Treat Your Mama Right–Central Coast Mother’s Day Happenings

Things to Do, Travel Tips, What's New — By mfitzsimmons on May 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and nothing says “I Love You” like spending some quality time with the most important lady (or ladies) in your life. While going to brunch at the Casablanca or Chaminade are perennial favorites, or hitting the Aquarium or Beach Boardwalk seem like good ideas, being stuck in a crowded and noisy place is not everyone’s idea of a good time.

Consider instead packing a picnic from downtown Santa Cruz’s New Leaf Market or the Food Bin on Mission Street and striking out for Natural Bridges State Beach. Or, journey up to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park or the Garden of Eden for some

Bridge at the Forest of Nisene Marks

Mom will find peace at The Forest of Nisene Marks.

leisurely early May hiking. While the crowds will be larger because of the special day, they won’t be nearly as pressing as some of the more popular spots in Santa Cruz. The Forest of Nisene Marks is also a great outdoors option.

This also happens to be the opening weekend of the 10th Annual Santa Cruz Film Festival. Presenting 167 films representing 33 countries, including 67 features  produced by Santa Cruz and Monterey locals, the festival shows off works ranging from 3 minutes to full length. The subjects cover silly love triangles to natural

Man running in underwear

A still from Prairie Love, a Coen Brothers-esque comedy playing at the Santa Cruz Film Festival.

disasters to missing persons, Middle Eastern comedians, Dennis Banks, surfing, Ed Hardy, coffee and a slew of creative fodder.

One of the more intriguing features of the festival are the themed shorts, films clumped together by a common subject, such as “Fateful Moments,” “One on One,” which explores the nature of various nuances of individual relationships, “Keep Santa Cruz Weird,” and student films.

All in all, the line up is interest piquing and though time probably won’t allow to see all 167, letting mom pick her favorites from the festival’s website should help narrow down the search. (Various theaters are participating in the festival, and show times are listed at The free local weekly, Good Times, also has a pull out guide to the festival.)

If mama has a green thumb, escort her to the always popular Carmel Valley Garden Expo, going down all weekend. This all things horticulture event has been

A flower display at Carmel Valley Garden Expo

Why buy mom a bouquet when she can learn to grow her own menagerie?

running for 42 years and has picked up a reputation for being the must-attend-event for gardeners on the Central Coast.

One last suggestion: drive up Highway 1 to the quaint town of Davenport. Cute shops and cafes are the hallmark of this town, as are breathtaking, unspoiled views of the Pacific. Do a little organic fruit picking at Swanton Berry Farms. Pull off at Panther Beach, further up the coast, or look for the parking lot just off the road to the right after passing Davenport. No name to this beach, but cross the

Cliffs, beach, and water

Beaches like this await past Davenport, CA. Perfect places to hang out with mom sans crowds.

highway onto a hidden path that leads to one of the most expansive and beautiful beaches in California.

These are just a few alternatives to the been-there-done-that activities. Get out of the Mother’s Day rut by exploring some lesser known though no less impressive areas of the Central Coast.

Got any suggestions? Please, let us know!


Tags: Beach, Carmel, Davenport, Festivals, Film, Forest, Hiking, Monterey, Santa Cruz