I’m not a train person, per se. I don’t show up to train events in an engineer’s hat and overalls draped with pins and patches of past train glories. But I do appreciate the romanticism of old steam engines and the bygone eras they represent. Plus, those old engines are something of a marvel, the way their parts have to work together just so or the whole thing doesn’t move, or worse, explodes.
I have a friend who’s up and moving to Boulder Creek at the end of the month, which inspired me to finally make a visit to the town this past weekend. If you don’t know, Boulder Creek is in the Santa Cruz Mountains along Hwy 9 about 15 miles north of Santa Cruz, or 22 miles south of Saratoga. It’s definitely out of the way, which is part of the appeal. There’s no easy way to get there, unless you’re a crow, but probably the easiest is to drive south on Hwy 17 and cut through Scotts Valley. (Tip: If it’s a sunny weekend day, expect lots of traffic heading to Santa Cruz beaches). You’ll pass through other small towns after turning north from Scotts Valley, from Felton to Ben Lomond to Brookdale, before hitting Boulder Creek, all old logging towns from the late 1800s. Mostly you’re driving through redwood forest, with houses spotted here and there off in the trees. Continue reading Boulder Creek and the best little brewpub in the Bay Area
Drive along Hwy 84 in the Santa Cruz mountains and you’ll come across the occasional Grateful Dead flag flapping in the wind, a reminder that this area was once the stomping ground of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, and their Hell’s Angels friends (in nearby La Honda). Just up the road where Hwy 84 meets Skyline Blvd (Hwy 35), and fitting right in with the counter-culture vibe is Alice’s Restaurant, named for Arlo Guthrie’s ’60s anthem. And just like the song (and the menu) says, apparently you can get anything you want here, within reason. Continue reading Alice’s gives you what you want