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What’s New in Santa Cruz, California for Summer 2017?

May 9, 2017 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Long haul travelers take note: Santa Cruz, California offers coastal redwood forests and glorious, sunny beaches, all within a small region. Close in proximity to San Francisco and an easy drive from Los Angeles along California’s iconic Highway 1, Santa Cruz offers the quintessential California beach vacation. This summer, visitors can explore a wealth of new options: from a family-friendly apple cider tasting room, to a cult-classic anniversary, there’s always something new to explore in this quaint seaside community.

Here are some new things to check out this season in Santa Cruz, California:

Visit Santa Cruz County Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Cult Classic The Lost Boys with Movie Location Map
Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman and the late Corey Haim, cult movie favorite The Lost Boys was released 30 years ago this year. Filmed on location in Santa Cruz County, the film is considered a keystone in vampire cinema. Now, fans can re-live their 1980s teen-vamp fantasies in Santa Cruz with a movie location map, which outlines where many of the scenes were filmed – including the legendary Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Atlantis Fantasyworld comic book shop, the historic Santa Cruz Wharf, Pogonip Park, and other spots. This free map will be available on just in time for Summer 2017, which will see an open-air screening of The Lost Boys on the beach, kicking off the Boardwalk’s free summer movie series.

Martinelli’s Complimentary Apple Cider Tasting Room Now Open
S. Martinelli & Company founded in 1868, debuted a new company store and tasting room in Watsonville – in south Santa Cruz County – where the business is headquartered. Visitors can sample Martinelli’s Gold Premium juices, sparkling ciders, sparkling juices, mulling spices and limited edition products. Once producing bottle-fermented Champagne Cider with apples from California’s first commercial orchards, the company quickly switched gears once Prohibition was enacted. During this time in history, Martinelli’s grew exponentially, encouraging consumers to “drink their apple a day”. Today, visitors to the tasting room can also learn about the history of the Martinelli’s juice brand through a collection of archival photos, archival machinery, displays, and an historical company film playing at the tasting bar.

Venus Spirits: Boutique Distillery Offers a Taste of Santa Cruz in a Bottle
On Santa Cruz’s Westside a stylish, California-rustic tasting room is home to a small-batch distillery which produces organic whiskey, gin, aquavit and blue agave spirits. Founded by Sean Venus, Venus Spirits offers bold flavors that start with organic and locally-sourced ingredients. Each batch is distilled in hand-pounded copper Alembic Stills. Recipes utilize fresh herbs, botanicals, fruit, and infused neutral spirits made from organic wheat. Combined with a little bit of ocean air, a classic California vibe, and a touch of precision and time, these bespoke handcrafted spirits carry a signature taste that is uniquely Santa Cruz. Tastings are offered Friday through Sunday, and handcrafted cocktails on Friday night in a tasting room crafted from reclaimed wood with copper accents.

Renovations to Debut at Legendary Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, recognized internationally as a must-see West Coast attraction, announced a $12 million improvement project scheduled for completion by summer, 2017. The project will create an impressive main entrance for the Boardwalk, to include state-of-the-art ticketing windows, an entrance plaza, and a fresh new look for several games, concessions and attractions in the adjacent area. Fright Walk and Lazer Maze, two of the Boardwalk’s most popular attractions, will both get fanciful new entrances as well. Fright Walk will also get a complete interior makeover, taking advantage of new basement/dungeon space. The spooky walk-through attraction was originally designed and built in 2004 by Boardwalk staff and remains a park favorite. The project will connect the classic Moorish-style of the Cocoanut Grove building with the more colorful, eclectic style of the Boardwalk. Two new thrill rides – Shockwave, and Typhoon – round out the fun at this landmark seaside amusement park.

New Mobile Visitor Center Debuts at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
A new mobile visitor center at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is now open! Featuring exhibits which focus on plants and animals living in the sandhills, a rotating map, and a diorama revealing some of the marine fossils found nearby are all included. The unique, fragile and diverse Santa Cruz sandhills are home to a unique community of plants and animals found only on outcrops of Zayante sand soil, derived from sediment deposited over 15 million years ago when the region was underwater. As evidence of their origins, the inland sandhills contain a variety of marine fossils, including deep beds of sand dollars. A deck outside the mobile unit provides a spot for visitors to empty their shoes following a day of hiking. The mobile visitor center was made possible through the work of California State Parks in cooperation with Mountain Parks Foundation and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks.

Spooky Eats in Felton’s Most Historic Building
Drops in temperature, lights going out spontaneously, and eerie vibes were all confirmed by a team of “ghost hunters” recently, who were investigating chilling claims that the oldest building in the Santa Cruz Mountain town of Felton is haunted. The 142-year-old building is currently home to the Cremer House restaurant, but through the years has housed, fed and entertained lumberjacks and railroad workers. There have also been at least two known murders inside its walls. Built in 1874 by Thomas Cremer and his wife, who operated it as a boarding house, restaurant/tavern, gambling hall and brothel, the Cremer House now features classic American fare and craft brew.

Santa Cruz Natural History Museum Unveils New Gallery, Exhibit
The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is proud to announce a new exhibit, as part of a complete renovation and the first permanent update in two decades. Featuring a prized marine life collection, which has been locked in a safe in the museum’s basement, a display features local shells and fossils. A new touch tank, filled with live snails, mussels, sea stars and other preserved ocean life, resembles local tidepools from a century ago. A replica of a local landmark, the beloved Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse (with a tiny lamp that blinks in time with the real lighthouse), and a model of a former rock arch at surf spot Steamer Lane which stood a century ago, before it was washed away are also included.

Annieglass Studios Opens Craftbar, a Hands-On Artistic Experience in Watsonville
Renowned glass artist Ann Morhauser has launched a new creative twist to her studio factory in Watsonville. In addition to factory tours and wine tasting, Craftbar – a space for artists-in-residence and workshops – is set to debut. Featuring weekly workshops creating art from different mediums, Craftbar also offers simple, ongoing craft projects on a drop-in basis for visitors. Ceramics, clay and metal jewelry, textiles, glass, wax painting, and other forms of art will be at the center of each weekly workshop. Annie Morhauser’s glass designs are sold at luxury retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales; and is featured at leading hotels and restaurants such as the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, the Four Seasons, the Ritz Carlton, and the Waldorf Astoria.


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