Enjoying the Bounty of Friends, Farms, and the California Coast

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It’s a mere 50 minutes by car, but somehow it seemed worlds away. A weekend with five high school girlfriends in the small towns of Aptos, Capitola, and Santa Cruz – part of the idyllic Northern California coast. Our home base was a lovely little ocean view rental known as “The Shack” with family initials carved in the closet dating back at least two generations. It worked perfectly for us, especially when our backyard was the Pacific Ocean and so many frolicking humpback whales!

I won’t reveal all the behind-the-scenes details of our fabulous weekend spent rummaging through old high school yearbooks, eating, gabbing, walking, eating, cooking, eating, and yes – shopping (for food of course), but here are some photographic highlights:

“The Shack” and it’s lovely ocean and sunset views:

California Coast

California Coast

The official start of the weekend – some chilled Rosé champagne and cheese:

California Coast

California CoastWonderful Italian pizza at Tramonti in Santa Cruz:

California Coast

California CoastSaturday morning at the Cabrillo College Farmers’ Market in Aptos, CA – my friends had to keep me from buying one of everything!

California Coast

The rare Warren Pear and shockingly orange and delicious kabocha squash…


california coast










My friend’s favorite strawberry vendor – each box hand-picked in the field and again before entering the selling container:

California Coast

Even our Oakland/Berkeley resident , where wonderful grocery stores and farmers’ markets abound, was awestruck at the bounty of this market:

California Coast

A walk along West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz – looking south towards Monterey:

California Coast

Part of our group watching a feeding frenzy of pelicans and anchovies while the whales breeched behind them:

California Coast

Looking north towards Half Moon Bay:

California Coast

A quick stop at a local artisan chocolate store – so yummy that I had none left to photograph!

California Coast

We cooked together, remembering the great Marcella Hazan with a dinner inspired by her Italian teachings, joining an online tribute #dinnerwithMarcella:

California Coast

California Coast

We have a cheesecake specialist in the group – spoiling us with her mini peanut butter, chocolate chip, and traditional cheesecake poppers:

California Coast

And to top the weekend off, we stopped at the glorious Verve coffee roasters in Capitola, eliciting yelps of glee from our coffee afficionado:

California Coast

California Coast

And then we noticed that The Penny Ice Creamery was next door and that they topped their cones with toasted marshmallow…

California Coast

California Coast









What is your favorite location close to home that feels like you are worlds away when you visit?

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20 Responses to Enjoying the Bounty of Friends, Farms, and the California Coast

  1. Hannah November 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Oh Beth, I sighed so many times while reading this and gazing at your lovely pics. What a fabulous weekend! You were all well spoiled with food, drink, beauty and time together…doesn’t get much better than that! Thank you for sharing. Hopefully you can do it again soon!

    • Beth Lee November 7, 2013 at 10:50 am #

      We aim for every other year and have been sticking with it. It was a really fun time – super relaxing!

  2. @yumivore November 3, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    Looks like you had a delicious trip, and delicious time spent with friends.

  3. Deb November 2, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    What a scrumptious weekend! Time spent with friends is frosted in magic! The Aptos Farmers’ Market is by far, the best one in the area.

    • Beth Lee November 4, 2013 at 8:59 am #

      “frosted in magic” – I’m going to tuck that little gem of a phrase away for later use :-). I thought of you while strolling through the market – maybe we can meet there one weekend??

      • Deb November 7, 2013 at 9:42 am #

        Meeting at the Aptos Farmers’ Market is a grand idea! Just let me know when! Right before the holidays the market is bustling with everything local, the fall & winter flowers are just stunning!

        • Beth Lee November 7, 2013 at 10:49 am #

          Waiting to find out what my daughter’s soccer schedule is going to be and then I’ll know what Saturday’s I’m available to head over the hill! I hope we can make it work. I’ll have my friend from Aptos come join as well – she knows most of the farmers.

          • Renee November 8, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

            Looking forward to it. Beth, your words and pictures captured the weekend perfectly!

  4. Merry Jennifer November 2, 2013 at 7:38 am #

    I love the idea of a girls weekend away. I’ve never done that before – clearly, I’m missing out. So glad you had a wonderful time. Your photos make me want to head to California again.

    • Beth Lee November 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

      Do it – it is such a different type of wknd from one with just the hubby or one with the kids and hubby. It’s invigorating and energizing and relaxing. As hard as it is to find a date that works for all of us, we are downright persistent and insistent on making it happen. This time we opened our predictions from 5 years ago – that was fun 🙂

  5. Carol Sacks November 1, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    Looks like you had a terrific, delicious weekend! And, how nice that you and your high school chums are so close.

    • Beth Lee November 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

      Thinking of you the whole stroll thru the market Carol!

  6. Sandy Corman November 1, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    looks like all had a great week-end. great idea to get together every so often. only got together once what seems like a million years ago and we went by train from Brooklyn to Washington D.C.
    I remember we had a fun time.

    • Beth Lee November 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

      It takes persistence to make it happen but we are 6 stubborn ladies so it works!

  7. fringefood November 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    Such a fabulous weekend in all ways!!! Thanks for the delicious recap!!

    • Beth Lee November 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

      My pleasure – good to capture it while it’s still fresh. Such a great location and a really great time!

  8. Kim November 1, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    Your post made me smile because once a year, every year, my girlfriends from college and I do the same thing. This year, we were in the mountains of Idyllwild, a community about 2 hours from my house, but an entire world (and 7,000 feet elevation) away. Glad you had a wonderful time! Is “the shack” a rental or private property?


    • Beth Lee November 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

      Hi Kim! So good that you do it once a year – we aim for every other and are sticking with it. One of our group travels in from the other coast but the rest of us are out here. It’s always a good relaxing time. The shack is a rental though luckily the owners are one of our group’s relatives so that gave us an in. It’s very rustic but the kitchen was well outfitted and the location just rocked. House is full of character. Here’s the write-up on VRBO: http://www.vrbo.com/346035

      Thanks for stopping by Kim!

      • Kim November 6, 2013 at 8:14 am #

        Thank you so much for the info! I’m adding this “shack” to my list of future go-tos. 🙂


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