If you're a regular reader of my blog, you've probably noticed that new posts have been M.I.A. for the past week or so. Sorry about that, but in my defense, I've been busy exploring a state that I always thought I hated.
Growing up in the PNW (Pacific Northwest, for you East Coasters), the seed for California distain was planted in me at a young age and sprouted rather quickly. There are lots of reasons to hate on California. At the top of that list is their monopoly over society's perception of the West Coast as being strictly beaches and surfing. This is closely followed by the tendency for bands on tour to have the entirety of their West Coast stops be four different cities in California, evading the entire northern part of the coast.
Against my better judgment, and finding a lack of Seattleites in D.C., I became friends with a Californian, Hannah, in college. A summer trip was arranged, and I found myself boarding a plane to San Jose.
I've been to Southern California a few times, but this was my first time in the northern part of the state. As we drove into Santa Cruz, I wondered, Where is the smog? Where are the crazy techies that I blame for the gentrification of my beloved Seattle? I began to realize that maybe Northern California wasn't all that different from Washington.
Hannah and I stayed local my first day, exploring the small shops in downtown Santa Cruz and lying on a local beach that was far too cold for us to enjoy for more than an hour.
Day two was spent picking fruit in the morning before embarking on a photography adventure at a state park. I was promised that there would be dramatic, rocky cliffs, and the Pacific Ocean did not disappoint. With much hesitation, I found myself admitting that maybe Washington isn't the only pretty, nature-filled state.
On day three, Hannah had to work a shift at the local cupcake shop, Buttercup Cakes and Farmhouse Frosting (their vegan cupcakes are top-notch). I accompanied her downtown and sat in the back of the shop sending out fall internship applications for when I return to D.C. Who says vacations can't be productive?
Day four was our big city day, and we drove two hours north to San Francisco. Except for a brief overnight stay during a road trip town to Disneyland ten years ago, I'd never been to the Bay Area. Hannah parked in North Beach, and we began the afternoon with lunch in Cafe Sapore.
I love when people I know visit Seattle. There's something special about the city and it's distinct personality that requires actually visiting it to understand. No matter how many times I talk about the turtle log at Green Lake, or talk about constantly having mountain views, people don't really get it until they finally take the trip to the northwest corner of the United States.
A few days ago, my friend Mara came up from California to Seattle for the time to take her sister to UW orientation. So this is how, with the limitations of a college student budget and a time constraint of six hours, she got to see Seattle while avoiding the tourist traps that drive everyone from around here crazy (I'm lookin at you, Ride the Ducks Tours).