US road trip part 2: the coastal drive and Redwood Croft

The single most breathtakingly beautiful sight I have ever had the pleasure of seeing in person is the view from the US 1 coastal route from San Francisco towards LA.

Having left the stunning architecture and delicious food San Francisco had to offer, we headed south down route 1, a road that’s famous for being a road-trip must. Now I know why.


The road itself is worth every second of the whole trip and every penny we paid for it. While there’s something a bit scary about driving so precariously close to a cliff edge, once you let go and accept that you probably won’t plummet to a watery death, it’s one of the most amazing things you’ll ever see.

The view of the blue ocean from the clifftops is so vast, you feel like you’re flying over it. Arches of eagles swoop overhead, the occasional dolphin sprays the air, the day is so clear and the sea is such a deep, calm colour you’re not sure where the sky ends and the ocean begins.

We did about three hours of the drive in the first day, before turning off and heading into the earthy, red and green forest landscape in the hills above Santa Cruz. We were heading to a hidden gem I’d discovered during my road-trip research called Redwood Croft.


I don’t know if I can describe this place to you. There are pictures, sure, but the pictures don’t encapsulate the fragrant trees, the smell of utterly unpolluted air, the warmth that emanates from a family-run business and home, built with so much love. The website’s own copy does it much more justice than I can: “designed with an artist’s eye and a grandma’s heart.” Well, I was won over – how can you say no to that?

Every little detail was designed by Sita, the owner, a warm and vivacious woman who greeted us like we were family and treated us like royalty for our entire stay, as did her wonderful family (which included two elderly pets, and a cat, pictured below that we fell in love with)!


The wooden room was like a cross between a hideaway treehouse and a luxury hotel. We had the most incredible stone bathtub that to call it a bathtub is a gross understatement. It was almost big enough to swim in, just built for a romantic evening. We spent the night in front of the warm fire that heated the room, watching the stars through the roof’s massive skylight. It was heaven.

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The next morning, after enjoying a sumptuous, three-course breakfast cooked by Sita and her family, we reluctantly headed off back on the road again – but not before stopping in Santa Cruz to say hello to some seals!

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On the next instalment, we head to San Luis Obispo where we discover a hotel that could have been designed purely for Darling Lovely Life readers… 

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