Head to this small town to see the redwoods and soak up the California vibes
Why go now: This redwood-shaded town in the Santa Cruz Mountains has a mellow vibe that’s easy like August.
Lay of the land: We’re talking tiny. Two main streets. And those cars you see zipping down State 9 are probably on their way to Santa Cruz.
Standout flapjacks: The fruit-laden blueberry pancakes at Rockys Cafe ($; 6560 State 9; 831/335-4637) are delish and best consumed on the second-floor porch.
Is that a steam whistle? In the late 19th century, steam engines hauled logged redwoods out of these hills. Relive those days with a ride on an 1890 train as it rounds you to the top of Bear Mountain ($24; roaringcamp.com).
Layer up: Weather can range from 50° and foggy to mid-80s and sunny.
When it’s hot: Hit the nearby town of Bonny Doon for a chilled glass of unoaked Chardonnay at Beauregard Vineyards ($5 tasting; 10 Pine Flat Rd.; 831/425-7777).
Be a believer: Saw something rustling in the trees? Tell the folks at the Bigfoot Discovery Museum (5497 State 9; 831/335-4478), where you’ll find a map of Bigfoot sightings, footprint casts, and a 10-foot Sasquatch statue.
Fly through a forest: Even if you’ve been wandering through redwoods your whole life, the perspective from 100 feet up is heart stopping. At Redwood Canopy Tours in Mt. Hermon, zipline through the treetops on a two-hour jaunt that sends you down six lines—one longer than 400 feet. $80; mounthermon.org/redwood-canopy-tours
Hike along a creek: Stroll through a verdant understory of oxalis and ferns at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park’s Fall Creek Unit. A network of well-marked trails brings you to eerie stone kilns where 19th-century workers produced lime, used to make mortar. The easy 3.2-mile round-trip hike traces the spring-fed creek’s path. Enter on Felton Empire Rd., about 0.5 mile west of State 9; parks.ca.gov
Brunch beneath the trees: Grab a lawn table at Oak Tree Ristorante. On a menu stuffed with appealing choices, we like the guanciale breakfast panini, made with Italian bacon and eggs on a toasted bun (shown at right), and the Del Bosco frittata with English peas, mushrooms, melted mozzarella, and truffle oil. $; 5447 State 9; 831/335-5551.
Sip wine in the sun: One of the oldest wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains, family-owned Hallcrest Vineyards is also home of the Organic Wine Works, the first certified organic label in the States. Drop by the cottagey tasting room for splashes of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir on the sunny patio. On weekends, the staff pairs powerful Zin with warm oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies. $7 tasting; 379 Felton Empire Rd.; 831/335-4441.