Archive for the ‘Santa Cruz’ Category

I’m Dreaming of a Santa Cruz Christmas?


The MSN travel site has Santa Cruz listed as one of the top 10 great places in the world to spend Christmas. Santa Cruz a December destination city? Thoughts of Santa Cruz are usually of warm summer days spent wearing T-shirts and cut-offs on the Beach Boardwalk, not of Christmas.

The site suggests the Pleasure Point Inn and the Harbor Inn as two uppity places to sleep over, and they say the chef at Casablanca is said to turn out some fine cuisine. Me thinkist they had a wee bit too much nog in their Eggnog.

Visiting Santa Cruz is like taking a trip back in time to the hippie/surfer lifestyle of your, or your parents’, youth. It is the kind of village-by-the-sea where comfortable is staying over at a motel with a chair pushed up against the door and ‘good eats’ is fishie finds out on the wharf.

Beach Boardwalk
Santa’s Kingdom & the Holiday Lights Train

Best High Schools

schoolUS News and World Report magazine recently looked at more than 18,000 public high schools in the United States to arrive at their ranking of America’s Best High Schools.

Using a formula that measured how each school’s students performed on state tests, how well each school’s disadvantaged students did, and whether the school was successful in providing college-level coursework, they determined the top 100 schools.

These top 100 schools earned gold medals, the next 405 schools earned silver medals, and an additional 1,086 schools earned bronze medals.

As with most rankings the order depends on the data used and how it is interpreted. Data from the 2005-2006 school year was used for these rankings. There were 10 states that were not included in the rankings for providing insufficient or no data.

Santa Clara County/Santa Cruz County schools in top 100:

2. Pacific Collegiate Charter, Santa Cruz

59. Monta Vista High, Cupertino

66. Henry M. Gunn High, Palo Alto

72. Saratoga High, Saratoga

73. Lynbrook High, San Jose

85. Palo Alto High, Palo Alto

List of the top 100 Gold Medal schools here.

List of Santa Clara County schools here.

Redwoods @ Big Basin

To the world, California is more known for Hollywood and Silicon Valley. However, when you come here, you hear of “redwoods”. You might drop in at Muir Woods on your sight-seeing trip to San Francisco or you might go as far as Mendocino. But how about checking them out next door? Getting to the redwood trees at the Big Basin Redwoods State Park is less than an hour’s drive from the South Bay.

Tall redwood trees at Big Basin


Pet Food Drive

petfooddrive.jpgBay Area animals need your help. From now to the end of July* select locations are collecting pet food, treats, toys, and other supplies for dogs, cats, and rabbits that will be donated to local pet shelters and rescue organizations. These non-profit rescue groups and shelters operate on very limited budgets. Your donation helps free up monies in their budget so they can afford to spay/neuter more cats, provide for more vaccinations, help pay for emergency bills, general overhead, etc.

Drop-off locations include South Bay Pet Food Express, Whole Foods in Campbell, and For Other Living Things in Sunnyvale.

Some of the shelters/rescue groups include Humane Society of Silicon Valley, Purrfect Cat Rescue, Smiley Dog Rescue, Maine Coon Adoptions, Rabbit Haven, among others.

For drop-off locations, needed supplies, and more information check here.

* The rescue groups and shelters need help year round including volunteers, food, supplies, etc.

Amazing Greys Retired Racer

Humane Society of Silicon Valley

Smiley Dog Rescue

Maine Coon Adoptions

Rabbit Haven

Purrfect Cat Rescue

Brookdale Lodge – Brookdale, California

Brookdale Lodge - Dining RoomBetween San Jose and Santa Cruz, along Highway 9 is a place called Brookdale. We were christening my wife’s new car with a quick roadtrip to Santa Cruz. Though our original destination was The Mystery Spot, we got there to be greeted with no parking and a really long wait. We decided to visit on a less busy time of day, so instead we drove around. My wife wanted to show us the famous Brookdale Lodge. Haven’t heard of it? ….

Fly On Little Wing

At first glance what may appear to be a scene from “To Catch a Thief”, will actually be UC Santa Cruz researcher Brian Latta rappelling over the top of San José City Hall. He will be in San José tomorrow to check on the three falcon chicks that were born April 28th.

Peregrine Falcon Chicks
May 18, 2007
8:45 a.m. – Falcon banding
9:15 a.m. – Researchers determine falcons gender (estimate)

San José City Hall (Rear side of City Hall, off Fifth Street and San Fernando)
200 East Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Watch the Birdie

May Is National Bike Month

bike-month.jpgNational Bike Month is to raise awareness about bicycling, and present events to promote safety, “Share the Road” campaigns, along with encouraging people to give bike commuting a try to support cleaner, healthier living.

During Ride-to-Work Week, people are encouraged to cycle to work or school. In the Bay Area Bike Week is May 14-18 and in Santa Cruz County Bike Week is May 12-20.

If you cannot participate by commuting the entire cycling week do not worry, Thursday May 17 is Bike-to-Work Day, where you can take part by riding on this special day. There will be “Energizer Stations” located along commute routes where bicyclists can stop for refreshments, giveaways, and bicycling information.

For more information and to register for a Bike-to-Work Day raffle, check the 511 Website.

Making Tracks – Earth Day

makingtracks.jpgEarth Day is Sunday April 22nd.

To celebrate Earth Day the UCSC Recreation Department will present the premier of the film Making Tracks by Santa Cruz photographer/filmmaker Kennan Ward. Making Tracks is a story of grizzly bear cubs growing up in the wild learning life’s struggles, challenges, survival, competition and community. Kennan and wife Karen will be there to discuss the film.

The film is on April 20th at 7:30pm at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz. For location, ticket info, and a teaser of the film check here.

Proceeds benefit the Conservation Alliance and UCSC Recreation Department.

photo by Kennan Ward

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