While California is undeniably a wedding venue paradise, this state also doubles as a wildly popular honeymoon destination. And given the current state of the economy, how lucky are we to live in a place where a quick day trip can make us feel like we’re thousands of miles away from our daily lives?
For our 5th wedding anniversary, my husband Jaya and I decided to take a short trip from our hometown of Auburn to places we had each frequented separately in our early adulthood—but this time, we’d be together! The journey started in San Francisco, at the California Academy of Sciences. Since the new building was recently completed, this was not the Academy we remembered. Some elements are still there, though, like the massive pendulum that shows the movement of the earth, and the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that once served as greeter to the scads of schoolchildren and other visitors.
Steinhart Aquarium was always my favorite part of the Academy. Jaya once worked here, donning a diving suit to take care of the tanks. The new facility didn’t disappoint us. Jaya and I wandered through exhibits of living jellyfish, coral reefs and tide pools with as much excitement as in our youth. Several exhibits amazed me with their sheer artistic composition. The animals showed off their vibrant colors and energy, like living paintings.
As we explored the aquarium, I couldn’t help but imagine the space as the backdrop to a fabulous event. Then we came to a glass tunnel, where we stood UNDER the water, looking up at the fish swimming above. I decided it would be the perfect spot to set up the bar! This was the lowest level of the four-story rain forest dome, which is just like stepping into that ecosystem, complete with colorful amphibians, as well as free-flying birds and butterflies.
Next, we drove down the coast to stay at the Davenport Roadhouse in the tiny town of Davenport, just 10 minutes from Santa Cruz. Our room was very comfortable, with rustic wooden love seats outside the door to let us take full advantage of the ocean view. We ate in the Roadhouse Restaurant, a large room with brick walls and a cheery fireplace, where I had the best risotto I’ve ever tasted. We’ll definitely return here in the future.
The next day we visited Año Nuevo State Reserve. I once gave elephant seal tours here as part of a course at UCSC. If you want to go, you need to get tickets in advance, but it’s easy to do. Visit their website and you can book months ahead. The tours take place rain or shine, as Jaya and I found out, getting more than a little wet on the three-mile trek! However, the animals were more active in the rain, so we thought it was well worth it.
Next on the agenda was a trip to Half Moon Bay, but more on that in my next post…