Cultural Transformation at the Beach

Many ages ago, we traveled down to quaint, little Capitola by the Sea, a few miles south of Santa Cruz. It was the perfect summer getaway for our perfect suburban life: two weeks of the beach with not a care in the world except enough change for the skeeball machines at the arcade.

Well, now the arcade is gone, the skeeball machines are gone, and Capitola by the sea is a bustling village of bars, restaurants, and espresso cafés. What was once a sleepy, idyllic haven for legions of 5 year-olds running wild and free while their moms played Bridge, is now a destination for college students and urbanites sipping cocktails at terraced bars.

But you can still dream of Capitola as that innocent time before the onslaught of the late 1960s, a time when the Venetian Court apartments, the funky little beach bungalows that evoked some imaginary Italian village, could be rented out for practically nothing. Yes, they are still there, with the startling splashes of color just a few feet from the beach, but now the Venetian Court is an exclusive enclave of million dollar condos for retirees. And yet, from the Capitola pier, where we fished for three-inch perch, it’s not hard to project yourself back in time (we won’t say how many years), when the world as seen from the eyes of a child was one of total wonder.