Friday, November 20, 2009

Santa Cruz Sea Glass Festival

Sorry for my delay! I meant to write this a week ago, just too many things to write about -

Awesome day to drive to the coast! 70-75 degrees, clear, not a cloud (no fog in sight!) enjoyed sitting outside to eat our lunch in Santa Cruz at Hawg's Seafood Bar. Yum.. wonderful seared ahi and caesar salad. I would highly recommend, and can also recommend the wonderful glass of pinor gris with my caesar salad... so perfect!

A friend of mine alerted me to this Sea Glass and Ocean Art festival located at the Seymour Center in Santa Cruz, just a few weeks ago. One of the goals of the festival was to bring awareness to our Pacific Ocean's plight, and how we can help protect its' fragile habitats. Santa Cruz Sea Glass Company worked very hard to put this festival together, bringing over 30 artists into the marine center to showcase jewelry, painting, photography, pottery and

Check Santa Cruz Sea Glass Company's website for a complete list of the artists - here's a link to the festival page:

We had so much  fun to talking to other beach lovers about sea glass, shells and great beach walks.

Great fun to wander through the center's marine education displays and ocean tanks, to see all of the art and learn about sea glass hunting in Santa Cruz. It was so funny though, the artists were VERY close-mouthed about their secret sea glass finds! I guess I am just so excited to share my finds, that I am a bit of a blabbermouth about finding sea glass - it takes a lot of effort and patience, and I am more than happy to share.

Look at what I bought - could not resist this bracelet with the orange sea glass! You would never find this color here in the Puget Sound..

The surf was absolutely incredible that day, and we had the best time standing on the cliff side of the center watching surfers. Leaving you to enjoy my short video clip - so wish you all could have been there!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Point Reyes Lighthouse

Love Saturday drives along Hwy 1 on the California coast, always discovering something new! We had driven by the signs before, but had no idea of the beauty that we were missing by not taking the 20 mile winding road down into the Point Reyes National Seashore, to arrive finally at the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse at the very tip. (Map)

We tried to make reservations to be there at sundown, as there is a special program twice a month for 8 lucky visitors to light the lighthouse lattern. It's a very popular activity, and the park starts accepting reservations the day of the event at 10:00 am - of course, I called right at 10:00 am, busy signal. By the time I got through at 10:10 all the spots were all filled up. Darn! Maybe next time...

Made a quick stop at the visitors' center and were absolutely amazed to find out that there are only 10 National Seashore Protected areas, and Point Reyes is the only one on the West Coast. So much wildlife to see; so many birds, including gorgeous, graceful hawks, herds of elk, and tons of sealife. Tom stopped the car several times to see if we could catch the hawks on camera, it was a futile effort.

Out at the lighthouse, (after you finally make it to the bottom of the 308 stairs!) it is possible to look down in the rocks below and see sea lions frolicking in the surf. Never get enough of
watching seals and sea lions - they always look like they are having fun..effortless in the

At Chimney Rock, when we were there last month, the elephant seals were bringing in their newborns. Wow, so awesome to be able to see
them in the wild! (promise to show more in a
future blogpost) I don't think that I have ever even seen an elephant seal, except on television. Can tell you this; we could smell them and hear them, long before we got to the end of the trail...

Finally, after driving for what seemed like forever over rolling hills and through dairy farms, we made it to the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse parking lot.

Be aware, visiting the lighthouse is not for the weak of heart. (or too out of shape!) After parking in the parking lot, there is a .5 mile walk to the
visitors' center at the top of the stair case that leads down to the lighthouse. Enjoy the walk to the center, and the incredible views of the crashing Pacific Ocean! The day that we visited, the fog was extremely thick, almost a life of its' own - very eerie. As we walked through this stand of wild wind-whipped trees, the fog dripped off like rain.

Warning you now about the 308 stairs down, interspersed with long stretches of cement ramps, but thank goodness there are many view-point benches to stop and sit on the way back up! So worth the walk down though! Crashing waves and extensive 360 degree views of the Ocean.

Point Reyes is the windiest spot on the Pacific Coast, and the second foggiest on the North American Continent. It was both the day that we visited!

This light was first lit in 1870, to warn ships destined for San Francisco, of the dangerous
headlands at Point Reyes. I cannot possibly imagine how hard life must have been for the first lightkeepers! Wind, rain, fog, boredom and hauling coal up and down this cliff to keep the light lit.. oh my, not so glamorous.

The fresnel lens is still beautiful, although the outside of Point Reyes Lighthouse, has definitely taken a weather driven beating! (Still standing tho!")

For more information on the Lighthouse history - check out this link:

Here's one of our last looks at the incredible views as we ascended the staircase. The fog was lifting and fingers of sun stroked the ocean. Love this...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lunch at Hog Island Oyster Company

I know, here I go again... eating. Can't help it, finding new coastal places to eat fresh seafood is one of my favorite things to do! We read about The Hog Island Oyster Company in Coastal Living a few months ago, and had driven by their oyster farm on Tomales Bay this past summer, so it was an easy choice for a lunch treat today at the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero.

We found some great seats right in front of the oyster bar and had fun watching the expert shucking. Our new oyster friend claimed that he considered himself an expert, as he believes that he has opened up over 1 million oysters. Wow, that really is a lot of shells!

The menu is not vast, but all fresh seafood - including your choice of 6 varieties of oysters. Check out a sample menu - keep in mind that their selections change all of the time, including the oyster choices. For our lunch this sunshine-filled afternoon, Tom chose 6 Quilcene oysters and 6 Tomales Bay sweetwaters. He was in heaven!

I can highly recommend The Hog Island Oyster Company's famous Tomales Bay manilla clam chowder! OH mi goodness - have never had clam chowder prepared this way... cannot even describe its' total yumminess! (is that even a word?) Carrots, bacon, butter, cream, Yukon Gold potatoes, onions.. and whole steamer clams... Believe it or not, I even enjoyed a glass of Pilsner, brewed locally in Fort Bragg to go with my chowder!

Happy Seagulls hanging out here too! I would suspect easy pickings from us tourists....

Friday, November 6, 2009

Rainy Stormy Afternoon at Half Moon Bay

I lasted less than 30 minutes on the beach today. Rain soaked through my "rain-coat" (where is my favorite Grunden's yellow fishermen's rain coat??), through my sweater and through my t-shirt. Waves crashing on the beach were spectuclular! The Pelicans were having a blast dive bombing the waves, but the seagulls were just taking it all in stride.

I even found a small smattering of sea glass - please excuse the rain drops on the camera lense..

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Cargo Hold - Full of Nautical Treasures!

My friends, Doug and Risa Owen, have owned The Cargo Hold for nearly 20 years in the historic downtown district of Poulsbo, Washington.  Poulsbo, borne of Scandinavian heritage and located on Liberty Bay  is the perfect setting for Doug's absolute treasure chest of specialty nautical items!

When I had my store open (2002-2007), "Caron's.. the finest in coastal living",  was located directly across the street.  Doug and I were always "friendly" competitors, working diligently together to make sure that we didn't accidentally order the same product.  Sometimes we did goof up though!

Doug prides himself on finding quality, unique nautical gifts and memorabilia: all manner of brass barometers, tide clocks,  brass accessories, telescopes, pirate games, books on nautical history, lighthouse collectibles - somehow finding space for everything in his tiny shop! Nautical art and plaques cover every square inch of wall space..  easy to spend hours finding just the perfect gift for someone special.  Heard a rumor that you might even find some specialty cigars, and the accessories to go with them!

Own a boat? Need the perfect "yachting" touch? The Cargo Hold is a favorite for boat owners that frequent the Poulsbo Marina. Poulsbo enjoys being a destination for most of the Puget Sound Yacht Clubs, and  Doug always has something new and exciting waiting! Nautical bar accessories, brass plaques, nautical designed pillows - oh, and what boat is complete without a brass lamp?

The Cargo Hold's collection of model ships is a must see. Doug's collection includes just about everything from hand-crafted ships, painstakingly put together and selling for thousands of dollars to models that anyone can afford. Could easily see how a one of these would be the perfect accent for any house on the beach; on the mantel, mounted in a bookcase, I can think of a hundred way to display these!

Loved the details on "The Constitution".  Finely hand crafted by a highly skilled artisan in Tacoma, the hull is composed of tiny shaped copper pieces hammered and put together. Every single detail has been attended to.

If you are lucky enough to visit the Kitsap Peninsula, and Poulsbo, please make sure to stop in and see the Cargo Hold in person - make sure that you tell Doug that I sent you! If you can't travel to Poulsbo, please make sure to check out their website -

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