Santa Cruz was a joy to be in, with beautiful beaches brimming with wildlife and a extremely welcoming community.
A Fruit Farm with roadside activities, a 24 hour diner, a supercharger station and too much chocolate on sale for me to handle!
Since 1908 when the original ancestors planted the first orchards in the Pacheco Valley, Casa de Fruta has grown into a diversified operation encompassing a variety of business ventures. In the 1940’s three teenaged brothers, George, Joseph and Eugene Zanger, opened a cherry stand on the Pacheco Pass Highway. Encouraged by their mother, Clara Bisceglia Zanger, the young entrepreneurs expanded their operation into what it is today. The families of Joseph and Eugene now operate one of the country’s most unique businesses.
This park and beach is an excellent vantage point for viewing shore birds, migrating whales, as well as seals and otters playing offshore. Further along the beach, public access tidepools offer a glimpse of life beneath the sea. Low tides reveal sea stars, shore crabs, sea anemones, and other colorful ocean life. The park also includes a large area of coastal scrub and grasslands, with bright native wildflowers in the spring. Moore Creek flows through the park, forming freshwater wetlands and a salt marsh before it reaches the sea.
Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve:
A part of Twin Bridges State Park, the park’s Monarch Grove provides a temporary home for thousands of Monarchs. In 2016, 8,000 Monarch Butterflies overwintered at Natural Bridges. From late fall into winter, the Monarchs form a “city in the trees.” The area’s mild seaside climate and eucalyptus grove provide a safe place for monarchs to roost until spring.
In the spring and summer, the butterflies live in the valley regions west of the Rocky Mountains where the monarch’s companion plant, milkweed, is found. For most of the year, where there are monarchs, there are also milkweed plants. Monarchs drink nectar from milkweed flowers, and female monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed leaves. Milkweed contains a toxin that, when ingested by the caterpillar, makes it toxic to other animals. These toxins remain in the butterfly as well, providing protection from predators that would otherwise eat the monarchs.
Containing over 7000 acres of woods and shoreline, this park is an amazing natural getaway from the crowds. You can discover California’s early ranching history, explore the 1897 Victorian home, 1859 Gothic Revival farmhouse, 1896 water-powered machine shop, rodeo arena, barns and other historic buildings, or just get lost in this amaziong wilderness covered en sequoias.