Sweet Capitola


Our Capitola vacation was perfectly lovely in almost every way. Our rented in-law suite worked well for us and we especially loved having the whole, gorgeous yard—complete with ocean view—to play in. We spent time outside, sitting and listening to the waves below, watching the birds dancing and spiraling in the air above the cliff and bay, sipping champagne, reading, and playing games with the boys. Asher and Lucas loved finding shovels and rakes to play with and a garden patch, containing bark to push around and dig, and a plastic play house. Our hosts were even gracious enough to drop some extra Duplo blocks for our kids to use.


I think we may have accomplished just about everything on my agenda for those six days off, including a super-fun trip to the Santa Cruz boardwalk on Friday after Thanksgiving, where Lucas and Asher and Ian got to enjoy some rides. It was adorable watching Lucas sitting with Asher in a tiny helicopter, teaching him how to make it go up and down, and reassuring him when Asher was feeling nervous.


Asher didn’t much care for the clown face into which you’re supposed to throw the brass rings you grab on the carousel. He refused to sit on a horse, but sat in my lap in a carriage instead. Lucas managed to grab the rings several times. I made Ian ride the kiddie race-car ride with Asher because it looked a little too fast and I thought Asher might get scared if Ian weren’t with him. They all had a blast.


We picnicked on a grassy lawn in some blustery weather and afterward played some arcade games, which are not my favorite but everyone else enjoyed them. Word of warning: Do not allow Asher to drive any type of vehicle anytime soon! He is all too interested in pushing every possible button and pulling every possible lever as quickly and frequently as he can.

Naturally, we had our normal family and sibling squabbles, too. Having the spacious home and two bedrooms helped with that, though. I think Lucas would have enjoyed more time at the beach, of course. We did go several times for partial days. I worked a little, but not so much that it was oppressive.


Other enjoyable moments included a walk to Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola on Wednesday morning, where we ate pastries and muffins outside, and then we paid a visit to Many Hands Gallery (where we didn’t break a thing!). We took walks into town (with some shopping), played lawn games, and watched sunsets over the ocean. Ian read to us from The Wind and the Willows before bedtime and he generously let me sleep in a tad in the mornings; he even figured out how to make good coffee with the French press. I got to knit some more on Asher’s sweater and even read a little. We even watched the new “Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” film together (Lucas and Asher prudently left the room during the Stone Table scenes but enjoyed all the rest of it). As some of you know, movies often don’t go over too well around here.

Lucas surprised us by requesting a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Although we weren’t really equipped for marathon cooking, we didn’t see any real reason to say no, so we bought a complete dinner from Safeway that fit the bill nicely. No, the food was not grand, but the setting was, so nobody minded. I’ve never had Thanksgiving dinner on a sunny cliff before! We called home on Thanksgiving to talk to our parents and watched “Tom and Jerry” cartoons while dinner was warming.

Of course, the beach was a favorite for all. I love to watch my boys playing in the sand and surf and stream and sun. I think they are most perfectly at peace in such places, perfectly alive and playful. There is a stream that runs into the sea on Capitola Beach and it makes the most divine place to play, with the stream running broadly and only about six inches deep. The water was cold, but that’s half the fun.


It took Asher some time before he felt comfortable enough to leave our side. He sat peacefully playing in the sand for a long while, but when he finally braved touching the stream with his toes, it was only moments before he was soaked up to his thighs. He ran through the water, splashing up- and downstream for an hour and a half. He said he was surfing.


Lucas braved the surf and got knocked down a few times when the waves came in bigger than he expected. He was OK, though, and got back up right away and went back for more. He must have been freezing, but that sort of thing doesn’t matter to a 7-year-old. I remember feeling exactly that way myself when I was his age.  Frankly, to this day, I cannot go to the seaside and NOT touch the sea. It’s just impossible; to forego touching the waves is a sacrilege to great to be borne.


On our way home we stopped at Jeannie’s Christmas tree farm in the Santa Cruz mountains, Raccoon Gulch, and spent the afternoon there. We picnicked on turkey leftovers with Steve and Jeannie and met her parents. With Jeannie’s mom, Karen, Lucas made a “Spice Angel” with cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, yarn, and corn husk wings. (She’s lovely, and as soon as I find her acorn head, I’ll glue it back on and hang her up.)

Unfortunately, after we finished eating Jeannie had to leave for work. Steve led us through the woods along their “bike trail,” down into the gulch, over by the lake, and up to the “old barn.” It was so gorgeous and Lucas and Asher trooped along after Steve like mini Boy Scouts, listening intently as Steve identified plants and various fungi, and told stories about this fallen log or that thicket. Before long, my kids were shouting out, “Steve, here’s a mushroom!” Only for Asher, it was more like, “Teve! A mushooom!” (I’m really sad I didn’t take my camera along on this walk, but I was in the moment.)

I fell in love with the ~400-year-old oak tree at the end of Jeannie’s family’s property. So massive, so majestic—yet also it looked somewhat weary. Its huge branches grew up out of a giant trunk, out, and down— almost spiderlike. They rest on the ground for a span, as if they are too heavy to hold up, and then rise back up a little. It was very peaceful there in the dusk.

At the lake we had a long discussion about duckweed, and Lucas was determined to make biodiesel out of the duckweed he put in a bottle to take home. As far as I can tell, it is surviving the freezing weather in my backyard nicely, in the green plastic bucket where Lucas put it upon returning home.

More photos are now on my photos page or on  Flickr.

3 Responses to “Sweet Capitola”

  • Alexandra Mullins
    December 10, 2009 at 5:18 am

    Ah, yes, Gayle’s Bakery – always a must when you visit Capitola. My family spent many a summer day down in Capitola and we never left town without picking up some fresh baked bread to take home for dinner that night. ^_^


  • Kelly
    December 10, 2009 at 12:23 pm



  • Sara
    December 15, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    I would like to have a Gayle’s Bakery “CSA.” A delivery about once a week would be heavenly. Now that I’m thinking about it, I want to visit Mirabelle near my house. They have some very yummy items, too.


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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