts, but they weren't enough), we finished up the jaunt to the coast by returning to the downtown area and getting some warm drinks at Borderes.
It was a good day, a fun day. I hadn't shown Tisza half the things I'd have liked to have shown her, but convinced her that there are enough very cool things to do here that she and Her Mel just need to come back.
Next: Picking up Kevin Tomlinson at the airport and playing tourist in The City before Beer and Bloggers.
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