Weekend Getaway to Santa Cruz, California

People often ask me how I manage to travel so much with a full-time job. I am over 50 countries in, and I have worked full-time for the better part of the last decade. As much as I appreciate the millennial “don’t be chained to a desk, work from a beach in Bali” ethos, I love my job and don’t plan to quit any time soon. And yes, I am saying this in the middle of a particularly busy season. I have been working a lot of long hours and been on the road for work quite a bit the last few weeks, so a weekend getaway with the hubby was in order! I, like a lot of people, used to think traveling needed to include jumping on a plane to go somewhere. That was until I moved to California and got sucked into the amount of beauty waiting to be explored right outside my doorstep.


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Our weekend getaway to Santa Cruz at the lovely Chaminade Resort & Spa was the perfect antidote to a busy few months, and the time my husband and I needed away from the hustle to get rejuvenated. We drove down to Chaminade Resort late Friday afternoon from San Francisco; I left the city around 3pm and picked my husband up from Sunnyvale where he works. We hit the usual spots of traffic on 280 and 17 but still made good time to get to the resort with some day light left. Right as we entered the Chaminade grounds, driving up the road leading up to it flanked by towering trees that caught the evening light, we felt the weight of the city lift off our shoulders. We were ready for a relaxing weekend!


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Chaminade has been around since 1985, but is a newly renovated resort complete with a spa, fitness center, lovely restaurants and miles of hiking trails. Views of the Santa Cruz mountains surround the resort making it a tranquil place for a weekend get away from the city. We checked into our room, a well-designed space accented with quirky decor like an abacus and funky mirrors.


 

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Then it was time for dinner; we were famished! There is an onsite restaurant at Chaminade, Linwood, which had great reviews but we had been meaning to try out a restaurant called Home in Soquel, just a couple of miles away from Chaminade for a while, and this was the perfect chance to do so. The restaurant is called what it is for a reason, it looks and feels like you are dining in someone’s home. And the food and service were spectacular! We started with rosemary focaccia and herb butter, moving on to cauliflower and currants in a flavorful, lemony, garlicky sauce and a mind-blowing panzanella salad. My husband opted for the famous fried chicken entree while I opted for the ricotta gnocchi, the only vegetarian entree on the menu. Both were delicious. We washed down the whole meal with a bottle of a delicious Sangiovese. For such a spectacular meal, we were impressed that the final bill wasn’t too bad; maybe we are just so used to San Francisco prices! PS: they discourage the use of a phone while there which seemed to jive well with our unplug weekend so I don’t have pictures of my meal!


 

The next morning, between the luxuriously cozy bed, blackout curtains and the lack of city noises outside our room, we slept in. For someone who usually wakes up at 5am during the week, sleeping in till 8am was a true luxury. But I was in for even more relaxation that day as I had the morning devoted to quality time at the Chaminade Spa. After loading up on a latte at Coffeetopia, I checked into the Spa and settled into the super comfy robe before getting pampered. I started with a facial that give my tired, dull, well-traveled skin the hydration and glowing boost it desperately needed! After my face got some love, I was joined by my husband for a couple’s massage. Let me just say, I am no stranger to spa services and have gotten many in my life and do not please easy. Both the facial and massage at Chaminade Spa were fantastic. After the services, we both decided to take advantage of the steam room and sauna to round out the experience. There is also a hot tub and pool for those who are interested but we felt just relaxed and rejuvenated enough to call it a morning.


 

After our lovely morning of relaxation, we decided to drive down to get brunch in Capitola. Stopping on the way for an acai bowl and a juice at Pleasure Point Juice (my husband is obsessed with acai bowls and we always like to have pre-meals before our meals), we got to the quirky, quaint town of Capitola and decided on some Tex Mex for brunch at Margaritaville. Pretty soon, we were seated on the patio, downing a pitcher of their classic margaritas, chowing down on tacos and enchiladas, getting overheated by the sun, and looking out onto the ocean. I mean, life could be a lot worse.

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After our over-indulgence at brunch, we decided to head right back to the Resort for some more R&R. Did I mention we were there for a break from life? Well, that’s exactly what I got; I never nap during the day, folks, but that day I did. I am not sure if it was the margaritas, the relaxing morning at the Spa or yet again, the comfy bed, the blackout curtains or the peaceful surroundings, but I woke up a couple of hours later feeling very rested. Then it was time to hit the gym for a bit to sweat it out. I was impressed by the size of the gym at Chaminade’s; there is nothing I hate as someone who travels for work quite a bit, than a dinky, tiny hotel gym. After a refreshing workout, we drove back up to San Jose for a friend’s baby shower. I assumed I would stay up late that night since I napped in the afternoon, but I was out like a light around 11pm! Old age folks…


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The next morning, we decided to take a walk around the Chaminade grounds.  My fellow San Franciscans can relate, we don’t get much seasonal foliage or fall vibes around the city, which is something I really miss from the east coast! Which is why we were so excited that Chaminade was resplendent with autumnal shades of fiery crimsons and delicate golds alternating with the lush green of the resort, accentuating the Spanish mission style of the resort. Miles of hiking trails surrounded us but we weren’t really in the mood for anything too strenuous so we decided to stroll and take in the tranquil, foggy morning. Between discovering elegant courtyards and luxurious mountain vistas, we got our fill of the outdoors.

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We wrapped up the morning at the Sunset Restaurant with yogurt parfaits and smoothies. Everyone around us was indulging in the Sunday champagne brunch buffet and it was helluva tempting judging by the plates all around us, but instead we decided to keep it relatively light and healthy in keeping with the wellness theme for the weekend.

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As we drove back up to the city, my husband and I felt blessed for our weekend away, not just because we got to experience a lovely place and enjoy great weather, but because it had given us exactly what we needed; time away for ourselves to reconnect and recenter.

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Interested in other getaway ideas from San Francisco? Check out some of other posts:

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This post was part of a partnership with Chaminade’s Resort where I received services in exchange for content. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

 

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