Thursday was pretty much a travel day with just some normal living in between.
We went out for coffee around 6:40am. I took this photo from the same spot as the day before but the sun wasn’t up yet as in the previous photo, which was probably taken about 7:05. I probably like this shot better.
We walked the same path along West Cliff Drive as we did the other days, with me snapping random views along the way (above and below).
It was pretty relaxing to just watch the surfers for a little while, as long as you didn’t imagine how cold that water must be. It was 40 degrees outside.
It turns out the lighthouse is a surfing museum! We’d never gotten this close to it in the daytime to see that.
This tells the story of 3 princes from Hawaii who brought surfing to California in 1885, starting in Santa Cruz while they were on vacation.
A little beach just past the lighthouse – first one since we left the hotel area where we are staying, about 1.5 miles away. Nothing but cliffs in between.
Ice plant is pretty specific to California coasts I think, a form of ground cover that looks like a succulent and comes in a variety of forms and blooms. It is my favorite type of natural growth and I love seeing the different varieties.
We turned back around about 7:50am and made our way to breakfast on the porch of the hotel again.
That’s a potato strata that had great flavor, was very moist, and fresh from the oven, along with fruit and poppy seed coffee cake.
We left Santa Cruz around 9:20am and drove straight to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, arriving just in time to attend an outdoor AA meeting that’s at 11am every day in the bleachers of the baseball diamond. (The bleachers are blow that sidewalk.) This was the scene of our first date and we’ve returned many times. This meeting arose at the beginning of the pandemic; it will be interesting to see if it continues when this is all over. While it’s sometimes difficult to hear people sharing, it’s an otherwise lovely atmosphere, especially when the weather is nice as it was yesterday: partly cloudy, about 57 degrees.
We weren’t able to check into our room in Sonoma until 4pm, so stopped by Ash’s house and went into The Castro for lunch. He lives on Castro Street, just a couple of blocks from Market. While the above photo is pretty much at that intersection, you can see the marquee of the theater from his sidewalk.
Just in case you’re not aware, The Castro is one of the most infamous gay neighborhoods on the planet and is rich with LGBT history. The movie Milk (about Harvey Milk, the gay city supervisor who was assassinated in 1978) was filmed here; I actually saw it for the first time in the Castro Theater, which was a little surreal.
After a couple of false starts, we ended up at The Cove which is a bit of an institution in this neighborhood, having been here for almost 50 years. We sat at the table on the left and had one of Ash’s housemates with us (who chose to be anonymous, lest you think I’m being rude).
The view of the theater from where I sat. I’ve eaten here a couple of times before, if I had to peg the dates most likely 1998 and 2008.
Ash had a grilled ham & cheese with curly fries, above; I had a patty melt with black bean soup, below. It’s a pretty traditional American menu but done very well.
We made our way to Sonoma around 3pm, with our destination about an hour away. I asked Ash to take a shot of the Golden Gate Bridge as we were driving over it and he indulged me.
I’ve been to Sonoma county many times, although in hindsight I realize always somewhere on the coast. I may not even be able to say with confidence that I knew there was a town called Sonoma, but here we are: population 10,600 according to the sign. The Inn at Sonoma is also part of the Four Sisters family of hotels which includes the West Cliff Inn in Santa Cruz. If these stays are good examples, this is a chain we will look for again. This one is a little more of a traditional hotel than the one in Santa Cruz, as you can see from the outside photo above.
The room was much bigger than the little cabin we were in before, with a fireplace and a little patio. Super comfortable; I’m sitting in that chair on the left as I type, which is much better than sitting on the floor!
And we got the same “wine and cheese” welcome that we got before, with ginger ale instead of the wine of course. Ash had picked up some chicken salad from the house before we left so between that, cheese, crackers, dried cranberries, and snickerdoodle cookies we decided we were in for the day and that was just our dinner. I was super tired for some reason; Ash took Paul out for one more walk but I never left the room again. We watched a few episodes of Downton Abbey – started S6! – and were asleep by 10pm.
Today we will walk about the little town of Sonoma – we are just a block away from the big square that apparently everything surrounds – and have lunch reservations in a little town called Rutherford in another part of the valley. It is raining as I type and has been most of the night, but is supposed to clear up by the late morning so we hope it does.