Quick Take:

New Leaf Community Markets brand manager Lindsay Gizdich said the store is moving from Pacific Avenue in order to have...

Now that Santa Cruz County is re-opening, three questions come to mind: Where to go? What to do? What to see? The San Lorenzo Valley (SLV) offers much to enjoy–there’s something for everyone. As a San Lorenzo Valley resident and long-time local real estate agent, I know this area well. So let me be your tour guide to make the most of your time in our slice of heaven, affectionately known as SLV. Here are my top 10 things to do this summer:

1) Shop at Felton Farmer’s Market – Tuesdays, 1 – 6 p.m. 120 Russell Ave, Felton

Credit: Felton Farmer’s Market

Grab lunch, dinner, or a summer treat from Felton’s Farmer’s Market! You’ll find delicious baked goods from local bakers, or grab a cone from Penny Ice Creamery while you shop for nutritious organic food. Learn more about this community favorite here.

Heidi’s Take:If you’re into shopping local, which I am, this is the ultimate way to go. I love the colorful array of fruits and veggies, nuts, baked goods, honey, and more. Plus, I get to eat healthily and support our local farmers.”

2) Enjoy the Roaring Camp Summer Music Series – 5401 Graham Hill Rd, Felton.

Credit: Roaring Camp Summer Music series

When you think of Roaring Camp, you probably think of trains, picnics, and learning about life in the Old West. However, you can also enjoy some great music all summer long. Roaring Camp has teamed up with the Felton Music Hall to satisfy our need for getting out and having fun after a year of being couped up.

Heidi’s Take: “I’m a huge music enthusiast and have already been to two shows. They’re offering up a great mix of talent this summer. Besides the sounds, I like that I could pre-order our beverages and have them delivered to our pod (a new word we all learned this past year). Plus, it’s a great setting with redwoods all around.”

3) Zip Line through the redwoods – Redwood Canopy Tour at Mount Hermon, 17 Conference Dr, Felton.

Credit: Mount Hermon Adventures

The Redwood Canopy Tour offers six zip lines, and two suspension bridges hung over a babbling creek below as you travel amongst towering redwoods. During this exhilarating experience, two tour guides will detail ecological and local knowledge about the ancient trees.

Heidi’s Take: “When you first step off, you can’t help but scream. It just happens. It’s such a unique two hours to experience (and learn about) our stunning coastal redwoods. The time flies, though (no pun intended), so be sure to be in the moment. And for the record, I won’t be flying but will be on the ground taking pictures. Still, a fun thing to do with friends and family.”

4) Experience Red Pearl for tasty Chinese cuisine – 13151 Highway 9, Bounder Creek.

Credit: The Red Pearl

Often voted the “Fave” Chinese food in the San Lorenzo Valley and revered by diners county-wide, the Red Pearl is a cozy, main street café that has all your favorites including vegan and gluten-free options.

Heidi’s Take: “Owner, Jenny Wu, is considered a Boulder Creek gem because she treats everyone so special, often adding free treats to customer orders. She never forgets that my husband likes the extra rice noodles for the Mongolian Beef.”

5) Check out the Big Foot Museum – Wednesdays – Sundays 11 – 6, 5497 Highway 9, Felton.

Credit: Big Foot Museum

If you’re curious about the Pacific Coast Bigfoot or Sasquatch, the Bigfoot Museum is a must-stop on your SLV itinerary. You’ll find Bigfoot artifacts including footprint casts, a map of local sightings, videos, skulls, Bigfoot-related pop culture, and more.

Heidi’s Take: “Their website says, ‘This isn’t your typical roadside museum’ and that’s no understatement! Yet it seems so perfectly situated in the wonderfully quirky mountain town of Felton. The museum founders are serious when they say the discovery of Bigfoot, a big hairy cryptid (I had to look that up) by Western science is imminent. Come to your own conclusion after you visit.”

6) Relish the carnitas at the Taqueria Los Amigos – 13070 Highway 9, Boulder Creek

Credit: Taqueria Los Amigos

Come to SLV for the redwoods but don’t leave until you’ve stopped at Taqueria Los Amigos!

Heidi’s Take:They’re known for their carnitas because they’re juicy, savory, crispy, and tender all at the same time. How do they do that? Have them with beans and rice or as the main ingredient in either a burrito or taco.”

7) Hike and learn at Quail Hollow Ranch County Park – Wednesday – Sundays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Credit: Pixaby

Quail Hollow Park offers so much if you want to really experience the diversity of SLV’s plant communities. In the spring and summer, you can see the wildflowers and year-round you can take a leisurely hike on over five miles of easy to moderate trails. For the curious, check out the free or low-cost interpretive programs, or the new Agents of Discovery App for six different challenges at the park.

Heidi’s Take: “If you’re a nature lover, this place has it all—pastures and parklands, forests, deer, wild turkeys, and all kinds of wildlife. I also love that I can get in my steps while enjoying it all. I love to do the Sunset Trail and getting a view of the Valley.”

8) Go back in time at the Brookdale Lodge Diner – 11570 Highway 9, Brookdale

people dining outside
Brookdale Diner Credit: Brookdale Lodge

This old-school diner offers a unique experience in the mountain town of Brookdale. Modeled after the burger joints of the 50’s, you can enjoy home-cooked breakfast, lunch or dinner friendly service, and a fun-filled, old-fashioned feel that will take you back in time.

Heidi’s Take: “I love retro! Makes me think of ‘Happy Days’, but you don’t have to put on a leather jacket and say ‘Aaay’ to take a trip down memory lane. It’s loaded with personality and the food is tasty. I dig it. Think you will, too.”

9) Shop Chachkies at the Boulder Creek Pharmacy – 13081 Central Ave, Boulder Creek

Credit: Boulder Creek Pharmacy

You might not think a pharmacy is the place to shop unless you’re looking for medicine or first aid supplies. Boulder Creek Pharmacy is the exception with an eclectic collection of trinkets, reflective of the unique personality of the Santa Cruz Mountain communities.

Heidi’s Take: This is my go-to spot to buy gifts for out-of-town guests and for most of the holidays. I know. Weird, huh? You can feel the Boulder Creek love and I just love that.”

10) Walk through the redwoods at Henry Cowell State Park – 101 Big Trees Park Rd, Felton.


If you’d rather be on the ground when you traverse the redwoods, then a trip to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park should be on your list. You can enjoy hiking, camping, horseback riding, picnicking, and swimming.

Heidi’s Take: “There’s a lot of history there, and it makes you understand why our old-growth redwood trees are so unique to all of us who call Santa Cruz County home. The most giant tree there is about 1500 years old. Too cool!”

Want to live in SLV?

As you experience all the things on my top ten list, you’ll probably start thinking about what it would be like to take up residence in one of our quaint SLV mountain towns.

Here’s your opportunity right now to see your new dream home: 8245 Hihn Road – Ben Lomond

YouTube video

Heidi’s take: “The beauty of this gorgeous home is that you can feel away from it all but are still five minutes from all the essentials. You can feel the exquisite craftsmanship the minute you walk in. You’ll enjoy cooking up a storm in the knockout kitchen and the peace and serenity of your Zen Garden out your back deck. I love living in SLV and think you will, too.”

About Heidi Robinson:

Credit: Heidi Robinson

Heidi is a local real estate agent who’s worked the greater Santa Cruz and Silicon Valley region since 2003. From mountain homes to luxury estates, she’s helped sellers get top dollar and helped buyers get their best value. So, if you’re interested in taking advantage of this insanely hot market visit our seller’s page, or, if you want to tap the insanely low-interest rates available now for a purchase, visit our buyers page.

Contact Information:
Heidi Robinson
Heidi Robinson Real Estate Team
Thunderbird Real Estate
DRE# 01397076
Direct: 831-234-9823
Email: Heidi@HeidiRobinson.com

Jessica M. Pasko has been writing professionally for almost two decades.She cut her teeth in journalism as a reporter for the Associated Press in her native Albany, NY, where she covered everything from...