Santa Cruz, California

John G. Tanner Love Nest, Santa Cruz (1896)I took a day trip to Santa Cruz during an extended work stint in Silicon Valley in California. Santa Cruz is on the Pacific Ocean. Its coastline and the waters offshore are within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the largest such protected offshore area in the United States. Offshore oil drilling, for example, is strictly prohibited. Santa Cruz began as a Spanish mission in 1791, and after it was ceded to the United States it was founded as a city in 1866, right after the U.S. Civil War. The house you see here, charmingly named the “John G. Tanner Love Nest” (a gift for his bride, Mollie Bowen) was built in 1896.

Seals under Santa Cruz WharfThe main beach at Santa Cruz has a boardwalk with amusement rides and attractions, and a wharf with shops and restaurants. Numerous signs warn and cajole visitors to respect the protected status of the beach, coastline, and waters offshore. Seals and sea lions use the timbers of the wharf to haul-out, and these very social animals seem almost to be posing for group photos for the delighted human visitors.