Family Vacation without leaving home

My sister stuck around for a week after the marathon, so we basically packed as much fun as possible into the days she was here.

First up: a day in Santa Cruz! After reading her blog for 5+ years, I finally met Brianna at her family’s brewery.


My favorite was the On the Porch Pale Ale… but the Saison was good too.  Ellie loved the kids table and books.

After beer, it was time for some beach and boardwalk action.


The Giant Dipper is one of my favorite roller coasters of all time.  This place is so fun.


Emily and Ellie had some quality bonding time on the beach.  She just finished her first year of med school (SO FREAKING PROUD OF HER) so she was in full-on relax mode.

The next day we hit up some fun spots much closer to home: the steam train and carousel in Tilden Regional Park.  Ellie was totally freaked out about the train while we were waiting in line, but I think she loved it once we got on (she said “toot toot!” every 10 seconds for the duration of the ride).

steam train

Ellie had her first carousel experience in Santa Cruz and completely fell in love.


The one in Tilden park is $2 per ticket and she spent the whole time solemnly holding the bar and saying “giddyup.”


On our third day of fun, we drove up to Muir Beach.  We had the place to ourselves for about 10 minutes, and then a kids surf camp showed up, but it was still absolutely beautiful.


On the way home, we tried to stop for drinks at Mill Valley Beer Works but it was closed between 3 and 5.  However, that meant more playground time for Ellie at the best park ever (Old Mill Park).  She tried out the big kid swings by herself for the first time ever.


Now my family is back in Oregon, I’m stay-at-home momming for the summer, and Ellie and I are going to try and find a million fun things to do all over the Bay Area.  We’ve got a membership to the Oakland zoo, plans to visit Mike at work in the city, and a bunch of playgrounds on the list to explore.





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