Category Archives: Community

Best Ice Cream In Santa Cruz

July is National Ice Cream month. I couldn’t think of a better time to debut my top picks for ice cream in Santa Cruz. During a day of pure indulgence, I visited my three favorite ice creameries in town: Mission Hill Creamery, The Penny Ice Creamery and Marianne’s Ice Cream. Each have their own unique specialties that set them apart but they all have something in common- they make amazing ice cream from scratch.

Let’s take a look at why these three made my list for the best ice cream in Santa Cruz and what makes each of them so delicious.

Video Tour of the Best Ice Cream In Santa Cruz

The Best Ice Cream In Santa Cruz

Mission Hill Creamery

Mission Hill Creamery opened their doors in 2010 at a nearby location and later moved to their current home in the heart of downtown Santa Cruz, on Pacific Ave.

The day I stopped in I was lucky enough to join in on their 9th birthday celebration and catch up with the owner, Dave.

Dave personally makes their ice cream from scratch in the back of the shop 3-4 days a week. This ensures that their ice cream is always fresh. It was apparent to me from the start of our conversation how much he cares about the ingredients they use, the farmers they work with and the quality of ice cream they are churning out for their customers.

What Makes Mission Hill Creamery A Top Pick For Ice Cream In Santa Cruz?

Unique, Organic, Quality Ingredients and Incredible Creaminess

Their organic dairy is sourced from Strauss Farms, which according to Dave is “The best in the world!”

Located just behind Mission Hill Creamery is Santa Cruz’s largest local farmers market. Each week Dave hand picks local, organic produce from favorites like Dirty Girl Produce.

As a result of the amazing produce literally at their back door, many of their flavors boast a unique seasonal flare. I tasted so many incredible flavors that day but my favorites were, nectarine, sweet basil, candy cap mushroom (a local variety) and melon.

Some of these flavors I had to taste out of pure curiosity- I mean mushroom ice cream? The food lover in me HAD to give that one a try. To my pleasant surprise, it was nothing short of spectacular. It had a slight savory start and sweet, nutty finish that was irresistible.

I wanted a scoop of every flavor they handed me but in the end I chose candy cap mushroom and melon served in a a homemade waffle cone and topped with a roasted marshmallow (which they expertly torched right before my eyes). If I only had one word to use, it would be heavenly.


Along with ice cream, Mission Hill also serves a number of house made baked goods and delicious coffee. Dave shared with me that their house specialty is the affogato. This is an Italian coffee-based desert with a scoop of ice cream, topped with a freshly pulled shot of espresso.

In my opinion, their real specialty is the incredibly creamy texture of their ice cream. To top it off, the unique variety of flavors they serve, quality ingredients and the outstanding and friendly service shown by Dave and his employees make them a standout in my book.

The Penny Ice Creamery

The Penny Ice Creamery also began making delicious ice cream in Santa Cruz in 2010. The artisan ice cream shop was created by chef Kendra Baker and business partner Zachary Davis . It brought their passion for food and sweet treats together in one place.

Their ice cream is made from scratch in small batches at their downtown location. If you go at just the right time, you can observe them through a large glass window. This is an unusual thing to be able to witness, not every shop offers a view behind the scenes. The day of my visit they were busy churning away. Through the glass I saw each step, and when the strawberry ice cream came together in all of its pink glory, it made me excited to have a taste.

Penny (as the locals refer to them) has two popular locations: One in Downtown Santa Cruz on Cedar Street and the other on 41st Ave. in Pleasure Point. You can also find them weekly at the Downtown Farmers’ Market and daily at their sister business, The Picnic Basket.

What Makes The Penny Ice Creamery A Top Pick For Ice Cream In Santa Cruz?

Local, Sustainably Grown, Humanely Farmed Ingredients

The Penny Ice Creamery prides themselves on using local, quality ingredients as much as possible. Much like Mission Hill, they work with local farmers to get the freshest ingredients around and creatively implement them into their ever changing menu.


Penny is best known for combining ingredients not normally seen in ice cream, like blackberry and sweet corn. The homemade waffle cones and marshmallow fluff topping also have a big draw at Penny. These irresistible scents waft through the air.

Their menu goes far beyond ice cream scoops though. They offer various toppings, ice cream sandwiches, fruit pops and floats.

The day of my visit I tasted a lot of flavors. My favorites were raspberry rose sorbet, strawberry, blackberry buttermilk and milk chocolate covered pretzel. I settled on a scoop of milk chocolate covered pretzel in a homemade waffle cone. It was salty, sweet and delectable.

What makes Penny a standout in my book? Their creative, local flavor combos, use of quality ingredients and fun atmosphere.

Marianne’s Ice Cream

Last stop on the Santa Cruz Ice Cream tour is Marianne’s Ice Cream. Marianne’s has been a Santa Cruz staple since 1947, so of course I had to include them. I have so many happy memories of visiting Marianne’s as a kid and I know a lot of other people do to.

We used to be rewarded on special occasions with trips to Marianne’s. Back then my brother and I would always choose the same colorful flavor- blue bubble gum ice cream. To us, it was like having two deserts in one. Ice cream plus an array of rainbow colored bubble gum that we could enjoy long after the ice cream was gone.

Over the years, Marianne’s has changed hands only three times. The current owners, Kelly and Charlie were chosen to take over the Marianne’s tradition back in 2012 by Sam Lieberman. Sam operated the shop for over 50 years. During that time he could be seen behind the counter and behind the scenes where he created over 250 recipes!

“I love it when folks who came with their grandparents back in the 1940’sand 50’s bring their grand-kids and great grand-kids today. That’s six generations represented. We’re awfully lucky spending each day sharing in the Marianne’s love. Nothing better than that!”


Their red barn building, red and white striped awnings and multi- colored signs are easily recognizable to many. The original Ocean Street location sits along the gateway to one of the areas most popular attractions- The Boardwalk and Main Beach, which makes it an easy stop off for visitors and locals alike. In more recent years, they opened their doors at locations on Statepark Dr. in Aptos and Stockton Ave. in the Capitola Village.

You can also find Marianne’s Ice Cream at a number of popular locations in town like Marini’s Candies and Farrell’s Donuts.

What Makes Marianne’s A Top Pick For Ice Cream In Santa Cruz?

Generations of Memories and So Many Options

Aside from pure nostalgia, the thing that sets Marianne’s Ice Cream apart is the vast number of flavors and specialty items they offer. They are currently offering 105 flavors.

Specialty items include various flavors of ice cream bars, ice cream sandwiches, chocolate dipped cheesecake, frozen bananas, nutty bananas, grasshopper pie, mud pie and turtle pie.

The day of my visit I tried so many flavors (I ate A LOT of ice cream that day). I started off with a taste of one of their most popular flavors, 1020. The 1020 is caramel ice cream with chocolate swirl and bits of chocolate sandwich cookies. I now know why its sweet, crunchy, chocolaty flavor is loved by so many. Next, I moved on to watermelon sorbet. It was light, delicious and refreshing. After indulging in a scoop of each, I spotted someone carrying a banana split in one hand and an ice cream sundae in the other. They looked so good that I had to go back for more. After all, it was a day of pure indulgence for me. I ordered an old fashioned banana split with lavender and chocolate, topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and a cherry. The lavender was great on its own but pairing it with the chocolate really enhanced the sweet earthy flavor.

What makes Marianne’s a standout in my book? The variety of flavors and the happy memories that it brings back every time I visit.

What Is Your Top Pick for Best Ice Cream In Santa Cruz?

Now that you have heard mine, I would love to hear yours. What is your favorite flavor and how do you like it served?

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Santa Cruz County Sewer Lateral Inspection Program

Santa Cruz County Sewer Lateral Inspection


There are two:

The first new sewer lateral inspection program applies to properties located within unincorporated Santa Cruz County and connected to a public sewer main. Interestingly enough, this is actually not a “new” inspection ordinance but one that was lost in the county code until recently discovered and implemented.

The second sewer lateral program is for properties located within the City of Santa Cruz and will not be implemented until July of this year (more information on this one coming soon, so stay tuned on my blog).

The sewer inspection program we are talking about today applies to properties located within the “unincorporated county” of Santa Cruz. The ordinance requires  (among other things) that any property owner selling a home that is connected to a public sanitary sewer main, perform a sewer lateral inspection and any necessary repairs at point of sale. 

Does The Sewer Inspection Ordinance Apply To Me?

To see if this ordinance applies to your property, click here to enter your address on the Public Works interactive sanitation map. If your property is affected, read on.

What Is A Sewer Lateral?

First lets start by answering the question, what is a sewer lateral?   A sewer lateral is the sewer pipeline that runs from your house to the connection at the main sewer line in the street. This line is owned by you, the property owner, and any repairs and upkeep are your responsibility.

Santa Cruz County Sewer Lateral Inspection

What Am I Required To Do?

The county ordinance requires homeowners to have a licensed plumber perform a video inspection of the entire sewer lateral line (house to main street connection) prior to selling the home. You may have any California licensed plumber perform the inspection.

The homeowner is also required to repair any defects found in the sewer line prior to close of escrow.  Unlike some of our other county ordinances, this responsibility cannot be transferred to a buyer at this time. 

What Can I Expect During the Process?

After the video inspection has been performed,  your plumber will complete and submit this form to the County Public Works Department. Your plumber will also submit the video inspection and any repair recommendations. The county inspector will review the plumber’s recommendations and the video footage and will make the final decision on what repairs (if any) are necessary.
This review can take up to 10 days.

What If Repairs Are Needed?

If there are defects found in your sewer lateral either during the plumber’s inspection or by the county inspector, you will be required to repair these defects prior to close of escrow.

What Are Defects In The Sewer Lateral?

Defects can be things like tree root intrusion, cracks, separations at joints, non-standard components, standard components improperly installed, deteriorated lines, material routinely prone to failure, sags in the line, separation at the sewer main connection, etc.  Sometimes these defects can be remedied with spot repairs and other times replacing the entire line may be required.

Santa Cruz County Sewer Lateral Inspection

If the entire line needs replacing due to any defects, there are various options available. The entire line can be exposed and replaced or there are less invasive options available like pipe bursting or pipe liner methods.  

If repairs are needed, a permit will need to be obtained from Public Works by your plumber. Your plumber will complete the repairs and schedule a final, in person inspection with Public Works.  All repairs and the final county inspection must be completed before you can close escrow.

The good news is that there are no fees associated with the inspection review or obtaining the permit and the inspector typically only needs a day or two to schedule the final inspection.

Who Can I Hire To Perform Repairs?

If repair work on your property is needed from the house to the public right-of-way (see diagram above),  it can be done by any California licensed plumber.

However,  if your repair work goes beyond this point and into the street, you will need to use one of the county approved plumbing contractors. Click here to see the list of approved contractors from the county website.

Other Ordinance Requirements:

Even if there are no defects found in your line,  there are still a couple of potential repairs that may be required in order for you to be in compliance with the new ordinance:

  • You must have an accessible sewer clean out on the property at least every 50 feet.  A clean out is a pipe with a cap that allows access to clear blockages in the line.  If no clean out is present, you will be required to install one or more.
  • If the lowest floor of your home is not more than 12″ above the nearest manhole, then you will likely be required to install a backflow prevention device at the clean out. This will ensure that water cannot backup into the home in the case of a blockage or intrusion from heavy rains.

How Do I Prove That I Am In Compliance With The Ordinance?

If no defects were found in your line during the inspection and you were not required to complete any repairs to your sewer lateral- you can simply request a copy of the report reviewed by Public Works stating that no work is required to give to the buyer prior to closing escrow.

If you are required to complete repairs to your sewer lateral- once the work is complete and the inspection finalized, Public Works will provide a letter stating that you are clear to close escrow.

Are There Any Exemptions?

Yes. There is a basic exemption is for homes (and sewer laterals) that are less than 20 years old or sewer laterals that were replaced less than 20 years ago with a permit and meeting current requirements. If your property meets either of these criteria, you do not need to perform an inspection. For a full list of exemptions, click here.

What Is The Purpose Of This?

The Purpose Of This Ordinance Is To:

  • Improve private sewer infrastructure
  • Protect the environment and local waterways from the leakage of raw sewage into the groundwater and soil
  • Minimize the infiltration and inflow of water into the sewer system 
  • Minimize the creation of sinkholes in streets and ground
  • Minimize future costs to property owners for sewer lateral  repairs by catching issues early on

What Now?

If you are planning to sell your property, you will want to get this process started as early on as possible to avoid any potential delays in selling your home.

Wow- This All Sounds A Little Overwhelming!

Don’t worry- that’s what Realtors  are here for!!! If you are thinking of selling and not already working with a Realtor®,  please contact meI would love to help you through the process or answer any questions that you may have!

Want to stay up to date on local information and events?  *Subscribe to my blog on the top left hand side of this post


For more information, including frequently asked questions and a video slideshow and more,  visit the Public Works Website.

Not sure if you are in the unincorporated county?  Click here to search your property address.

*** Since this ordinance has been newly adopted, please be aware that the rules and procedures may change as the county works through implementing their new system. Always double check with a licensed plumber, or the Public Works Department to ensure that you are using the correct forms and procedures.

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Aptos New Leaf is Now Open!

New Leaf Aptos
New Leaf Aptos

Aptos New Leaf is now open! After a long wait, a lot of hard work and much anticipation, New Leaf officially opened its doors in the Aptos Village today!

Housed in the historic Hihn Apple Barn, built in 1891, the newest New Leaf location offers fresh local and organic produce, hundreds of local products, meat and sustainably-sourced seafood.

Best of all, it is my personal favorite healthy dining spot! Seriously, my favorite restaurant on the Westside is New Leaf. They offer a pizza bar, salad bar, hot bar, juice bar and coffee bar. In addition, this location will have one dining option that none of the other stores do- a specialty wok and ramen bar! I can’t wait to check it out!

Here are some of the features of the new store:

  • Farm-fresh local and organic produce, with fresh grab-and-go cut fruit
  • Full-service meat and seafood department with a wide selection of sustainably raised meat and sustainable seafood
  • Extensive deli with made-to-order sandwiches
  • Pizza bar
  • Wok and ramen bar
  • Fresh sushi rolled daily
  • Made-from-scratch soup and salad bar
  • Everyday grocery staples, including bulk items and local products
  • Fully stocked wellness department with local products with supplements and body care, and knowledgeable assistance from wellness experts
  • Full-service organic coffee bar
  • An award winning juice and smoothie bar using fresh, organic ingredients
  • Straus organic soft serve ice cream
  • Award-winning local and organic cheeses, indulgent bakery goods and a wide selection of local and exclusive beer, cider and wine
  • Indoor and outdoor seating and bike parking

Aptos Village

If you haven’t checked out the new Aptos Village, it has really come together nicely! After YEARS in the making, the nearly completed project has a pedestrian friendly design that houses retail shops and restaurants along with homes and condos. New Leaf is the central hub and is surrounded by a gorgeous park like setting that allows visitors to picnic, relax and come together as a community.

In addition, there are many other local favorites that will be opening in the Aptos Village soon, like Cat and Cloud Coffee, Penny Ice Creamery, Sockshop & Shoe Co. and more. The restaurant Mentone, by star chef David Kinch of Manresa, will also be opening later this summer. The menu will feature casual Mediterranean influenced food including lavish pizzas and plenty of highly authentic pesto. Yum!

I am really excited that Aptos New Leaf and Aptos Village is now open. It is going to be an awesome addition to the community of Aptos and a fun place to live!

For more information on the new homes or condos still available for sale in the village- call, email or text me.

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Events In Santa Cruz This Week!



Check out these great events in Santa Cruz


 (*Free Events)

7th Springtime Rod & Custom Swap Meet
7 AM – 2 PM in Aptos
Public event hosted by   

Aptos Farmers Market *
8AM- 12PM at Cabrillo College 6500 Soquel Dr.

Westside Farmers Market *
9AM- 1PM (live music starting at 10AM)
Corner of Western Dr. and Mission St. ext.
more info

Home Depot Building Workshop *

9am- 12pm- Home Depot Capitola

Free public event for kids, 1st Saturday of each month


Roaring Camp Model Railroad Exhibit *

9 am (Sat and Sun)

Roaring Camp Railroad

more info


Community Poetry Circle *

10am- 12pm

Santa Cruz Library (Downtown)

more info


Family Lagoon Watch *

10 am – 12 pm

Live Oak Library

more info


Tales to Tailes *

10 am- 11:30 am

Downtown Santa Cruz Library

more info


Ukulele Club Performance *

10am- 12pm

Yacht Harbor Beach outside of The Crows Nest and Kind Grind

Free public event


Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai 31st Annual Exhibit

10 am- 5 pm (Sat. and Sun.)The Museum of Art and History

705 Front St., Santa Cruz

more info


Santa Cruz Veg Fest

11 AM – 6 PM at the Cocoanut Grove

400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz

Ticketed event hosted by Santa Cruz VegFest, Staff of Life and MAH

more info


Family Craft Time at the Library *

11 am- 4 pm @ Branciforte Library

11 am- 1 pm @ Garfield Park Library

1pm- 3 pm @ Aptos Library

1 pm- 4:30 pm @ Live Oak

1:30 pm- 4:30 pm @ La Selva Beach Library

more info


Origami Club *

1 pm- 3 pm

Aptos Library

more info


Adults Arts & Craft Workshop *

2 pm- 4 pm

Scotts Valley Library

more info


Santa Cruz Ballet presents Thorton Wilder’s Our Town

2 pm (Sat and Sun)

Cabrillo Crocker Theater

more info


Hank DeDiego Zumba for Autism 2019 

5 pm- 10  pm

1840 41st Ave 120-320, Capitola, California 95010

Ticketed event hosted by ZUMBA for Autism – Santa Cruz

more info

April in Santa Cruz Music Festival

7:30 pm

Professor Karlton Hester with Quantum Elders Hip-Bop Ballet

Presented by the department of Music at UCSC- Music Center Recital Hall

more info


Sunday 4/7:

(*Free event) 


Boardwalk Fun Run

6:30 am- 11:30 am

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Kid friendly ticketed event

more info


Downtown Makers Market *

10 am- 5 pm

Pacific Ave.

more info


Live Oak Farmers Market *

9AM- 1PM

15th & Eastcliff Dr., Santa Cruz

more info


Ukulele Club Performs *

10 am- 12 pm

Capitola Band Stand

Free public event


Seacliff History Tour *

11 AM – 12 PM

Public event hosted by Seacliff State Beach

more info


Tim Bluhm Band

Flynn’s Cabaret Steakhouse

6275 Highway 9, Felton, California 95018

8PM- 11pm

Paid event hosted by  Folkyeah Presents

more info

Monday 4/8:

(*Free Event)


Toddler Story Time *

Garfield Park Library (Westside) & Live Oak Library

10am- 11am

  • Do you have an upcoming event in Santa Cruz that you would like me to include? Send me a message!



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