Capitola: Part 2

 

Venetians

If you caught my Capitola beach style post back in August, then you know I promised to share more about this darling town. You may be thinking, summer is over lady and I’m in “Back to School” mode (thank god), but lodging books fast in this quaint town, so if you are tinkering with the idea of a trip to Capitola next year, read on my friends! Our family books lodging the winter before our summer getaway.

Lodging

We always go for a week or two so renting a beach house is ideal.There are many great options on VRBO, but we have typically stayed at the below two rentals. Both lovely.

Rose_Cottage

1. The past few years we have stayed at this little gem called the Rose Cottage. It’s charming and cozy sleeping six. It’s around the corner from the main street, and maybe a 3 minute walk to the beach. The backyard is a lovely garden, with patio seating, and a BBQ just off to the side.

2. For decades my in-laws stayed at this Capitola House (not pictured). It’s a great option when you have a large group. It sleeps 10 which can be hard to find in vacation homes. This is just around the corner from the Rose Cottage, so it’s equally as close to the beach.

Kids-Venetians

Other options I’ve heard to be good – The Capitola Venetian Hotel (which are the brightly colored buildings above) is a historic mediterranean hotel that is literally steps from the sand. All rooms come with a full kitchen, so you could stay for a long period of time. Lastly, if you wanted to go without the kids for a quick romantic getaway, check out the Capitola Hotel which is in the heart of the village.

What to Do

Audrey_water

The city offers many cool events. (Here to see the calendar). We’ve been in town for the Art and Wine Festival, the Begonia Festival, and the Wharf to Wharf Race. All super fun, so do check out the calendar. But, of course the beach is always endless fun!

Coming_up_ramp

We’ve rented paddle boards, kayaks, or a fishing boat for further adventure. In the above pic we just got off from a fishing trip. You can rent the fishing boats directly off the wharf. Kayaks and paddle board rentals can be found by the public restroom area just off the beach.

Helicopter

Plane

Dragon_Ride

Wahoo, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk which is a 10 minute drive from Capitola is loads of laughs. Audrey turned 4 this year, and the joy I felt watching her giggle and scream on all the rides was priceless.

Golf

Well, I’m a terrible golfer but hope to remedy that soon. That being said, our family and friends generally golf either Seascape in Aptos, or Spring Hills in Watsonville.

Shopping

I love puttering through all the shops in Capitola but my favorites are Sweet Asylum, Zen Island and the Village Mouse. I’ve found one of a kind jewelry, dresses, and gifts at each of these boutiques. If you need a Macy’s, Target, or larger department store, then the Capitola Mall located off 41st street is only 5 minutes away.

Where to Grub

Breakfast

Wharf House is located at the end of the pier and serves up a fantastic breakfast. It offers traditional breakfast with yummy pancakes, but also seafood inspired omelets and egg benedict. Gayles Bakery is a short drive to Bay Ave, but it’s worth it. The baked goods are scrumptious, and if celebrating a birthday or special holiday it’s a great place to call in a cake or dessert. We love Mr. Toots for a cup of coffee and a morning stroll to watch the surfers.

Lunch

Pizza My Heart – truth be told we either pack a lunch to the beach or grab a slice of pizza. You’ve likely heard of Pizza My Heart, because it’s a chain restaurant now. But, you probably didn’t know it was founded in Capitola in 1981. During the summer months the line can be CRAZY but it moves quickly. Tip – Call in an entire pie for the family from the beach, and you can bypass the line.

Happy Hour

Zelda’s is the best place to grab a cocktail. There is an outside patio directly on the beach. The happy hour Mai Tai’s are fantastic. We don’t love the food at Zelda’s, so if you want an appetizer and a cocktail, we recommend Margaritaville, which is just a few doors over.

Dinner

 Shadowbrook

Cable_Car

We love to bbq and cook at our beach rental, but also enjoy a night off. Shadowbrook Restaurant is by far our favorite spot to dine. Located along the river, you may walk or take a cable car through the garden to reach the entrance. The place is family friendly, but if you can get away without the munchkins for a night, it’s really romantic. Mike and I have been going for years, fantastic food, and the memories dance through my head every time we visit here. This would also be a great spot for groups. Stockton Bridge Grille is another good option. Spectacular views of the water and the seafood is always super fresh. Both locations are walking distance from any of the hotels or beach houses in the main village. If you are craving Mexican cuisine, Taqueria Agave and El Toro Bravo serve up some of the best!

J_eating_Ice_cream

No trip is complete without a visit to the Village Grille and Creamery – 48 flavors of locally made ice cream! This year my husband took my kids at 10am in the morning for their first ice cream cone…big kid himself. Needless to say, I had to take my mom pants off and chill out that they were eating chocolate ice cream for a post breakfast snack. Of course, Jack proceeded to request ice cream for breakfast the next few days, and looked at his eggs with disgust. Can you blame him?

Family_Bridge

We truly love this place, and while I focused on the summer, it’s less traveled and still beautiful for a mini vaca in the winter months. In the words of Huell Howser, thank you for letting me share a little piece of California gold with you all. Happy travels!

Capitola Style – Marilyn Monroe meets Boho

Capitola Style

 

If you’ve never visited Capitola, then you don’t know what you’re missing! Often compared to Cinque Terre, the town is truly something special. My husband’s family has been vacationing at Capitola since he was six months old, and I feel lucky to have become a part of the annual tradition. Many of my friends ask me about Capitola, and have never actually been (it’s only an hour and a half from the city), so stay tuned for a post on what’s so fabulous about this family friendly town.

Until then, let’s talk beach style. Here are my key pieces for this vacation but #2 is definitely a newbie. My husband is probably going to be confused when he sees me rocking a one piece…let’s be honest here, for most men, a teeny-weeny string bikini is sexy and likely the preferred attire when basking in the sun. Well, sorry boys..I say one pieces are SEXY too! I love that they are making a come back (and so does my post children mid-section). With so many one piece styles that feel a bit retro and fresh, I had a hard time deciding. I ended up going with a classic red one piece, similar to the Tory Burch one posted, and I can’t wait to embrace my Marilyn Monroe chic style. Paired with a panama hat, cat-eye sunglasses (I’m obsessing over the Versace ones above) and some simple gold accessories, it keeps the one piece from feeling too matronly. It will be a twist on my usual boho beach style, but of course those items are packed as well. Oh and please take note of this fab CALIFORNIA towel. I immediately thought of the song “California Girls” by the Beach Boys when I found this towel. Happy summer all!

  1. Panama Hat (JCrew similar version)
  2. Tory Burch Swimsuit (this is my similar version)  (love this Nanette Lepore option as well)
  3. Versace Sunnies
  4. Striped Tote (mine is from T.J.Maxx, but you can find these everywhere)
  5. Gold Cuff (similar here)
  6. Dolce Vita Sandals (Mine were a gift, and I wear them with everything)
  7. Humble Chic Coral Necklace
  8. Topshop white crop shirt (Forever 21 version)
  9. Pendant Necklace (Nordstrom $$ option that I really want, but you can find inexpensive ones at Francesca’s, JCrew, Charming Charlie’s, H&M, T.J.Maxx)
  10. Element Tie Dye Maxi Skirt
  11. Statement Necklace (Stella and Dot options are always great)
  12. Gap cutoffs (I love mine because they aren’t sooo short, more age appropriate, and I just got them an additional 50% off in store)
  13. Nars multi-stick in G-spot color…yes I said G-spot! Wacky but memorable branding.
  14. Sisters of Los Angeles Beach Towel

San Francisco Kid Activities

People often ask me three questions about raising children in San Francisco.

1. Do you like raising children in city life?

2. What activities do you do/where do you go?

3. What do you miss the most about the suburbs?

I haven’t lived all over the country, but I have lived all over California, southern, central and northern. Of all the cities I’ve lived, and if I had to choose where I’d be at this moment with my children, it would most definitely be San Francisco. You might say, it’s the obvious choice, you live there. And, it could be that I was raised in the burbs of Northern California, less that two hours from Tahoe or San Francisco, so I may be biased, but I whole heartedly love this city and what is has to offer families. It’s likely that one day we will move to the burbs to enjoy its offerings, and like many other families, we may be chased out due to the high costs of living, but that’s an entirely different conversation. For now, let me share four kid spots that may not top the tourist list, but are great activities for any family visiting San Francisco.

1. Conservatory of Flowers 2. Koret Children’s Playground both located in Golden Gate Park

Conservatory

Golden Gate Park is loaded with goods for just about anyone. The Academy of Science, Japanese Tea Gardens, or the De Young are all an obvious must see. But, if you are in the park with kids, two free or inexpensive options are the Koret’s Children Playground or the Conservatory of Flowers. Whenever my niece and nephew visit, the first place they want to go is Koret park. From a merry-go-round, a huge climbing structure to a famous concrete slide (bring your cardboard), it offer activities for younger and older kids. This park has more than just the traditional swings and slides, which is why it’s such a favorite for my nephew and niece who are eight and ten years of age. Also in Golden Gate Park, the Conservatory is beautiful year round, but the flowers are gorgeous in March/April. The vast staircase makes for great toddler climbing, and it’s only $8-$2 (depending on age) to walk through the Conservatory. More often than not someone is playing the guitar, probably Cat Stevens, the Dead, or the Beatles, classic favorites for this gal. Pack a lunch and enjoy! This also makes for an amazing photo op. One of my all time favorite pics of Audrey is posted above at the Conservatory of Flowers. I can remember chasing her around with my camera, while people laughed and enjoyed watching this little human giggle with determination as she climbed to the very top step. I wasn’t fast enough to capture her sweet face turn back with pride once she reached the top, but if I close my eyes, I can be in that moment, which makes me sooooo happy.

3. The Walt Disney Family Museum in Presidio Park.

Disney-Museum2

Disney-Museum

A more recent discovery, and while not really appealing to children under three, it is truly something to see for anyone over the age of three. Boasting over 20 Exhibits with live artifacts from the movies, original sketches of the first Mickey, and a 12 foot model of Disneyland, you have to check this out! There is a $20 ticket fee for Adults, but children under six are free. Every month they show a featured film and a short in their very own theatre, and the films are free with admission. Recently, I took my daughter to see Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, you know, the perfect in every way Mary Poppins. Audrey must have asked me a million questions during the movie. Thankfully, we were two of four in the theatre. Why does Winifred Banks hair look like that? Why did Mary Poppins come on a cloud? How did they all jump in that picture, because they are superheros? Of course I couldn’t give great answers, so I decided that the superhero option would suffice for the time, and that sometimes women have funny hair. What kid isn’t obsessed with Disney, my daughter has been for two years, and is still obsessed with Mickey, so she couldn’t get enough! After touring the museum, have lunch at Crissy Field with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. For older kids, pop into the House of Air at Crissy Field. Trampoline fun!

4. Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito

Discovery

Discoery2

My friends and I have been taking our kids here since my first was six months. Technically just outside the city, the Discovery Museum is just over the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito. The grounds have indoor activities as well as outdoor activities, making it an option no matter what the weather has in store. Creativity is at the core of the museums philosophy. There are art studios (Audrey was painting/cleaning a window in the pic above), a stream with fish and frogs (rubber of course), imaginative playgrounds, book readings, and more. The museum also hosts holiday events, musical and theatrical performances, and special guest speakers. It’s based near the water, so you can eat lunch and have a gorgeous view of the bay, and Golden Gate Bridge. Side note for parents. The museum is located just below Cavallo Point Lodge which is fabulous. Grab a drink at Cavallo’s Farley Bar after your fun-filled day. If the kids allow of course!

Answering the last question, I miss what you would expect about the burbs. To list a few…nature, quiet moments, less traffic, a proper backyard for the family, and not dealing with San Francisco meter maids, who I recognize do not have a fun job, yet I still want to go all ninja on them every time I see their tiny cars circling a street like little robots, waiting for that last minute to expire on someone’s meter!! Phew… sorry, I’ve been burned too many times before discovering PayByPhone. Anyhow, that will all come one day, and I know as cliché as it sounds, I will have left a piece of my heart in San Francisco. It’s more than just the iconic spots, like Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghiradelli, and Golden Gate Park. It’s the less traveled spots that become family favorites, memories at the parks and beaches, and the local store owner who knows your family by name. City living has its pluses and minuses, but it’s a fantastic place for families full of creativity, culture, and exploration. I hope my children will have fond memories here.