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Monday, December 31, 2012

We found Davenport's hidden Glass Beach

When my friend Mike posted a photo on Facebook of piles of seafoam at a beach I was intrigued. "Are you in Santa Cruz?" I asked on Facebook. "Glass Beach in Davenport," he replied. I found references to Glass Beach on Google but no actual directions to where it is located or how to get there.

I showed Michael's picture to Hubby and he said "Let's go now!" So we hopped into the car and headed "over the hill" towards Davenport on Highway 1 just nine miles past Santa Cruz. We figured we'd stop at the Davenport Roadhouse for Hubby's 3:00 mocha break and ask at the restaurant if they could tell us where Glass Beach was.

While hubby had his mocha, I ordered this Caramel, Walnut Brownie.

It was the best brownie ever. And I reaaaaaally mean it. What made it the best?

The ooey gooey caramel in every bite. The cake was rich, moist, and chocolatey and the caramel was luxuriously decadent! We hadn't even found the beach yet and I was done. LOL. This brownie was the highpoint of my day. My only regret was not getting a second one to bring home for later. Ah, well, it gives me a good reason to return to Davenport in the future.

As we placed our order at the coffee bar we asked, and were told, how to get to the beach. I could tell you but I really think finding it is part of the adventure. I'd suggest if you ever want to visit Glass Beach just stop in at the Roadhouse for a bite or a drink (they have a restaurant, coffee shop, bar, and wine tastings so there's bound to be something you'd enjoy) then ask about the beach's location.

I will show you that the way there is neither close or easy. You don't just pull into a parking lot along the beach. First you walk down an uneven trail for a short distance. Then you cross some railroad tracks. That's the easy part. Next you have to hike down a very steep and rocky path to the beach below. When you get almost to the bottom the path becomes uneven, large rocks that are quite slippery when wet or muddy. Some were both as we've had recent rains. Suffice to say you'll want to wear hiking shoes or boots of some type as opposed to any kind of flip flop or dress shoes with slick soles or high heels.

And then we saw what we came to see. Sea foam!

Each time the waves came into the shore a new batch of foam washed up onto the sand. It was pretty windy so a lot of the foam then went air born like fluffy white tumbleweeds rolling down the beach. It was really cool!

The foam was hard to photograph though. Between the wind moving and blowing the piles around and the waves rushing up onto the beach I gave up after I got a few shots and my foot got soaked and my tripod bag was washed over by a wave I didn't see coming. Thankfully I had time to grab one bag. Of course I lifted my camera bag up just seconds before the wave hit. After that I kept both bags on my shoulder the rest of the time. It was cumbersome but definitely the smart thing to do.

The beach is also dog friendly. We saw a few dogs which of course meant paw prints in the sand.

A man I chatted with told me it's called Glass Beach because there used to be a glass factory nearby that would discard pieces of colorful glass in a nearby creek allowing them to wash down to the ocean where the sand and surf would smooth and polish them over time.

But just like getting to the beach, finding glass is no easy feat. You literally have to dig in the sand (between the waves rushing in) to find some. It definitely takes some effort and a small shovel if you decide you want to try to find a piece.

We waited a bit for the sun to set. It was gorgeous. I don't think I'll ever get tired of photographing sunsets.

As the sun went down I finally saw some birds overhead. This image captured some soft lens flare. I hope someday you can go there. The air is so fresh, it's peaceful, and beautiful, and timeless.

I've always known I'm not the kind of person who likes to tan on a beach. But this year I discovered I really like being there at sunrise or sunset and not so much in between.

As the light ebbed away it began to get cold. But hubby wanted to take some long exposure shots so we broke out our tripods and hung around past dark.

It was much darker than this but because I left the shutter open for so long it appears lighter out than it really was. This is the beach on the other side of the bluff that runs along Glass Beach. The long exposure gave the water a soft and misty appearance smoothing together the motion of the waves.

On our way back to our car we passed the Roadhouse Restaurant and Inn again. But now it was dark. Wanting to practice just a bit more long exposure photography I took a few 20 second shots of the restaurant and inn with different aperture settings. The light trails from the cars driving along the highway added some drama.

By then I was chilled to the bone. We left Davenport around 6:00 PM and no kidding, I was cold until 10:30 PM even with the heater on in the car and even after piling two blankets on top of me once we got home. It took turning up the furnace and having a big bowl of hot soup to thaw me out. But it was worth it. I'm usually not so spontaneous so this was a whole new kind of adventure. Perhaps 2013 will bring more of them :)

Davenport Roadhouse Restaurant and Inn - Website
1 Davenport Avenue
Davenport, CA 95017 - Map
Tel: 831-426-8801

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