Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Wanderlust Librarian | Building a Mystery (Spot)

I love California. The day trips I can take are (at most) an hour or 2 away from my house. I can be at the beach or the mountains in no time at all.

This particular trip started off innocently as one of my group needed to go to Frys. "What's Fry's?", you ask? It's an electronic store for everybody! Look at it like the Costco of electronics parts. From layman to computer engineer, this place has it all. Individual Fry's stores also have different themes ranging from Ancient Rome to the History of Las Vegas. The closest Fry's to the valley is located in Fremont (to the West) or West Sacramento (to the North). Needless to say, the group wanted to get the maximum amount of excitement if we were going to drive out towards San Jose.

A discussion of visiting either Mission San Jose  or the Mystery Spot was asked of the group. I had been to neither place, but I voted for the Mystery Spot since it sounded spookier. Luckily, many of our group chose the same. The drive towards the coast was gorgeous! The weather in the Valley was pushing 95 that day, but the weather in Santa Cruz was cool 82.

We chose a place to eat from watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The Santa Cruz Diner was a great place for us to stop and have lunch before going to our 4:30 pm tour at the Mystery Spot. The diner is known for the Vietnamese soup pho, but since I'd had it before (it was delicious), I enjoyed a chili dog (a guilty pleasure reserved for vacations) instead. 

The Mystery Spot was a short 10-15 minute drive East from one of the main streets in Santa Cruz, Ocean Street. It's off on a bumpy, partially paved road that winds deeper into the hills. The clearing in the path opens to a parking lot and a bright yellow sign stating your destination. There's nothing overly remarkable about the space. There's a gift shop, a snack shop and a couple of bathrooms. The tickets are affordable at $5 per person and $5 per parked car. You can purchase your tickets online or in person. Beware about purchasing in person, if you have more than a couple of people (I was there with 5 other friends), there may not be a tour available until way later in the day. If you purchase online, you can choose a tour time, but your purchase price goes up to $6 per ticket. When I visit again, I will definitely purchase online. The convenience of scheduling a tour time will help you plan a full day in Santa Cruz. 

Tours are called over the intercom about 5 minutes before the tour starts. You meet at the base of hill where your guide explains what the Mystery Spot and it's history is. Since I don't want to give too much away, you go to a small shack up towards the top of a steep-ish hill and you get to experience the Mystery Spot in its full glory. The tour lasts about 45 minutes and it was definitely worth the $5... AND you get a bumper sticker at the end of the experience. 

I went with a 14 year old and a group of adults. We all had a fun time. Lots of laughs, unsteady feet and friends catching each other in 18 degree leans! Make this trip a leisurely outing with friends or with family who love to have fun!

Remember when planning an outing, it doesn't have to be far away! Day trips are out there! 

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