4/24/09

Capitola, California

G's friend D is visiting from Seattle and we took her down to Capitola for the day. Capitola is a little beach town, right next to Santa Cruz, an hour or so south of San Francisco (speeding a bit, without traffic).

The blogging begins with us already in Capitola, getting coffee. This is Mr. Toots, a popular place that is much more popular at night. I drank my first mocha here around 8 p.m. sometime in October, 1987. Good times.

Capitola, California

Mmm...cheesecake.

Capitola, California

From the window at Mr. Toots, you can see a bit of the Capitola Wharf, and what are now vacation rentals.

Capitola, California

When I was a kid, these were apartments that people lived in year-round, with families and everything.

Capitola, California

My dad had a colleague whose daughter lived here. She babysat me once or twice when I was around 8-years-old.

Capitola, California

Readers, I cannot overstate the extent to which these little studio apartments on the beach came to excite my imagination for years.

Capitola, California

Through the magic of blogging, we are going to teleport over to those apartments, right between the blue and salmon colored units and I'm going to show you a movie of me doing a 360.



(As I said, I think these are seasonal vacation rentals now, but some of them may be condos or regular rental housing. I really don't know.)

Capitola, California

During the summer, the beach is packed like Coney Island, but this time of year, during the week, well, it's very relaxing.

Capitola, California

So relaxing in fact, that here is a rare picture of your blogger--getting a smoochie even!

IMG_6805

Moving on... The wharf is a simple affair.

Capitola, California

Capitola, California

Capitola, California



Capitola, California

Capitola, California

After visiting the wharf, we went back to the area around Mr. Toots. This time, instead of using magic, we walked.

Capitola, California

In the years after college, my friends and I came down here a lot and went to Zelda's

Capitola, California

Where you can have margaritas on the beach. Which is what we did. A lot.

Capitola, California

Shopping in the immediate downtown area is fairly tourist-oriented.

Capitola, California

Tho' I don't know people who buy clothes like this on vacation, so maybe not.

Capitola, California

Capitola, California

These salt and pepper shakers are magnetized so the salt kisses the pepper...

Capitola, California

When I saw these, I sounded so gay squealing declaring my utter delight that every head in the store turned to look at me. Then I took a bunch of pictures.

Capitola, California

Can you blame me?

Capitola, California

Unfortunately, G recognizes no distinction between cute-and-kitschy and ticky-tacky, so none of these came home with us.

Capitola, California

But we can enjoy them right here, forever.

Capitola, California

Around the downtown area...do people prune juniper like this where you are?

Capitola, California

This is called cloud pruning; you should think of the balls of foliage as clouds. The Japanese word is niwaki. Some people hate it, but in my opinion, this is absolutely the only acceptable way to maintain a juniper. Obvioulsy, an expert maintains this specimen.

Ugh. Dietes. You know how I disapprove of Dietes.

Capitola, California


If you didn't come to Capitola to shop for tchotchkes, drink margaritas, fish from the wharf, make out, or get caffeinated at Mr. Toots, you probably came for the beach.

Capitola, California

Noone comes to Capitola to catch the big waves, but if you're looking for some mellow surf, or just learning, this would be a good place.

Capitola, California

Surfer girl

Capitola, California

Surfer boy

Capitola, California

The adoring fans.

Capitola, California

While G and D laid on the beach and caught some rays, I did that thing I do and walked around the neighborhood with my camera taking snapshots.

Capitola, California

Jupiter's Beard or Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber) loves coastal California. Loves it.

Capitola, California

So does this Mexican Fleabane or Santa Barbara Daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus)

Capitola, California

You know what? I like it too.

Capitola, California

California poppies love all parts of California.

Capitola, California

Capitola, California

Welcome to residential Capitola, where people actually live

Capitola, California

and plant Lavandula,

Capitola, California

And roses,

Capitola, California


and Echium fastuosum syn. Echium candicans

Capitola, California

No doubt one Echium would grow as big as a house here if one let it.

Capitola, California

(I can't imagine that anyone ever has.)

Geranium maderense
, I would guess is a newish arrival..? I think I only started to see it around San Francisco in this decade.

Capitola, California

A lot more South Africans now too. For example, a restio (I can only ID a few, and even then only sometimes):

Capitola, California

Leucospermum (Protaceae)

Capitola, California

Ah leucospermum...memories of remembering California in Hawaii...

Capitola, California

Melianthus will easily reach the eaves.

Capitola, California

The pepper tree Schinus molle (not from South Africa) is an old standard.

Capitola, California

Zantedeschia aethiopica is tantamount to a weed here (but I like it okay).

Capitola, California

I am always very approving of wisteria done right, as this one will be on a very sturdy structure like this, going away from the house.

Capitola, California

Typical loveliness:

Capitola, California

Anyway, I think by now you probably get the feeling of what it's like to be here, and that's really all I ever try to do.

Capitola, California

Capitola, California

Capitola, California

Capitola, California

Capitola, California

Capitola, California

Capitola, California

Capitola, California

10 comments:

Les said...

I always enjoy your tours and this one was no exception. We do junipers like that here as well, but it is not very common. Two of them mark the entrance to the garden center where I work. Those apt/condos look like something you would see in Med.

JvA said...

I love those stucco studios on the beach!

It makes me think of Portmeirion, the bizarre beachside town in Wales where they filmed The Prisoner.I have always wanted to go there.

Totally excited we get to be your next visitors from Seattle (I assume)!

amy said...

That was a fun visit! I've lived in California all my life but never visited Capitola. Only passed it by on the highway. Thanks for sharing.

vertie said...

Thanks for the tour! The sound of the birds in the video really made me realize how much I need a beach vacation. Next time I'm visiting friends in the Bay Area I'll have to get them to take me here.

Cute picture of you!

chuck b. said...

Seagulls have such an evocative squawk. I get a strange, wistful feeling when I hear them for the first time after not hearing them for a long time.

Amy, if a couple connections hadn't brought me here, I would never have thought to visit Capitola either. Nearby Aptos is similar to both Santa Cruz and Capitola, but I've hardly ever been there. Once or twice, maybe.

Julie, Yes--you will be my next visitor from Seattle, and then we have new, different visitors in May!

Les, That Mediterranean stucco look is so appealing.

CiNdEe said...

That was absolutely beautiful! I know I have been there but it was probably at least 30 or more years ago! I loved everything. Those salt and pepper shakers are soooo cute. I love the pigs!!!! I would have bought some(-: Thanks again for another wonderful tour!!! I loved it!!!!
CiNdEeS' GaRdEn

Pam/Digging said...

Geez, it's all so perfect looking. Very nice, but was there anything ugly there at all? (Do I sound bitter?) Oh yeah, the Dietes. I'm coming around to your opinion on that one, by the way.

Cute kissy photo also.

Christopher C. NC said...

I guess taking photos at waist level with your moveable LCD display makes your photographic forays less obvious. I find taking pictures of people's houses more difficult. It must be a pesonality issue.

The neighborhood I have been through of late could not be more different from the cute California cottage gardens. Here there are yards of all grass with huge trees, mostly maples, completely beheaded on an annual basis. The few homes where real gardeners live stand out like a sore thumb.

Wonderful tour again. Scenes like that are why I once contemplated living in N.Cal.

lisa said...

That's a totally cute town! I'd love to live in a place like that-except when it's swarming with tourists. Just looking at the pictures is relaxing.

lisa said...

BTW, I LOVE the kissing piggies! Gotta find me some...