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Santa Cruz by Segway

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Santa Cruz

Written by Tara Leonard

SANTA CRUZ, CA (June, 2011) - If you'd like to feel like a celebrity – albeit one with helmet hair – try riding a Segway. As my friend Maria and I discovered, zipping around town on these two-wheeled, stand-up vehicles is an invitation for public attention. Little kids smiled and waved. Walkers looked startled and then curious. At least one person took our picture. It was a fun and decidedly different way to explore Santa Cruz on a sunny summer day without ever breaking a sweat.

Our adventure began at the recently opened Segway Santa Cruz located across from Depot Park on the round-about. The two-hour tour started with a brief and unintentionally hilarious safety video. Since we weren't planning on riding down stairs or through bumpy, rock-strewn terrain, we figured it was safe to sign the waiver.

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You Don't Know Squatch (Until You Visit Felton's Bigfoot Discovery Museum)

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Travel - Santa Cruz

 
By Tara Leonard

FELTON, CA (August 9, 2011) -- Michael Rugg is a true believer. Seated behind the counter of his Bigfoot Discovery Museum , Rugg is a genial and convincing tour guide, regaling visitors with the history and science behind the huge, hairy biped known as Sasquatch. Suspend disbelief for a half-hour and Rugg will try to convince you that this infamous beast is living rather than legend. Believe him or not, it's a fascinating, fun-filled adventure, sure to amuse even the most skeptical visitor.

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Hiking Through History

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Santa Cruz

 
Kids can't resist the lime kilns at Fall Creek. Tara Leonard ©santacruzwire.com

   

The Hidden Henry Cowell: A Hike in Felton's Fall Creek

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Travel - Santa Cruz

Written by Tara Leonard

FELTON (February 2011) -- Although it’s just a 15-minute drive from downtown Santa Cruz, Fall Creek feels like a great escape. While the main section of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park has something for everyone – the Roaring Camp steam trains, the famous Redwood Loop trail, campsites, a nature center, picnic areas, and a gift shop – the Fall Creek Unit offers a quieter, wilder experience, with lime kiln ruins thrown in for good measure.
With no services, and therefore very few guests, this is the locals’ Henry Cowell, where I frequently go for long, hilly runs or rigorous family hikes. This is also where Felton resident Debra Collins spent a few cold December nights after a twisted ankle left her unable to walk out of the rugged terrain. So take a lesson from Collins and don’t hike here alone, dress in layers, bring plenty of food and water, and tell someone where you’re going! That way you'll be around to share stories of your exploits at The White Raven Coffee and Tea House, another Felton favorite.

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A Perfect Day in Pescadero

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Travel - Santa Cruz

Written by Tara Leonard

PESCADERO (October, 2010) - When it comes to State Parks, Santa Cruz County enjoys an embarrassment of riches. We’ve got the towering redwoods at Henry Cowell and the fluttering Monarchs at Natural Bridges. We can catch a wave at Manresa, mountain bike in Nisene Marks or step back in time at Wilder Ranch. So what would compel a nature lover to leave? The irresistible combination of Butano State Park and Duarte's Tavern in neighboring San Mateo County, the yin and yang of a perfect day in Pescadero.

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Discover Your Inner Tarzan with Zipline Canopy Tour

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Santa Cruz

Written by Tara Leonard

FELTON, CA (August 2009) - If you’ve ever walked through a redwood forest, tilted your head back, and wondered what it would be like to soar among those majestic branches, I’ve got an adventure for you. You just have to fling your body off a 150-foot high platform while attached to a cable strung between two trees. Don’t worry. After the first time, once your heart stops jack-hammering and you realize that you really aren’t going to die, it gets easier. Then it turns into one of the most exhilarating experiences of your life. At least that was my family’s experience during a recent Mount Hermon Redwood Canopy Tour in Felton. And if my 70-year-old mother can do it, you can too.

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Fun on the Fairway at Delaveaga Disc Golf Course

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Santa Cruz

Written by Tara Leonard

SANTA CRUZ (July 2009) -- Known as “The Tunnel” the 8th hole at Delaveaga Disc Golf Course features a narrow, 350-foot fairway with a canopy of low-hanging trees. On the left is the road, on the right, a plunging, tree-covered slope. I lined up my shot and let her fly, only to watch helplessly as my Frisbee careened off an oak tree, bounced on the hard-packed dirt and wobbled pathetically to a stop about twenty feet from where it started. Laughter erupted from my fellow golfers, one of whom was wearing a Frisbee on her head. Pebble Beach it is not. But if you’re looking for a fun, free way to spend a summer afternoon this is the place for you.

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Cruz Carz - Hitting the Road for a Low-Speed Getaway

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Santa Cruz

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ (July 2009) - They’re tiny and zippy, painted a piercing yellow, and look like a Boardwalk ride gone AWOL. If you’ve been on West Cliff Drive lately, you’ve probably seen a couple of Cruz Carz whizzing past, the shotgun passenger shooting video with an iPhone, and passers-by photographing them in return.
They looked like fun, and since this is a “staycation” summer for us, my daughter and I headed over to the Cruz Carz rental lot and took one of the little three-wheelers for a spin.

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Cafe Brasil: Charming Brazilian Bistro Worth Waking Up For

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Santa Cruz

Written by Tara Leonard

SANTA CRUZ (June, 2009) – Here’s the thing. I’m not really a breakfast person. I’m not wild about morning in general, which explains how I’ve managed to live on the Westside for more than ten years and never eaten at Café Brasil. I’d heard plenty of rave reviews for this colorful Brazilian bistro, but every time I passed by the vibrant green building there were daunting crowds of people spilling out the door, sprawled on bright blue benches in the lush garden or sipping coffee on the steps—crowds that I’d heard could wait for up to an hour for a table. An hour during which one could still be sleeping. However, one fog-free morning, curiosity beat inertia and my daughter and I decided to ride our bikes over for a mid-week breakfast. Surprisingly, it’s a ride I expect we’ll make many times in the future.

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