A Weekend Getaway: Santa Cruz, CA

Never underestimate the power of a weekend getaway.  You may come home even more exhausted than you left [as is always the case with us], but at least you got away from the monotony of daily living.  

Can you tell I like to shake things up a bit?  It's easy to feel bored/lonely when you are a work-at-home mama, so switching things up with a mini vacay is always a good thing.  

If you are unfamiliar with Santa Cruz, it's a beach town on the coast about 30 minutes south of San Jose [and about an hour and a half south of Oakland].  The main family attractions are the beach [duh] and the boardwalk which includes rides, carnival-style food [read: fried], and games.  

Santa Cruz also has a number of amazing restaurants and cafes; however due to our limited time and Vivi, we were unable to hit up as many of these as I would've liked.  I'll share two of the places we tried, but will spare you the review on the corn dog and fries we ate at the boardwalk.    

Vivi loved riding the rides.  Ahh, she was cute sitting in the little car/boat/whale/dragon/insert whatever kids theme the ride was.  

For the most part, she's not much of a daredevil, but she is of course almost three.  Do you see her in the black and white photo directly above?  I got the photo, but man, she was scaring the ba-jesus outta me.  

We were in the ferris wheel hovering at the uppermost part, and there she is, leaning forward, to check out the fifty foot drop below.  Those ferris wheel carriages - they rock.  Like back and forth rock.  And you have one measly bar to keep you in.  And Drew?  Cool as a cucumber.  

On Sunday, we hit the beach.  It was quite chilly and I was bundled up in linen pants, a long-sleeved tee and a long wool cardigan.  Vivi, on the other hand, was as happy as can be half-naked in her flamingo swim suit.  More power to ya, little mama.  

I wish I had had the stamina to keep my camera with me at both of the great restaurants we tried, but alas, I'm already wearing a pregnant belly 24/7 so the thought of carrying one more noncritical item made me want to scream.  

We hit up Hula's Island Grill on Saturday evening for dinner.  The restaurant is touted as island-style cooking with a Cali flare.  

The interior is over-the-top themed in the way you would imagine a restaurant named Hula's to be and honestly, I loved it.  Some people don't care for a "theme-y" restaurant, but I'm a sucker for the fun I guess.  

Plus, the food is amazing.  We had the fried coconut shrimp rolls to start which were A-maz-ing.  Vivi wouldn't touch them which secretly made me so happy - more for us!  

Their menu consists of jerk-style chicken and pork, fish cooked in many different ways, tacos, and much more.  I had the ono [a type of white fish] pan-fried with a miso shiitake mushroom sauce and Drew had the jerk pork.  

Vivi of course enjoyed her burger from the kids menu, but also ate fried plantains, sugar snap peas and a variety of other items from our plates.  Can't complain there.

On Sunday after leaving the beach and after a rather unsuccessful putt putt game on the boardwalk [Vivi was super scared of the pirate-themed course which included loud booming cannons], we traveled to a cafe I'd heard so much about, The Buttery.  

How do you resist a restaurant named The Buttery?  Answer: you don't.

The Buttery is a cafe and bakery that serves not only cakes, pies, and pastries out the wazoo, but also breakfast plates, sandwiches and salads.  

In many ways, this is the quintessential California café - organic and local ingredients and very fresh.  The BLTA I had was to die for [I so wish I had thought to take a picture with my phone first, but one look at the sandwich and it was gone].  Drew ordered a luscious panini with bacon, medjool dates and cheddar cheese.  

The sun had finally graced us with it's presence by this time, so we sat outside on their patio and listened to a live acoustic guitar and fiddle duo.  Vivi got to run around a bit [and dance] and Drew and I basked in the sun with our bacon on our plates.  It was heaven.

Have you had any amazing getaways this summer?  Where did you go?  Coming home from this little one left me itching for another getaway [which luckily, we will have next week].  Happy summer vacationing!

This post appeared first on Everyday Enthusiastic.  All ideas in this post are of my own opinions including any mention of companies and/or affiliate sites.  No sponsorships were involved in the creation of this post.  Photographs taken by Meredith Wheeler and family [except where noted with a caption and link] using a DSLR Canon Rebel T3 and edited using Photoshop CC.