Daytripping to Santa Cruz: The Mystery Spot & Boardwalk best enjoyed in the off season

So ends our long weekend. It’s amazing how refreshing some time off can be when you take the time to enjoy it by not going anywhere. Our neighbors across the street took a week-long holiday to the Caribbean and they look exhausted. We stood still while the rest of our block rushed off to the four corners of the globe. I guess that’s one advantage in having a family so far away that you don’t make it out to see them unless you can set aside at least two weeks.

So I already wrote about our Thanksgiving and the shopping expedition afterwords so I’ll launch right into days three and four. We woke up real early on Saturday so we could make the 9am tour at the Mystery Spot. This place has been around for years as an old tourist trap and I like it because they never really upgraded the place since the 50’s so it’s got this great retro feel to it. They never really got into the multimedia thing so the tours are still $5 a head and you’re taken through with just someone talking and quipping a few well-placed jokes along the way (“Here’s your complimentary Mystery Spot bumper sticker. If you don’t want to put it on your car, there are plenty of others in the parking lot.”)

The premise of the place was that some kind of weirdness has turned things around there so that just to regain your balance, you need to lean at weird angles just to keep from falling over. The trees grow in corkscrews and balls roll uphill. It’s really worth checking out if you’ve never been. Tyler loved it but had summed it up pretty nicely when I asked him why balls rolled uphill. “It’s because there’s less gravity on the one end.” was his reply delivered in a, can’t-you-see-it’s-obvious tone of voice. I guess he’s right but it’s that lack of gravity that has everyone wondering.

As luck would have it, the digital camera wasn’t charged so you’ll have to wait for the developed photos from the disposable camera we bought. It felt almost quaint spending money on film and them having people pose for a photograph. How soon we forget.

I hope the Mystery Spot doesn’t do anything funky to film.

Later that day we visited the Boardwalk at Santa Cruz. I can see that this place is a regular mob scene in the Summer (think Coney Island or the Jersey Shore) so I’m glad we were visiting when there were reletively few around. It was strange to be playing mini-golf in a t-shirt in late-November but if this is California weather, I’ll take it. We later caught a glimpse of the surfers catching some pretty impressive waves off West Cliff Drive just North of Santa Cruz on the way home. I hear that it snowed that day in the Sierras which makes it conceivable that you could surf in the morning and be snowboarding by the evening of the same day.

Today was the great unpacking (untangling) of the Christams lights and we spent most of the day sprucing things up for the annual Christmas Tree Lane light up which starts this weekend. I bought a few more lights this year so have incrementally notched up the luminary power of our display over last year’s. For those that don’t know, our street is known for it’s lights so there’s an unwritten rule that everyone needs to go a little over and above what most would do for the holidays. We have a neighborhood meeting about it every year and the city chips in by stringing lights up on the center divider on our street. It’s thankfully not competitive and we all help each other out borrowing ladders and lending a hand as we all face our duty to keep up the reputation of this block for yet another year. I later picked up a Christmas tree which we will decorate later. It shouldn’t take to long, it’s only 4′ tall – we need to make room for all our kitchen stuff which is going to take up temporary residence in our living room when we begin construction on the kitchen next month.

Tomorrow it’s back into work – I’ll plug in the iPod tonight and let it charge up and download the latest news so I can catch up during the drive in tomorrow. For now, it’s off to bed.

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