Road Trip: Santa Cruz Garden Cottage

Last spring some friends from Hawaii met me in San Francisco and we packed up the car for a coastal road trip along Highway One. I had always wanted to venture to Santa Cruz, famed for its iconic surf culture, liberal leanings and nostalgic board walk. Burned-out hippies, intellectuals, surfers and skaters roam the streets lined with cafes, galleries and health food stores. We managed to kill an entire day at the Bookshop Santa Cruz (highly recommended). Our garden cottage stay is over on Designtripper this week!

We found a minimalistic one-bedroom cabin of sorts with off-beat charms and loads of character in Santa Cruz’s Westside. Michelle, our free-spirited hostess, greeted us donning a bikini and sarong offering up a home tour with tales of past drifters and travelers. She is an artist who works with brass, leather and bone— a hauntingly beautiful display of her creations are placed throughout the home. The result is a sort of gallery-meets-bed-and-breakfast.

The cabin out back is modest and fairly rustic with an antique brass bed, a distressed-wooden dresser and an old Decca record player (we packed our favorite records). It feels like your own secret. A big tin wash basin sits just outside the door but the most alluring feature is the claw-foot tub beneath a cascading willow tree. The gardens aren’t limited to flowers. Strange installations, found objects and salvaged lawn furniture are scattered among the greenery.

In the mornings, a freshly-baked poppy seed cake awaited us on the wooden kitchen table. We walked with our coffees in hand toward West Cliff, a path along the ocean, to take in the morning surf and fog. It was an unexpectedly lovely stay.

Photographs by Ashley Camper


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