This is a continuation of my “To California” series… click here to read ‘Dining’.
Months ago when we were planning this little adventure, Jess scoured the web looking for good vacation rentals. We saw places in Monterey, in Carmel, in Santa Cruz, and all places in between. She wanted to be right on the ocean… that was her main goal. Eventually we found the place we did. We were a bit worried because on the website where she booked it, there were no pictures of the interior of the place. They were all exterior shots. The description said it had been remodeled recently, but who knows what that means. But the pictures of the outside looked good, so, what the hell. We gave it a shot.
Now… this is RIGHT on the ocean. We pulled up in the rental car and were amazed at it’s location. It sits on a cliff about 50 feet above the beach and about 100 total feet from high tide. When I say we were close to the ocean, it’s not an exaggeration. More on that in a moment.
We pulled the key from the lockbox and headed in. I have to say, at first glance, I was pleasantly surprised by the place. Having not seen the interior in any pictures, it wasn’t horrible. It was decorated in that typical beach house nautical theme which you would never do in your own home, but secretly like to see in a vacation place on the ocean.
It has a nice little kitchen, which for some strange reason had every drawer and cupboard open to greet us. Most importantly for Jess, there was a coffee maker and filters so she could actually get functioning in the morning. If you wanna see something funny, it’s her when she is trying to do anything before she has coffee. High comedy. The kitchen was fairly well appointed, but somehow I didn’t think we’d be doing much cooking this week… turns out I was right. We didn’t cook once, unless you count nuking a couple of cinnamon rolls one morning.
The bathroom was a bit less nice. If I had to guess, I’d say it looks like this room was what the place looked like before the remodel. Small and cramped, with that dark wood paneling that the salt air wasn’t exactly treating well. The toilet was a little wobbly on the floor which is an odd sensation. Personally, I don’t like to feel like I’m gonna fall over while doing my business… but thats just me. The shower was paneled in the same wood siding and appeared to be old and well used. But, there was a window for ventilation, so it wasn’t all bad.
Once we found the sleeping arrangements, I don’t know if we were amused or not. It was certainly unique, thats for sure. At the far end of the main room was a ladder. Climbing this ladder brought you up into a sleeping loft. All there was room for up there was an Areobed air mattress. That’s it. You entered through the floor and had to crawl onto the bed. At night, you had better close the trap door, otherwise you could roll out of bed and fall the 8 feet to your death. It was rather amusing that during the week, we both would reduce our liquid intake in the evenings because neither of us wanted to have to go in the middle of the night and try to negotiate that ladder. I could just see me, half asleep, losing my grip and crashing my head into the end table 7 feet below me. Not good times. As an aside on the bed itself, that think kicked my ass. I woke up every morning sore as all hell. Part of me thinks this whole sleeping loft is a kids game. But since the only other option was a POS futon, there WAS no other option.
The good: there were lots of windows in this whole place that had a remarkable view of the ocean. The bad? Every one of those windows was either crusted over with salt or had so much condensation between the panes you could hardly see through them. Every time you looked out a window, you thought you had some serious “Hound of the Baskervilles” type fog socking you in. Even when it was gloriously sunny out. Oh well…
Out the back door was a remarkably large patio area. This was quite cool. Shaded by a couple giant cypress trees and overlooking the ocean it was a very nice deal. It would be great for entertaining if it weren’t only the two of us over there. They also had a bbq and a fire pit with plenty of chairs. If the wind wasn’t blowing so hard for the bulk of our stay, we would have probably spent a little more time out there. It was really cool to head out there and watch the surfers, or spot seals and otters in the kelp out off shore. (I remembered my binoculars this time). On a couple evenings, we had a little fire in the fire pit, listened to the ocean and had a couple drinks… very nice.
The location of this place was just terrific. Like I said, it was right on the beach. In fact, where we were there was probably only 30 feet of beach between us and the water started at high tide. The road it was on, E Cliff Drive is a one way street with half of it blocked off for pedestrian traffic. There was always people around, lugging surfboards, walking dogs, soaking in the view.
What was really nice was there wasn’t much car traffic at all. We weren’t in a destination type area (with lots of attractions) so mainly we just got the surfers and the people who live and stay nearby. Plus, we were close to Pleasure Pizza.
There was, however, one downside to our location. And it didn’t make itself known until that first night when we laid down for bed. The waves, which are very close to the window of the sleeping loft, are LOUD. Everyone has heard that relaxing ‘whoosh’ of waves that gently lulls you to sleep. Hell, they even make those relaxation cd’s with that sound on them. These waves were quite the opposite.
Due to the shape of the shore or something, they had a habit of breaking directly on the shoreline if not a few feet off. They weren’t breaking 30 yards off shore and gently rolling in. No no no. These things were heavy, bass filled (the sound, not the fish) monsters that sound like they were breaking over top of the house. The wave would come in, getting bigger as it came, then about 70 feet in length would all break at exactly the same time. They weren’t even all that big. They were just close. It didn’t help that high tide was around 11pm either, I suppose, since right when we’re heading up the ladder, they were as close as they would get. Sunday night, they were unbelievably noisy. On some of the bigger ones, you could even feel the pressure wave in your chest, like when you’re a mile away from a really loud rock concert.
There was one other downside to this place. It was the fact that there really wasn’t anywhere to relax. There was a small dining table, a very small and uncomfortable love seat type thing and a futon, which I don’t have to tell you are one of the worst pieces of furniture ever devised. There wasn’t any place to park with a book and be comfortable at all. I suppose that was why we never spent a lot of time there. We were always out doing something, every day except Friday. And even then, we went out for a good chunk of the day.
The entertainment options left a bit to be desired. As you can see, the satellite dish wasn’t exactly operational. What were we stuck with? Rabbit ears. On a puny 15″ TV. Now, I know, you don’t travel all the way to the coast to watch TV. I get that. But, at the same time, you do want to have something to distract you during those slow evenings when you’re tired from going strong all day. With those illustrious rabbit ears, what stations could we pick up you might ask? Well, in the category of watchable channels, we had 2. NBC and the local Fox. That’s it. The other channels that came in reasonably clear consisted of 3 or 4 religious channels and Telemundo and Univision. Hmmm… that’s no good. There were a few other channels, but they were so snowy we couldn’t even figure out what they were. Luckily, I remembered to bring some DVDs to watch, well, for me to watch and Jess to sleep through… And there was a player attached to the TV. So, it wasn’t a total bust.
I would have to say, it was overall, a pretty good place. Did I like it? Yes. Would I stay there again? No. Would I recommend it? Possibly. It really depends on what you’re looking for.
I guess we could have really done a lot worse.
Stay tuned for more!