A wooden horse sits on the 1911 Looff carousel on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
AND SUMMER STARTS: Or at least the summer season. Which makes us which some researcher would poll people as to what they call summertime. We think it might be the most contentious of seasons, at least in terms of when it happens. Is it truly from the third week in June to the third week in September, as the calendars officially tell us? Or can we call summer that period of time from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend? Or, lastly, is it just whenever school happens to be out in your household? Researchers, discuss. While you're figuring out this very important question, once and for all, we'll look to a favorite staple of the season, a place that always feels a little summery, even on a damp January day when you're shivering on the carousel (holding onto those metal poles only make mitten-less hands colder). Yep, we're talking about the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
THE SEASON AHEAD: One of the world's great boardwalks -- we have to break out the big praise for the home of the Giant Dipper roller coaster -- will be doing its carousel-y, beach-y, stroll-and-people-watch-y thing throughout the summer, of course, but there are a number of special happenings just ahead. Billed as "the only spinning roller coaster in Northern California," the Undertow will have a summer opening (so count this as the boardwalk's buzzed-about ride this year). If spinning high above the planks isn't your deal, but free music is, be at the Boardwalk on Friday nights starting on June 14. The free movies on the beach dealies kick off, and kick off their shoes onto the sand, on Wednesday, June 26. And a bevy of other stuff'll roll, from triathlons to shows from the Surfing Magician. That sounds soooo boardwalky to us, so much so we just had to write "so" with several extra letters. Aren't you grateful to live near such a classic gem, carousels and sticky foods on sticks and sand everywhere and the occasional sunburn and all? Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, keep boardwalkin' up summer, whenever it may actually fall.