Today’s Groupon replaces your normal hands and feet with highly skilled climber appendages. For $35, you get five day-passes to Pacific Edge Climbing Gym, including climbing equipment rental and use of the facility's fitness equipment and sauna (a $93 value), plus a two-hour beginner or technique climbing class (a $31.50 value) and one yoga class (a $12 value), a $136.50 total value. Pacific Edge is co-owned and run by a staff of instructors with years of climbing and yoga experience, and was the Best Outdoor Sports School winner in 2009.2000 Feet: The nagging feeling that you’ve left your oven on is misguided. You haven’t. 5000 Feet: Breathing becomes labored; earthly memories fade. 10,000 Feet: Why does it smell like Christmas? 20,000 Feet: Weight of the treasured Elf Stones lifted only by inspiring visions of the Gates of Shamagor. 30,000 Feet: Break for lunch.
Departing from Venture Quest's dock on the Santa Cruz Wharf, boaters explore the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary from a new, watery perspective while encountering marine flora and fauna. Even without prior experience, kayaking duos can easily navigate the two-person ($50) or a pair of single ($30 each) open-topped boats. A quick ocean-top jaunt to the lush kelp forest near Lighthouse Point may reveal views of harbor seals and frolicking sea otters dancing the cancan in their natural habitat. Sea lions are also known to lounge on nearby Seal Rock, batting their big brown eyes at the occasional passing dolphin or whale.
As the autumn air turns crisp, red and green fuji and gala apples grow plump and shiny on the tree branches at Clearview Orchards. These tempting fruits aren’t just pretty; they’re also free of pesticides. Just 10 years ago, owners Mel and Carol LaRussa took over the hilly orchard and replanted all its trees to grow CCOF-certified organic fruit. Now, in addition to packing up its organic apples to send off to wicked stepmothers across the country, the orchard invites visitors to drop by for seasonal picking trips. While there, they might run into the owners’ children and grandchildren, who help out on weekends. Visitors can also pick up pumpkins, turnovers, lavender, or organic honey, before they head home.
Odonata's winemaker, Denis Hoey, combines old-world methods with modern ideas and techniques to create subtly complex wines in the traditional French style. A focus on sustainably grown, organic local grapes helps to create the food-friendly wines, which can be enjoyed immediately but also age well.
Opened in 1964 and completely resurfaced in 2007, the greens at Santa Cruz Bowls Club host lawn bowling, an outdoor sport lauded by the Santa Cruz Sentinal for the low-impact exercise it provides and its inherent tendency to foster community. Players fly solo or in teams of three atop the 120'x120' swathe of artificial turf, sliced into separate playing lanes and ringed with redwoods. Athletes exhibit focus and precision as opposed to brute force, carefully rolling bowls that, like buses containing both football players and water boys, are weighted on one side. To reach targets, players must carefully assess the terrain and speed with which they throw the spheres. Usually games encompass 14 rounds, or "ends," during which competitors take aim at a small white ball known as the "jack." The team or player that whirls the bowl closest to the jack, enlisting both forehand and backhand shots, seizes one point in a running tally that determines the recipient of glory. Club members enjoy unlimited access to the green and all necessary equipment, as well as club events that include bowling tournaments.
Students walk out of Body in Motion just a little bit taller than when they came in. The studio’s classes—Pilates and Xtend Barre—serve to tone and lengthen muscles for a stronger, sleeker physique. Instructors teach two styles of Pilates: mat classes, which rely on gravity to turn bodies into their own weight machine. In apparatus classes, students perform moves with the famed Pilates tower adding an extra challenge, like solving a Rubik’s Cube while defending yourself against a bear attack. Both classes rely on precise, repetitive motions to tone the core and make the spine more pliable and resistant to injury. Similarly, Xtend Barre classes blend Pilates moves with cardio dance steps and sculpting exercises. All classes scale to accommodate and challenge students of all skill levels. For a completely customized workout, clients can also opt to enlist in personal training.