A virtual cooking class on wheels, the RV Cooking Show takes viewers on adventures to some of the most sought-after or interesting but little known RV locales then creates a healthy, easy destination-related RV recipe in host Evanne Schmarder's RV kitchen. Tune in to our RV TV...it's always delicious!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sensational Santa Cruz (and a secret RV park)

We’ve spent plenty of time in San Luis Obispo/Morro Bay and the San Francisco Bay areas of the California coast but simply hadn’t made it to Santa Cruz. In fact, last summer we tried to stay in one of a few state parks in the area and there was no room at the, well...parks.

This year we planned ahead and did some research which led us to a 12 site, hidden gem of an RV park – the Santa Cruz North Port District (or North Harbor) RV park. All 12 sites offer w/s/e, RVs must be self contained, and tents are not permitted. While not cheap (okay, maybe by CA standards it is) at $40/night it is worth every penny. The sites backup to a treed hill and are directly across from the boat moorage.

A breezy day partners with the sailboats to make the most soothing music. Grab a beverage of your choice, have a seat on one of the many benches and soak it all in. Check out this video and imagine yourself there:

A short half mile walk along the harbor (on either side) delivers you to beautiful beaches with crashing waves and volleyball courts, a jetty and lighthouse, a tony neighborhood perfect for an early evening stroll, and restaurants galore. On Wednesday nights from April to October Santa Cruz hosts sailboat “races” just outside the harbor mouth. You can sit on the beach and watch, take part on a boat cruise or do like we did and find a table on the upstairs outdoor patio at the Crow’s Nest and enjoy a little happy hour (runs all night on Wednesday’s) with your sailboat racing. Terrific!!

A trip into this town is hip! We chose to venture in on a Wednesday (yeah, a very fun-filled day that Wednesday was!!) so we could visit the Farmers Market. It was the BEST market I think I’ve ever been to…anywhere. The produce was displayed beautifully, the variety outstanding (even for the bounty of summer), and the multitude of ethnic food stands tempted even a full shopper.

But the very best thing about the Santa Cruz Farmers Market was the beet lemon sorbet at Scream Sorbet. Yep, I said beet lemon and it was a taste sensation enough to make a girl swoon. Noah was offering tastes of the 6 varieties on the scooping menu that day and they were all fabulous but when I saw the amazing color of this sorbet I was sold. Oh! My! Gosh! Scream scoops at several Bay Area markets so if you happen to have the chance to visit them I highly recommend it! Check out the markets they participate in, the current flavors they’re scooping, and where they are sourcing the ingredients from…it just might be the organic fruit stand right next to them at the market.

Capitola – a bit down the road – is a surfer’s paradise and offers a little “tourist village” with shops, restaurants, and beachfront benches. Looking for some handmade boutique soap, bath scrub, body butter or lip balm? Don’t miss the great products and really nice folks at Lavroma. Along the village circle is Pizza-My-Heart…the perpetually long line is justified – after you get your slice (or 2 if you know what's good for ya) head to a beachside bench and enjoy. A bit up the hill is Gayle’s Bakery known for their yummy chocolate éclairs and other such baked delights. We sat outside soaking up the sun with our coffee and treats – paradise!

Some lucky soul was scheduled in our site and, well, we had to move along anyway. Even though we just left I can’t wait to go back…and that’s saying something coming from a jaded 9+year full-timer like me.

Happy summer camping from your well-fed friends at the RV Cooking Show!


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