Humpbacks Give Kayaker a Close-Up Encounter Off Santa Cruz

Whales Breaching by Kayaker in Santa Cruz

Local Santa Cruz photographer Paul Schraub, on assignment for the Santa Cruz County Convention and Visitors Council, captured this photo of spy hopping whales in the Monterey Bay on Tuesday. (Paul Schraub/Santa Cruz County CVC)

While working on a new marketing campaign Tuesday, a photographer for the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council captured this amazing image.

Paul Schraub was off the Seabright State Beach shoreline when he shot the photo of two humpback whales breaching next to a kayaker.

Christina Glynn explained, “The photo shoot was commissioned to bring attention to Santa Cruz as a unique location for meetings, retreats and the conference market.” Whale watching is just one of the unique opportunities available when booking your next event within such a biodiverse ecosystem as the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. Schraub was aboard a small boat operated by Pacific Yachting and Sailing out of the Santa Cruz harbor.

Whales have been observed being particularly active in the past week feeding on an abundance of anchovies off the coast.

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7 Day Itinerary Traveling from Los Angeles to San Francisco (via californiascentralcoast)

The Central Coast is a great place to vacation!

7 Day Itinerary Traveling from Los Angeles to San Francisco Click on photo to enlarge

 

DAY 1

Arrive in Los Angeles.Drive north on 405/101 for overnight accommodations in Oxnard (62 mi/100 km; 1 hour10 minutes) DAY 2 Half Day in Oxnard and Ventura• Central Coast wine tasting begins in Oxnard, just an hour north of L.A., at Herzog Wine Cellars, the nation’s largest producer of kosher wines, and home to award‐winning Mediterranean‐inspired seasonal cuisine at Tierra Sur Restaurant. Herzog is the starting poin … Read More

via californiascentralcoast

Central Coast Roadtrip and “Wellness Trail”

When road trippin’ from San Francisco to Los Angeles looking for a Wellness Experience…

DAY 1

Arrive at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and drive to Santa Cruz County (75 mi/120 km; 1 hour 25 minutes).

DAY 2

Santa Cruz County

• Move over, hot stone massage; there’s a new treatment in town, and it can only be found at the Spa at Chaminade, built high on a scenic mountain ridge. The Hot Shell Massage uses all‐natural Tiger Clam seashells and other elements from the ocean along with a mixture of purified water, salt and lavender essential oils. The heat from the shells penetrates muscles, helping achieve a deep state of relaxation. The shells are also used in various deep‐tissue and effleurage massage strokes to soothe tired muscles. This new trend in spa treatment is found exclusively at the Spa at Chaminade, which offers a menu that reflects the Santa Cruz County landscape: vineyard, farm, mountain and ocean‐themed treatments. A signature scent has also been custom‐designed for the Chaminade Resort, bringing guests the scents of aloe and the sea. Guests of the spa have access to Chaminade’s hiking trails, pool, tennis courts and gym during their visit. www.santacruzca.org

Overnight in Santa Cruz County.

DAY 3

Drive to Monterey County (42 mi/68 km; 47 minutes). Recommended drive: Hwy 1 South.

Monterey County

• Rooftop hot tubs overlooking Monterey Bay and serene tropical gardens are some of the picturesque environments that calm the soul naturally in Monterey County spas. They pride themselves on pleasing even the most discerning of customers in this world‐class spa destination. The highly skilled and educated practitioners hold certifications from locally acclaimed programs, such as Big Sur’s Esalen Institute, which boasts natural hot springs and baths perched on the cliffsover the Pacific Ocean. Treatments are available in Shiatsu and Reiki as well as cranial‐sacral therapy, aromatherapy, and Swedish, sport and La Stone massage. Several types of facials, body treatments and beauty services like Vichy showers and hydrotherapy in specialized tubs are also offered. Truly a heaven on earth experience. www.esalen.org

Overnight in Monterey County.

DAY 4

Morning: drive to San Luis Obispo County (145 mi/233 km; 2 hours 20 minutes). Recommended drive: 68 East & 101 South.

San Luis Obispo County

• Relax in California’s natural escape by soaking in one of San Luis Obispo County’s hot mineral springs. This type of rejuvenation began as a healing practice with ancient Egyptians and Romanroots and continues to serve our contemporary worldwide culture. The water found in the natural mineral springs are rich in sulfur compounds and trace minerals, which assist healing in a variety of ways. San Luis Obispo County offers visitors two distinct regions in which to experience the natural hot springs. In the northern portion of the county, the Paso Robles Inn offers guests a relaxing stay in their choice of Spa Rooms, complete with a private hot springs mineral spa tub. And since the inn is conveniently located in Paso Robles Wine County, your relaxing experience will be complete with a glass of local wine. In the southern portion of the county, Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort offersguests the full wellness experience. Complete with mineral springs, yoga classes, and a meditation garden, this resort is a true escape. www.sanluisobispocounty.com

Overnight in San Luis Obispo County.

DAY 5

Continue to Pismo Beach (13 mi/21 km; 15 minutes). Recommended drive: 101 South.

Pismo Beach

• Pismo Beach’s newest hotel, the Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa, is an elegant all‐villa resort. The La Bonne Vie Spa is a member of the Preferred Boutique Hotels. The Sea Venture Resort and Spa is one of the premier California beachfront hotels, offering luxury accommodations and a full range of body treatments, such as deep‐tissue massage, aromatherapy, Swedish massage, sea salt body scrub, seaweed wrap, essential oils face wrap, and more. www.classiccalifornia.com

Overnight in Pismo Beach.

DAY 6

Drive to Santa Barbara (94 mi/151 km; 1 hour 30 minutes).

Santa Barbara

• Santa Barbara is famous for its active, outdoor lifestyle and its vast array of recreational opportunities. But exercise is only part of the equation. The body needs pampering after exertion. And for that, Santa Barbara is a dream‐come‐true. Rich in health and wellness options, from yoga classes to fitness clubs, the county is a genuine paradise of day spas. Treatments range from every style of massage to wraps, chocolate scrubs, acupressure in water, and beyond. Santa Barbara offers both day and overnight spas in all price ranges. If you are interested in a tasteful hotel spa, make your reservations at: Harbor View Inn, Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, Bacara Resort and Spa, orFour Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. www.santabarbaraca.com

Overnight in Santa Barbara.

DAY 7

Drive to Los Angeles (95 mi/150 km; 1 hour 40 minutes). Recommended drive: 101 South & 405 South.

Depart from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

7 Day Itinerary Traveling from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Click on photo to enlarge

DAY 1

Arrive in Los Angeles.Drive north on 405/101 for overnight accommodations in Oxnard (62 mi/100 km; 1 hour10 minutes)

DAY 2

Half Day in Oxnard and Ventura• Central Coast wine tasting begins in Oxnard, just an hour north of L.A., at Herzog Wine Cellars, the nation’s largest producer of kosher wines, and home to award‐winning Mediterranean‐inspired seasonal cuisine at Tierra Sur Restaurant. Herzog is the starting point for the Ventura County Wine Trail, which includes a stop at the newly opened, picturesque Rancho Ventavo Cellars Tasting Roomat Oxnard’s Heritage Square. Across the brick walkway, La Dolce Vita Restaurant is a great spot for lunch, dinner and monthly cooking classes. Stop by the California Welcome Center in Oxnard to pick up the Ventura County Wine Trail map, and recommendations on great local restaurants. www.visitoxnard.com

•An array of restaurants dishing up delectable delicacies satisfying every craving while in Ventura. You’ll find menus from all corners of the globe—California, the Mediterranean, Thailand, France,India, Ireland, and Argentina, just to name a few! In addition to these restaurants, you’ll findbakeries, coffee shops and many wine bars for tasting and shopping and other necessary indulgences. Wine Bars: Wine Rack, The Westside Wine Cellar, Paradise Pantry. Restaurants with seating capacity for 50+ people: Jonathan’s, The Sidecar, The Greek, Tutti’s. http://www.ventura‐usa.com

Continue north on Hwy 101 to Santa Barbara (28 mi/45 km; 30 minutes).Santa Barbara

• Santa Barbara is uniquely self‐sustaining when it comes to food, and offers a truly regional culinary experience. Fresh, seasonal produce is readily available at daily farmers’ markets and local grocery stores. Fresh seafood from the Santa Barbara Channel is served up in local eateries, and you can even buy seafood right off the boat at the Santa Barbara Harbor. Learn how to eat like a locavore (eating food grown within a 100‐mile radius of where you live) on a guided culinary tour of Santa Barbara with market forays. After collecting ingredients at the Fishermen’s Market, Farmers’ Market, and local stores, Slow‐Foodie guide Laurence Hauben will teach you how you can prepare dishes easily at home. The experience concludes with a delicious meal paired to local wines. Tours are customizable. http://www.santabarbaraca.com

Overnight in Santa Barbara.

DAY 3

Morning: drive to Santa Ynez Valley/Solvang (35 mi/56 km; 50 minutes).*Recommended to take Hwy 154/San Marcos Pass into Santa Ynez Valley to experience breathtaking natural vistas.Santa Ynez

• When touring and tasting in the scenic Santa Ynez Valley, visitors quickly work up an appetite. Now, there are four 4‐diamond properties in the heart of Santa Barbara County’s famed wine country—the Petersen Village Inn & Café Provence in Solvang, with charming antique‐filled accommodations; the Ballard Inn & Restaurant, with chef/owner Budi Kazali’s fusion cuisine; Santa Ynez Inn, offering Victorian elegance and Chef Heather Henry’s gourmet breakfasts; and luxe dinners at Willows Restaurant at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez. http://www.santaynezvalleyvisit.comSolvang

• New this year, Master Chef Bradley Ogden brings his James Beard Award‐winning culinary expertise (including One Market San Francisco) to Solvang in the Santa Ynez Valley wine country with Root 246, a restaurant owned by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. Ogden’s newest restaurant features his signature farm‐to‐table gourmet dishes and extensive selection of local wines from the heart of Solvang. Individuals and groups welcome. http://www.solvangusa.com

Overnight in Solvang.

DAY 4

Half Day in Solvang• Solvang: a walking smorgasbord. More than a dozen wine tasting rooms and 30 charming eateries and authentic bakeries dot this undeniably Danish‐themed town. Food lovers enjoy a diverse array of Danish, American and ethnic cuisine from gourmet to economical cafes. Scandinavian fare is readily available, including Danish aebleskiver and pastries, as well as smorgasbords. http://www.solvangusa.com

Drive to Santa Maria (36 mi/58 km; 37 minutes).

*Recommended to take Hwy 154 to Zaca Station Road. Follow the Foxen Canyon wine trail through the Santa Ynez Wine Country/Santa Maria Valley. This drive will take you through the patchwork of farms, orchards, and vineyards that encompass the valley.Santa Maria• Savor the sizzling flavors of Santa Maria‐style barbecue at a number of legendary restaurants in the Santa Maria Valley on California’s Central Coast. This 150‐year‐old regional culinary tradition is founded on native ingredients and local methods for a uniquely flavorful dining experience. Local landmark barbecue restaurants include the Hitching Post, Far Western Tavern and Jocko’s, all of which have been going strong for more than 50 years. Today, no Santa Maria‐style barbecue meal is complete without a glass of Pinot Noir or Syrah from the Santa Maria Valley wine country.www.santamariavisitor.comDrive to Pismo Beach (20 mi/32 km; 22 minutes).Pismo Beach

• Splash in for a bowl of award‐winning clam chowder! Splash Café has been a Pismo Beach destination, attracting visitors and locals alike since the late 1980s. With a consistent line of hungry guests stretching around the block, it is easy to understand how this world famous creamy clam chowder has been winning awards for over 10 years. This casual beach‐oriented café has been featured in several national publications and received requests from Gourmet and Bon Appétit magazines for the secret clam chowder recipe. Splash Café serves more than 15,000 gallons of clam chowder a year in their Pismo Beach café! This must‐stop destination is definitely worth the wait. www.classiccalifornia.com

Overnight in Pismo Beach.

DAY 5

Drive north on Hwy 101 to Paso Robles (40 mi/64 km; 42 minutes).Paso Robles Wine Country

• Located along California’s famed Central Coast is Paso Robles Wine Country. In Paso Robles, a day of wine tasting and touring begins with a scenic drive along the country roads. The rolling hills and rural setting make for a truly authentic wine country experience. Guests will discover an array of wineries—many, family owned and operated—with the owner or winemaker greeting you upon arrival. Pack your picnic lunch to enjoy on the winery grounds, chat with the winemaker, and explore California’s fastest‐growing wine region. A long growing season of warm days and cool evenings give rise to vibrantly ripened fruit with dynamic flavor that translate beautifully in your glass of Paso Robles wine. You’ll experience premium wines and discover what makes Paso Robles Wine Country distinctly different. http://www.sanluisobispocounty.comDowntown Paso Robles

• Along your journey through Paso Robles Wine Country, take time to stroll the historic downtown to shop and dine. Boutique stores, restaurants featuring wine country cuisine, and tasting rooms fill the blocks surrounding Paso Robles Downtown City Park. A scene right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, Paso Robles’ downtown completes the picture of your wine tasting experience.

Overnight in Paso Robles.

DAY 6

Drive to Monterey (116 mi/180 km; 1 hour 50 minutes).Monterey

• Monterey County’s Salinas Valley is the home of the “Salad Bowl of the World.” Take an agricultural tour, wine trek or visit the nation’s first (and largest) working organic farm—Earthbound Farms. Take public transit—Grapevine Express—to the organic gardens and 10 wineries on Carmel Valley Road. Wine experts have identified the areas as “uniquely suited to raising high‐grade grapes.”There are 85 vintners and growers with over 40,000 acres to learn about. Year‐round temperate climate, rich soils, and unparalleled infrastructure make this area an ideal place to learn best practices and to discover new ways of preparing Mother Nature’s best. http://www.seemonterey.com

Overnight in Monterey.

DAY 7

Drive to San Francisco (113mi/170 km, 2 hours).Depart from San Francisco International Airport (SFO).