|All Photographs © 2013 Alexander Chow-Stuart.|
We are becoming increasingly fond of Santa Cruz, which we visited again recently both for research for a script I'm working on and to celebrate our daughter Paradise's fourth birthday.
Aside from the fact that we love the ocean with a passion that cannot be fully expressed in words, Santa Cruz has something of the feel I imagine Malibu had in the 1960s - a surf town, with a college feel as well, of course (UCSC is close by), but without the high-end development and casual-chic of Malibu now.
|My early morning rumpled look.|
It also shares some of the appeal Miami Beach had when I first moved there in 1990 - when South Beach was first emerging as somewhere hip (I'm not suggesting Santa Cruz isn't already hip), before the massive overdevelopment and condo-ization of SoBe took over.
In 1990, South Beach was still partly a retirement community, partly a crack neighborhood, mostly Art Deco, and Cuban in a way that is different from now - filled with Cuban families overflowing onto the streets and alleyways, with children playing on bicycles and their papis drinking beer on the steps. I loved it then.
|La Bahia, Santa Cruz - echoes of 1990s South Beach.|
It also has surf and surfers - and a mix of beaches that are both popular and more natural and secluded, such as the wonderful, semi-hidden coves at Wilder State Park and the stunning rock formations of Natural Bridges State Beach.
|Surfers at Santa Cruz.|
|One of the secluded beaches at Wilder State Park.|
|Running on the sand at Santa Cruz.|
|Natural Bridges State Beach.|
Our favorite spot to stay in Santa Cruz is at the Coastview Inn at 301 Beach Street (tel: 831-426-0420), a cozy hotel directly across from the main beach, with ocean view rooms that offer the gentle sound of surf at night and stunning sunrises.
We're seriously drawn to Santa Cruz, and I think we'll be moving there at some point very soon.
|Sunrise from the Coastview Inn.|